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An Intriguing Bit of History



 

This is a photo of  DJ’S Money Market owned by Barbara and Richard Henson of Henson Broom Shop & General Store in Symsonia, Ky. DJ’S Money Market (a Tennessee Walking/Racking show horse) is wearing a halter with a very unique history. The halter was purchased for $6.00 at a horse auction in Mayfield, Ky., in February 2012. The leather halter is in great condition, very supple with no cracking and still with it’s Havana brown color. The stamp on the leather that says Champion Turf Equipment, Los Angeles, Calif., is still quite visible.
 
Richard Henson found the halter at an auction in a pile of junk tack but had to wait a while to bid on it.

The halter had a brass nameplate with a name, Mary’s Double. Mary’s Double, by Double Jay, (notice the initials DJ) was a undistinguished thoroughbred racehorse mare, foaled in 1953. Double Jay, however, was a very important sire of broodmares. Mary’s Double died in 1971 after giving birth. The grandmother of Mary’s Double was a mare called Broomshot, sired by Whisk Broom, who was sired by Broomstick. Both Whisk Broom and Broomstick are in the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame. 

Henson continued to research the story behind the name and got all the way back to a famous racing family from upstate New York and their famous stables called Aknusti in the Catskills of New York. The Robert L. Gerry Sr. family was very famous in their horse racing days, friends with the Vanderbilt’s and Roosevelt’s and winners of many big races...their story connects with Man O’ War as Mr. Gerry Sr. was runner-up bidder for Man O’ War in 1918. One of Man O’ War toughest rivals was a horse named Golden Broom.

Mr. Gerry Sr.’s,  son Robert L. Gerry II, was big in the Standardbred racehorse business and is in the Standardbred Racing Hall of Fame. Robert L. Gerry Sr.’s  great-grandfather Elbridge T. Gerry was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and served as  Vice-President of the United States in 1813. The Gerry family was very big in politics as well as racing. They owned the famous estate called Aknusti in upstate New York.

Henson has talked with Robert L. Gerry III who is currently the CEO of Vaalco Energy in Houston, Texas. Mr. Gerry was very taken by the story and has asked to purchase the halter for his sister who lives in Middleburg, Va. and keeps up with family heirlooms. Henson would like to make a gift of the halter.

This story has received much media attention and, as the Kentucky Derby gets closer, it may get even more. Henson will be using this story in an upcoming speech at a convention. The halter is on display next to rare photos of Midnight Sun and other Tennessee Walking Horse items and a unique photo of Man O’ War at the Kentucky Horse Park at Henson Brooms in Symsonia, Ky.

 

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