Dan Patch

Dan Patch was born at Oxford Indiana and grew up into a fine colt in the stables of Dan Messner. Dan was sired Joe Patchen. Messner named the colt after himself, “Dan” and Patchen, "Patch". John Wattles was the devoted trainer. Dan Patch was four years old before he was felt worthy of his first race entry fee.

  The date of birth of Dan Patch was April 29, 1896.  In 1900, Dan Patch was sold by Messner for $20,000 to M. E. Sturgis of New York City.  Dan was already recognized as a horse of unusual potentials and the sum paid for him by Mr. Sturgis set a record at that time. Two years later, 1902, a new owner entered the life of this great horse, Marion W. Savage of Minneapolis who was to guide this horse to the pinnacle in harness racing and to earn for him the title "King of Pacers". Mr. Savage paid the then fabulous price of $60,000 for Dan Patch.

  On that day Sept. 8, 1906 some 93,000 people gathered on a sizzling hot day at the Fair grounds. They were all expectant. Mr. Savage had announced in advance that Dan would try and give a record breaking performance. Therefore the crowd sensed that something unusual was to happen. It did. Dan swept around the track in 1.55. The crowd went wild. And Dan himself seemed to understand what both he and the crowd were there for—as he passed the finish line Dan, in his characteristic way, turned his head toward the  Grandstand as if to say—"Thanks folks. I knew you were pulling for me and I just had to come through."

  Dan, during his racing day’s fame and when he retired, was kept at the famous Savage Racing Stables 20 miles from Minneapolis. This was a 600 acre farm with a luxurious mansion and several large and handsome barns. On the place were two race tracks. In the summer Dan practiced on the one mile outdoor track—in the winter on the half mile track which was entirely covered by a roof.

   Dan traveled in a special car, gaily decorated with pictures of the great horse—trips were made throughout the United States. Dan went lame after an exhibition mile at Los Angeles in 1909 and was retired the following year.