Dec. 12, 1942: More than 20,000 racegoers turned out to watch 1941 Triple Crown winner Whirlaway win the inaugural Louisiana Handicap at Fair Grounds, staged in part as a war relief effort by the newly formed Thoroughbred Racing Associations.
Dec. 12, 1997: Jockey Russell Baze, the only jockey to win 400 or more races in a year more than three times, accomplished the feat for a sixth straight season at Golden Gate Fields.
Dec. 13, 1986: Jockey Kent Desormeaux had his first career stakes win, aboard Godbey, in the Maryland City Handicap at Laurel.
Dec. 14, 1997: Maybe Jack drew off and won a match race against Pro on Ice at Suffolk Downs, making him the winningest horse of 1997 with 13 victories.
Dec. 15, 1973: Sandy Hawley became the first jockey in history to win 500 races in a single year when he rode Charlie Jr. to victory in the third race at Laurel.
Dec. 15, 2000: Congress passed a package of appropriations bills that included a clarification to the Interstate Horseracing Act (IHA). The amendment to IHA confirms that interstate simulcasting, commingling of pools and account wagering are, indeed, permitted under the IHA in all states that authorize these activities.
Dec. 17, 1936: Crooner Bing Crosby announced plans to construct a new racetrack, to be called the Del Mar Turf Club.
Dec. 17, 1993: Fire destroyed the grandstand of Fair Grounds, the nation’s third-oldest racetrack.
Dec. 18, 1983: Hollywood Park held the first $1 million race for two-year-old Thoroughbreds, the Hollywood Futurity, which was won by Fali Time, ridden by Sandy Hawley.
Dec. 20, 1987: D. Wayne Lukas-trained Tejano became the first juvenile millionaire when he won the Hollywood Futurity with Laffit Pincay Jr. aboard.
Dec. 22, 1991: Jockey Kent Desormeaux, at age 21, won his 2,000th race aboard Saron Lake, trained by Gary Jones, at Hollywood Park. He was the youngest jockey to reach that mark and did so faster than any other rider.
Dec. 23, 1944: James F. Byrnes, Director of War Mobilization and Reconversion, urged that all racing in the United States cease by Jan. 3 as a means of furthering the war effort.
Dec. 25, 1934: Santa Anita Park opened in Arcadia, Calif. A five-year-old mare, Las Palmas, won the inaugural race, the California-Bred Handicap, before a crowd of 30,777.