February Horse History

1 -  On this day in 1949,  Louis B. Mayer, the Mayer in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), became a millionaire again. However, this million had nothing to do with movie making. This million came about when he sold his race horse breeding farm for one million dollars.

 1941: Golden Gate Fields opened for its inaugural race meet. After a five-day "season," the track was forced to close because severe rainstorms washed out the racing surface. The advent of World War II prevented the facility from reopening until Sept. 9, 1947.

 2 -  2001: The Jockey Club announced that gross purses in the United States during 2000 topped $1 billion for the first time, an increase of 7.0 percent compared to 1999 figures.

 3 - In 1990,  famous jockey Willie Shoemaker raced for the 40,352nd and last time. He finished fourth at the Santa Anita Racetrack aboard 7-10 favorite "Patchy Groundfog". Throughout his horse racing career, Shoemaker won 1,100 stakes and 8,833 wins (a world record that stood until Laffit Pincay Jr. topped it in 1999) in 40,350 races. In the 42 years of his career, he won 11 Triple Crown races, including four Kentucky Derbies, five Belmont Stakes, and three Preakness Stakes; 1,009 stakes races; and 10 national money titles. He earned more than $123 million in purses, about $10 million of which went into his pocket. 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.

1989: Apprentice jockey Nate Hubbard hung on for second_literally_when his horse, Sweetwater Oak, stumbled near the finish line at Golden Gate Fields and flipped the rider out of his saddle. As he tumbled forward, Hubbard grabbed on to the filly's neck and hung in mid-air until the race was over. The track stewards ruled it an official finish because Hubbard's feet never touched the ground and Sweetwater Oak carried her assigned weight throughout the race.

 4 -  1997: Cigar was named Horse of the Year for the second consecutive year.

 5 1997: A six-year-old horse, Isitingood, broke the world record for a mile_1:32 1/5_set in 1968 by Dr. Fager. Isitingood was timed in 1:32.05 over the Santa Anita Park turf course.

 6 - Black Jack, the last Quartermaster-issued U.S. Army horse that performed in the funerals of Presidents Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and General Douglas MacArthur, died today in 1976.

 7 1969: Diane Crump became the first woman jockey in America to compete in a parimutuel race when she finished tenth of 12 aboard a 48-1 shot, three-year-old Bridle 'n Bit, in the seventh race at Hialeah Park.

1996: A racing oddity occurred at Oaklawn Park when all the winners of seven consecutive races started from the number one post position.

1999: Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye picked up his 6,000th career victory aboard Sweetcakesanshakes in the third race at Santa Anita Park. Delahoussaye became the 14th rider in North American racing history to reach the 6,000-win mark.

 8 1941: Whirlaway began his three-year-old season with a win in a six furlong allowance race at Hialeah.

 9 1894: The Jockey Club was incorporated. As originally conceived, it was to assume the management of racing, previously overseen by the Board of Control. Included in The Jockey Club's functions were licensing, allotment of racing dates, appointment of officials and the interpretation and enforcement of racing rules.

1940: After a year's absence from competition, seven-year-old Seabiscuit, champion handicap horse of 1937 and 1938, returned to racing at Santa Anita, where he finished third in a handicap race. Seabiscuit ran three more races in 1940, concluding his career with a win in the Santa Anita Handicap.

 10 - 1998: Undefeated Two-Year-Old Champion Favorite Trick was named 1997 Horse of the Year.

 11 1933: The Jockey Club released data showing that as of 1932, the U.S. had surpassed Great Britain and Ireland in foal production for the first time, to become the world's leading producer of Thoroughbreds.

 12 1981: Julie Krone rode her first career winner, a $3,500 claimer named Lord Farkle, which was owned and trained by Les St. Leon, in the sixth race at Tampa Bay Downs.

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 14 1966: Buckpasser suffered the only defeat of his three-year-old season when he finished second in a non-betting race, the Black Caesar Purse, at Hialeah. He went on to post 13 consecutive victories in 1966 (12 of them in stakes races), but was unable to compete in any of the Triple Crown races because of a hoof injury.

2003: Hall of Fame jockey Johnny Longden, the only horseman to both ride (Count Fleet) and train (Majestic Prince) a Kentucky Derby winner, died at age 96.

 15 1974: Future Triple Crown champion Seattle Slew was foaled at White Horse Acres, Lexington, Ky.

 16 -  1891: At the urging of Pierre Lorillard, the Board of Control, composed of seven representatives of the racing industry, was formed to govern Thoroughbred racing. The Board's powers extended to matters of licensing; allotment of racing dates; and the regulation of purse payments. The Board, as the governing body for racing, was succeeded by The Jockey Club, formed in 1894.

1999: Jockey Julie Krone became the first female jockey to win 3,500 races, taking the third race at the Fair Grounds.

 17 -  1985: Laffit Pincay Jr. had his 6,000th career win, aboard Doria's Delight in the fifth race at Santa Anita Park.

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 22 On this day in 1969,  Barbara Jo Rubin became the first woman to win a thoroughbred horse race in America. She was riding Cohesian at Charlestown Race Course in West Virginia when she made history.

 23 1935: Seven-year-old Azucar, a former steeplechaser, won the inaugural Santa Anita Handicap at Santa Anita Park.

 24 1947: Acting upon an earlier recommendation by The Jockey Club stewards, the Thoroughbred Racing Associations unanimously approved lip tattoos as a method of identifying Thoroughbred racehorses.

1979: Trainer J.C. Williams saddled eight winners in 12 attempts at Waterford Park. Williams also owned seven of those eight winners.

 25 1990: The 11th race at Charles Town was declared a no-contest because the starting gate could not be removed from the track after the race had begun. The track announcer warned the jockeys to pull up their mounts, and the track subsequently refunded all wagers on the race.

1999: Jockey Robbie Davis got his 3,000 win aboard Inevitably Private in the fourth race at Gulfstream Park.

 26 1973: With Secretariat having been named Horse of the Year for 1972 and champion two-year-old, it was announced by Claiborne Farm that the colt had been syndicated for a then-record $6,080,000_equivalent to 32 shares at $190,000 each

 27 1982: Florida apprentice Mary Russ became the first female jockey to win a Grade I stakes in North America when she captured the Widener Handicap aboard Lord Darnley at Hialeah.

 28 In 1957, Johnny Longden rode his 5,000th winning horse over the finish line at the Santa Anita race track.

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