Archive for the “H” Category

Encyclopedia: Gambling in America – Letter H

More than any other individual, Howard Robard Hughes stamped the seal of legitimacy upon a Las Vegas casino industry that had been labeled as corrupt and Mob-invested in the general public mind. Hughes paved the way for corporate America to invest in gambling properties that had previously been controlled to a large degree by pension funds of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and assorted underworld characters. Hughes did not necessarily transform Las Vegas from a profit center for organized crime in the favorite resort in the United States on purpose. Moreover, there were many unanticipated consequences of his drive to dominate Las Vegas gambling, not the least of which was the scandal that will go down in the history books as Watergate.

Hughes Howard - Gambling in America

Howard Hughes poses with his plane, 1930s

Hughes was born in Houston, Texas, in 1905. Four years later his father, Howard Hughes Sr., helped develop a drilling bit that could penetrate hard rocks with ease. The tool revolutionized oil drilling and made the Hughes family wealthy. At age eighteen, the younger Hughes became the majority stockholder of Hughes Tool Company when his father died in 1924. Having been warned by his father never to have partners, he immediately set plans into motion for acquiring all the stock in the company from his relatives. He also began to diversify his interests. He maintained a stake in mineral extraction in addition to developing experimental aircraft, producing movies, and designing military hardware. Very soon he became a multimillionaire and also a playboy working the Hollywood scene. For excitement he flew many of his experimental aircraft. In 1938 he flew around the world, setting various speed records.  The downside of his flying came with several crashes. Perhaps the most serious one was in 1946, after which doctors expected him to die. They gave him excessive dosages of morphine to kill his pain, not thinking of consequences if he lived. He lived and developed a lifetime addiction to drugs. It is also suggested that his plane crashes caused many head injuries that left a mark on later behavior that would have to be called “bizarre”, to say the least.
During the 1940s Hughes was a frequent visitor to Las Vegas, and several times prior to 1966 he had attempted to move his corporate interests to the desert. He purchased 28,000 acres of land on the west side of the city with the notion that the land would be used for aircraft development and testing. It remained undeveloped until the 1980s, when it became the essence of Summerlin, a residential expanse that filled as Las Vegas became the fastest-growing city in the United States. During the 1950s Hughes’s fortune approached $2 billion, and he became the principal owner of Trans-World-Airlines (TWA). Hughes hired Robert Maheu, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, to be his chief business agent, and from 1957 on, Hughes became a recluse unwilling to meet any business associate on a face-to-face basis. All his contacts with Maheu from 1957 to 1970 were by telephone or on note pads. In the early 1960s, Hughes relocated his operations to the Bahamas, but he still yearned to be in Las Vegas. On Thanksgiving Day 1966, he moved to Las Vegas. Soon he was buying casinos.
The 1960s had been hard on Las Vegas. Bobby Kennedy had pushed the McClellan Committee of the U.S. Senate in its investigation of Teamsters’ union money in Las Vegas. As attorney general, Kennedy carried on ongoing probes into Mob activity in Las Vegas. No new casinos were being built because the Mob was fearful that the federal government might shut down gambling. Public corporations were precluded from owning casinos (unless every single stockholder was licensed), and legitimate lenders – banks and other institutional financial houses – would not touch the industry. Las Vegas was looking for a miracle, and here came Howard Robard Hughes – with money to spend. In May 1966 Hughes refused to appear before a congressional committee investigating aspects of the operations of TWA. To avoid having to appear in public, he willingly agreed to divest himself of all his holdings in the company – 78 percent of the stock. He received $546.5 million for an investment that had originally cost him $80. For purposes of avoiding excessive taxation, he had to quickly reinvest the money. Las Vegas was waiting.
Fiction and fact became mingled and confused as the story of Howard Hughes unwrapped in Las Vegas. Some say events just occurred; others see a masterful plan behind Hughes’s entrance into the gambling community. In November 1966, Maheu rented the top two floors of the Desert Inn for Hughes’s living quarters. He was supposed to stay for ten days, but after he entered his hotel suite, he stayed there for almost four years – until 5 November 1970. He may have been secretly taken out of the room on a few occasions, but no one outside a very small group of personal attendants saw him over these four years. A whole litany of strange behaviors, manias, phobias, delusions, and obsessions afflicted Hughes during his Las Vegas stay, but crazy or not, he made an impact on the town.
When Hughes refused to leave the Desert Inn after his ten-day stay, Maheu began to negotiate a deal with Moe Dalitz and the other owners of the property. On 22 March 1967, the parties agreed that Hughes would purchase the Desert Inn for $13.2 million. The licensing process for casino ownership entailed many hurdles. These included financial statements, personal statements, fingerprints, photographs, fees, and a personal appearance in front of the Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission. There was no way that Howard Hughes was going to endure such procedures. On the other hand, there was no way Nevada was going to allow Hughes to slip away.
Governor Paul Laxalt and the gaming officials waived many requirements and allowed Maheu to appear on behalf of Hughes in the licensing hearing. The license was not opposed by anyone. Said board chairman Alan Arber, “After all, Mr. Hughes’ life and background are well known to this Board and he is considered highly qualified”. The truth was quite different. Neither Hughes nor anyone in his organization had any experience managing a gambling facility.
Safely brought into the business, Hughes and the state of Nevada wanted more. In July 1967, Hughes purchased the Sands Hotel and Casino and 183 acres of land beside it for $14.6 million, and in September he acquired the Frontier. He quickly followed this with purchases of the smaller Castaways and Silver Slipper casinos. He also bought Harold’s Club in Reno. Then he set his sights on the Stardust and the Landmark. But by then, the federal government had its sights set on Hughes as well.
U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark thought Hughes had bought enough. Clark contended that any further purchases would make Hughes a monopolistic owner on the Las Vegas Strip. Hughes did not like to be told no. Clark and the president, Lyndon Johnson, were due to leave office soon, and so Hughes maneuvered to control the next president’s capacity to refuse his desires. In 1968 Hughes hired Larry O’Brien, a family friend and political confidant of the Kennedy family, to be on his legal team. O’Brien had also been in the Kennedy cabinet. Then Hughes gave Richard Nixon, Republican candidate for the presidency, a $100,000 “campaign contribution”. Some thought that the contribution could be considered a “bribe.” Hughes also gave Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey a $50,000 contribution (Drosnin 1985, 250). In 1960 Hughes had given Nixon’s brother a large loan that remained unpaid, and Nixon’s opponents had used the loan as a major campaign issue against Nixon. In 1968, Nixon was elected, and he promptly removed objections to Hughes’s purchases of more casinos. Hughes gave up his desire to purchase the Stardust, but he did finalize the purchase of the Landmark. In 1972 Nixon declared himself to be a candidate for reelection, except there was a little bug in his plans. Larry O’Brien was now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Nixon strongly suspected that O’Brien had information about the 1968 contribution (the alleged bribe) – as he was working for Hughes when it was made – and might use that information against Nixon. Nixon told his aides to find out what O’Brien knew and what his campaign plans were. The aides began to gather information from many sources. They decided to break into O’Brien’s office in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.  The irony is that O’Brien could not raise the issue of the money, because Democratic candidate Humphrey had accepted a similar contribution. But Nixon did not know that—in time. Hughes had brought down a president.
It has been suggested that Hughes purchased the hotels he did because they surrounded the Desert Inn, and he wished to own every hotel he could see from his tenth-floor suite. Maheu suggests that the casinos purchased were on a list of casinos that Robert Kennedy suspected of being Mob establishments. The practical effect of the purchases was to give the United States the impression that Las Vegas was being cleaned up and that the organized crime elements were leaving town. That was not exactly true. A major change was in order, however. Even though Hughes had brought capital to the Las Vegas Strip, he had invested in existing properties; he did not build new ones, nor did he remodel and improve those he purchased. The Strip needed infusions of new capital for new casinos. The activity of Hughes had given the legitimate investment community a new perspective on Las Vegas. It could be a good place. Before Hughes left town for the Bahamas with his entourage on 5 November 1970 (firing Maheu in the process), the state of Nevada had passed (in 1969) the Corporate Gaming Act, which allowed publicly traded corporations to have Nevada subsidiaries that could be licensed for casino ownership in the name of the principal stockholders – not all of the stockholders. As Hughes exited the state, Hilton came in – what Hughes started, others would finish. As Hughes was an absentee owner while living in his secluded tenth-floor suite, he was the same while he was in the Bahamas and elsewhere. His sanity was severely questioned, as he remained in seclusion for the rest of his life. Only once did he agree to meet with Nevada officials. That was in 1972 when rumors of his death caused concern. He agreed to meet the governor – Mike O’Callaghan – in London for a very brief session just to verify that he was alive. That he was, but not really very alive. He was in miserable physical shape; nonetheless his life continued until he was defeated by kidney failure in April 1976.

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A house-banked game is conducted by a gambling enterprise such as a casino, a lottery, a bingo hall, or an organized charity. The game is one in which the player opposes the gambling enterprise, and either the player or the enterprise wins the bet (unless there is a tie). There may be many players (thousands as in a lottery) or a single player (e.g., one player at a blackjack table), but there is only one house – one gambling enterprise. The house (enterprise) runs the game and puts its resources (money) against the resources (money) of all of the players.
Most, but not all, casino games are housed-banked games. These include blackjack, craps, roulette, baccarat, punto banco (minibaccarat), and the big wheel. Las Vegas sports betting on football, basketball, baseball, and hockey games is also house banked. In all of these games, each player at the game is individually wagering money against the house. Most commercial (and Native American) bingo games are house banked, although the players are pitted against each other to see which one (or several) is the first to fill a card or line full of numbers. The game is banked if the house guarantees a specific winning prize to the players regardless of how many players are playing or how much money the players have wagered. If there is a predetermined prize, the house is engaging in gambling, as it is putting its resources at risk – it may lose money if too few players are in the game or if it has a high prize for a player covering a card in so many calls of numbers, and the player does so. The house would not have to give out the prize if no players accomplished that goal, however, and its winnings would be higher than otherwise.
Some charity bingo games are not house banked. In these the house awards a prize based upon the money that is actually wagered by the players when they purchase cards. The house may take out a percentage of the money as its share and then divide the rest of the money among the winners (or winner) of the bingo game. In this case the game is player banked, and the house is merely an agent managing the players’ money for a fee.
In most lottery games, a player is guaranteed a prize of a certain amount of money if the player has a winning number. In the case of instant tickets, a finite number of tickets are sold. If all of a batch are sold, the lottery is like the bingo organization, as it merely manages the players’ money, shifting it from losers to winners and taking out a fee. Instant ticket games are not house-banked games. On the other hand, if the player (or a random number generator) picks a number that is played (for instance, in a pick three, pick four, or pick five game), and a winner is guaranteed an individual prize that is given regardless of the actual number of players or winners in the game, then the game is house banked. The lottery is risking its money against the play of each individual player. The house-banked nature of the pick-three game was highlighted in 1999 when the Pennsylvania lottery attempted to close down play on certain popular numbers (777, 333, 666) in order to avoid high financial losses if the popular numbers were selected. The lottery knew it was in a risky house-banked situation, and it wished to minimize its risk. Indeed, the lottery officials knew what they were doing. In 1979 one game was rigged by a contract employee of the lottery who controlled the number-generating machine. The number 666 was chosen as the winner. Not only did an inside group of cheaters win a lot of money, but so did regular players who always played the popular 666 – known as the devil’s number because of references in the Bible’s Book of Revelation. The state of Pennsylvania took a severe loss on that day (see Crime and Gambling).
Lotto games have giant prizes that are based upon amounts of money that have been wagered by the players. There is a superprize that is usually awarded to a player (or all players on a shared basis) who selects all six winning numbers (numbers may include one through fifty). If no player selects all the winning numbers, a pool of money is gathered from ticket sales and transferred to the superprize for a subsequent game the next week. In a way, the giant lotto prize can be considered a player-banked game, but this is not truly the case. Only if the money played in the single drawing contributed to the giant prize would the game really be player banked. No lotto game is played this way. The starting game after a giant prize has been given away the previous week offers a guaranteed superjackpot prize, regardless of how much is wagered during that first game. In Texas, the state sets the superprize for the starting week at $4 million. If a player selects all the winning numbers in the first drawing, the state is definitely a loser. The lottery organization is banking the game. The fact that superprizes are shared does not change the house-banked nature of the game. Also, there is no legal requirement that the government continue to have new games after superprizes reach multi-million-dollar levels, although so far no major games have been discontinued. Moreover, each lotto game has guaranteed prizes for players who correctly pick only some of the winning numbers, again making the game essentially a house-banked game.
Often a lottery will put a cap (ceiling) on the amount it gives to big winners without changing smaller prizes and without guaranteeing that there will be a superwinner at all. These are house-banked games, as the lottery is risking its money against the wagers of the players. The lottery is either a small winner, a big winner, or occasionally a loser. An example of such a game is run in Texas. There the Texas Millionaire Game asks players to pick four numbers between zero and ninety-nine. Guaranteed prizes of specific dollar amounts are given to players who select either two or three correct numbers. Players matching all four numbers win $1 million. If no one correctly picks the four numbers, the lottery is the winner pure and simple. If more than ten people pick the correct four numbers, they must collectively share a prize of $10 million. The lottery caps its losses, but the game is still a house-banked game just the same as a blackjack game in a casino.
The most typical games that are player banked rather than house banked include live games of poker, pari-mutuel games on activities such as horse and dog races, jai alai games, and lottery instant ticket games – when all tickets in a batch of tickets are sold (see Pari-mutuel Wagering Systems; Player-banked Games).

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Horse Racing – Colors: The Jockey and the Mount

Colors are an important part of the tradition and mystique of horse racing. Each major stable is identified by the registered colors worn on the silks of their jockeys. For example, jockeys for the Calumet Stable horses wear red and blue; those riding for the Meadows Stable wear blue and white. This practice of using colors dates to England’s New Market track in 1762. Bettors who favor certain owners may clearly see which numbers are carried by their champions.
Bettors may also seek to look at the colors of the horses themselves for clues about performance; however, their luck is bound to fail them if they bet that way for long. Although I have heard seasoned bettors exclaim that four white hooves are very good, three worse, and no white hoof bad, such coloring is unrelated to performance. So, too, is the general coloring of the horse. Bay and chestnut horses are the leading colors, and accordingly they register the most wins. In the Kentucky Derby, bays have won 58 times, chestnuts 40, dark bays or browns 17, gray or roans 6, and black horses 4 times.
Colors are important in that they are used in the registration of thoroughbreds for identification purposes. The following color definitions are used by the Jockey Club:
Bay: A horse with a coat of yellow-tan to bright autumn, with black main, tail, and lower legs. Some white markings may be present.
Black: A horse with an entirely black coat, but some white markings may be present.
Chestnut: The coat is red-yellow to golden-yellow, with some white markings.
Dark bay/brown: The coat varies from brown to dark brown, with areas of tan. Mane, tail, and legs are black, with some white markings present.
Gray/roan: A horse with combined colors of the gray and roan.
Gray: The majority of the horse’s coat has a mix of white and black colors.
Roan: The majority of the coat has a mix of red and white colors.

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Horse Racing – Owners: Farms and Individuals

Brookside Farms/Allen E. Paulson
Iowa native Allen Paulson made his fortune by creating the Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. Horses have become his passion, and he has his Brookside farms in Kentucky, California, Florida, and Georgia. Since the Breeder’s Cup began in 1984, Paulson has had a horse start in every race. He won the Eclipse Award for top owner in 1995 and 1996 and for top breeder in 1993. His most notable product has been Cigar, horse of the year in 1995.

Calumet Farms
In 1924 William Monroe Wright, a man who made his fortune with Calumet Baking Powder, purchased a horse farm outside of Lexington. He named it after his company. Until his death in 1931, the farm was devoted to the preparation of standardbred horses for racing. Wright was able to produce the winner of the Hambletonian in 1931. His son took over the farm that year and converted it into a thoroughbred racing farm. Warren Wright Sr. had his first major winner with Nellie Flag in 1934. Over the sixty-eight years that the farm was in the Wright family, it became synonymous with winning.  In twelve separate years Calumet horses had more wins than those of any other owner. They had eleven years in a row as the leading breeding farm. The farm produced thirty-eight divisional winners of horse of the year designations. Of course, their most notable feats were with Triple Crown winners Whirlaway and Citation. The property was held by Warren Monroe Wright’s widow until her death in 1950 and then by their son-in-law until 1992. Substantial economic setbacks caused the farm to be sold at a public auction. It was purchased by Henryk de Kwaitkowski.

Coolmore Stud
The most sought-after studs in the horse industry are found at Coolmore Stud Farm, a 350-acre spread near Lexington, Kentucky, and at the Coolmore facilities on four other continents. The Coolmore operations were established in 1975 as a partnership among owner-breeder Robert Sanster, trainer Dr. Vincent O’Brien, and stallion master John Magnier. The organization uses a dual-continent notion of sending stallions from the Northern Hemisphere to Australia for the Southern Hemisphere breeding season. Fifty stallions are under Coolmore management on the five continents.

Golden Eagle Farm
John and Betty Mabee, founders of the Big Bear Grocery chain, used profits from the sale of that business and earning from the sale of the Golden Eagle Insurance Company to purchase and stock a 560-acre farm near San Diego in 1997. They now have more than 500 horses at the farm as well as a stable of broodmares they keep in Kentucky. The farms have bred in excess of 140 winners of major races. They also have produced the leading California-bred horses over several years. In 1992, the Golden Eagle Farm was the leading North American owner of racehorses. Their purses exceeded $5 million that year. The farm also led the nation in breeding fees, earning over $7 million. The Mabees earned the Eclipse Award for the leading breeders of 1991, 1997, and 1998. John Mabee was an original member of the Breeder’s Cup board of directors.

Robert and Beverly Lewis
The Lewises own Silver Charm, who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in 1997. Beverly and Robert Lewis started their ownership of horses in 1990. Since then they have produced Silver Charm and other champions. They have fifty-five horses that are trained for racing and another twelve broodmares. Their horses have been in training with such notables as D. Wayne Lucas, Bob Baffert, and Gary Jones. Their operations are in California, where Robert is the chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California and also a director of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

Overbrook Farm/William T. Young
Lexington, Kentucky, native William T. Young made a fortune developing Jiffy Peanut Butter and selling the brand to Procter and Gamble. These and other business ventures have enabled him to pursue Overbrook Farm in Lexington as an avocation. The farm is a 1,500-acre breeding facility that has a number of the leading horses in the nation. One leading sire is Storm Cat. Two Overbrook horses have been Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone and Belmont Stakes winner Editor’s Note. Young’s two-year-old, Boston Harbor, was the Eclipse Award winner in 1996, and Young also won the award as the outstanding breeder in 1994.

The Sheikhs of Dubai
The ruling family of oil-rich Dubai has been involved in horse racing for several generations. Among their members is Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, who has more than 300 thoroughbred stables in England, Ireland, Australia, Dubai, and the United States. He also owns 155 broodmares. In the United States, the sheikh owns the 1,350-acre Shadwell Farm in Lexington. He was the leading owner of winning mounts in England in 1995. Sheikh Maktoum al Maktoum is the current ruler of Dubai. He came to notice in horse racing circles in 1981, when he and his brothers spent $6.5 million at the Keeneland July yearling sale. His major U.S. possession is the Gainsborough Farm near Versailles, Kentucky. The sheikh has 110 broodmares as well as 200 horses in training.

Stronach Stable/Frank Stronach
Frank Stronach was born in Austria, but he generated his fortune as a Canadian industrialist with Magna International, Inc. In 1998, Stronach purchased Santa Anita Park and 300 nearby acres for $126 million. He stables about 100 racing horses. One leading horse is Awesome Again, who won the $5 million Breeders Cup Classic in 1998. His Touch Gold (which he owned in a partnership) won the Belmont Stakes, keeping the Triple Crown away from Silver Charm. Stronach was the given the Eclipse Award for being the outstanding owner in 1998.

The Thoroughbred Corporation/Prince Ahmed Bin Salman al-Saud
Prince Ahmed Bin Salman al-Saud, a member of the royal family of Saudi Arabia, and four other partners lead the Thoroughbred Corporation. Salman and his Saudi partners have forty-five horses in training in the United States and an equal number of broodmares that are kept at the Mill Ridge Farm in Kentucky. Other horses are kept in England and Saudi Arabia, as well as at a sixteen-acre facility near Santa Anita in California. The corporation’s horses include the leading stallion, Skip Away; Breeder’s Cup winner Distaff; and Sharp Cat. The corporation’s purchase of a yearling for $1.2 million at Keeneland’s September sale in 2000 was an all-time record price for the sale.

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Horse Racing – Tracks and Track Organizations

Churchill Downs, Inc.
Churchill Downs is the premier thoroughbred racing track in North America. The track is part of a larger organization (Churchill Downs, Inc.) that includes Hollywood Park, Arlington International, Ellis Park, Hoosier Park, and Calder Race Course as well as the Churchill Downs Sports Spectrum (an offtrack facility) and other interests.
Churchill Downs is located within the city of Louisville, Kentucky, close to the bluegrass horse farms that breed a majority of racing stock in the United States. Racing started at Churchill in 1875, and that was also the inaugural year of the Kentucky Derby, the most famous race in the United States and the lead event in the Triple Crown. The Kentucky Derby is run over a one and one-quarter-mile distance. Colonel M. Lewis, who was the president of the track for twenty years, established the race. As racing fell into disrepute around the turn of the twentieth century (as did all gambling-related activities), the Derby declined in prominence. Its rejuvenation became the life work of Matt Winn. Winn had been with the track in 1875 and saw all of the first seventy-five Kentucky Derby races before his death in 1949. The Derby now draws in excess of 150,000 fans each year. The track’s icon is its twin spires that were built atop its stands in 1895.
Hollywood Park was organized by the Golden State Jockey Club in 1936 and began offering races on 10 June 1936. Although the 350-acre park and track facility is located in Inglewood, California, it was called Hollywood because its founders included film industry celebrities Jack Warner, Walt Disney, Sam Goldwyn, Al Jolson, and Bing Crosby. The track has been open except for World War II years, when the land was used for military purposes. The track was also closed for the 1949 season owing to a fire that destroyed the grandstand. Today the track is the premier West Coast racing venue during the summer months with the one-million-dollar Hollywood Gold Cup. The track also has a short fall season. Hollywood Park had the honor of holding the first Breeder’s Cup races in 1984. They also hosted the event in 1987 and 1997. In 1994 the facility became a racino, as it opened a cardroom casino (see The Racino). Recently the operations were taken over by Churchill Downs, Inc.
In 2000 the Arlington Park International Racetrack was merged into the Churchill Downs Corporation. The Chicagoland Arlington Park has enjoyed a history of glamour and a reputation for elegance. Yet the track that opened in 1927 has had its problems. In 1985 the original grandstand was devastated by fire. Four years later, however, the course made its comeback, reopening with the word “International” in its title and having even more elegant facilities. Arlington track has been a pioneer in several track developments. In 1933 the track installed the first all-electric totalizator that projected ongoing betting activities onto a board that could be followed by patrons. In 1936, the track used the first photo-finish cameras, and in 1940, the first electric starting gates were installed. The track banked its turns in 1942 – another first. Arlington also initiated the trifecta bet (a bet on which horses will finish first, second, and third in a race) in 1971. In the same year Arlington began a commercially sponsored race that offered a prize of $100,000. Ten years later, Arlington hosted the first race with a one-million-dollar purse. The inaugural Arlington Million race was won by John Henry. In 1996, Arlington was the site of the Citation Challenge, the race in which Cigar matched Citation’s record for sixteen consecutive wins.
Churchill Downs purchased Ellis Park in 1998. The racecourse had been built in 1922 by the Green River Jockey Club. It is located in Henderson County, Kentucky, just across the Ohio River from Evansville, Indiana. The track suffered a decline after the opening of the Aztar Riverboat Casino in Evansville, but with an influx of Churchill capital, it is attempting to increase its viability.
Churchill Downs, Inc., won a license to open Indiana’s first racetrack, Hoosier Park, which is located north of Indianapolis in Anderson. The track began racing with standardbreds in 1993.
The first thoroughbred races were held one year later. The leading race is the Indiana Derby, held in October.
Churchill Downs purchased Florida’s leading venue, Calder Race Course, in January 1999 for $86 million. The course had begun operations near Miami in 1970, featuring a special formula track surface designed by the 3M Company. Churchill is dedicated to returning Florida to the glory days of racing that were enjoyed in the mid-twentieth century.

Del Mar
The Del Mar Racetrack is located near the ocean, just north of San Diego. The track’s season opens just as Hollywood Park’s summer season closes down. The two tracks do have a short overlap of seasons during the Hollywood fall meeting. Del Mar opened on 3 July 1937. The track was founded by Hollywood celebrities Bing Crosby and Pat O’Brien. Many outstanding events have taken place at Del Mar, including a famous match race between Seabiscuit and Ligaroti in 1938 and Bill Shoemaker’s 1970 ride for win 6,033 – surpassing Johnny Longden’s record. New grandstands were built in an $80 million renovation during the early 1990s to make the facility one of the most modern and comfortable in the world. Bing Crosby immortalized the track with his song, “Where the Surf Meets the Turf”.

El Comandante
El Comandante is Puerto Rico’s only horse racing track. It is located twelve miles east of the San Juan tourist and casino district, on the edge of the Yunque Rain Forest National Park. It is a rare track in that racing is ongoing throughout the year five days a week. In the early twentieth century, there were several tracks in the commonwealth. In 1954, however, the government gave the San Juan Racing Association a monopoly over track operations, and they developed El Comandante in 1959 as a modern facility. A newer facility was built in 1976, offering a one-mile oval, 257 acres of landscaped property, a 65-foot-wide exercise track, and a 12,000-seat six-level grandstand. Eight thousand cars can park in the lot. Puerto Rico offers 675 offtrack outlets for online television betting.

Keeneland Race Track and Sales Operations
The Keeneland Race course is in the heart of the Kentucky bluegrass country, just six miles away from Lexington. Keeneland offers a beautiful track with a short season that features the Bluegrass Stakes, an event for three-year-olds that is a warm-up for the Kentucky Derby. Fourteen Derby winners have won the race. Keeneland is also a year-round training facility and a research center with a library collection of 2,000 volumes on pedigrees, breeding, and racing information. The key activity at Keeneland is horse sales. The track holds five sales annually. The January sale is for all horses, the April sale for two-year-olds, a yearlings sale in July and September, and a sale of breeding stock in November. Sales began in the 1930s, but they gained their premier standing during World War II. Prior to the war, horses would be transported by trains from Kentucky farms to Saratoga Springs, New York, for auctions. The military precluded such heavy use of trains during the war, however, and sales activity remained close to the source—at Keeneland. Many stories revolve around the sales. Foals of Northern Dancer sold for over $2.8 million; John Henry was sold for $1,100 in the sale for all ages in 1976 and for $2,200 in 1977. A late bloomer, he commanded only $25,000 as a three-year-old. The gallant steed went on to win $6,591,860 in his amazing career. The Keeneland organization is unique, as it is a non-dividend-paying corporation. All profits are reinvested in capital improvements, used as purses in races, or distributed to charitable or educational operations.

The New York Racing Commission Tracks
The New York Racing Commission owns and operates three major tracks – Saratoga, Belmont, and Aqueduct.
Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York, opened its race card in 1864 to a jampacked crowd of 10,000. The president of the track was William Travers. The first major race at the track was named in his honor – the Travers Stakes. It was originally part of the Triple Crown. A detailed history of the track and also the other gambling (casino) activity of Saratoga Springs is found in Ed Hotaling’s book They’re Off, which is described in the Annotated Bibliography. Saratoga has been known for many of the great surprises of racing. In 1919 Upset defeated Man O’War in the Sanford Stakes at Saratoga. In 1973, Secretariat lost to Orion in the Whitney Stakes. The 1930 Travers Stakes provided that year’s only defeat for Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox. That race was won by a 100–1 long shot named Jim Dandy. Until World War II, Saratoga was the leading venue for horse sales; however, transportation restrictions caused that honor to pass to Keeneland.
Belmont Track is the home of the Belmont Stakes, the Triple Crown’s last and longest event. Like that race, the track is a one and-a-half-mile oval. The course was named after banker and horseman August Belmont. It opened in 1905 but had to suffer through an era of prohibition on race betting that closed down its 1911 and 1912 seasons. The Belmont Stakes was begun in 1867 and run at Jerome Park and Morris Park before coming to Belmont in 1905. Belmont has undergone several renovations, the major one being a $30 million grand stand construction project in 1968. During the period of construction activity, the Belmont Stakes was run at Aqueduct. Belmont has another mark of historical significance. In 1910, the Wright Brothers held an international air flight tournament at the track and drew 150,000 people.
Aqueduct Racecourse began operations in Queens, New York, in 1894. The track facilities were completely rebuilt in 1959. In 1975 an inner track was designed, and a winter meet is held at that track. The facility runs a summer meeting each season featuring two major handicaps – the Brooklyn Handicap and the Suburban Handicap.

The Pimlico track in Baltimore is the home of the middle race of the Triple Crown – the Preakness. The track opened in 1870. The major race of the 1870 season was the two-mile Dinner Party Stakes, which was won by an impressive colt named Preakness. When a stakes race for three-year-olds was established in 1873, former governor Oden Bowie, the track president, chose to name the race after the popular horse. The Preakness was run at Pimlico between 1873 and 1889. Then for fifteen years the race was moved to the Gravesend track in Brooklyn, New York. From 1889 until 1909, Pimlico racing was confined to standardbred and steeplechase events as scandals touched thoroughbred race gambling. The Maryland Jockey Club brought respectability back to the Baltimore track, and in 1909, they once again held the Preakness. Since 1925 the race has been one and three-sixteenths miles in length. The winner receives the Woodlawn Vase, which was created by the Tiffany Jewelers in 1860. The Pimlico track features sharp turns that have proved to be very demanding for horses that have won other Triple Crown events.

Santa Anita
Santa Anita first began its racing program on Christmas Day 1934. Now it opens each season the day after Christmas. The track offers a very beautiful setting, as it is situated in the San Gabriel Mountains in the city of Arcadia, twenty miles northeast of Los Angeles. The track was founded by the Los Angeles Turf Club led by Dr. Charles Strub. Strub ran the operations until his death in 1958. Santa Anita runs the top stakes races in the country during the winter months. The leading events are the million-dollar Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap. The handicap gained instant fame when it offered a $100,000 purse at its first running in the midst of the Depression years. The race has a list of winners the likes of Spectacular Bid, Affirmed, Seabiscuit, Ack Ack, and two-time winner John Henry. The Santa Anita Derby has been won by eight Kentucky Derby winners, including Sunday Silence, Affirmed, Majestic Hill, and Swaps, the first California-bred horse to win the Churchill classic. Both Johnny Longden and Bill Shoemaker rode their last mounts at Santa Anita, and Laffit Pincay had a record seven wins in one day in 1987. Santa Anita hosted the 1986 and 1993 Breeder’s Cup and also the equestrian events for the 1984 Olympic Games. The track facility has been in continuous operation since its 1934 beginnings except for the years of World War II, when it served as the staging area for the removal of Japanese Americans from their homes and into internment camps in the desert. Not all the millions of visitors to Santa Anita over its eight decades have been able to fully appreciate its luxury and elegance during racing seasons – certainly not these unwilling visitors.

Woodbine and the Ontario Jockey Club
Canada’s leading race venue, Woodbine, is located northwest of Toronto. It began racing with trotters in 1874. The track was developed on Joseph Duggan’s horse farm. As elsewhere, the era found bad elements congregating around the racers. In a reaction against the negative reputation that was gathering, Duggan and others formed the nonprofit Ontario Jockey Club in 1881. The club took over the track. The Ontario Jockey Club has also been active in the operation of other tracks, including Fort Erie and Mohawk.
The Woodbine facility was originally in the city of Toronto. A new facility was built in 1956, however, on the outskirts of the metropolitan area. In 1959 the old track was renovated and became Greenwood Race Course. The Fort Erie track across from Buffalo, New York, was developed by the Ontario Jockey Club, but it was sold to private interests in 1997. Today it is the second thoroughbred track in Ontario. The Mohawk track, twenty-five miles west of the Lester Pearson International Airport at Toronto, offers only standardbred racing. Mohawk is the home of the one-million-dollar North American Cup and the Breeder’s Crown, the standardbred version of the Breeder’s Cup. Woodbine itself offers seasons of both thoroughbred and standardbred racing. The track was the home for the Breeder’s Cup in 1996, but its most famous race was the 1973 Canadian International that was won by Secretariat – the famous steed’s last contest. Racing’s popularity in Canada has waned somewhat, as it has elsewhere. The Ontario tracks, including Woodbine, have gained economic strength, however, by becoming racinos. The Woodbine facility now operates approximately 2,000 slot machines.

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Horse Racing Trainers

Bob Baffert
Bob Baffert was born in Nogales, Arizona, on 13 January 1953. He was a professional jockey before turning to training quarter horses. He trained Gold Coast Express, the champion quarter horse of 1986, before turning his attention to thoroughbreds. Within his first decade as a thoroughbred trainer he guided the victories of five national champions. He won the Eclipse Award as the leading trainer in 1997. In both 1997 and 1998, he won the first two legs of the Triple Crown with Kentucky Derby and Preakness victories with Silver Charm and Real Quiet. He has also won two Breeder’s Cup races. His earnings have already surpassed $25 million.

Jim Fitzsimmons
James E. “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons was born in 1874. He began exercising horses when he was ten, and he paid his dues by cleaning stables, grooming horses, and then becoming a jockey. He went on to become one of the most famous trainers of all time, not retiring until he was eighty-nine years old in 1963. In a training career spanning three-quarters of a century, his horses won 2,275 races and purses exceeding $13 million. His most notable claims to fame were his two Triple Crown winners, Gallant Fox in 1930 and Omaha in 1935. He also won the Kentucky Derby with Johnstown in 1939, and trained Eclipse Award winners Bold Ruler, Granville, High Voltage, Misty Morn, Vagrancy, and Nashua. Fitzsimmons was inducted into the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame in 1958. He died at the age of ninety-two in 1966.

Ben Jones
Ben Jones was born in 1882. He spent forty-seven years as a trainer. He was the key figure in building Calumet Farms into the leading owner of winning horses eleven times in the 1940s and 1950s. He trained Triple Crown winner Whirlaway for Calumet, and he took over the general managership of the farm in 1947, just as Citation’s racing career began. He gave the reins of Citation to his son Jim, to train for his successful run at the Triple Crown in 1948. Ben Jones produced 1,519 winners as a trainer, earning purses of nearly $5 million. Counting Citation, his six wins at the Kentucky Derby are the most ever for a trainer.

Lucien Laurin
Lucien Laurin trained 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat and also 1972 Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner Riva Ridge for the Meadows Stable. His four consecutive victories in Triple Crown races stood as a trainer’s record until D. Wayne Lucas won five in a row. Laurin also trained horses that won thirty-two other stakes races. Laurin was born in 1912. He began his career with horses as a jockey, riding 161 winners before he turned to training in 1942. He was an active trainer for forty-five years. Lucien Laurin died in May 2000 at the age of eighty-eight.

D. Wayne Lucas
D. Wayne Lucas was born in Antiga, Wisconsin, in 1935. By the mid-1980s he emerged as the leading contemporary trainer. He has also been important as the purchasing agent selecting several champion horses. Lucas graduated from the University of Wisconsin, where he was also an assistant basketball coach. He began training horses in the late 1960s. Lucas was inducted into the racing Hall of Fame after having been the top money-earning thoroughbred trainer in fourteen different years. His wins have included the Kentucky Derby on four occasions, the Preakness five times, the Belmont, and fifteen Breeder’s Cup races. He won the Eclipse Award as the leading trainer in 1985, 1986, 1987, and 1994. In 1994, 1995, and 1996 he set a trainer’s record when he won five Triple Crown races.

William I. Mott
William I. Mott was born in Mobridge, South Dakota, in 1953. He started training horses while he was still in high school, winning many races in the unrecognized meets of South Dakota. In 1978 he joined the stable of trainer Jack Van Berg, where he worked until 1986. Then he became the trainer for owners Bert and Diana Firestone before becoming independent. At age forty-five, Mott was the youngest trainer ever to be inducted into the racing hall of fame. His major claim to fame was supported by the record of Cigar – two times the horse of the year. During the 1990s, Mott was the second leading money winner among trainers.

Woody Stevens
Woodford Cefis “Woody” Stephens was born a sharecropper’s son on 1 September 1913 in Midway, Florida. He died in 1998 just before his eighty-fifth birthday. Woody Stephens started his career with horses as a jockey in 1930. Ten years later he became a trainer, a trade he continued for fifty-seven years. Stephens’s most notable achievement was his five consecutive wins at the Belmont in the 1980s. He also had two Kentucky Derby winners and one Preakness win. He trained eleven national champions – only D.  Wayne Lucas trained more. Before Stevens retired in 1997, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1976 and was given the Eclipse Award as the leading trainer in 1983.

Charlie Whittingham
Charlie Whittingham was born on 13 April 1913. He lived eighty-six years and came to be known to some as the greatest trainer ever. It was certain that he was the oldest trainer ever to have a Kentucky Derby winner. He was seventy-three when Ferdinand claimed the roses, and he was seventy-six when Sunday Silence was the first to cross the finish line in Louisville. Whittingham’s leading rider during his career was Willie Shoemaker. Whittingham followed horses from the age of eight, as his older brother was a jockey. He began training horses in 1934. His sixty-year career brought him three Eclipse Awards as the leading trainer and Hall of Fame induction in 1974. He trained eleven national champions and three horses named as horse of the year—Ack Ack, Ferdinand, and Sunday Silence. He was the all-time most winning trainer at both Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. His amazing career also included a tour of duty with the marines in the South Pacific during World War II. He died in California on 20 April 1999.

Nicholas Zito
Nicholas Zito was born in New York City in 1948. When he was nine years old he started attending the horse races with his father, who had done service as an exercise attendant. At the age of fifteen, Nicholas got a job as a handyman in the racetrack stables. He moved up the career ladder as an exercise boy, then a groom, and slowly worked toward being a trainer. He learned every step of the way. In the early 1970s, he won his opportunity, training his first horse in 1972. But even then success came slowly. In the 1980s, he teamed up with owner B. Giles Brophy and the keys to success were in his hands. In 1991 he won the Kentucky Derby with Strike the Gold and again in 1994 with Go for Gin. He was only the fifteenth trainer ever to have two Kentucky Derby winners.

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Leading Thoroughbred Jockeys

Eddie Arcaro
Eddie Arcaro was born in Cincinnati in 1916. He ran his first race at the age of fifteen in Cleveland, but he had to wait almost a year for his first victory, which came at the Agua Caliente track in Tijuana. He soon won a contract to ride exclusively for Calumet Farms and then with the Greentree Stable of the Whitney Family. In 1946 he became an independent. Arcaro was the first and only jockey to have mounted two Triple Crown winners – Whirlaway in 1941 and Citation in 1948. Over a career of thirty years he ran 24,092 races, winning 4,779 of them and finishing in the money almost 12,000 times. He won the Kentucky Derby five times, the Preakness and the Belmont six times each. His success was earned with a riding style that seemed to have horse and rider always as one. It also came from the quality of his many mounts: Kelso – five times horse of the year, Bold Ruler, Native Dancer, Nashua, and of course, the two Triple Crown winners.

Jerry Bailey
Jerry Bailey was born in Dallas in 1957. He was drawn into racing when his father purchased several horses at claiming races. Bailey started racing quarter horses when he was only twelve. When he was seventeen, he turned to thoroughbreds and took his first mount in a professional race. He has been racing ever since and doing very well. Three times he has been selected as the winner of the Eclipse Award for jockey of the year. He won two Kentucky Derbys with Sea Hero in 1993 and Grindstone in 1996. He also rode nine winners in Breeder’s Cup races. In 1995, he was inducted into the racing Hall of Fame. One of his most notable claims to fame came as the jockey who rode Cigar in 1994 and 1995, as the horse was horse of the year both years. Bailey has been the president of the Jockeys’ Guild. He is still an active rider in 2001.

Steve Cauthen
Steve Cauthen became a sports “phenom” as a teenager. He was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 1977 at the age of seventeen. Steve began riding when he was only five. He began racing in 1976, immediately setting track records. At River Downs he won ninety-four races in his first fifty days of racing. From there he moved on to Arlington Park, Aqueduct, and Belmont. In his second year, records continued to fall as he won a record $6.1 million in purses. But the best came in 1978 as he guided Affirmed to the Triple Crown. He was the youngest jockey ever to win any Triple Crown race. In 1979, however, he experienced a losing streak and then accepted an offer to move to England, where he rode for the rest of his career. While fighting weight problems and also alcohol dependency, he was still able to win, becoming the number-one English rider in 1984, 1985, and 1987. A severe fall in 1988 kept him out of action for most of a season; nevertheless he returned to race for another year, after which he retired at age thirty. He moved back to his home state of Kentucky, where he raises horses.

Angel Cordero
Angel Cordero Jr. was born on 8 May 1942 in Santurce, Puerto Rico. In a career of thirty-one years he registered 7,057 wins in 38,646 starts and won purses totaling $164 million. He is fourth on the all-time list for numbers of winners. His wins included three at the Kentucky Derby, two at the Preakness, and one at the Belmont Stakes. He also had four winners in Breeder’s Cup races, with over $6 million in Breeder’s Cup earnings. Cordero was named the Eclipse Award winner two times, in 1982 and 1983. An inspirational figure, he once remarked “If a horse has four legs, and I’m riding it, I think I can win”.
But he could not win them all. In 1992 he retired after almost dying in a spill at Aqueduct track in New York. He then became an agent and trainer. Tragedy struck the Corderos again in January 2001, when Angel’s wife, Marjorie, was killed in a hit-and-run accident while jogging at night. Marjorie herself had been a very popular jockey, winning seventy-one races between 1982 and 1985.

Pat Day
Pat Day was born on 13 October 1953 in Brush, Colorado.  He was drawn into racing after competing in high school and amateur rodeos. He thought he should turn to racing because of his slight build. At age nineteen he moved to California and started riding thoroughbreds. He won his first race in 1973. Since then he has had more than 7,000 wins, including the Kentucky Derby aboard Lil E. Tee in 1992, the Preakness five times, and the Belmont twice. He has also become the leading winner among Breeder’s Cup race jockeys with eleven wins. He has led the country in number of wins six different times. He won the Eclipse Award for being the leading jockey in 1984, 1986, 1987, and 1991. He was inducted into the racing Hall of Fame in 1991. He is ranked third in all-time winning among jockeys, and in 2001 he is still racing.

Bill Hartack
Bill Hartack was born in Blacklick Valley, Pennsylvania, in 1932. He took up riding in his late teenage years, and in a professional career from 1952 to 1974 he won 4,272 races, capturing purses of $26 million. His many winners included five mounts at the Kentucky Derby, a feat equaled only by Eddie Arcaro. Hartack was the leading winner in four different years and the leading money winner twice. He was known as a stickler for many details and an antagonist to the press and the general public. He was always at his best while steering his horse around the track and at his worst in the winner’s circle, refusing to give interviews and making caustic remarks to those around him. It was reported that he hated the media because they insisted on calling him “Willie”. After retirement in 1974 he worked as a steward at California tracks.

Julie Krone
Julie Krone was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, in 1963. She is a Hall of Fame member with the most all-time wins of any female jockey – 3,454. She accomplished this record over an eighteen-year career from 1981 to 1999. Her most notable win was at the Belmont Stakes. She is the only woman to win a Triple Crown race. She also matched Angel Cordero’s and Ron Turcotte’s record of having five winners on the same day at Saratoga. Besides winning the Belmont, Krone rode winners in the Arlington Classic, Meadowlands Cup, Jersey Derby, Carter Handicap, and Delaware Handicap. Her career was marred by several accidents that eventually led to her retirement in 1999. The next year she was elected to the Hall of Fame.

Johnny Longden
Johnny Longden was born in England in 1907. He was raised in Canada. He became the leading jockey of his era. He was the first jockey to win 6,000 races; by the end of his riding career at the age of fifty-nine in 1966 he had won 6,032 races. This stood as a record until Willie Shoemaker surpassed the number in 1970. Longden’s purses totaled $24.6 million. His most notable achievement was riding Count Fleet to the Triple Crown in 1943. His career demonstrated his great spirit and love of horses. He broke both arms, both legs, both ankles, feet, and collarbones in racing accidents along with six ribs and several vertebrae. His arthritis slowed him down enough to cause his retirement as a jockey. But his maladies could not keep him away from the track. Three years after retiring as a rider he was a trainer, leading Majestic Prince to a Kentucky Derby win. He is the only person to have Kentucky Derby wins as both a jockey and a trainer. But there was more—he was also Majestic Prince’s exercise boy, groom, and stable-cleaner.

Laffit Pincay
Laffit Pincay is now the jockey with the most wins in history, having reached the plateau of 8,034 races in December 1999. He passed Willie Shoemaker’s accomplishments in a thirty-five-year period. Pincay was born in Panama City, Panama, on 29 December 1946. He started racing professionally at the Presidente Ramon racetrack in Panama at age seventeen. Two years later he moved to the United States. Success followed as he became the all-time leading jockey at Hollywood Park, Santa Anita, and Del Mar. One day he rode a record seven races at Santa Anita.  He led the nation in jockey earnings seven times, and in five years he was given the Eclipse Award as the top jockey. He biggest win came at the 1984 Kentucky Derby. He also won the Belmont Stakes three times in a row and had seven wins in Breeder’s Cup races. He took several spills with his victories, showing great fortitude. He broke his collarbones eleven times and his ribs ten times; he had two spinal fractures, two broken thumbs, and a sprained ankle. He is still racing in 2001, riding in his twentieth Kentucky Derby; some suggest he is hoping to win 10,000 races.

Willie Shoemaker
Willie Shoemaker was born in 1931 in Fabens, Texas, moving to California as a child, where he started riding. At age seventeen he rode in his first professional race, and after a month he rode his first winner. By age twenty-two he had ridden a record 485 wins in a single year. He just kept winning and winning. On six occasions he won six races in a single day. In 1970 he passed Johnny Longden as the leading winner as he rode across the finish line in first place for the 6,033d time. By the end of his forty-one-year riding career in 1990 he had ridden 8,833 winners. In ten different years he was the leading money winner among jockeys. Overall he produced purse wins of $123 million for his mounts, being the first jockey to have wins of over $100 million. He won 1,009 stakes races. On four occasions he won the Kentucky Derby, the last time in 1986 at age fifty-four. He was the oldest jockey ever to win the race. He also had two wins in the Preakness and five wins in the Belmont stakes. After retiring, he became a trainer. His career success came at serious costs. He suffered broken legs and hips from falls during races. His most devastating injury came in a car accident in 1991, however, the year after he retired as a rider. The accident left him paralyzed below the neck. He continued an advisory role until 1997 as a trainer at Santa Anita, where he had had so many victories over his career.

Ron Turcotte
Ron Turcotte will always be known as the jockey who rode the great Secretariat to the Triple Crown in 1973. But he did more than just that outstanding feat. He also won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont aboard Riva Ridge in 1972, giving him five of six Triple Crown race victories in two years. He also rode Tom Rolfe to victory in the Preakness in 1965, and he rode Northern Dancer as a two-year-old. Turcotte was a French Canadian, born in Drummond, New Brunswick, on 22 June 1941. He was one of twelve children. He dropped out of school at the age of thirteen in order to work as a logger. In that work, he began to ride horses. As a result, he was drawn to racetracks and set his sights on becoming a jockey, but he had to work up to it. He moved to Toronto and its Woodbine track in 1959 and started cleaning stables, then walking horses, and then giving them work-out rides. In 1961 he became an apprentice jockey. Success followed each step of the way. In 1962 he had 180 wins, and in 1963 he was the leading Canadian jockey. In that year he also began racing in the United States at Laurel and Saratoga. His U.S. career received a big boost with his Preakness win on Tom Rolfe, and he was hired to ride for Meadows Stable, where he was given the reins of Secretariat when the horse was a two-year-old and won horse of the year honors. He retired in 1978 and was elected to the Hall of Fame the next year.

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The Racing Hall of Fame and Museum

The National Museum of Racing and the Thoroughbred Racing’s Hall of Fame have been established and located in Saratoga Springs, New York, near the historic Saratoga track. The museum opened its doors in 1950, and the Hall of Fame was created at the site in 1955. As of 1998, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the Hall of Fame included 154 thoroughbreds, 77 jockeys, and 71 trainers. They are selected by a special panel of 125 experts from nominations made by leading media writers and commentators. Among the leading members of the Hall of Fame are the following horses and competitors.

A Selected List of Leading Thoroughbred Horses

Affirmed, the great-grandson of Native Dancer, won the Triple Crown in 1978 under the saddle of Steve Cauthen. In a three-year career, Affirmed won twenty-two of twenty-nine races and finished out of the money only one time. Affirmed was owned by Louis Wolfson and trained at his Harbor View Farm in Florida.  As two-year-olds, Affirmed and Alydar began a series of ten races that captured the attention of all horse enthusiasts. They raced six times as two-year-olds, with Affirmed victorious four times. As three-year-olds, Affirmed finished first and Alydar second in all Triple Crown races – the only time two horses have done that. In a subsequent race, Affirmed won again but was disqualified. Affirmed also finished his Triple Crown year with a loss to the previous year’s Triple Crown winner, Seattle Slew, and then had an out-of-the-money finish in a race where his saddle slipped. Nonetheless, Affirmed was proclaimed to be the horse of the year. As a four-year-old he repeated the honor of being horse of the year.
Cigar ran to nineteen victories in thirty-three starts over a four-year career. His mark of fame came in 1996 as a six-year-old when he galloped to his sixteenth consecutive win, tying a record set by Citation. Cigar was raised at Allen Paulsen’s Brookside Farm in Kentucky, after being born in Maryland. He was the great-grandson of Northern Dancer. The future record-running horse did not race until he was three years old, and he bypassed the Triple Crown. He won only two of nine races as a three-year-old, and it was discovered that he had chips in the bones of each knee. Arthroscopic surgery corrected the trouble, but he still won only two of six races as a four-year-old. The wins were his last two races that year, and they were the beginning of a streak. In 1995 in the Donn Handicap, his leading challenger was Holy Bull, the horse of the year for 1994. Holy Bull took a misstep and incurred a career-ending injury. Critics discounted Cigar’s victory even though he was leading when Holy Bull’s accident happened. Soon, however, Cigar was defeating other “Grade I” fields in the Pimlico Special Handicap, the Massachusetts Handicap, and the Hollywood Gold Cup Handicap, also the Woodward Stakes, the Jockey Gold Cup, and most impressively, the 1995 Breeder’s Cup Classic. The season was a perfect ten for ten, and Cigar’s winning streak was at twelve. Cigar won horse of the year honors as well as the Eclipse Award as the older male champion. In 1996 Cigar raced to four straight victories at the Dubai World Cup, the Donn Handicap, the Massachusetts Handicap, and the Arlington Citation Challenge. That sixteenth win came in a race especially created for a national television audience.
Cigar tied Citation’s record, but the chance for seventeen victories in a row was lost when his jockey, Jerry Bailey, could not slow his pace, and he succumbed to exhaustion and a second-place finish three and a half lengths behind Dare and Go in the Pacific Classsic at Del Mar. He won one more time before being turned out to stud. His career produced prizes of $9,999,815. The prize money was his crowning glory, as he was a failure at stud. He was sterile. Cigar was moved to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington so that his many admiring fans could come and look him over – another kind of pleasurable retirement.
Citation, a bay colt, won the Triple Crown for Calumet Farms in 1948.  He competed four years: 1947, 1948, 1950, and 1951. He ran 45 times, with 32 firsts, 10 seconds, 2 thirds, and only 1 out-of-the-money run. Injuries kept Citation off the track in 1949, and the horse never regained his Triple Crown form afterwards, but his owner, Warren Wright, requested that he keep running in order to become the first one-million-dollar purse winner. He did that for his owner, retiring in the middle of the 1951 season. In the course of his race career, Citation put together a string of sixteen wins, a record that held for over five decades until it was equaled by Cigar. Citation was a horse with both speed and staying power and a “killer’s instinct” that craved victory.
Count Fleet
Count Fleet ran only two years, competing in 21 races, winning 16, placing second in 4, and third in 1. Among Count Fleet’s victories were the Triple Crown races in 1943, in which he was ridden by the legendary Johnny Longden. Count Fleet was the offspring of the 1928 Kentucky Derby winner, Reigh Count, and Quickly, a sprint filly. Because he had suffered a hoof injury during the Wood Memorial, Count Fleet was challenged by several horses in the Kentucky Derby. He was still the favorite, and he won over Blue Swords by three lengths. That did it for most of the others. Only three challengers showed up at the Preakness, where he galloped to a win over Blue Swords by eight lengths. That made the Belmont only a three-horse race, and Count Fleet flew by the competition, winning with a twenty-five-length lead, unsurpassed in any Triple Crown event until Secretariat’s Belmont run of 1973. Count Fleet’s time was a record for the Belmont, and he actually won with an injured ankle. He was immediately retired to stud. There he continued his greatness, as he became racing’s leading sire. He fathered thirty-eight stakes winners, as well as female offspring that produced another 119 stakes winners, including Kelso. Count Fleet was retired from stud in 1966 and lived until age thirty-three, dying in 1973.
The “first champion” English thoroughbred, Eclipse, was foaled in 1764. Eclipse was a great-great-grandson of Darley Arabian. He began training and racing at age five and ran matched heats of four miles each. He won every race he entered, but his true fame is for posterity. Over 80 percent of all racing thoroughbreds today can trace their bloodlines to this champion.
John Henry
John Henry started 83 races over an eight-year career. He won 39 and was second 15 times while amassing $6,591,860 in prizes. He was not a fast starter as a career horse. While a three-year-old, he was purchased sight unseen for $25,000. He was born in 1975 at Kentucky’s Golden Chance Farm, and seemingly no one wanted the horse. In 1980, however, he hit his stride as he won 6 straight stakes races. In 1981, he won 8 of his 10 starts. In the most recognized of his runs that year, he was ridden by Bill Shoemaker as he won the first Arlington Million. John Henry won the Eclipse Award for older horses and also was named horse of the year. Over the next two years, injuries kept his starts down, but in 1984 he returned to prominence with 6 victories in 9 races. In 1985 he retired to the Kentucky Horse Park, as the leading money winner of all time.
In 1960 Kelso was voted the champion male three-year-old and also the horse of the year. He won 8 of 9 races. The honors came even though he did not run that year until after the Triple Crown cycle had ended. But once running, he kept running for six more years, amassing a total of 39 victories, 31 in stakes races, as well as 12 seconds in his 63 starts. He won $1,977,896 in prizes. Kelso was durable, winning a record five designations as horse of the year. He also set track records at eight different courses. Often he ran with the disadvantage of extra weights as race organizers tried to give the competition a chance. Kelso was born in 1957 on the Claiborne Farm of Paris, Kentucky. He retired after running only one start in 1966 at the age of nine. He lived to be twenty-six, dying at the du Pont’s Woodstock Farm in Maryland in 1983.
Man O’War
Man O’War was designated to be the greatest horse of the twentieth century by Blood-Horse Magazine. All agree that he was the “super horse” of 1919 and 1920, winning all of his eleven races the latter year. As he was not entered in the Kentucky Derby, he did not achieve the Triple Crown. Nonetheless Man O’War, called “Big Red,” is still considered by some to be the greatest racehorse in history.  In his two-year career he had twenty first-place finishes and only one second place. His second-place finish came in the 1919 Sanford Stakes. He lost to a decided underdog by the name of Upset. As a result of that race a new word, upset, was introduced into the vocabulary of sports enthusiasts and applied to victories by underdogs. Man O’War’s record of twenty victories in twenty-one starts has only once been surpassed. In his final race, the Kenilworth Gold Cup, he defeated Sir Barton, the previous year’s Triple Crown winner, by seven lengths. Man O’War also was accomplished in stud, as he fathered War Admiral, the Triple Crown winner of 1937. Man O’War lived to be thirty. He died in 1947, and his funeral was broadcast by radio to the nation. The site of his grave, now at the Kentucky Horse Park, is marked by a 3,000-pound sculptured likeness.
Native Dancer
In 1952 as a two-year-old, Native Dancer ran to nine straight victories, sharing horse of the year honors with One Count. Native Dancer was born on the Scott Farm near Lexington, Kentucky, in March 1950, and he was raised on his owner’s – Alfred Vanderbilt’s – Sagamore Farm in Maryland. He won his first race at Jamaica in April 1952, and his second race only four days later. The speed of his entries was probably a training error, as he had to be rested for three months with bruised shins. He again picked up his frantic pace, however, winning the Flash Stakes at Saratoga and then three more victories within the next three weeks. He added four more victories before the end of the season. In 1953 he picked up the pace with two more victories in the Gotham Stakes and the Wood Memorial. He became the heavy odds-on favorite to win the Kentucky Derby going away. That victory proved to be elusive, however. In the first turn of the race he was bumped by a long shot, and he ended up in heavy traffic. Finally he burst loose from the crowd and charged at the leader, Dark Star, gaining on him all the way. Alas, “all the way” was not long enough; the finish line came too soon. Native Dancer finished second by a head. Two weeks later, Native Dancer defeated Dark Star and the field in the Preakness. He kept on winning – the Belmont Stakes, the Dwyer Stakes at Aqueduct, the Arlington Classic, and the Travers Stakes. At age four, he added three more victories, and he was designated as the horse of the year, after which he was retired. He had won a record twenty-one of twenty-two races. At stud at Sagamore Farm, he sired forty-four stakes winners, including Kentucky Derby winner Kauai King. Native Dancer was the grand sire of Mr. Prospector—the greatest sire of all time, and he also sired the mother of Canada’s greatest horse, Northern Dancer. Native Dancer died in 1967.
Secretariat was a very strong chestnut colt born on 30 March 1970. He was known as “Big Red”, the same nickname as Man O’War had. Secretariat’s father was Bold Ruler, horse of the year in 1957, and his mother Somethingroyal, a horse who never ran a race. The greatest horse of the last half-century was owned by the Penny Chenery and Meadows Stable and carried blue and white colors. He was trained by Lucien Laurin and ridden by jockey Ron Turcotte. As a two-year-old he lost his first race but then showed dominance in the next eight runs, winning all but the last, which he lost as a result of a disqualification. He was named horse of the year in 1972, the first two-year-old to win the honor. In 1973, he was ready for the Triple Crown. His warm-up races went fine until he had a weak performance in the Woodward Memorial owing to a painful abscess. Although many doubted that he had the stamina, he was ready for the Kentucky Derby. He won going away with a Derby record time, 1:59:40, the only time a horse has run the one and one-quarter miles under two minutes.  In the Preakness he won by two and a half lengths, in what would have been a record time had the track clock functioned. His competition was intimidated. There were only five horses in the Belmont. Secretariat left them in the dust, winning by a phenomenal thirty-one lengths, in a record time of 2:24, more than two seconds faster than the track record. His final race was at the Canadian International at Woodbine Track in Toronto, after which he again was named horse of the year. He retired to stud at Claiborne Farm in Lexington, where in addition to the mares, he attracted over 10,000 visitors a year until he died in 1989. The source of Secretariat’s extraordinary stamina was discovered after his death, when an autopsy revealed that his heart was 50 percent larger than normal size.

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Types of Races

In addition to races of various distances and races for certain kinds of horses (races for mares only, races for horses that have never won before – called maiden races, or races only for two-year-olds or for three-year-olds), there are four basic kinds of races: claiming races, allowance races, handicap races, and stakes races.
Claiming Races
Most races are claiming races. An owner who puts a horse into a claiming race is, in effect, putting the horse up for sale. Registered persons can claim the horse for a price equal to the purse of the race. The claimers must present cash or a certified check to a race official before the race starts. If two or more persons claim the same horse, a roll of the dice decides who purchases the horse. The ownership of the horse changes when the race begins; however, the old owner retains the purse for the race if the horse is a winner. Claiming races are a mechanism for selling horses that have not met the expectations of their owners. The prices received for the horses are generally below those that are exchanged in horse auctions.
Allowance Races
Allowance races are usually a step above claiming races in quality. The track secretary accepts applications for entry and then balances the qualifying horses by adding or subtracting weights carried by individual horses. For horses that have performed well in the past, winning races and bigger purses, weights are added to the saddles, making the horse have to work harder in the race. Horses that have not won or have won only maiden races or claiming races might be able to take weight loads off. The weights are assigned by a specific formula. There could be as much as a ten-pound difference or more between the horses with the best and worst records.
Handicap Races
As in allowance races, the track secretary assigns extra weights to favored horses in handicap races. The weights, however, are assigned not according to a fixed formula but in accordance with how the secretary feels the horse would perform without extra weights. The secretary is seeking to truly make the contest “a horse race”, that is, a race in which all horses stand relatively the same chances for reaching the finish wire in the lead. In handicap races, the trainers and jockeys know that the racing secretary is seeking to have a balanced race. Therefore, if they gain a very large lead in the race, they tend to adopt a strategy of holding back somewhat so their victory will not appear as large as it otherwise could be. By winning closely instead of running away with the race, they win favor with the secretary, who may not assign as much weight to them in the next race run by the horse.
Stakes Races
The most important races are stakes races. In these races the owners pay a set of fees beginning at the time they apply to enter a horse in the race, then another fee when the track secretary accepts their entry, and a subsequent fee or fees when they appear at the track on the day of the race. All the fees are added into the purse. The leading stakes race in the United States is the Kentucky Derby; other races such as in the Breeder’s Cup series have large fees. The entrant to the Kentucky Derby may incur fees as large as several hundred thousand dollars. The track may also add money into the purse for a stakes race. These races attract the best horses, and they all run carrying the same weights.  Most run all out and seek to win by the biggest margins possible. Strong wins in stakes races can be translated into very good prices if the owners wish to sell the horse and also for stud services if the horse is retired.
In all the races mares are given a five-pound discount – that is, they run with a weight load five pounds lighter than all the other horses in stakes races or claiming races, or five pounds less than they would otherwise carry in allowance or handicap races. There are special races just for mares; however, there are no races that are exclusively for stallions.

Racing Participants

Owners of horses purchase horses and cover all costs for their maintenance and training, as well as track entry fees for stakes races. Although owners may be serious businesspeople who see racing as a way of accumulating wealth, few owners can actually make money in horse racing. Costs for maintaining a racehorse approximate $30,000 a year, whereas the average racehorse achieves winnings that are below $10,000. In the past, racing attracted many moderately successful businesspeople who calculated the excitement of being in the “racing game” and assumed there would be losses but that the losses could be subtracted from their business income for tax advantages. The 1986 tax reforms made such write-offs much more difficult; hence many otherwise willing businesspeople moved out of racing. Racing also attracts the rich, who wish to be in the game without serious qualms about losses they might incur because their horses cannot win races. Some of these owners willingly pay the very high fees to have their horses in the major stakes races, thus giving the best fields of horses several “sure losers”, running against odds of 50–1, 60–1, 70–1, or even greater. But then, maybe one out of seventy times their horses can score a major upset. The winning owners are given 80 percent of the purse of the race if their horses are winners. In most cases, to be a winner – of some of the purse – the horse must finish in one of the first four spots. In major races, part of the purse may go to the fifth-place horse. One of the major jobs of the owner is to select a trainer for the horse.
The trainer is in charge of the horse twenty-four hours a day, every day. He or she has been called the “Captain of the Stable”. The trainer is responsible for doing everything that gets the horse ready to come to the track and race, makes decisions regarding the races in which the horse will run, and advises owners when to sell the horse or when to buy horses. Of course, in these decisions – and the decision to put a horse into a claiming race – he or she must have the approval and confidence of the owner. Usually if there is not a good relationship when these major decisions are made, the trainer will refuse to work for the owner. The trainer picks the facilities for training and keeping the horse and also makes another big decision: He or she chooses the jockey for the races. A trainer receives 10 percent of the purses won by the horses he or she has trained, as well as fees from the horse owner for the activities involved.
Placing Judges
Three judges watch the finish line and independently declare which horse finishes first, second, third, and fourth (or fifth if that spot is “in the money”). If they do not have a unanimous agreement, they request a photo of the finish. They also seek photos if the race is close for any of the four positions.
Track Veterinarians
There are veterinarians at each track. The official one must certify that each horse is physically able to compete in the race. He determines that no illegal drugs have been put into the system of the horses if he suspects they might have been.

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Horse Racing - Gambling in AmericaHorse racing is one of mankind’s oldest sports, going back to the earliest days of recorded time. There has been a variety of types of racing and breeds of horses engaged in racing. Thoroughbreds are the most recognized breed of racehorses, but there are also quarter horses, Arabians, and standardbreds.
There are races over straight courses and oval tracks, from one-fourth mile to several miles. The standard distance of races is measured in furlongs; one furlong is one-eighth of a mile. Tracks may be grass or dirt. In addition to mounted races (called flats) and harness races, there are obstacle races called steeplechases.
Certain races command much more attention than others. These include the championship races known as the Triple Crown or Breeders Cup for thoroughbreds, the Breeders Crown and the Hambletonian for standardbreds (harness horses), and the American Futurity for quarter horses. There are horse races for two-year-olds, three-year-olds, and older horses. There are also maiden races for horses that have never won a race before. Other varieties of races include allowance and handicap races, stakes races, and claiming races.
The majority of states have some forms of race betting. Thirty-seven states allow thoroughbred racing, 27 states allow quarter horse racing, and 26 states have harness racing. Additionally, 25 states allow offtrack betting, and 39 states have intertrack betting facilities.  Every Canadian province has pari-mutuel betting on horse races. The ten provinces and the Yukon permit harness racing, seven provinces and the Yukon allow thoroughbred racing, and nine provinces and the Yukon allow quarter horse race betting. All provinces and the Yukon permit intertrack betting as well as telephone betting and offtrack betting. There are also tracks in Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean island states of Antigua, Barbados, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Martinique, and Trinidad.
In the United States approximately 6 percent of all gambling losses in 1998 were by pari-mutuel horse bettors (Christiansen 1999). Track winnings (and other moneys taken out of betting pools) totaled $3.3 billion in 1998. Although on-track betting has declined a great deal over the past three decades, the total amounts bet on horse races have increased slightly, going up an average of 2.3 percent a year since 1982. All gambling in the United States has increased 10.4 percent each year since 1982. There are approximately 150 tracks in the United States, with several of these operating only during short fair seasons. Canada has approximately forty tracks; most of them for harness racing events.
Gambling operations have supported racing ever since it became a popular form of entertainment. There is a variety of betting systems, but in modern times, the pari-mutuel system has replaced almost all other systems at the track in North America. Other systems included pooled and auction betting, as well as betting with bookies who guarantee odds of horses at time of bets. In recent years betting revenues have shown only minuscule growth, and tracks have sought other opportunities to gain revenues. They have benefited from intertrack, offtrack, and even telephone betting. Many tracks see their future in converting facility use to slot machine and video machine gambling.

History of Horse Racing

Records of horse racing date back to 4000b.c. or earlier. At that time Babylonian soldiers used chariots not only in wartime battles but also in staged races. By 1500 b.c., Assyrians incorporated chariot races into their recreational lives. The early breeds of horses that were available to the peoples of known Western “historical” societies were small in size. It would take two or more to pull a chariot, and individual horses could not be mounted by riders. A statue in a New York museum shows an Egyptian racing a mounted horse, however. The statue dates to 2000 b.c. In 624 b.c. there was a mounted horse race during the 33d Olympic games in Greece. Records suggest that the Greeks captured stronger horses from Arabs and Persians.
There was very likely betting on the Greek races, as gambling was part of their society. There is little question that the Romans bet on horse races. Races were held in Rome very soon after the city was founded. Racing events became an essential part of the entertainment of the masses of Roman citizens. Racing was also seen as a way of encouraging the development of a better, stronger, faster stock of horses for military uses. Romans are also credited with bringing their horses to the British Isles, where they raced against and also mixed with Celtic ponies. In about a.d. 200, the Romans held their first formal race meeting in England.
During the first millennium, racing captured the attention of all the civilizations throughout the Mediterranean world and farther east.  The Arabian societies, which fell under the influence of Islam, adhered to prohibitions against gambling, but they made two exceptions. It was permissible to bet on scholarship contests involving children, as doing so encouraged learning the Koran, and it was permissible to bet on horse races, as doing so encouraged improvements in breeding that would result in better horses that could be used in holy battles with the infidel.
In England, horse racing and betting flourished. In the Middle Ages, horse-race betting took on its identity as the Sport of Kings. Henry II established weekly races at fairgrounds about 1174, and his son John kept a royal stable of racehorses. Serious breeding efforts and formal racetracks date back to the sixteenth century. Henry VIII passed laws that sought to isolate racing stallions from ordinary horses. He also demanded that each of his dukes and archbishops keep at least seven stallions. The oldest sponsored British race was probably the Chester Cup, which was run in 1512 during Henry’s reign. The first stakes race (a race requiring owners to pool money for the winner’s prize) was held during King James’s reign in the early seventeenth century. Under James’s direction, the racetrack at Newmarket initiated racing. During the Cromwell interlude a Puritan dominance of England precluded racing, but the activity came back with a vengeance with the Restoration and Charles II. He established new stakes royal races, and in 1674, the king himself mounted a steed and ran to a first-place finish at Newmarket.
Racing developed over the course of the seventeenth century in England as breeding practices were regularized, lineages were recorded, and tracks were improved. The notion of accurate lineage became even more critical with the arrival of three special horses in England toward the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries. Every thoroughbred horse running in the world today is descended from these three horses: Byerley’s Turk, Darley Arabian, and Godolphin Arabian.
In the seventeenth century, the purest breeds of horses were to be found in Turkey and Arabia. In 1688, British captain Byerley captured a horse from a Turkish officer at Buda. The horse that became known as Byerley’s Turk was probably born in 1680. He was brought to England, where his breeding career began. The second horse was called Darley Arabian. He was twenty years younger than Byerley Turk. He was bought by Englishman Thomas Darley at Aleppo in 1704 and sent to a farm in Yorkshire, where he performed stud duties until 1730. One of his sons was sent to North America. The third horse, Godolphin Arabian, was born in Yemen in 1724. He was first exported to Syria and then to Tunis, where he was given to the king of France. Englishman Edward Coke of Derbyshire purchased the horse in Paris and later sold him to the second earl of Godolphin for stud at his estate near Newmarket.
The first horses to arrive in the Western Hemisphere came west with the second voyage of Columbus in 1495. Columbus used horses in his conquest over indigenous populations in the Caribbean region. Thereafter, every ship from Spain carried horses. Their numbers multiplied in the Caribbean islands, and Cortez took horses from Cuba to Mexico in 1519 and used them as he overwhelmed his Aztec Native adversaries. Horses soon were being exported to the far reaches of South America. Many were also captured by Native Americans, and some ran off to start a wild horse population that was found on the American plains and into the Southwest. On some occasions the horses became a part of the food supply for desperate conquistadors and explorers. But the Spanish also raced the stock in Cuba and Mexico during the sixteenth century.
English settlers came to Virginia and New England in the early decades of the seventeenth century. The first horses arrived at Jamestown Colony in 1610, but the six mares and one stallion were eaten as other food supplies dwindled during the next winter. Subsequent ships brought more horses, including twenty mares in 1620, and a solid permanent stock of horses was established. The Virginia colonists also purchased horses, which had descended from Spanish imports, from Native peoples. As soon as horses were in the American colonies, horse racing began. The Virginia colony passed a law allowing racing in 1630.  The previous year horses arrived in New England. By mid-century, racing was common all along the eastern seaboard, as the stock of horses was pervasive.
Cleared land was at a premium in these early colonial years, so most of the racing was on village streets or on narrow paths through woods. The notion of the sprint race developed, a precursor of quarter horse racing, which was popularized in the American West. Originally the betting on races was conducted among the owners of the horses. Disputes over betting and the results of the races were submitted to the law courts for resolution. The first race track in the Americas was established by Richard Nicholls, the British governor of New York, immediately after his countrymen had taken hostile possession of New York (New Amsterdam) from Dutch settlers in 1665. Nicholls built a large, oval, wide-open, grass track in present-day Jamaica, Long Island.
Other colonies followed by building their own tracks. The tracks allowed for much longer races. Indeed, the four-mile race became common. Racing was formalized, and large purses were offered to winners. At first, all betting had been among players, but with tracks, entrepreneurs developed systems of pooled betting. A pool seller would offer a wager at set odds, and then he would seek to sell chances on all the horses. If he could not sell all the horses and all the bets in the pool, he would be subject to taking losses on the races. The popularity of the tracks led more and more people to betting, including members of the less wealthy classes. As a result, several colonies passed laws banning racing.
Nevertheless, betting continued through the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. Then the stock of racing horses became critical to the war effort, and racing stopped. Prior to the war, several colonies had developed jockey clubs that would establish the rules for all the races and to a degree would replace the civil law courts as the arbiters of disputes regarding wagers and race results.
The development of the breed and racing stock in Canada has been related to events in other countries as well as indigenous factors. The French began settlements in Quebec City in 1608. As the weather was quite severe there and also in other French Canadian settlements, horses were viewed as work animals. They ate and they worked, performing tasks on the farm and also in transportation. The population did not see them as frivolous objects that could be raced for fun. The motherland in Europe—France—did not send horses to Quebec for racing purposes. In France racing was an activity of royalty. During the French Revolution the rebels who brought down the royalty purposely killed all the racehorses in France, as they were a symbol of autocracy. There the activity of racing was lost for generations and also lost as an activity that could be exported to cousins in North America. By the time of the American Revolution, Quebec was part of a British colonial system. Some French farmers experimented in developing trotters; however, most of these horses were sold to be run in the United States. Nonetheless, a horse track opened in Montreal in 1828. Most of the thoroughbreds running in Montreal were initially from the United States. In 1836, however, King William IV of England commissioned a flat race (alternatively called the King’s Plate and Queen’s Plate) for Canadian-bred horses. Montreal remained the center of Canadian racing for a quarter-century.
Ontario (Upper Canada) developed steeplechases, as an elite aristocratic population familiar with fox hunting had migrated northward during the American Revolution. With increased populations, Ontario turned its sights to thoroughbreds. In 1860 the Toronto Jockey Club was able to persuade racing officials and horse owners to move the Queen’s Plate race to the Woodbine Track, where the race is still run. The Civil War in the United States years saw many horses from the South being moved into Ontario. More Canadian tracks developed. Canadian racing also received a boost when moral authority in the United States caused much racing to be declared illegal in all but a few states in the first decade of the twentieth century. This boost, which had resulted in many small Canadian tracks’ being opened, also brought in many corrupting elements. An epidemic of rigged races and other untoward practices resulted in Canada’s banning racetrack betting in the 1920s.  In the 1930s racing was revived with a pari-mutuel system of betting in place.
In the United States, racing had a revival after the Revolutionary War, with most of the action being found in the South. Kentucky established itself as the premier location for horse breeding. Newly settled Western areas attracted racing interests. The era brought an end to long endurance races, as one-mile dashes and quarter-mile runs became popular. Quasi-official “stud books” were initiated to record the identities of all racing horses.
The Civil War devastated racing in the South. Only in the border state of Kentucky did racing continue without interruption. In the meantime, New York reestablished its earlier predominance in the sport. The Saratoga track opened in 1863 and became the country’s leading facility. Major stakes races were started, the first being the Travers Stakes run at Saratoga in 1864. Three new stakes races took on the aura of America’s Triple Crown. These were the Belmont Stakes, first run in New York City in 1867; the Preakness, first run at Baltimore’s Pimlico Track in 1873; and the Kentucky Derby, which had its initial run at Louisville’s Churchill Downs in 1875.
In 1894 the Jockey Club of New York was formed by the leading horse owners. The club set down rules for all thoroughbred racing, and the next year the state legislature decreed that the rules would be enforced on all tracks. Other states’ lawmakers also accepted the New York Jockey Club’s rules for their own tracks. The Jockey Club also took over the American Stud Book and thereby made it the universal book of registry for all thoroughbreds in the country. The rules and organization of regulation helped racetrack betting survive in New York at the turn of the century, whereas it was being rendered illegal in most other states. In Kentucky racing survived with state intervention in the form of the creation of the first state racing commission in the United States in 1906.
A wave of reform at the turn of the twentieth century that led to the demise of lotteries and the closing of casinos in New Mexico Territory and Arizona Territory and the state of Nevada also brought most racing to a standstill. Kentucky and Maryland survived as the only states allowing horse race betting through the reform era; policy in New York vacillated between tolerance and prohibition. Racing began its comeback in the 1920s and 1930s as states looked toward the gambling activity as a source for taxation revenues. The charge for a return to racing was helped with the introduction of the pari-mutuel system, as it centralized all betting, facilitating both control and also the extraction of taxation. Florida opened the Hialeah racetrack in 1925. A course opened in 1929 at Agua Caliente, Baja California, near Tijuana, serving the desires of California bettors before that state joined nine other states in legalizing pari-mutuel betting in 1933.
Other innovations also strengthened the growth of the sport. Power starting gates ensured that all horses were given an even beginning. Saliva tests were developed that could ensure that horses were not drugged. They were first used at Saratoga in 1932. In 1936 the photo finish was first used. The popularity of racing was also facilitated by illegal betting, which was encouraged by national bookie organizations that used wire services to instantaneously send information across the country to local street bookies and bookie shops.
During World War II racing remained a sport demanding public attention. Two horses, Count Fleet and Citation, won the Triple Crown in 1943 and 1948, respectively. Their presence made racing activity common conversation throughout the land. Horse racing peaked in the 1950s and 1960s with performances of star thoroughbreds such as Nashau, Swaps, and Native Dancer.
In 1966 Walter D. Osborne wrote, “The United States today is in the midst of the greatest boom in horseflesh since the invention of the gasoline engine”. What goes up sometimes comes down, however, and since the end of the 1960s, horse racing has been in a steady decline. Attendance at races has plunged drastically, and betting at on-track pari-mutuel windows has suffered accordingly. In the last three decades betting on racing at the tracks has gone from being the most popular form of gambling, with almost a legal monopoly of gambling activities in the United States, to being a very small sector of legal gambling – producing revenues under 8 percent of all legal gambling revenues. Only two factors have saved the betting sport from almost certain oblivion: (1) the introduction of revenues gained from off-track wagering and telephone betting and (2) the introduction of revenues from other gambling activity taking place on tracks and in card rooms (Hollywood Park, California), gambling machines (six states and four provinces), and sports betting (Tijuana).Horse Racing - Gambling in America (part 1)
There have been many suggestions for why racing has declined. Many have suggested that racing lost its edge by clinging to old “proven” methods that worked in an atmosphere of no competition.  Racing rejected opportunities to put its entertainment products on television as that media swept American culture in the 1950s and 1960s. Other professional sport events rushed to television. The public gave endorsements to baseball, football, and basketball as never before.
The baby boom generation that began to reach the age of majority in the 1960s did not relate to horses as did their fathers, or grandfathers. They were more focused upon automobiles as their form of transportation. More important, this emerging and now middle-aged generation was action oriented. Its members wanted their entertainment now, and they wanted entertainment to be constant. They did not see the excitement in watching horses run at a twenty-five-mile-per-hour clip for two minutes and then having to sit for thirty minutes before the action began again. They might ask why a sports fan would prefer horse racing to an auto race where cars spin around a track at 200 miles per hour for several hours.
The entertainment consumer of the latter part of the twentieth century did not want to have to devote time and energy to understanding what he or she was watching. It was not easy to understand the fine points of horse racing – that is, understanding enough for becoming a reasonably astute bettor-handicapper. When other forms of gambling—lottery, most casino games—became available to these consumers, their desire for racing products naturally declined.
Gaming competition is generally considered to be the major factor in the decline of racing. Additional factors surrounding the decline include the declining and aging condition of racing facilities – stands, betting areas, rest rooms. The tax “reform” legislation in the mid-1980s also took investment incentives away from businesspeople interested in racing.
The decline also fed upon itself, as prizes for horse race winners were taken from a betting pool. As bets were reduced in size, so too was money available for prizes. Lower prize money discouraged investors and also kept many from entering their horses into races.  The quality of racing was affected as lesser-quality entries were led to the post gates. In turn, public interest in racing lessened again. The state (and provincial) governments made the situations worse as they often responded to lower betting activity by increasing their tax take from the betting pool. This not only affected prizes but also made the return for bettors less desirable, hence reducing the incentive for betting.
Although tracks realize these factors, they find that reforms are at best stopgap measures only allowing them to barely survive. They must run faster and faster just to stay in place.

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