I know the meaning of the idiomatic phrase "the winning horse take the cakes", but is "take the cakes" instead of "takes the cakes" old English? I am talking about "s" in takes.
Source from an ELU question :
They got up a horse and fifty dollars in money a side,… each one to start and ride his own horse,… the winning horse take the cakes. — W. T. Porter, Quarter Race Kentucky, 1847.
A fuller excerpt from the book, A Quarter Race in Kentucky: And Other Sketches, Illustrative of Scenes, Characters, and Incidents, Throughout "The Universal Yankee Nation", 1846, edited by William T. Porter:
. . . But the boys said that was all gas, to scare them off; but 'twouldn't work! The old cuss had got to be skinned or back out.
The result was, they got up a horse and fifty dollars in money a side, to run on Saturday at two o'clock, each one to start and ride his own horse, judge tops and bottoms--the winning horse take the cakes--and no back out! Either party refusing to run forfeits the whole stakes.