On This Day

Horse Racing in History

Events in Sport

  • 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
  • 1861-09-22 Fort Fauntleroy (Wingate) in New Mexico fires on and kills Navajo Indians after horse race dispute
  • 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
  • 1901-03-13 Amidst increasing anti-gambling sentiment, wagering on horse racing is banned in San Francisco, CA; Ingleside Race Track closes March 15
  • 1919-08-13 American thoroughbred racehorse Man o' War's only defeat in 21 start career; Upset wins Sanford Memorial Stakes at Saratoga Race Course
  • 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
  • 1934-07-07 Mary Hirsch, daughter of 3-time Kentucky Derby winning trainer Max Hirsch, becomes first woman to be licensed to train thoroughbred horses in the United States
  • 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
  • 1946-06-01 78th Belmont Stakes: Warren Mehrtens aboard Assault wins in 2:30.8; 7th horse to win the Triple Crown
  • 1950-04-26 Last horse race at Havre de Grace Track in Md, is run

Sports History

1950-12-31 American thoroughbred jockeys Bill Shoemaker and Joe Culmone end the year tied, leading the nation with record 388 wins

  • 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.

Hall of Fame

1955-11-12 Eddie Arcaro, Earl Sande and George Woolf inaugural inductees in (Horse) Racing Hall of Fame

  • 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

Sports History

1960-06-15 Ángel Cordero Jr. wins his 1st of over 7,000 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 Bill 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 40 year old Puerto Rican jockey Ángel Cordero Jr. wins his 5,000th race with a victory in the last race at Belmont; 4th jockey to achieve milestone
  • 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)
  • 1988-08-05 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 Bill 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 Ángel Cordero Jr. is 3rd jockey to win 7,000 horse races
  • 1992-05-07 Champion Puerto Rican jockey Ángel Cordero Jr. retires after winning 7,057 thoroughbred 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 Bill 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 renamed 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, Irish born American boxer, US Congressman developer of Saratoga Springs horse race track, born in Templemore, Ireland (d. 1878)
  • 1861-02-12 Jim McLaughlin, American Hall of Fame thoroughbred jockey (Kentucky Derby 1881, Preakness Stakes 1885, 6 x Belmont Stakes), born in Hartford, Connecticut (d. 1927)
  • 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, Hungarian horse that never lost a race, born in Kisbér, Hungary (d. 1877)

Walter Chrysler

1875-04-02 Walter Chrysler, American automotive pioneer (Chrysler Corporation) and thoroughbred breeder, born in Wamego, Kansas (d. 1940)

  • 1876-06-22 H. Guy Bedwell, American thoroughbred trainer (North American champion in wins x 7; earnings 1918-19; first Triple Crown winner, Sir Barton), born in Roseburg, Oregon (d. 1951)
  • 1887-12-27 Sir John Layton Jarvis, English thoroughbred race horse trainer (9 x British Classic Races; 3 x British flat racing Champion Trainer), born in Newmarket, England (d. 1968)
  • 1898-02-17 Tom Lowry, New Zealand cricket batsman (7 Tests, 2 x 50s; first NZ Test captain), President NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Association 1951-65, born in Fernhill, New Zealand (d. 1976)
  • 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 (Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes 1920), foaled at Nursery Stud, Kentucky (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 in Covington, Kentucky (d. 2012)
  • 1927-02-16 Roy Purdon, New Zealand harness-racing trainer (21 x NZ trainers premierships; 4 x NZ cup winners; 54 x Group One wins), born in Auckland, New Zealand (d. 2022)
  • 1930-06-30 Mac Benson, Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame trainer, born in Wilmington, Delaware
  • 1932-11-29 Stephen A. DiMauro, American thoroughbred racing jockey, trainer, breeder and owner (Eclipse Award 1975; Lady Pitt, Dearly Precious, Nassipour, Wajima), born in Camden, New Jersey (d. 2020)
  • 1933-07-01 Peter Walwyn, British thoroughbred trainer (champion trainer 1974-75), born in Lambourn, England (d.2017)
  • 1934-10-25 Joe Mercer, English thoroughbred race horse jockey (British flat racing Champion Jockey 1979), born in Bradford, England (d. 2021)
  • 1934-12-16 John L. Rotz, American thoroughbred jockey (Preakness Stakes 1962; Belmont Stakes 1970; Racing Hall of Fame 1983), born in Niantic, Illinois (d. 2021)
  • 1937-11-24 Brian Kan, Chinese thoroughbred horse trainer (5 x Hong Kong champion trainer; 5 x HK Derby winners), born in Sheung Shui, Hong Kong (d. 2022)
  • 1938-04-02 Whirlaway, American thoroughbred racehorse (Triple Crown 1941), born in Lexington, Kentucky (d. 1953)
  • 1940-02-01 Hervé Filion, Canadian harness racing driver (World Driving C'ship 1970; Harness Tracks of America Driver of the Year 1969-74, 76, 78, 81, 89), born in Angers, Quebec (d. 2017)
  • 1940-02-29 Billy Turner Jr., American thoroughbred trainer (Triple Crown 1977 Seattle Slew), born in Rochester, New York (d. 2021)
  • 1940-03-26 Braulio Baeza, American jockey, 1st Latin American to win Kentucky Derby (National Horse Racing Hall of Fame), born in Panama City
  • 1940-04-17 John McCririck, English horse racing broadcaster, born in Surbiton, England (d. 2019)
  • 1941-12-17 David A. Gall, Canadian thoroughbred Hall of Fame jockey (US Champion Jockey by wins 1979, 81; first to ride 8 winners on single US race card), born in Rose Valley, Saskatchewan (d. 2021)
  • 1942-06-29 Larry Snyder, American Thoroughbred horse racing jockey (US Champion Jockey by wins 1969; George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award 1989), born in Toledo, Ohio (d. 2018)
  • 1942-07-09 Robert J. Frankel, American thoroughbred race horse trainer (5 x Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer; US Champion Trainer by earnings 1993, 2002, 03), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2009)
  • 1943-01-11 Henry Cecil, Aberdeen, Scotland, English horse racing trainer
  • 1944-06-16 Gary F. Jones, American thoroughbred racehorse trainer ($52.6m in purses; 1,465 race wins; US Racing HOF), born in Long Beach, California (d. 2020)
  • 1945-02-08 Taffy Thomas, Welsh thoroughbred jockey (Singapore Gold Cup 1977, Vernons Sprint Cup 1978, King's Stand Stakes 1983), born in Caernarvon, Wales (d. 2022)
  • 1945-06-27 John M. Veitch, American Hall of Fame Thoroughbred horse trainer, born in Lexington, Kentucky
  • 1948-05-04 Billy O'Donnell, Canadian harness racing driver (5,742 career wins; Harness Tracks of America Driver of the Year 1982, 84; Little Brown Jug 1985, 86), born in Springhill, Nova Scotia
  • 1951-11-06 Jim Frick, Swedish harness racing driver (5,002 career race wins), born in Rättvik, Sweden (d. 2020)

Pat Day

1953-10-13 Pat Day, American thoroughbred jockey (9 x winners American Triple Crown races; 6 x US Champion in wins; 2 x US Champion in earnings; $298m career purses), born in Brush, Colorado

  • 1955-04-08 John Campbell, Canadian harness racing driver (6 x Hambletonian Stakes; 3 x Yonkers Trot; 8 x Kentucky Futurity), born in Ailsa Craig, Ontario
  • 1957-08-22 Randy Romero, American jockey (Breeder's Cup 1987-89; Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame 2010), born in Erath, Louisiana (d. 2019)
  • 1961-09-30 Jorge Ricardo, Brazilian jockey (Brazilian Champion jockey 1982-2006; highest tally winning rider in thoroughbred racing), born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 1962-02-26 Dave Palone, American harness racing trainer & driver (US Pacing Triple Crown 1996, 2005), born in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania
  • 1970-01-28 Mr. Prospector, American thoroughbred racehorse and breeding stallion (most influential sire of his generation), born in Spendthrift Farm, Kentucky (d. 1999)
  • 1970-02-27 Kent Desormeaux, American thoroughbred jockey (Kentucky Derby 1998, 2000, 08; Preakness Stakes 1998, 2008, 16; Belmont Stakes 2009; US Champion Jockey by wins 1987, 88, 89), born in Maurice, Louisiana

Secretariat

1970-03-30 Secretariat, American thoroughbred race horse (Triple Crown, 1973), born in Caroline County, Virginia (d. 1989)

  • 2003-04-29 Barbaro, American thoroughbred racehorse (d. 2007)

Weddings in Sport

  • 1986-05-03 American Mousketeer-actress-singer Annette Funicello (43) weds American harness racing horse breeder and trainer Glen Holt (55)

Deaths in Sport

  • 1927-01-19 Jim McLaughlin, American Hall of Fame thoroughbred jockey (Kentucky Derby 1881, Preakness Stakes 1885, 6 x Belmont Stakes), dies at 65
  • 1930-10-26 Harry Payne Whitney, American businessman and thoroughbred horse breeder, dies at 58

Walter Chrysler

1940-08-18 Walter Chrysler, American automotive pioneer (Chrysler Corporation) and thoroughbred breeder, dies at 65

  • 1947-11-01 Man o' War, American thoroughbred racehorse (Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes 1920), dies from a heart attack at 30
  • 1951-01-08 Samuel D. Riddle, American thoroughbred owner (Man 'o War, War Admiral), dies at 89
  • 1951-12-31 H. Guy Bedwell, American thoroughbred trainer (North American champion in wins x 7; earnings 1918-19; first Triple Crown winner, Sir Barton), dies at 76
  • 1953-04-06 Whirlaway, American thoroughbred racehorse (Triple Crown 1941), dies at 15
  • 1968-12-18 Sir John Layton Jarvis, English thoroughbred race horse trainer (9 x British Classic Races; 3 x British flat racing Champion Trainer), dies at 80
  • 1970-02-23 Hirsch Jacobs, American thoroughbred horse trainer and owner (b. 1904)
  • 1975-07-07 Ruffian, American thoroughbred racehorse (b. 1972)
  • 1976-07-20 Tom Lowry, New Zealand cricket batsman (7 Tests, 2 x 50s; first NZ Test captain), President NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Association 1951-65, dies at 78
  • 1978-01-25 Tango Duke, dies in Australia at 42; oldest known thoroughbred horse

Secretariat

1989-10-04 Secretariat, American thoroughbred race horse (Triple Crown 1973), dies at 19

  • 1999-06-01 Mr. Prospector, American thoroughbred racehorse and breeding stallion (most influential sire of his generation), dies of complications from colic at 29
  • 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 (5 x Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer; US Champion Trainer by earnings 1993, 2002, 03), dies from leukemia 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
  • 2017-06-22 Hervé Filion, Canadian harness racing driver (World Driving C'ship 1970; Harness Tracks of America Driver of the Year 1969-74, 76, 78, 81, 89), dies of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at 77
  • 2017-12-07 Peter Walwyn, British thoroughbred trainer (champion trainer 1974-75), dies at 84
  • 2018-10-29 Larry Snyder, American Thoroughbred horse racing jockey (US Champion Jockey by wins 1969; George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award 1989), dies from cancer at 76
  • 2019-07-05 John McCririck, English horse racing broadcaster, dies at 79
  • 2019-08-29 Randy Romero, American jockey (Breeder's Cup 1987-89; Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame 2010), dies from kidney and liver cancer at 61
  • 2020-05-20 Stephen A. DiMauro, American thoroughbred racing jockey, trainer, breeder and owner (Eclipse Award 1975; Lady Pitt, Dearly Precious, Nassipour, Wajima), dies from cancer at 87
  • 2020-07-25 Jim Frick, Swedish harness racing driver (5,002 career race wins), dies from prostate cancer at 68
  • 2020-10-11 Gary F. Jones, American thoroughbred racehorse trainer ($52.6m in purses; 1,465 race wins; US Racing HOF), dies at 76
  • 2021-01-12 Khalid bin Abdullah Al Saud, Saudi thoroughbred racing owner and breeder (Juddmonte Farms; Dancing Brave, Enable, Frankel, Arrogate), dies at 84
  • 2021-05-17 Joe Mercer, English thoroughbred race horse jockey (British flat racing Champion Jockey 1979), dies at 86
  • 2021-07-12 John L. Rotz, American thoroughbred jockey (Preakness Stakes 1962; Belmont Stakes 1970; Racing Hall of Fame 1983), dies at 86
  • 2021-08-01 David A. Gall, Canadian thoroughbred Hall of Fame jockey (US Champion Jockey by wins 1979, 81; first to ride 8 winners on single US race card), dies at 79
  • 2021-12-31 Billy Turner Jr., American thoroughbred trainer (Triple Crown 1977 Seattle Slew), dies from prostate cancer at 81
  • 2022-01-12 Taffy Thomas, Welsh thoroughbred jockey (Singapore Gold Cup 1977, Vernons Sprint Cup 1978, King's Stand Stakes 1983), dies at 76
  • 2022-01-29 Rashid Byramji, Indian thoroughbred trainer (3,170 winners/230 classics; Elusive Pimpernel 22/23 starts; Squanderer 18/19 starts; Indian Derby x 10), dies at 88
  • 2022-02-02 Roy Purdon, New Zealand harness-racing trainer (21 x NZ trainers premierships; 4 x NZ cup winners; 54 x Group One wins), dies at 94
  • 2022-02-12 Brian Kan, Chinese thoroughbred horse trainer (5 x Hong Kong champion trainer; 5 x HK Derby winners), dies at 84

Famous Jockeys