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Sire Ben Strome
Dam Rose Leaf
Grandsire Bend Or
Damsire Duke of Montrose
Gender Gelding
Foaled 1901
Country United States
Color Bay
Breeder Thomas J. Carson at Dixiana Stud
Owner John A. Drake
Davy C. Johnson
Lucien O. Appleby
Trainer Enoch Wishard
Charles Oxx
Frank D. Weir
Record 111: 52-25-12
Earnings $75,110
Roseben is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Rose Leaf by Ben Strome. He was born around 1901 in the United States, and was bred by Thomas J. Carson at Dixiana Stud.
Major wins
Toboggan Handicap (1905)
Claremont Handicap (1905)
Manhattan Handicap (1905 & 1906)
Bronx Highweight Handicap (1905)
Bayview Handicap (1906)
Fall Handicap (1906)
Carter Handicap (1906)
Sterling Stakes (1906)
Flight Stakes (1906 & 1907)
U.S. Racing Hall of Fame (1956)
Roseben Handicap at Belmont Park
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)
Last updated on December 16, 2007

Roseben (1901-1918) was a Thoroughbred race horse who grew to such an enormous size (one inch less than 18 hands) he was known as "The Big Train." Because of his great size, he was slow to mature but when he finally got moving in his fourth, fifth and sixth years of racing, he began to be called the greatest sprinter of his time. There are those who consider him the greatest sprinter of all time, for not only did he break records, he broke them for decades, and under weights that would have crushed almost any other horse. He ran under weights as high as 130 pounds in 59 of his races, and as high as 140 pounds in 29 races. On more than one occasion, he won under 144 pounds, 146 pounds, and 147 pounds. Once he was required to carry 150 pounds and for this came in second. He conceded huge weights to his opponents in 86 of his starts, once asked to give away 60 pounds at Brighton Beach Race Course in 1907, and still winning by two lengths.


Racing Years

Purchased as a yearling by John Drake, it took Roseben until late in his three-year-old season to reach the winner's circle. At two, he raced once and lost. At three, he raced nine times and won three. After his first win, Drake auctioned him off and the big horse went to Davy Johnson for $3,800. It took only a few days for Roseben to win his next two races for Johnson.

At four, Roseben raced twenty nine times, winning 19, placing in 5, and showing in 2. In his career, Roseben went to the starting gate 111 times, and win almost half of the time. He was out of the money only 22 times and always conceding enormous weight.

In those days, handicapping races were all the rage. Roseben ran in "overnighters," races where the weights were set the day before. On the day he would run, his people could take the weight or scratch. They had one hour to decide.

His most famous achievement came in a 1906 allowance race at Belmont Park. He set an American record for seven furlongs, clocking in at 1:22. The previous record was 1:25. It was close to thirty years before another good sprinter, Clang, equalled the time at Arlington Park in 1935. A further twelve years passed before it was beaten by Honeymoon at Hollywood Park Racetrack. It took Bold Ruler to surpass the record at Belmont Park, fifty years after it was set.

(There appears to be some confusion concerning the race in which Roseben set his greatest record. In Robertson's book...see references...it was an allowance race at Belmont. On Roseben's Hall of Fame page, it states it was during his first running of the Manhattan.)

Roseben was a popular sensation for three seasons, running his races of seven or less furlongs, putting together winning streaks of six and seven races at a time. But in the end, at age eight, he wound up in three lowly claiming races. In the last, where he could have been claimed for $1,000, he bowed a tendon. He was second and gaining when he, as the record book says, "stopped badly."


Retired, he was given to James Wadsworth, a New York State politician, who then gave the huge gelding to his daughter as a pleasure horse.

In 1918, Roseben died at the age of 17.


  • "The History of Thoroughbred Racing in America" by William H.P. Roberton, Bonanza Books, New York, 1964
  • "Thoroughbred Champions, Championship the Horse and the Sport," by Kathleen Jones, 2002
  • "Champions, The Lives, Times, and Past Performances of America's Greatest Thoroughbreds, Champions from 1893-2004," Revised Edition (2005), by the Editors and Writers from the Daily Racing Form DRF Press ISBN 1932910026

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