February 25, 2024

Lenape Tech Times

The Monthly News Source from Lenape Technical School

Murder Mystery Series: The Dead Man That Won a Horse Race

7 min read

True crime

By Sarah Hunter

We all want to achieve something in life, especially if it is a sport or activities that we love to do. But what if you achieve something while you are dead? That is exactly what happened to Frank Hayes when he won his first and last horse race.

Frank Hayes was a horse trainer, stable man, and a stand in jockey. Hayes had been employed for four years by James K.L Frayling to train steeplechase horses. The horse he competed with was named Sweet Kiss. Sweet Kiss was owned by Miss A.M. Frayling and was considered a 20 to 1 shot against the fan favorite horse. Hayes has only been riding horses in steeplechase and had never won a race before, and apparently no one expected him to. After all this was only his second cross country race.

On June 4th 1923 at New York’s Belmont Park, Hayes and Sweet Kiss geared up for the race that would make history in an unusual way. It was a two-mile contest that included fences and hurdling obstacles. The race took off and sometime after taking the lead, Hayes suddenly slumped over his horse. But no one had seemed to notice that something had gone wrong. It was not until Sweet Kiss crossed the finish line in first place, when Miss A.M. Frayling came rushing over to congratulate Hayes and her horse on their victory, that’s when Hayes’s body fell off the horse making it clear that something was wrong.

It turns out that Hayes suffered a heart attack during the race and died in the saddle, but remained on the horse. This horse was going full speed and clearing fences while Frank’s lifeless body somehow stayed clinging to the horse. Tractor doctor, John Vorhees was said to have examined Hayes and declared him dead on the spot. Vorhees determined that Hayes suffered a fatal heart attack at some point during the competition.

A news outlet stated that “Sweet Kiss cantered 100 yards further and stopped. The jockey crumpled in the saddle, slipped slowly over his mounts sides, fell face downward and lay still.” Hayes and Sweet Kiss were rightfully awarded the winning title because Hayes was still mounted on the horse when they crossed the finish line. That technically qualified him as the winner, despite the very unexpected and rare circumstances.

There are a few theories as to what may have caused the heart attack. The first one is the intense training and severe weight loss that Frank underwent to meet the weight requirements, to compete with Sweet Kiss, which was limited to 130 pounds. Haydes had to loss between 10 to 15 pounds in three days when he decided to race. It is likely he lost a dramatic amount of weight by sweating off water weight, which would have led to an imbalance in electrolytes, straining the heart. The Buffalo Morning Express wrote that he had to drop 10 pounds within 24 hours stating, “This morning he spend several hours on the road, jogging off surplus weight. He strove and sweated and denied himself water and when he climbed into the saddle at post time, he was weak and tired. “So even say that perhaps the heart attack was brought on by Frank’s Sheer excitement to be among the pack racing that day.

Three days after his bizarre victory, Frank Hayes was buried in the riding silks he wore on the day of the race and is believed that Sweet Kiss never raced again after that competition. Sweet Kiss was then given the nickname Sweet Kiss of Death. An obituary for Hayes reported, “Hayes’s ambition in life was to win a race. He tired once in Canada and failed, and on his second attempt he won, but the strain on his heart was too much, and he died after crossing the finish line on a horse trained by him and owned by a lifelong friend.” J.F Frayling, Franks employer and lifelong friend, and Miss A.M Frayling, the owner of Sweet Kiss, The horse he rode to his death, attended the funeral.

Emma Nunumaker and Maddy Shoop were asked two questions about this article. The first question is, “Have you ever heard about an incident like this, if so what was it?” Emma replied with, “No.” Maddy replied with, “I have not heard of an incident like that.” The next question is, “Do you think he should have won the race?” Emma replied with, “Yes because it can go towards the horse and the horses owner.” Maddy replied with, “ I do think he should have won the race because he wasn’t living when he finished but, he was when they started. The horse brought him to victory even though he died during the race.”

Throughout sports history there have been other instances where athletes suddenly lose their lives during competition, either due to fatal injuries or untimely natural causes. In the case of Frank Hayes, according to some publications, he remains the only person in recorded history to have rightfully won a race while dead.

We all want to achieve something in life, especially if it is a sport or activities that we love to do. But what if you achieve something while you are dead? That is exactly what happened to Frank Hayes when he won his first and last horse race.

Frank Hayes was a horse trainer, stable man, and a stand in jockey. Hayes had been employed for four years by James K.L Frayling to train steeplechase horses. The horse he competed with was named Sweet Kiss. Sweet Kiss was owned by Miss A.M. Frayling and was considered a 20 to 1 shot against the fan favorite horse. Hayes has only been riding horses in steeplechase and had never won a race before, and apparently no one expected him to. After all this was only his second cross country race.

On June 4th 1923 at New York’s Belmont Park, Hayes and Sweet Kiss geared up for the race that would make history in an unusual way. It was a two-mile contest that included fences and hurdling obstacles. The race took off and sometime after taking the lead, Hayes suddenly slumped over his horse. But no one had seemed to notice that something had gone wrong. It was not until Sweet Kiss crossed the finish line in first place, when Miss A.M. Frayling came rushing over to congratulate Hayes and her horse on their victory, that’s when Hayes’s body fell off the horse making it clear that something was wrong.

It turns out that Hayes suffered a heart attack during the race and died in the saddle, but remained on the horse. This horse was going full speed and clearing fences while Frank’s lifeless body somehow stayed clinging to the horse. Tractor doctor, John Vorhees was said to have examined Hayes and declared him dead on the spot. Vorhees determined that Hayes suffered a fatal heart attack at some point during the competition.

A news outlet stated that “Sweet Kiss cantered 100 yards further and stopped. The jockey crumpled in the saddle, slipped slowly over his mounts sides, fell face downward and lay still.” Hayes and Sweet Kiss were rightfully awarded the winning title because Hayes was still mounted on the horse when they crossed the finish line. That technically qualified him as the winner, despite the very unexpected and rare circumstances.

There are a few theories as to what may have caused the heart attack. The first one is the intense training and severe weight loss that Frank underwent to meet the weight requirements, to compete with Sweet Kiss, which was limited to 130 pounds. Haydes had to loss between 10 to 15 pounds in three days when he decided to race. It is likely he lost a dramatic amount of weight by sweating off water weight, which would have led to an imbalance in electrolytes, straining the heart. The Buffalo Morning Express wrote that he had to drop 10 pounds within 24 hours stating, “This morning he spend several hours on the road, jogging off surplus weight. He strove and sweated and denied himself water and when he climbed into the saddle at post time, he was weak and tired. “So even say that perhaps the heart attack was brought on by Frank’s Sheer excitement to be among the pack racing that day.

Three days after his bizarre victory, Frank Hayes was buried in the riding silks he wore on the day of the race and is believed that Sweet Kiss never raced again after that competition. Sweet Kiss was then given the nickname Sweet Kiss of Death. An obituary for Hayes reported, “Hayes’s ambition in life was to win a race. He tired once in Canada and failed, and on his second attempt he won, but the strain on his heart was too much, and he died after crossing the finish line on a horse trained by him and owned by a lifelong friend.” J.F Frayling, Franks employer and lifelong friend, and Miss A.M Frayling, the owner of Sweet Kiss, The horse he rode to his death, attended the funeral.

Emma Nunumaker and Maddy Shoop were asked two questions about this article. The first question is, “Have you ever heard about an incident like this, if so what was it?” Emma replied with, “No.” Maddy replied with, “I have not heard of an incident like that.” The next question is, “Do you think he should have won the race?” Emma replied with, “Yes because it can go towards the horse and the horses owner.” Maddy replied with, “ I do think he should have won the race because he wasn’t living when he finished but, he was when they started. The horse brought him to victory even though he died during the race.”

Throughout sports history there have been other instances where athletes suddenly lose their lives during competition, either due to fatal injuries or untimely natural causes. In the case of Frank Hayes, according to some publications, he remains the only person in recorded history to have rightfully won a race while dead.

https://medium.com/sportsraid/the-first-and-only-horse-race-won-by-a-dead-man-78b1a68a2fa

Flogging a Dead Jockey | The Bizarre Death of Frank Hayes - HeadStuff

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