by Dean Hoffman
Tuberculosis is a horrible disease that affects both young and old, male and female, rich and poor. In the 1930s, it was a major health issue in the United State and one young man who fell victim was Gib White, son of the famed horseman Ben White.
To help his son take his mind off his disease, the father gave him a filly named Rosalind foaled in 1933. Ben White had trained her famous father Scotland and he had high hopes for the filly. Mostly, however, he wanted his son to get well.
Ben White got both of his wishes. Rosalind blossomed into a wonderful trotter and she was one of 10 trotters entered in the 1936 Hambletonian with a $500 entry fee. The race itself was little more than a formality for Rosalind as she won effortlessly in straight heats.
The lanky Gib White forgot all about his health problems and rushed to the winner’s circle and threw his arms around his father. When interviewed by NBC radio broadcaster Clem McCarthy, the young man said, “I’ve got the best filly and the best father in the whole world.”
And no one at the Hambletonian could possibly disagree.
In 1938, Rosalind became the fastest trotting mare in history, a title she held until 1974.
The saga of the boy and his champion filly was so heartwarming that it was captured in a book titled “Born To Trot” by Marguerite Henry which quickly became a classic after its publication in 1950.
Catch this year’s Hambletonian on August 2nd on CBS Sports Network (check here for channel and availability in your area). A live streaming broadcast can also be view here and all the pre-, during, and post-race action can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.