Horses and racing have been around since prehistoric times. Eohippus is the earliest forerunner of our present day horse. Racing can be dated back to nomadic tribesmen of Central Asia. The horse has evolved throughout time from being hunted to being a pet. Racing is still the same as it used to be. Over the centuries racing has evolved into being one of the greatest sports in America, England, and many other countries. From this history of racing some great horses have been identified.
Thoroughbred horses were developed in the 18th century England. The English men needed a long distance runner. They imported three Arabian stallions. (Staples) Darley, Godolphin, and Byerly Turk Arabian were bred to English mares. All of our modern thoroughbreds can trace their lines back to there three Arabian Stallions. Samuel Gist brought the first thoroughbred to the American Colonies in 1730. The thoroughbred horse was named Bulle Rock. A thoroughbred was first used in an advertisement in Kentucky. The advertisement describes the New Jersey stallion Pilgarlick. (NA) Thoroughbreds can stand 15-18 hands tall and weigh 900-1200lbs. The colorings are bay, chestnut, brown, grey, roan, and black. The head is clean cut and fined bone. The neck should be longer and lighter than other breeds. Withers should be high and well defined. They have a curved back. The shoulders are deep, well muscled and slope along the parallel that the head is carried. They have long legs and a powerful hindquarter. They should look like a champion. (Staples) They travel at the speed of 35-40mph. Thoroughbred are used in many thing like show jumping, endurance racing, dressage, and of course racing. Thoroughbred horses start racing when they are at the age of 2. (NA)
(Parker) Prehistoric nomadic tribesmen of Central Asia created what we call racing. Ancient Greece is known to be the time and place when the first recorded mounted horse race. During Roman times they were racing in chariots and occasionally on the back of the horse. Horse racing is known to be the sport of kings. It is that because in England owner were wealthiest member in society. (Parker) In 1665 the first racetrack was created in the North America. The track was structured in Long Island. The primary places where they were racing were New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas. The tracks are 1mile of oval railing with sand inside of it. The middle contains grass. The horses race counterclockwise. Thoroughbred racing has six major types of racing. Stakes, handicap, allowance, claiming, match and walkover. In Stakes racing horses the same age are all assigned to be the same weight. The owner must pay the entry fee. The handicap race is an event among all different type of age groups. Where the horse with the best chance is assigned the highest weight. The horse that is least likely to win gets a lighter weight. In Allowance races horse are judge on their last years performances. Horses with the same ability are matched against each other. A Claiming race is when the owner is trying to sell the horse. The owner puts the horse in the claiming race and people can put a claim down on it. Match racing is a duel between two horses. A Walkover race; it rare is only happens when a horse hasn’t been scratched or withdrawn from a race. They have to run the distance of the remaining horse. The last time there was a walkover was at Belmont Park 1980’s. There are three famous tracks that hold the Triple Crown. (Encyclopedia) The Kentucky Derby is at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky it was started in 1875. The Preakness Stake in Pimlico near Baltimore was open in 1873 and the Belmont Stake in Belmont Park at Elmont, New York began in 1867. There have only been 11 horses to be Triple Crown winners. (Horse)
Between 1919-1920 America racing was dominated by the performance of an American Colt named Man O’ War. He set records and was defeated only once out of 21 starts. Man O’ War was bred by premiere sportsmen August Belmont II. Man O’ War was sold to Samuel Riddle. Man O’ War was a big chestnut colt. When Man O’ War was unleashed by Louis Feustel during the World War I sports scene he got to business. Man O’ War’s first race was at Belmont Park on June 6, 1919. He won by 6 lengths. With in a couple days he stepped to stakes companies and won five others in the Keene Memorial Stakes. When Man O’ War was 2 he had won nine of the ten races. He was defeated by Whitney’s Upset in 1919 in the Sanford Stakes. Man O’ War’s final race was in Kenilworth Gold Cup by seventh. Man O’ War never went to the Kentucky Derby. He won 20 of his 21 races and earned the record of $249,465. Man O’ War died in this 30is back in 1947. The statue was placed at the Kentucky Horse Park. Man O’ War’s speed, courage, and potency is still appropriate today. (Duke, 10)
One of the 11 Triple Crown Winners was War Admiral. War Admiral was the son of the famous Man O’ War. He was the only son of Man O’ War to win the Triple Crown. Samuel Riddle raced War Admiral also. War Admiral at the age 2 only won one stakes out of six races. He finished second in two stakes races at Richard Johnson Handicap. At the Pompoon’s National Stallion Stakes he took third. At age 3 War Admiral swung in to action. War Admiral won the Horse of the Year in 1937 Riddle decided that the Derby might not be a risk. George Conway entered War Admiral. War Admiral won all three races, which made him the Triple Crown winner. At Belmont track War Admiral had stumbled when the gate opened and put a gash in his foot. He finished first in the race and had blood dripping from his belly. War Admiral didn’t race again until the fall. At the age of 4 War Admiral raced Seabiscuit. He lost the race by four lengths. War Admiral only won one race at the age 5. He was retired after an ankle injury. War Admiral passed in 1959 at the age of 25. They buried him by Man O’ War and Brushup at Faraway Farm. (Duke, 58)
After losing seventeen races in his career Seabiscuit made a remarkable come back. (Duke, 98) Seabiscuit is consider the Cinderella story of the horse racing industry. (Lovgren) Seabiscuit was also related to Man O’ War horse. Seabiscuit won only three of his races. Until Red Pollard became his rider. Then the horse had a remarkable change. Seabiscuit became known as the best oldest horse. He won seven consecutive stake races and set four track records. 1938 he won six of eleven starts including the match race with Bing Crosby’s Ligaroti. Seabiscuit met War Admiral on November 1, 1938 he won the race by 4 lengths. He also set a track record. Seabiscuit won the champion handicap and the Horse of the year in 1938. In 1939 Seabiscuit only raced once pulling up lame after the gate flew open. When he returned to the track it was for the Santa Anita Handicap race. He won easily. Seabiscuit retired with the winnings of $437,730. (Duke, 98)
By the 21st century the first and only horse to win the Triple Crown while still undefeated was Seattle Slew. Castleman bred Seattle Slew. A young man named Billy Turner trained Seattle Slew. Seattle Slew won his championship for juvenile males. After winning the Triple Crown the owner kept racing him. He finally lost at the Hollywood Park, where he placed 4th. In 1977 he was named Horse of the year and also the champion 3 year old. Seattle Slew had the first battle against the 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed. He won the race. Ending his racing career at Stuyvesant Handicap, he won. Seattle Slew was elected into Racing Hall of Fame back in 1981. (Duke, 42)
Thoroughbreds and racing will continue to evolve throughout time. Horseracing is all over the United States. There will be more great horses like Man O’ War that never make it to the Kentucky Derby. Then you will have horses that will make and win the Triple Crown with a few losses like War Admiral, or you will have a horse like Seattle Slew that will make it undefeated. Another great comeback horse like Seabiscuit will come along. Thoroughbreds and racing will be around until the end.
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