Horse Racing in History

Events in Sport

  • 1668-03-25 1st horse race in America takes place
  • 1809-04-18 First run of 2,000 guineas horse race at Newmarket, England
  • 1815-07-15 1st flat horse race held at English race track Cheltenham on Nottingham Hill
  • 1831-12-10 "Spirit of the Times" begins publishing in New York City, the premier sports journal of the 19th century
  • 1838-01-01 1st official horse race in South Australia-Adelaide
  • 1864-08-02 Saratoga Racecourse, America's oldest Thoroughbred racetrack, opens its inaugural meet with four days of racing
  • 1866-09-25 (Leonard W) Jerome Park opens in Bronx for horse racing
  • 1894-03-13 J L Johnstone of England invents horse racing starting gate
  • 1901-03-15 Horse racing is banned in San Francisco, last race March 16th
  • 1920-09-04 Man o' War wins the 1 5/8-mile Lawrence Realization Stakes at Belmont Park by 100 lengths, the largest winning margin in modern thoroughbred racing history; world record time 2.40.8
  • 1938-03-25 97th Grand National: 17 year old jockey Bruce Hobbs wins aboard 40/1 Battleship; first US bred and owned winner; only horse to win GN and American Grand National (1934)
  • 1938-11-01 Seabiscuit, with George Woolf aboard, beats 1937 Triple Crown winner War Admiral by 3 lengths in Pimlico track record time to win $15,000 in what is regarded as one of the greatest match races in horse racing history
  • 1942-03-19 Thoroughbred Racing Association of US formed in Chicago
  • 1942-07-18 1st legal New Jersey horse race in 50 years; Garden State Park track opens
  • 1942-10-03 Triple Crown winner Whirlaway, ridden by George Woolf wins the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park to become the first thoroughbred to amass more than $500,000 in lifetime earnings
  • 1950-04-26 Last horse race at Havre de Grace Track in Md, is run

  • 1951-02-03 Largest purse to date in horse racing, $144,323, won by Great Circle
  • 1951-07-14 1st color telecast of a sporting event (CBS-horse race)
  • 1951-07-14 In his last race, 1948 Triple Crown champion Citation wins the Hollywood Gold Cup by 4 lengths, to become American racing's first millionaire horse.
  • 1956-09-03 American Johnny Longden becomes thoroughbred racing's winningest rider, breaking the record of 4,870 wins by British jockey Sir Gordon Richards; rides Arrogate to victory in the Del Mar Handicap
  • 1960-06-15 Angel Cordero wins his 1st of over 7000 horse races
  • 1962-07-07 Bill Hartack becomes 8th jockey to win 3,000 American thoroughbred races
  • 1965-10-03 Dual Melbourne Cup winning Australian jockey Pat Glennon rides French colt Sea Bird to victory in the Prix de l'Arc De Triomphe to claim an impressive double after the thoroughbred's English Derby win
  • 1969-03-01 Tuesdee Testa becomes the first female jockey to win a race at a major American Thoroughbred track when she takes out the 3rd race at Santa Anita Park aboard Buz On
  • 1975-06-21 Ruffian leads all the way to win the Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont and clinch American thoroughbred racing's Triple Tiara for fillies
  • 1979-06-30 Davona Dale wins the Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont to clinch American thoroughbred racing's Triple Tiara for fillies
  • 1980-06-24 Affirmed wins $500,000 Hollywood Cup, 1st horse to win $2 million
  • 1981-08-30 Willie Shoemaker becomes the first jockey to win a $1 million thoroughbred horse race when John Henry takes the inaugural Arlington Million by a nose over The Bart
  • 1981-10-02 17 year old gelding Behavin Jerry, the oldest winning racehorse in modern times, sets record for most career starts by a thoroughbred, 307
  • 1983-06-29 Angel Cordero wins his 5,000th horse races
  • 1984-08-16 Largest harness racing purse ($2,161,000-Nihilator wins $1,080,500)
  • 1984-10-13 John Henry becomes 1st thoroughbred to win $6 million
  • 1985-07-06 Mom's Command wins the Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont to clinch American thoroughbred racing's Triple Tiara for fillies
  • 1987-08-21 "Mack Lobell" set harness racing's trotting mil (1:52)
  • 1988-04-02 Simply Majestic sets horse racing's 1-1/8 mile record at 1:45
  • 1988-08-05 Thoroughbred trainer Dale Baird wins his 5,000th career race with Stuffed Johnnie at Mountaineer Park; second to reach milestone behind Jack Van Berg
  • 1989-07-03 Open Mind wins American thoroughbred racing's Triple Tiara for fillies when Nite of Fun is disqualified in the Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont
  • 1989-08-05 First ever dead heat in harness racing's Hambletonian; Park Avenue Joe and Probe tie the 3rd and final heat; Park Avenue Joe wins series on count back
  • 1990-02-03 Jockey Billy Shoemaker (58), retires after 40,350 horse race
  • 1991-10-07 Scorecard Harry, Space Appeal & Cafe Lex in 9th race at Belmont, creating 2nd triple dead heat in NY thoroughbred racing history
  • 1991-10-17 Angel Cordero is 3rd jockey to win 7,000 horse races
  • 1992-05-07 Jockey Angel Cordero retires after winning over 7,000 horse races
  • 1993-07-11 Mike Smith aboard Sky Beauty wins the Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont to clinch thoroughbred racing's Triple Tiara for fillies
  • 1997-11-03 American racing legend Willie Shoemaker retires from thoroughbred training with a 90 winners from 713 start record; rode record 8,833 winners as a jockey, before becoming a trainer in 1990
  • 2000-08-05 Moni Maker wins the $500,00 Nat Ray at the Meadowlands in world record 1:52.1 to become harness racing's first $5m stakes earner
  • 2006-12-01 Canadian jockey Russell Baze becomes North American horse racing's all-time win leader when Butterfly Belle wins 4th race at Bay Meadows, San Mateo, California; 9,531 victories passes record of Laffit Pincay Jr
  • 2012-07-05 Harness racing trainer/driver Dave Palone sets a new North American record for wins when he drives Herculotte Hanover to the winner's circle for his 15,181st career victory
  • 2014-11-14 American harness racing trainer/driver Dave Palone sets the world record for wins when he drive Missy Tap Tina to the winner's circle for his 16,754th career victory
  • 2018-08-18 Australian mare Winx wins her Australasian record 26th consecutive race, the re-named Winx Stakes at Royal Randwick in Sydney; 19th Group One win for thoroughbreds
  • 2019-03-02 Australian wonder horse Winx sets world record for Group 1 wins in the Chipping Norton Stakes in Sydney; stretches unbeaten run to 31 races, and her 23rd in the highest class of thoroughbred racing

Birthdays in Sport

  • 1831-02-12 John Morrissey, boxer/developer of Saratoga Springs horse race track
  • 1861-07-01 Samuel D. Riddle, American thoroughbred owner (Man 'o War, War Admiral), born in Glen Riddle, Pennsylvania (d. 1951)
  • 1872-04-29 Harry Payne Whitney, American businessman and thoroughbred horse breeder, born in NYC, New York (d. 1930)
  • 1874-03-17 Kincsem, horse that never lost a race
  • 1912-09-22 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Jr., English thoroughbred horse owner (Bed O' Roses, Native Dancer), born in London (d. 1999)
  • 1917-03-29 Man o' War, American thoroughbred racehorse (winner of 20 out of 21 races & $249,465) (d. 1947)
  • 1918-03-03 Peter O'Sullevan, British horse racing commentator 'the voice of racing', born in Kenmare, Ireland (d. 2015)
  • 1925-08-29 Loyd Gentry, American thoroughbred trainer (Kentucky Derby 1967 Proud Clarion), born Covington, Kentucky (d. 2012)
  • 1933-07-01 Peter Walwyn, British thoroughbred trainer (champion trainer 1974-75), born in Lambourn, England (d.2017)
  • 1938-04-02 Whirlaway, American thoroughbred racehorse, 1941 Triple Crown Winner (d. 1953)
  • 1940-03-26 Braulio Baeza, jockey (National Horse Racing Hall of Famer)
  • 1942-07-09 Robert J. Frankel, American thoroughbred race horse trainer, born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2009)
  • 1943-01-11 Henry Cecil, Aberdeen, Scotland, English horse racing trainer
  • 1945-06-27 John M. Veitch, American Hall of Fame Thoroughbred horse trainer, born in Lexington, Kentucky
  • 1962-02-26 Dave Palone, American harness racing trainer & driver (US Pacing Triple Crown 1996, 2005), born in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania
  • 2003-04-29 Barbaro, American thoroughbred racehorse (d. 2007)

Weddings in Sport

  • 1986-05-03 Actress-singer Annette Funicello (43) weds harness racing horse breeder and trainer Glen Holt

Deaths in Sport

  • 1930-10-26 Harry Payne Whitney, American businessman and thoroughbred horse breeder, dies at 58
  • 1947-11-01 Man o' War, American thoroughbred racehorse (b. 1917)
  • 1951-01-08 Samuel D. Riddle, American thoroughbred owner (Man 'o War, War Admiral), dies at 89
  • 1970-02-23 Hirsch Jacobs, American thoroughbred horse trainer and owner (b. 1904)
  • 1975-07-07 Ruffian, American thoroughbred racehorse (b. 1972)
  • 1978-01-25 Tango Duke, dies in Australia at 42; oldest known thoroughbred horse
  • 1999-11-12 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Jr., English thoroughbred horse owner (Bed O' Roses, Native Dancer), dies at 87
  • 2007-01-29 Barbaro, American thoroughbred racehorse (b. 2003)
  • 2008-09-06 Sören Nordin, Swedish harness racing driver and trainer (b. 1917)
  • 2009-11-16 Robert J. Frankel, American thoroughbred race horse trainer, dies at 68
  • 2011-05-10 Michael Baze, American horse racing jockey (b. 1987)
  • 2012-07-01 Loyd Gentry, American thoroughbred trainer (Kentucky Derby 1967 Proud Clarion), dies of heart failure at 86
  • 2015-07-29 Peter O'Sullevan, British horse racing commentator 'the voice of racing', dies at 97
  • 2017-12-07 Peter Walwyn, British thoroughbred trainer (champion trainer 1974-75), dies at 84