Man finds horse halter with ties to Kentucky Derby

SYMSONIA, KY (KFVS) - Some 215 miles west of Churchill Downs is Henson Broom Shop in Symsonia, Kentucky.  This quaint store offers a step back in time. Richard Henson is a third generation owner of the shop and has an affinity for horse racing history.

Henson recently purchased a halter for his horse DJ's Money Market. He decided to do some research on the halter which has a brass nameplate engraved with the name "Mary's Double."

"It just didn't seem to fit with all that other leather," Henson said, "it was really in great condition."

Henson also found out that Mary's Double died in 1971, which makes the halter 41 years ago.  He traced it's origin to Champion Turf Equipment in Los Angeles.

Henson recounted the interesting lineage of Mary's Double.

"I looked at her pedigree and what got me at first was that her sire was a well-renowned sire of broodmares by the name of Double J.  The mother of Double J was a mare by the name of Broomshot.  Broomshot's sire was a well-known racehorse by the name of Wiskbroom, and both Broomstick and Wiskbroom are in the thoroughbred hall of fame."

In addition to finding the history of the halter, Henson contacted the original owners of Mary's Double.  Robert L Gerry Sr. remembered the horse and offered to buy back the halter.

Henson declined to sell saying, "If it means something to your family I will give it back to you."

Henson purchased it for $6 and it's now worth $75.

Beyond the price, the halter's unique history holds a special meaning for Henson.

"I just like the fact that I was able to research it and find it," Henson said. "You know being a historian, I just thought it was really unique to trace this down."

Henson plans to keep the collectible in the Broom Shop and share the story with customers.  "It hangs here in the store so our visitors can see it and we can share the story of Mary's Double."

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