On This Date In Twin Cities History - July 11, 1916
On this date in 1916, noted American Standardbred pacer, Dan Patch dies. In the early 1900s, harness racing was at its height of popularity and the sport’s shining star was Dan Patch. He went undefeated in open competition and dominated the sport to the extent that other owners eventually refused to race against him. Dan Patch broke world speed records at least 14 times in the early 1900s. In 1905, he set a world record for the fastest mile by a harness horse at 1 minute 55-1/4 seconds. This record lasted for over 30 years. Unofficially, Dan Patch broke that record in September 1906 with a time of 1:55 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Dan Patch was owned by Marion W. Savage from 1902 until his death in 1916. Savage himself died a day later. It is rumored that Dan Patch was buried on the site of the “Taj Mahal” stable where he lived in the city of Savage. To this day, the city still celebrates Dan Patch Days every June.
Dan Patch circa 1905 (Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society)