Oaklawn Park

5:05 p.m.


On Feb. 21, 1905, in the very early days of Oaklawn, the less than favorable weather was described as such: “The track at Oaklawn was in worse shape today, if possible, than it has been since the meeting began. This, however, did not upset the calculations of the form-players, who had a good line on the aquatic ability of the horses.” On the day this photo was taken, however, the weather was different. It was warmer, notching an average in the 50s, dipping as the day wore on and 22,500 people, likely bundled against the slight chill in the air, watched as Suddenbreakingnews, a gelded son of Mineshaft, went from last to first in the 14-horse field. (The horse pictured here, Collected, finished fourth.) And though one might wonder how thousands and thousands came to find themselves at the track on a Monday, given the stakes and the size of the purse—some $500,000 for the Southwest Stakes—there was probably more than reason enough. Because no matter the conditions, no matter the year, it’s always a fine day for the races.