What’s New…

The First Kentucky Derby Winner to Race in Pennsylvania, 1876

California Chrome is not the first Derby winner to run in the great state of Pennsylvania. That distinction goes all the way back to 1876 when Vagrant won the Grand Exposition Stakes at the long forgotten Point Breeze Race Track in Philadelphia… Read full post

 

The Saratoga Racing Scene, 1904

“There is nothing stranger than this apparently unlimited capacity of Saratoga to absorb people” … Read full post

 

From the Archives: Joe Palmer on Saratoga Race Course

Joe Palmer spent most of his working life at racetracks and, no doubt, shared an “unreasonable fondness for certain places” but when it came to Saratoga he wrote: “It is a relief to feel an attraction of a racing plant which demonstrably deserves it.” … Read full post

 

From the Archives: International Racing Arrives in the United States, 1952

With the invasion of the European steeds into Santa Anita for this year’s Breeders Cup, I though it might be interesting to take a look at the history of international racing on American soil over the next few weeks … Read full post

 

‘The Gold Cup’ at Santa Anita, 1949

On Saturday, the race formerly known as the Hollywood Gold Cup will be run at its new home at Santa Anita Park. While “The Gold Cup” had been a fixture on the racing calendar at the now defunct Hollywood Park since it opened in 1938 to its close last year, Saturday’s running at Santa Anita will not be the first time it has hosted one of California’s premier races for older horses … Read full post >>

 

The Triple Crown “Great Ones,” 1919-1948

I have been hunting for a copy of Kent Hollingsworth’s The Great Ones, a classic work of horse racing history, for many years. A few weeks back, I saw a copy on e-bay and put in my bid. I am happy to report that I have finally nabbed my paper white whale … Read full post >>

 

Book Review – Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing’s Greatest Rivalry

The racing world awaits another try at the Triple Crown with California Chrome poised to make a run in the Belmont Stakes on June 7. It has been 36 years since Affirmed won the last Triple Crown and Alydar became the only colt ever to finish second in all three races … Read full post >>

 

The Long, Strange Post-Racing “Career” of the Racehorse Sysonby

Few horses in the history of thoroughbred racing can boast a career like Sysonby. Even fewer can boast a post-racing career like the Hall of Fame runner owned by the legendary James R. Keene … Read full post >>

 

Stromboli: Samuel Hildreth’s Favorite Horse

An often repeated debate arises when a former horse of high quality works their way down the class ladder into the claiming ranks. We had a worst case scenario happen with the tragic end … Read full post >>

 

Thoroughbred Racing Masterpiece Now an E-book

While doing some research last night, I stumbled across something that I wanted to share. I found that Jimmy Breslin’s Sunny Jim: The Life of America’s most Beloved Horseman James Fitzsimmons is now available as an e-book … Read full post >>

 

The Dwyer Brothers according to Samuel Hildreth, 1926

Last week, Belmont Park hosted the Dwyer Stakes which is named for the famed brothers, Phil and Mike, who owned one of the most successful racing stables of the 1880s. The Dwyer Brothers story is well known. Owners of a butcher shop in Brooklyn, they began buying racehorses in the 1870s … Read full post >>

 

Hollywood Park’s Opening Day, 1938

On July 14th, Hollywood Park will run its final day of summer racing ever. At the end of the year, 75 years after opening, all racing operations will cease at the California track. The racing oval at Hollywood is marked by a slew of legendary runners including Seabiscuit, Citation, and Affirmed. It hosted the first ever Breeders’ Cup in 1984 and has carded a plethora of important stakes races over the years … Read full post >>

 

The Brooklyn Handicap, 1904

The Brooklyn Handicap will be run today in its new position on the New York racing calendar as a Friday feature a day before the Belmont Stakes. The Brooklyn Handicap, run for the first time in 1887, once stood among America’s most significant stakes races … Read full post >>

 

Belmont Park, “Consecrated to racing,” 1937

The value of the land at Hollywood Park is why its owners decided its history as a race track will end in 2013. Think about that as you read this 1937 piece about Belmont Park from Turf & Sport writer O’Neil Sevier … Read full post >>

Pittsburgh Phil’s Thoughts on the Pari-mutuel Machines

In 1948, Horace Wade wrote an article titled “Uncle Phil’s Boy” for the Turf and Sport Digest about James McGill. McGill, a lifetime “racetracker”, was close to eighty years old working in California and Chicago as a racing official at the time of the articles publication … Read full post >>

 

A Bookmaker’s Operation 1937

Among the pages of the Turf and Sport Digest from December 1937 is a valuable description of a bookmaking operation at the end of an era. It was written just prior to the widespread adoption of the pari-mutuel system in New York, the last significant place where bookmaking was tolerated at America’s racetracks … Read full post >>

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