A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 16, 2004
Garrison Finish
A "Garrison finish" is a come-from-behind win at the last second. It was named, naturally enough, after a jockey named Edward H. "Snapper" Garrison (1868-1930). According to Garrison's obituary in the New York (NY) Times on October 29, 1930, the "Garrison finish" occurred in the Great Eastern Handicap in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, in 1886. However, Garrison rode the horse Dutch Roller to victory in the Great Eastern Handicap in 1883, not 1886.


Wikipedia: Edward R. Garrison
Edward H. "Snapper" Garrison (February 9, 1868 in New Haven, Connecticut – October 28, 1930 in Brooklyn, New York), was a jockey known for hanging back during most of the race and finishing at top speed to achieve a thrilling victory.

Garrison was a jockey who rode out of an East Coast base for sixteen years from 1882 through 1897. While there are no official records documenting all of his career races, he once estimated that he had ridden more than 700 winners during his career. Among his most spectacular wins was the 1892 Suburban Handicap on Montana and in 1893 at New Jersey's Guttenberg track on Tammany, both impressive finishes. Garrison was so well known for this that a contest where the winner pulls ahead at the last moment to score the victory is known as a Garrison finish.

21 September 1883, New York (NY) Times, pg. 2, col. 5:
SURPRISING THE TURFMEN
DUTCH ROLLER'S VICTORY AT SHEEPSHEAD BAY.

Chronicling America
5 July 1887, The Sun (New York, NY), "The Upset of the Year," pg. 3, col. 1:
Mr. Belmont's English jockey, Luke, signalized the day by riding Magnetizer in Yankee Doodle style, making a Garrison finish, and winning the race handily from Church, who came in second on Mrs. Lorillard's filly Flitaway.

14 October 1889, Boston (MA) Daily Globe, pg. 5, col. 2:
ANOTHER GARRISON FINISH.
Columbus Trying Hard to Help St. Louis Win Again.

Chronicling America
20 October 1889, Pittsburg (PA) Dispatch, "Foley's Racy Chat," pg. 6, col. 3:
Of course you have heard of that beautiful "Garrison finish" of Mike Kelly's.

22 May 1890, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, pg. 6:
The Philadelphia National League club again defeated Chicago this afternoon, but only by a "Garrison finish."

13 September 1890, Lima (OH) Daily News, pg. 3, col. 4:
That Kelly's men will have to make a real Garrison finish in order to win the Players' League pennant.

6 June 1891, Washington (DC) Post, pg. 6
BATTED OUT A VICTORY
The Senators Solve Knell's Curves in the Last Innings.
MADE A GARRISONIAN FINISH.

8 June 1893, New York (NY) Times, pg. 3:
LOST IN THE LAST INNING
THE GIANTS FAILED TO WIN
FROM THE PITTSBURGS.
(....) At the end of the eighth inning yesterday the score between the New-York and Pittsburg nines was even and every enthusiast looked for the Giants to make one of their Garrison finishes. But they didn't. On the contrary, the big Giants pulled up, so to speak, and allowed the youths from Allegheny to get the rail and win hands down.

29 October 1930, New York (NY) Times, pg. 18 obituary:
Edward H. (Snapper) Garrison, one of the most famous jockeys in turf history, whose name lives in the expression "Garrison finish," died at 8 o'clock yesterday morning at the Swedish Hospital in Brooklyn. (...)

The term "Garrison finish" was earned in 1886, when he was riding for James R. Keene in the Eastern Handicap at Sheepshead Bay. Mounted on Dutch Roller, an outsider not considered by the experts, Garrison pushed his mount through from the ruck in a ding-dong finish which swept the crowd off its feet. The label, applied at that time, has remained a by-word at the tracks for that type of close finish.

It was typical of his style of racing. Garrison did not like to be in front. He preferred to hang back and come through in the stretch with a breath-taking finish.

29 October 1930, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, "Garrison, King of Jockeys in the '90s, Dies; Heart Attack Fatal to Snapper at 62," pg. 19, col. 6:
Disliked Front Runners.
"Garrison finishes" became a byword when, in 1886, the little jockey brought an outsider, Dutch Roller, owned by James R. Keene, onto the track at Sheepshead Bay to win the Great Eastern Handicap. The label stuck to Garrison for the rest of his racing days. He never liked front runners, and invariably held his mounts until reaching the stretch.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Monday, August 16, 2004 • Permalink