December Horse History

1 -  1962: Ten thousand fans attended a ceremony at Tropical Park in honor of Carry Back's retirement. By Saggy out of Joppy, Carry Back was known as "the people's horse." He retired after 55 starts and earnings of more than $1 million.

 1982: In the first race to feature mother and daughter jockeys, Patti Barton rode against her daughter, Leah, at Latonia. Patti finished fifth aboard Tam's Angel while Leah was tenth on Diane's Ms. Lolly.

2002: Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey broke his own single-season North American earnings mark after finishing third aboard Royal Gem in the Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park. His total purse earnings of $19,032,509 propelled him past his 2001 total of $19,015,720.

 2 -  1936: Fair Grounds, New Orleans, La., licensed its first female trainer, Miss Meryl Eckhardt of Flint, Mich.

 3 -  1997: Jockey Russell Baze became the 12th rider in Thoroughbred racing history to win 6,000 races when he won the fourth race at Golden Gate Fields aboard Clover Hunter.

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 6 2001: Jockey Russell Baze gained his 400th victory of the year aboard Golden Peace at Golden Gate Fields, marking the ninth time in his career he had reached the 400-win plateau in a single year. No other rider has recorded 400 victories in a year more than three times. Baze, whose best total was 448 in 1995, won 400 races for seven straight years from 1992-98. A broken bone in his back limited his victory count to 373 in 1999. Baze then bounced back with 412 victories in 2000.

 7 1957: A two-year-old colt named Silky Sullivan won the one-mile Golden Gate Futurity after making up 27 lengths, establishing a running style that became legendary. Horsemen still invoke the name of Silky Sullivan when referring to a horse that runs from far off the pace.

 8 1989: Power to Geaux paid a record $2,922 for a $2 wager made at AK-sar-ben on the simulcast of the 11th race from Fair Grounds. The previous record for a payoff on a $2 wager was set June 17, 1912, when Wishing Ring paid $1,885.50.

 9 - 1788 - George Washington sold his race horse, Magnolia, to Colonel Henry Lee. Washington reportedly got 5,000 acres of Kentucky farmland, while Colonel Lee got 8-1 odds...

1999: Jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr., tied Bill Shoemaker's all-time record by registering his 8,833rd lifetime win aboard I Be Casual in the 4th race at Hollywood Park. 10 1977: In his second year of riding, Steve Cauthen became the first jockey to win $6 million in a single season when he rode a three-year-old filly, Little Happiness, to victory in the sixth race at Aqueduct. Cauthen was dubbed "The Six Million Dollar Man," and "Stevie Wonder" by his admirers and was named 1977 Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated, the Associated Press, ABC's Wide World of Sports and The Sporting News. He also received three Eclipse Awards, being voted an award of merit in addition to earning top honors as both a journeyman and apprentice jockey.

1999: Laffit Pincay Jr. became the world's winningest jockey when he registered his 8,834th career victory aboard Irish Nip in the 6th race at Hollywood Park. The victory eclipsed the previous mark of 8,833 wins held by Bill Shoemaker.

 11 1983: John Henry became the first racehorse to surpass $4 million in career earnings when he won the Hollywood Turf Cup with jockey Chris McCarron at Hollywood Park.

 12 1942: More than 20,000 racegoers turned out to watch 1941 Triple Crown winner Whirlaway win the inaugural Louisiana Handicap at Fair Grounds, staged in part as a war relief effort by the newly formed Thoroughbred Racing Associations

1997: Jockey Russell Baze, the only jockey to win 400 or more races in a year more than three times, accomplished the feat for a sixth straight season at Golden Gate Fields.

 13 1986: Jockey Kent Desormeaux had his first career stakes win, aboard Godbey, in the Maryland City Handicap at Laurel.

 14 1997: Maybe Jack drew off and won a match race against Pro on Ice at Suffolk Downs, making him the winningest horse of 1997 with 13 victories.

 15 1973: Sandy Hawley became the first jockey in history to win 500 races in a single year when he rode Charlie Jr. to victory in the third race at Laurel.

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 17 -  1936: Crooner Bing Crosby announced plans to construct a new racetrack, to be called the Del Mar Turf Club.

1993: Fire destroyed the grandstand of Fair Grounds, the nation's third-oldest racetrack.

 18 1983: Hollywood Park held the first $1 million race for two-year-old Thoroughbreds, the Hollywood Futurity, which was won by Fali Time, ridden by Sandy Hawley

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 20 1987: D. Wayne Lukas-trained Tejano became the first juvenile millionaire when he won the Hollywood Futurity with Laffit Pincay Jr. aboard.

 21 1944 - Horse racing was banned in the United States until after World War II.

 22 1991: Jockey Kent Desormeaux, at age 21, won his 2,000th race aboard Saron Lake, trained by Gary Jones, at Hollywood Park. He was the youngest jockey to reach that mark and did so faster than any other rider.

 23 1944: James F. Byrnes, Director of War Mobilization and Reconversion, urged that all racing in the United States cease by Jan. 3 as a means of furthering the war effort.

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 25 - 1934: Santa Anita Park opened in Arcadia, Calif. A five-year-old mare, Las Palmas, won the inaugural race, the California-Bred Handicap, before a crowd of 30,777.

 26 2002: Julie Krone became the first woman to ride the winner of a Grade I stakes race in the state of California when she piloted the reformed claimer Debonair Joe to victory in the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita.

 27 birthday 1940 - Jerry Lambert (horse jockey)

1982: English trainer Michael Dickinson saddled 12 winners, a record.

1987: D. Wayne Lukas set a single-season record for stakes wins by a trainer, 92, when he saddled High Brite to win the Palos Verdes Handicap at Santa Anita Park.

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 31 1950 - Willie Shoemaker and Joe Culmone, both 19 years of age, became the first jockeys to ride 388 winners in a single year.

1953 - Willie Shoemaker broke his own record as he won his 485th race of the year. Willie got his horse's nose out in front at Santa Anita racetrack in Southern California.

1966: Ogden Phipps' Buckpasser, trained by Eddie Neloy, won the 13th consecutive race of his three-year-old season after taking the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita Park. He was voted Horse of the Year and also took top three-year-old and handicap horse honors for 1966.

1989: Jockey Kent Desormeaux set the world record for most number of wins in a single season, 598, when he rode two-year-old East Royalty, trained by Phil Thomas Jr., to victory in the tenth race, the Inner Harbor Stakes, at Laurel. He surpassed the old record, set by Chris McCarron, by 52.