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Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web: spokesman.com/topics/local-history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Local horse racing fans were furious over the case of Napa Nick and a nefarious race fixing scheme.

It all began a few days earlier when the heavy favorite Enfield lost to a horse named Mona Canomann, “a rank outsider.”

The spectators created an ugly scene at the Alan Race Track in Coeur d’Alene after they apparently noticed that jockey Clifford Gilbert had “pulled” (deliberately slowed) Enfield. The sheriff “was compelled to use force to prevent injury to the judges and jockey.”

A subsequent investigation showed that the race had indeed been fixed, but not in favor of Mona Canomann. Jockey Gilbert signed a confession stating that Eugene Crump, one of the owners of Napa Nick, had approached him before the race and offered him $1,500 for “pulling” Enfield.

The idea, of course, was to allow Napa Nick to win. But Napa Nick wrecked the plan by starting out badly and never recovering. Gilbert tried to rein in Enfield, but succeeded only in allowing Mona Canomann to streak past for the win.

Race officials suspended Crump and his entire stable for the remainder of the race meeting. They did not fine Crump on the grounds that he had already lost $9,000 in failed wagers.

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