H. Price McGrath

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McGrath's Aristides in 1877

H. Price McGrath (1813-July 1881) was a "sporting-man" who opened the first gambling house in the American South, and bred the race horse, Aristides, the winner of the first Kentucky Derby in 1875.

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McGrath was born in Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky. His father was a tailor and taught his son the trade, but McGrath sought something more to his taste and became a card sharp.

He travelled about the American South and West. In 1852, he opened the first gambling house in the South, at New Orleans, Louisiana.[1] He and his partners conducted pools, finally having to charge $10 a head to enter the house. With the wealth he accumulated, McGrath bought 500 acres near Lexington, Kentucky.

This land became one of the great stock farms in the United States and was called "McGrathiana". McGrath bred the race horse, Aristides, the winner of the first Kentucky Derby in 1875.[2] McGrath lived like a lord, conducted his business honestly and openly, always backed his own horses, and died with an estate worth $200,000.

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