Hurley Burley

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Hurley Burley
Sire Riley
Grandsire Longfellow
Dam Helter Skelter
Damsire Pell Mell
Sex Filly
Foaled 1895
Country USA
Colour Chestnut
Breeder Ed Corrigan
Owner Ed Corrigan
Sam Hildreth
Trainer Sam Hildreth
Record Unknown
Earnings Unknown
Weber & Fields musical named after her.
They also named one after her dam, Helter Skelter.
Last updated on January 20, 2008

Hurley Burley (born 1895) was an American Thoroughbred race horse. Her breeder and owner was Ed Corrigan who raced out of the old Washington Park Race Track in Chicago, Illinois. In Corrigan’s time, he was the most powerful man in mid-Western racing. Known as the "stormy petrel" of the American Turf, Corrigan was the subject of many articles about him (the Kansas City Times, the Courier-Journal, The Louisville Times, to name only a few), all attesting to his murderous temper as well as his loyalty to those he liked. Corrigan campaigned the great filly Modesty, winner of the 1884 Kentucky Oaks as well as building the Hawthorne Race Course in Chicago.

Hurley Burley was by Riley who had won the 1890 Kentucky Derby for Corrigan and was a son of the great stallion Longfellow. (Riley was originally called “Shortfellow.”) Her dam was Helter Skelter, a good racing mare also running under the Corrigan colors.

Corrigan raced Hurley Burley as a selling plater, meaning she competed only in claiming races. As a claimer, she could be bought by a trainer right out of the race. In about 1898, Corrigan claimed a horse the eventual Hall of Fame trainer Sam Hildreth was running. Miffed at the loss of a horse he liked, Lucky Dog, Hildreth retaliated by claiming Corrigan’s Hurley Burley for $1,500. His claim wasn’t merely to get back at Corrigan though; he’d seen something in the chestnut plater.

Under Hildreth’s colors, Hurley Burley stepped up in class in the racing world. She won nine of her thirteen starts for him, set a Washington Park track record for six furlongs and also one for one mile and twenty yards.

Lew Fields and his theatrical partner Joe Weber liked the increasingly popular filly’s name, so asked Hildreth if they could use it for a new musical. They liked the name of her dam as well, so used that too, Helter Skelter.

When she retired from the track, Hildreth sold her for $10,000 to William Collins Whitney. As a broodmare, Hurley Burley was as good as she was a racehorse. Her best foal was the 1906 Belmont Stakes winner, Burgomaster out of the Whitney owned Hamburg. He was also the American Horse of the Year in 1906.

Her birthplace and date of death is, so far, unknown.