April Horse History

1. - 1940: New York legalized parimutuel wagering and outlawed book-makers at the state's racetracks.

1998: The National Thoroughbred Racing Association officially launched operations with the opening of its office in Lexington, Ky.

 2 -  1938: Future Triple Crown winner Whirlaway was foaled at Calumet Farm, Lexington, Ky.

 3 -  In 1860 - Pony Express mail service began -- in St. Joseph, Missouri. The first Pony Express rider was heading for California. The next day, another rider left Sacramento, California heading east for Missouri. Each rider had a 75 to 100 mile run before a switch was made with another rider. The switch was made at one of 190 way stations along the route; each way station being about ten to fifteen miles apart. The Pony Express riders delivered the mail within ten days (similar to our current snail-mail) for postage paid of $5 per ounce. This style of mail service became antiquated within a short two years, being put out to pasture by the advent of the overland telegraph.

1866 - Rudolph Eickemeyer and G. Osterheld of Yonkers, New York patented a blocking and shaping machine for hats. Which reminds us, do you know why cowboy hats are turned up at the sides? -- So three cowboys can ride in a pickup truck

1962 - Race jockey Eddie Arcaro retired with a career record of 15,327 victories for total winnings of $12,265,455. Arcaro was the first jockey to win 3,000 races and the first to ride five Kentucky Derby winners. In the Derby, Arcaro rode these mounts to the Winner's Circle: Lawrin, Whirl-a-Way, Hoop Jr., Citation and Hill Gail.

1962: At the age of 46, jockey Eddie Arcaro announced his retirement. He retired with 4,779 victories, including two Triple Crowns, won with Whirlaway and Citation.

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 6 1954: Two future champions, Bold Ruler and Round Table, were foaled at Claiborne Farm, Paris, Ky. April 7, 1973: In his second start as a 3-year-old, Secretariat won the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct as the 1-10 favorite. His time of 1:33 2-5 for the mile equaled the track record for that distance.

 7 1979: Jockey Steve Cauthen made his first race in England a winning one, with Marquee Universal (IRE) at Salisbury.

 8 1939 - Godshall Ranch, Apple Valley, California was the site of the first Intercollegiate Rodeo. The students who competed came from just about every major college and university campus in the western United States. The young cowboys and cowgirls competed under the guidance of world champion professional cowboys. The competition was such a success and drew so much attention that it sparked the creation of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association now headquartered in Walla Walla, Washington.>1963 - Steve Brooks became only the fifth race jockey to ride 4,000 career winners.> 1971: New York City Off-Track Betting opened for business. Two branches were available to accept wagers: the Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan and an outlet in Queens. Total handle, including telephone betting, was $66,091. > On April 8, 1991, this famous jockey's life took a turn for the worse when he was left paralyzed from the neck down after an auto accident.> 2001: 'Seabiscuit: An American Legend', by Laura Hillenbrand, took over the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list for nonfiction after just three weeks in the nation's bookstores.

 9 1962: Jockey Ron Turcotte rode his first winner, at Fort Erie Racetrack.

 10 1969: I Double Dareya was ridden to victory by jockey Gilbert Hernandez at Golden Gate Fields. Hernandez also happened to be the horse¬ís owner and trainer, giving him a triple win.

 11 1945: Future Triple Crown champion Citation was foaled at Calumet Farm, Lexington, Ky.

 12 1985 - Federal inspectors declared that four animals of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus were not unicorns, as the circus said, but goats with horns which had been surgically implanted. The circus was ordered to quit advertising the fake unicorns as anything else but goats. We assure you that no animals are harmed in the production of "Those Were the Days" and we use only first-rate, genuine unicorns.

1948: After winning seven consecutive races, Citation lost the Chesapeake Trial Stakes by a length to Saggy, but rebounded to post 16 consecutive victories, including the Triple Crown.

1969: Jockey Sandra Schleiffers, one of the first female riders in America and a former member of the Sisters of St. Francis convent in Clinton, Iowa, won her first career race at Turf Paradise. Schleiffers subsequently became the first woman to be admitted to the Jockeysí Guild.

 13 1872: The Louisiana Jockey Club held its inaugural meet at Fair Grounds. The first race, a two-mile hurdle, was won by Templo.

 14 1936: The first Maryland race result ever decided by a photo- finish camera took place at Havre de Grace in the second race, in which a 7- 1 shot, Alit, was declared the winner.

 15 1940: With the start of the racing season at Jamaica, New York became the last major racing state to adopt electronic parimutuel wagering, thus eliminating on-track bookmaking.

 1941: In preparation for the May 3 Kentucky Derby, Whirlaway worked 1 1/8 miles in 1:52 at Keeneland.

1943: With many of the country’s young men joining in the war effort, women exercise riders were first employed at Pimlico Racecourse.

 16 -  1995: At age 25, Kent Desormeaux became the youngest jockey to reach the 3,000-wins mark when he rode Maisonaire to victory at Santa Anita Park.

 17 -  1972: Future champion filly Ruffian was foaled at Claiborne Farm, Paris, Ky.

 18 1775 - At about 10 p.m., three men took to their horses to ride from Boston to Concord, MA to warn the citizens of the approaching British army. The famous poem, "Paul Revere's Ride", by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, glorified the Bostonian as the lone rider. He was, in fact, accompanied by William Dawes and Samuel Prescott. Only Prescott made it all the way to Concord. Revere was nabbed by a British cavalry patrol near Lexington, MA (Dawes and Prescott escaped). We're not sure what happened to Dawes but Revere was released and returned to Lexington -- without his horse. There was lots of running/riding around that night, but suffice to say, when British forces arrived in Lexington, they found the minutemen waiting for them.

1970: The New York State Legislature passed a bill enabling off- track betting.

 19 1952: Native Dancer won his first race, at Jamaica racetrack.

1969: Bill Veeck, promoter and president of Suffolk Downs, staged a $10,000 race featuring all female jockeys, then a novelty in racing. Called the Lady Godiva Stakes, the event attracted such riders as Diane Crump, Tuesdee Testa and Robyn Smith. It was Penny Ann Early, however, who won the race -- her first career victory. The previous year, Early had attempted to ride at Churchill Downs, but the male jockeys boycotted and the race was canceled.

 2000: Jockey Pat Day guided first time starter Unbridled Time to victory in the second race at Keeneland, giving the 46-year-old a record 717 victories at the Lexington, Ky. track.

 20 - 1949 - Willie Shoemaker won his first race as a jockey aboard Shafter V at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, CA, not far from San Francisco.

1999: Trainer Charlie Whittingham died in Pasadena, Calif., of complications from leukemia. He was 86.

 21 1923: Eight-year-old Exterminator won his 34th stakes victory, the Philadelphia Handicap at Havre de Grace, setting an American record.

1973: In a surprising defeat, Secretariat finished third to stablemate Angle Light and runner-up Sham in the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct, his last start before sweeping the Triple Crown. The following day, Secretariat was found to have had an abscess in his mouth, which may have caused him discomfort while racing.

1998: Tim Smith was named Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

 22 1947: Citation won his first race by ¬Ĺ-length, at Havre de Grace

1970: Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed into law a bill allowing off-track betting in New York.

1976: After winning the Florida Derby at odds of 1-20, Honest Pleasure ran in the Blue Grass Stakes as the 1-10 favorite. Only win wagering was allowed on the seven-horse field. Honest Pleasure won, creating a minus win pool of $41,876.20

2002: Ogden Phipps, philanthropist and Thoroughbred owner and breeder, died at age 93 after a short illness. Winner of an Eclipse Award as outstanding owner and breeder in 1988 and again as outstanding owner in 1989, Phipps won nearly every major stakes race on the East Coast as an owner or breeder. 23 1948 - Johnny Longden became the first race jockey to ride 3,000 career winners as he set the mark at Bay Meadows in San Mateo, CA.

1943: Judy Johnson was granted a license to ride in steeplechase races in Maryland, making her one of the earliest female jockeys.

1973: Secretariat and his stablemate Angle Light were flown to Louisville, Ky., to prepare for the Kentucky Derby.

1977: Seattle Slew won the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Racetrack, his sixth consecutive win and his third win of the season. The race was his final prep for the May 7 Kentucky Derby.

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 26 1853: En route to becoming England's first Triple Crown winner, West Australian won the 2,000 Guineas, the first of three races that comprise England's Triple Crown.

1916: The first Triple Crown winner, Sir Barton, was foaled at Hamburg Place, Lexington, Ky.

 27 1973: At Churchill Downs, Secretariat worked six furlongs in 1:12 3/5 in preparation for the May 5 Kentucky Derby.

 1999: Trainer D. Wayne Lukas was elected to the National Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame.

 28 - 2001: Jockey Chris McCarron became the seventh American jockey to win 7,000 races, guiding Spinelessjellyfish to a neck victory in the Khaled Stakes at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif. McCarron joined Laffit Pincay Jr., Bill Shoemaker, Pat Day, David Gall, Russell Baze and Angel Cordero Jr. in the 7,000 club.

 29 - 1976: The State of Connecticut opened its own betting parlors in 11 communities.

 30 1941: Jockey Eddie Arcaro rode four winners out of five mounts at Jamaica racetrack before leaving for Churchill Downs to ride Whirlaway in the Kentucky Derby.

1989: Bill Shoemaker won his 1,000th stakes race, guiding Charlie Whittingham-trained Peace to victory in the Premiere Handicap at Hollywood Park.

2002: Two-time Horse of the Year Cigar and champion filly Serena's Song were elected to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Also named to the Hll were trainer Bud Delp, jockey Jack Westrope and champion Noor.