Sep 15 2015

Mystery Foto #37 Solved: Futurity Handicap Race at Sheepshead Bay Speedway Held on June 1, 1918

Bob Green, director of  Survive the Drive, challenged you to identify this Long Island race.

Mystery Foto questions:

  • Identify the race

One of the heats of the 10-mile Futurity Handicap held on June 1, 1918 prior to the Harkness Trophy Race.

  • Identify the race track. Where exactly was it located?

Sheepshead Bay Speedway, a two-mile wooden oval located in Brooklyn. The track, formerly the Coney Island Jockey Club, was located on 430 acres bounded by  Ocean Avenue, Jerome Avenue and Neck Road. The track with a 70,000 spectator grandstand was active for only five years from 1916 to 1919.

  • Identify the five drivers and their race cars

From left to right:

Louis Chevrolet in the #3 Frontenac

Ralph Mulford in the #9 Frontenac

Dario Resta in the #1 Resta Special

Eddie Hearne in the #8 Duesenberg

Tommy Milton in the #7 Duesenberg

Thesefive driver would all later participate in the 100-mile Harkness Trophy Race held later in the day. The Harkness Race was won by Tommy Milton.

  • Which of these drivers are linked to the Vanderbilt Cup Races

Only Tommy Milton did not race in the Vanderbilt Cup Races

Louis Chevrolet:1905, 1908, 1909, 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Races

Ralph Mulford:1910, 1911, 1912 Vanderbilt Cup Races- Won the 1911 Race

Dario Resta: Won the 1915 and 1916 Vanderbilt Cup Races

Eddie Hearne: 1909 and 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Races

Congrats to ehdub,Greg O., Steve Lucas, Frank Femenias (See below Femenias' Findings) Tim Ivers, Gary Hammond, Eric Cashadan, Art Kleiner John Benfield, Ariejan Bos and Chuck Rudy for correctly identifying the Sheepshead Bay Speedway. Kudos to Steve Lucas, Frank Femenias,  Tim Ivers, Art Kleiner, and Ariejan Bos for correctly identifying the Futurity Handicap and its drivers.


Howard Kroplick


Futurity Handicap Race

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 2, 1918

The race consisted of two heats and a 10 mile final. The final race was hanicapped with the six starters given two to four seconds over Louis Chevrolet.

First heat was won by Ralph Mulford.

Second heat was won by Dario Resta.

The final was won by Louis Chevrolet.

Sheepshead Bay Raceway

This area of Brooklyn was named after the sheepshead fish which has very human-looking teeth!!

The general location of the speedway in Brooklyn

Sheepshead Bay Speedway Films (1917)

The 1917 Match Race among Oldfield, Chevrolet and De Palma

Louis Chevrolet winning the 1917 Harkness Trophy Race

Femenias' Finding (Submitted by Frank Femenias)

1924 aerial showing the outline of the Sheepstead Bay Speedway.

1924 aerial with current overlay.


Sep 11 2015 ehdub 4:30 AM

A library of Congress photo purported to show the 1918 Harkness Handicap although some historians believe it’s more likely a support race at the same meeting.

Sheepshead Bay Motor Speedway NY

Resta-Resta Spl

Resta won the cup twice 1915 and 16

Sep 11 2015 Greg O. 11:49 AM

-Identify the race

Harkness Auto Handicap trophy race -won by Ralph DePalma in a Packard

Identify the race track. Where exactly was it located?

Sheepshead Bay Speedway in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn.
From Wikipedia; Old maps and railroad track diagrams for the Manhattan Beach Branch of the LIRR showing the spur that served both the club and the racetrack indicates the entrance to the club was located on the east side of Ocean Avenue between Avenues X and Y.

Identify the five drivers and their race cars

All cars/drivers and handicaps; The handicaps assigned and given at the 1 June 1918 Sheepshead Bay 100 were as follows, with only Louis Chevrolet starting at scratch (Source: AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRIES, 30 May 1918, page 1068); i.e. driver, car, and handicap;

(1.) Louis Chevrolet, Frontenac, Scratched; (2.) Ralph De Palma, Packard, 1:01; (3.) Dario Resta, Resta Special, 2:02; (4.) Ralph Mulford, Frontenac, 2:05; (5.) Barney Oldfield, Golden Submarine, 2:10; (6.) Eddie Hearne, Duesenberg, 2:12; (7.) Tommy Milton, Duesenberg, 2:15; (8.) Ira Vail, Hudson, 2:21; (9.) Omar Toft, Miller Special, 2:35; (10.) Nicholas Dwick, Delage, 2:50; (11.) J. J. Meyer, Delage, 3:00; (12.) Denny Hickey, Hotchkiss, 3:10; (13.) I. P. Fetterman, Peerless, 4:00; (14.) Percy Ford, (not listed), 5:00; (15.) Rudolph Wehr, Wehr Special, 6:00; and (16.) William Vetere, Duesenberg, 6:00.

Which of these drivers are linked to the Vanderbilt Cup Races?

Louis Chevrolet, Ralph De Palma, Dario Resta, Ralph Mulford

Sep 11 2015 Steve Lucas 5:08 PM

This race was called the “10 Mile Futurity Handicap” held at Sheepshead Bay racetrack in Brooklyn, NY. The track was located on 112 acres along Ocean Parkway across the bay from Manhattan Beach. The entire property consisted of 430 acres situated between Ocean Avenue, Neck Road, Vorhees Avenue, and Cedar Woods. The five drivers are: (top to bottom) Louis Chevrolet in the #3 Frontenac, Ralph Mulford in the #9 Frontenac, Dario Resta in the #1 Resta Special, Eddie Hearne in the #8 Duesenberg, and Tommy Milton in the #7 Duesenberg. All the drivers except for Milton participated in at least one Vanderbilt Cup Race; Chevrolet (1905, 1908, 1909, 1910); Mulford (entered 1910, won 1911); Resta (won 1915 & 1916); Hearne (entered 1910).

Sep 11 2015 frank femenias 10:19 PM

The date on top gave it away but still fun. June 1, 1918, 10 mile Futurity Handicap Stakes at Sheepshead Bay Speedway, Brooklyn (a two mile, 17 degree banked, wooden oval). Formally a horse racetrack owned since 1880 by the Coney Island Jockey Club, it was purchased in 1915 for $2.4M and converted to an auto speedway when horse gambling was banned state-wide in 1910. A 430 acre site bounded by Ocean Av, Gravesend Neck Rd, Voorhees Av, and Cedar Woods (Knapp St), a park for auto races, car shows, air shows, and athletic contests of various kinds. The park was short-lived and closed Sept 1919.

Later that day, a 100 mile Harkness Handicap race filled the grandstand with over 40k spectators to watch the daredevils including Barney Oldfield, who’d cut off the roof and tail of his heavy-weight Golden Submarine constructed of armor plate. 

From top to bottom:
Louis Chevrolet in #3 Frontenac, raced 1905, 08, 09, 10 VCR
Ralph Mulford in #9 Frontenac, raced 1910, 11, 12 VCR
Dario Resta in #1 Resta Special, raced 1915, 16 VCR
Eddie Hearne in #8 Duesenberg, raced 1909, 10 VCR
Tommy Milton in #7 Duesenberg

Sending a few pics Howard. 1918 long island auto race&f=false

Sep 12 2015 Tim Ivers 11:21 AM

June 1, 1918
The Harkness Handicap 10 mile Futurity at Sheepshead Bay Racetrack in Brooklyn.
Cars and drivers, from the bottom to top:
Tom Milton in a Duesenberg # 7
Ed Hearne in Duesenberg # 8
Dario Resta in Resta Special # 1
Ralph Mulford in Frontenac # 9

Louis Chevrolet in Frontenac # 3
Mulford won the Vanderbilt Cup in 1911 in Savannah, GA



Sep 13 2015 Gary Hammond 7:33 AM

This is taken at the Harkness Auto Handicap, held June 1, 1918, having been previously delayed by rain.  The location is the Sheepshead Bay Speedway, located on the east side of Ocean Ave., between Ave. X and Ave. Y, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, N.Y.
They were competing for the Harkness Gold trophy and $30,000 in cash prizes.  The Trophy was named for Harry Harkness. 
The track was a 2-mile wooden track.
The race was won by American Ralph DePalma in his Packard – he completed 100 miles in 50 laps with a winning speed of 102.8 mph in 58 minutes and 21 seconds.
The Sheepshead Bay Race Track was originally a thoroughbred horse racing track built on the site of the old Coney Island Jockey Club, which had been formed in 1879, with the track’s President being Willian Kissam Vanderbilt.  Horse racing would continue until banned by NYS in 1911.  The track was then sold to become the Sheepshead Bay Speedway.  The first auto race was in 1915.  Harkness died in 1919.
Although the Harkness was held this day, this photo probably shows the drivers taking part in one of the short supporting races, not the actually Trophy race.  The lineup is probably:
# 7 = Tom Milton in a Duesenberg (mechanic Jimmy Murphy)
# 8 = Eddie Hearne in a Duesenberg
# 1 = Dario Resta in the Resta Special
# 9 = Ralph Mulford in a Frontenac
# 3 = Louis Chevrolet in a Frontenac
Also scheduled to drive in the Harkness and not shown here was Barney Oldfield in his Submarine, and winner Ralph DePalma in his Packard.
As listed in the Autosport Blog:
“Harkness Trophy Race, Sheephead Bay 100 Miles,
(June 1, 1918 - postponed from Decoration Day, owing to mists)

1 Ralph DePalma (Packard)............58’ 21 (Handicap 1’01)...102.8 mph
2 Tommy Milton (Duesenberg)........58’ 31 (2’05)
3 Oldfield (Golden Submarine)........59’ 20.2 (2’10)
4 Eddie Hearne (Frontenac)........1:00’ 52 (2’ 12)
5 Denny Hickey (Hudson)............1:01’ 40.8 (3’10)
6 Omar Toft (Miller)......................1:03’ 23 (2’35)
7 Louis Chevrolet (Frontenac).....1:03’ 35 (Scratch)
8 I.P.Fetterman (Peerless)...........1:04’ 40 (4’00)

Chevrolet had to make 3 pitstops, British driver Dario Resta retired after 54 miles when a piston punched a hole in the crankcase and set his new Resta Spl on fire. Resta was in third and looking good for a win. Another favourite Ralph Mulford (Frontenac) retired after 68 miles with a broken oil feed connection. Other retirements were Myers and Jack LeCain in Delages, Ira Vail in a Hudson, Joe Boyer (Frontenac) and McBride (Comet). Fifteen cars started.”
Additional photos are in the Library of Congress – see
As to which drivers are related to the Vanderbilt Cup Races:
DePalma won the 1912 and 1914 Races
Hearne drove in the 1909 & 1910 Races
Resta won the 1915 & 1916 Races
Mulford won the 1911 Race
Chevrolet drove in the 1905, 1908, 1909, & 1910 Races
Oldfield drove in the 1914 & 1915 Races

Sep 13 2015 Eric Casahdan 5:37 PM

Sheepshead Bay - Astor Cup Race - still digging….

Sep 13 2015 ERIC CASHDAN 6:18 PM

oops, Harkness Trophy Race (1918 per the date on the photo), won by Ralph DePalma in a Packard

Sep 13 2015 Manfred Kothe 8:47 PM

Was this the Freeport race track ?

Sep 14 2015 Art Kleiner 9:10 AM

Identify the race:  The June 1, 1918 10 mile Futurity Handicap

Identify the race track.  Sheepshead Bay Motor Speedway

Where exactly was it located? It encompassed much of what is now the current area of Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. It was located northeast of Brighton Beach and southeast of Gravesend. It was between Gravesend Neck Road to the north, Voorhies Avenue 5 to the south and Ocean Avenue (which would otherwise be 20th Street) to the east. Since the track was built by Leonard Jerome, there is a “Jerome Avenue” running by the track.

Identify the five drivers and their race cars:
Car 7 - Tommy Milton, Duesenberg
Car 8 - Eddie Hearne - Duesenberg
Car 1- Dario Resta - Resta Special
Car 9 - Ralph Mulford - Frontenac
Car 3 - Louis Chevrolet - Frontenac

Which of these drivers are linked to the Vanderbilt Cup Races?
All but Tommy Milton were drivers in Vanderbilt Cup Races.



Sep 14 2015 Howard Kroplick 9:53 AM

From John Benfield

I never do well on your mystery Photos, but this one was easy (lucky) for me ... I took the date, Googled “June 1, 1918, car race”, and got pictures for sale, there were 2, the one you posted, and a companion picture titled “Harkness race Jun 1, 1918”, I Googled that, and the actual race stat sheet came up.. .... then I cross checked the drivers with the list of Vanderbilt drivers on your website…Googled Sheepshead Bay Race Track and got this site w/ a lot of info about the track , and got the exact location by comparing to Google maps.

It was fun, but I feel like I cheated compared to the experts who play this game and really know what they are talking about!... I enjoy your news letter every Sunday morning, Thanks!
Best Regards,
John Benfield

Mystery Foto questions:
• Identify the race: The Harkness Handicap ... 2 Mile Board Oval 50 Laps/100 Miles
• Identify the race track. Where exactly was it located?: Sheepshead Bay Speedway (on the corner of West Brighton Avenue and West 5th Street in Brooklyn)
• Identify the five drivers and their race cars: Louis Chevrolet- Frontenac, Eddie Hearne-Duesenberg, Denny Hickey- Hudson, Tommy Milton- Duesenberg, Ira Vail- Hudson
• Which of these drivers are linked to the Vanderbilt Cup Races? Louis Chevrolet, Dario Resta, Ralph Mulford….. Also Arthur Duray , but it appears he didn’t show up with his Duesenberg that day


Sep 14 2015 Ariejan Bos 6:07 PM

The photo shows the line-up of the 10 Mile final race at Sheepshead Bay on June 1st, 1918, which was won by Louis Chevrolet in 5 min 57.4 secs. He drove the Frontenac with number 3, which is car nearest to the grandstand. The other teams were from left ro right: Mulford on #9 Frontenac; Resta on #1 Resta Special; Hearne on #8 Frontenac; and Milton on #7 Duesenberg. All drivers except Milton had taken part at least once in a Vanderbilt Cup race.
The main event was the Harkness Trophy 100 Miles race, won by Louis Chevrolet in 1917, but won this year by Ralph De Palma on a Packard.
Sheepshead Bay track was located on the most eastern point of Long Island, south of Brooklyn, near Brighton Beach.

Sep 14 2015 Chuck Rudy 7:05 PM

I believe by the roof structure it’s Sheepshead Bay 2 mile board track in Sheepshead Bay NY….the race is the Harkness Sweepstakes…...Oldfield and Chevrolet were in the race….but so far as knowing who’s who….I’ll yield to others.

Sep 14 2015 Chuck Rudy 8:03 PM

Digging a bit and found…..
# 7 Milton/Duesenberg…...come up blank on Vanderbilt Cup
# 8 Eddie Hearne?/Duesenberg…..3 time VDB Cup racer
# 1 Dario Resta/Resta Special…...winner of 1915, 1916 VDB Cup
# 9 Ralph Mulford/Frontenac….winner 1911 VDB Cup
# 3 Louis Chevrolet/Frontenac….4 time VDB Cup racer

Sep 15 2015 Michael LaBarbera 10:11 AM

Coney Island had it all, and that freaky fish !!! Good Stuff !

Sep 15 2015 Ted 12:29 PM

Got a lot of responses on this one.I never knew there was a race track in Sheepshead Bay and I was brought up in Brooklyn and had family in Bay Ridge. Learning so much from from this site.If I only knew some of these things in an earlier stage of life,I would be able to answer these mysteries

Sep 16 2015 Howard Kroplick 10:22 AM

From Dr. Jack Binder:

If you would take the subway toward Manhattan from Sheepshead Bay – A little distance-You would see where the spur came in on the right to the race track.(No longer there)

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