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And the West is History: Harness racehorse at Fairgrounds – ca. 1906

At the turn of the century, horse racing was the most popular pastime in La Plata County. Races were held from early spring to late fall. Certain horses had celebrity status based on their accomplishments on the track. One of these was “Polar Wilks,” a trotting horse that was featured at the annual Colorado-New Mexico Fair between 1901 and 1907. Owned by the Wood & Morgan Transfer Co., the horse was used in advertising by the event’s promoters to stimulate attendance. The harness horse’s advertised time of 2:11:75 for the mile was considered quite fast for the time. Charles Wood and John Morgan started their transfer and livery business in Durango in 1894 and soon expanded into land, livestock, road construction and storage. Eventually, they also became the Budweiser distributor. Wood died in 1938 and Morgan in 1946. Their partner, Leslie Burnett, eventually formed Burnett Construction from the highway and bridge building portion of the business. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org (Catalog Number: 07.34.19 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections. Color added for clarity.)