Inducted in 1966, Elkridge had the longest career of any horse in The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. In a career that included 123 races, he cleared hundreds of fences and fell only once. He was the nation's champion at 4 and then again, when he was owned and trained by my grandfather, at age 8.
He caught the attention of New Yorker "Race Track" Columnist Audax Minor, probably around 1946:
I'd like to pin a few stars and ribbons on Elkridge, who won the Meadow Brook Steeplechase, at Belmont, the other afternoon. It always gives me a warm glow to watch this veteran run. He's eleven years old, you know, but he has such a vigorous way of going that horsemen find him either entertaining or wonderful, depending on the boiling point of their enthusiasm. Whether or not he's the best jumper since Jolly Roger, he certainly is as hard-working a one as we have ever had, and he's by far the biggest money winner in the annals of steeplechasing. He has started 96 times, finishing first 26 times, second 15 times and third 11. What is even more remarkable, I think, is the fact that he has fallen only once.
Elkridge, a rangy, medium-sized bay gelding by Mate, was developed by the late Thomas Hitchcock, who turned out so many famous jumpers. (Incidentally, Elkridge is the last Hitchcock jumper still in steeplechasing.) He was bought by Kent Miller for $7000, at the dispersal of the Hitchcock stable, in the autumn of 1942. Since then, he has won nearly every jumping race of importance and earned $178,055. Elkridge, who is something of a family pet, has a hankering for sugar-covered doughnuts, a habit he acquired from being fed bits of them by Miller's little daughter, Phyllis (sic--he means my mom Phoebe, seen below).
Come to think of it, some racers have the most extraordinary tastes. There was once an animal-I can't recall his name at the moment-who was crazy about beef stew. Goldie F., a fast runner of other days, doted on Bermuda onions. Alsab liked grapefruit. Anyway, lots of sugared doughnuts to Elkridge. He has earned them.
Elkridge was indeed the great family provider in his day.