The Race of Gray Eagle

NOTE: The story concerns W. W. Baker who was married to Isabel Frances “Fanny” Hackney, daughter of William Hackney and Sarah Shannon. Unfortunately, the below article does not reveal the Sac Indian with whom W. W. Baker had formed a partnership in the training of the horse, Gray Eagle, for a run against the Fox.

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OTTUMWA DAILY COUSIN
April 13 1903

It is the popular impression that the native Indian pony could outrun anything on earth. In connection with this W. W. Baker, who spent many years in this vicinity when it was part of the Indian reservation, tells a story which seems to prove that the Indian pony wasn’t in the same class with the fleet-footed Kentucky racer. Shortly after the Indians were removed to Des Moines Tom Foster, father of Mrs. C. T. McCarroll, 726 West Second Street, got possession of a Kentucky racer called Gray Eagle. Baker purchased this horse, took him to Des Moines and took in a Sacs Indian as a partner. A match race was arranged between Gray Eagle and a field of horses belonging to the Fox. Gray Eagle was kept as much in the dark as possible. His training was all secret. So far as the Fox Indians knew he was simply a Sacs pony. By the time the day for the race arrived the interest and excitement in the outcome was intense. The Foxes were confident of winning. They bet every pony, saddle, blanket and treasure in their camp. There was hardly an article of any value whatever in either camp which was not “up” on one side or the other. The Indians were wild bettors and upon this race they had bet their all. The day came and the race was run. When Gray Eagle finished there wasn’t a Fox pony within a quarter of a mile. Baker and his friends made a killing and the Fox nation was “strapped”.

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