This watercolor would appear to be a finished work rather than a study. It derives compositionally from one of the sketches Miller made during or shortly after the conclusion of his western trip in 1837, Indian Race (CR# 181). In that ink-wash sketch Stewart is positioned on the left of the action. While his horse lifts his right leg, Stewart pulls back on the reins as if his mount is anxious to enter the competition.
Miller was not a fan of horse racing. He refused to attend such events at home and felt strongly that is was tantamount to cruelty to animals. Yet, when caught up in the excitement of Indian racing, he softened his view and gave himself over to the thrill of the sport.
Peter H. Hassrick
LL: AJM; UR: Racing / near Wind River / Oregon
Artist: [?]; [Edward Eberstadt and sons, New York, NY, 1957]; Thomas Gilcrease, Tulsa, OK; present owner by gift