Dan Patch was a pacer who broke world records at least 14 times in the
early 1900's. He lived in Minnesota from the time when M. W. Savage bought
him in 1902 until his death in 1916.
Dan Patch only lost two heats in his career and never lost a race. At
the top of the poster, you can see the words "NEVER BEATEN" over his name.
He was so good that other owners eventually refused to race their horses
against him. He spent most of his active career running against the clock.
Dan Patch's official record of 1:55¼ for the pacing mile was set in
1905 in Lexington, Kentucky. His 1:55 unofficial record for the pacing
mile (set in 1906 at the Minnesota State Fair but not officially
recognized because of the use of a prompter with a windshield) was tied 32
years later in 1938 when Billy Direct became the official 1:55 world
record holder. Savage was so indignant about Dan Patch's 1:55 mark not
being recognized (the rules had recently been changed) that he renamed the
International Stock Food Farm to the International 1:55 Stock Food Farm.
The 1:55 mark was equaled again but it was not finally broken until 54
years after Dan Patch's run, when in 1960, Adios Butler paced the first
sub-1:55 mile in 1:54:3.
The City of Savage, once called Hamilton, was renamed for Dan Patch's
owner, Marion Willis Savage in 1904. I have been told that there are a few
local fools who think that "Savage" is too politically incorrect and
should be changed back to Hamilton. Sigh..... and sorry about the use of
the word "fools" (NOT!)
100 years later, the land in Savage where the famous "Taj Mahal"
stables and racetracks once stood is still all but vacant. The outline of
the racetracks can still reportedly be seen from the air. You can still
see some of the grade of the ½ mile track on the ground, too, if you look
for it. The land is ringed with "No Trespassing" signs. There is no
historical marker or anything at the site that would indicate that
anything of significance once stood there.
Dan Patch Barn Location: Rt 352 at the eastern edge of Oxford. Benton Co - IN