Who Is This Man: Introducing Andrew Darlington

WITM_contestwinner2Andrew Darlington was born in 1896 in Providence, Rhode Island. The bastard son of an Irish immigrant, his mother died in childbirth. He was raised in St. Mary¹s orphanage in the Smith Hill area of Providence. An underdog, he was not lacking for intellect or empathy. He was popular amongst the weaker children, often using his cunning to defend them against bullies.

With a facial deformity to the left side of his face due to a forceps accident at birth, he was never adopted and spent his adolescence apprenticing at the local stables. He befriended an elderly horse doctor who assisted in his education and later informed him that mobsters that raced the stables’ horses murdered his father over gambling debts.

Darlington enlisted in the Army in World War I and used his assimilated knowledge of medicine to serve as a medic and tend to the officers’ horses. Returning from the war a hero, he resumed his work at the stables, and with the help of his mentor, rose to become the most skilled horse doctor in New England. When the citizens of Rhode Island voted to legalize gambling and build Narragansett Park track in 1934, Darlington was the natural choice to examine the horses in advance of the first races. Local mobsters had a large stake in the action.

One horse, Chinese Empress, smaller and slower than the others, garnered little attention and held odds of 40-1. The little horse won, the others imperceptibly drugged just enough to finish behind. Afterward, an anonymous bettor used his winnings to donate thousands to St. Mary’s.

And so, Andrew Darlington, once forgotten son of Providence, a champion for the downtrodden, war hero, accomplished veterinarian, reluctant gambler, and amateur vigilante, saved the St. Mary’s orphanage and built his fortune at the mafia’s expense.

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