Jan. 23, 1994: Pat Day, 40, became the tenth rider in North American racing history to ride 6,000 winners, when he rode Miss Popsnorkle to victory in the first race at Oaklawn Park.
Jan. 24, 1974: Jockey Chris McCarron rode his first race, in which he finished last aboard Most Active, at Bowie Racecourse.
Jan. 25, 2000: According to The Jockey Club Fact Book for 2000, gross purses and total handle rose again in 1999 with North American purses topping $1 billion for the first time in history.
Jan. 26, 1950: Citation’s 16-race win streak came to an end in the La Sorpresa Handicap at Santa Anita. Despite giving 16 pounds to the winner, Miche, Citation, carrying 130 pounds, lost only by a neck.
Jan. 27, 1973: Penny Chenery accepted the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year on behalf of Secretariat, who was also voted champion two-year-old of 1972.
Jan. 27, 2003: Azeri became the first female since Lady’s Secret in 1986 to receive the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year.
Jan. 28, 1979: Bob Baffert won his first race as a Thoroughbred trainer, saddling Flipper Star to win the second race at Rillito Park in Tucson, Ariz. The winner’s share of the $600 purse was $330.
Jan. 28, 1999: The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association announced the creation of the “Claiming Crown,” a six-race event to be held at Canterbury Park.
Jan. 29, 1960: Future Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Carry Back finished tenth in his first start ever, a three-furlong race for two-year-old maiden runners at Hialeah. Sired by Saggy, the only horse to defeat Citation during his three-year-old season, out of an undistinguished mare named Joppy, Carry Back became a popular runner and was dubbed “the people’s horse.”
Jan. 29, 1969: Patti Barton, a 24-year-old exercise rider, applied for a jockey’s license in Las Cruces, N.M. The stewards declined to act on the application, which if approved would have made Barton the first female licensed jockey in Thoroughbred racing.
Jan. 29, 1973: Forego, eventual three-time Horse of the Year, 1974-76, broke his maiden by eight lengths in his second career start, at Hialeah Park.
Jan. 29, 2003: Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. gained his 9,500th career win aboard Saxony in the fifth race at Santa Anita.
Jan. 30, 1981: Jockey Julie Krone rode in her first race ever, finishing second by three lengths in a six-furlong sprint for $3,500 maiden claimers at Tampa Bay Downs. Her mount, a 22-1 shot trained by Jerry L. Pace, was named Tiny Star.
Jan. 30, 1992: For the second time in one month, jockey Mike Smith won six races in one day at Aqueduct Racetrack. His first six-winner day at Aqueduct occurred Jan. 13.
Jan. 30, 2001: Tiznow was named 2001 Horse of the Year at the Eclipse Awards in New Orleans.
Jan. 31, 1958: Jockey Bill Shoemaker notched his 3,000th career win, aboard Eternal Pere, in the eighth race at Santa Anita Park.
Feb. 1, 1941: Golden Gate Fields opened for its inaugural race meet. After a five-day “season,” the track was forced to close because severe rainstorms washed out the racing surface. The advent of World War II prevented the facility from reopening until Sept. 9, 1947.
Feb. 1, 1999: Owner-breeder and philanthropist Paul Mellon of Rokeby Stable died at his residence in Upperville, Va. He was 91.
Feb. 2, 2001: The Jockey Club announced that gross purses in the United States during 2000 topped $1 billion for the first time, an increase of 7.0 percent compared to 1999 figures.
Feb. 3, 1989: Apprentice jockey Nate Hubbard hung on for second_literally_when his horse, Sweetwater Oak, stumbled near the finish line at Golden Gate Fields and flipped the rider out of his saddle. As he tumbled forward, Hubbard grabbed on to the filly’s neck and hung in mid-air until the race was over. The track stewards ruled it an official finish because Hubbard’s feet never touched the ground and Sweetwater Oak carried her assigned weight throughout the race.
Feb. 3, 1990: Jockey Bill Shoemaker rode his final career race at Santa Anita Park, finishing fourth aboard Patchy Groundfog in ‘The Legend’s Last Ride.’ He retired with 8,833 wins, a record until the mark was topped by Laffit Pincay Jr. in 1999.
Feb. 4, 1926: Wheatley Stables, formed by Mrs. Henry Carnegie Phipps, recorded its first win ever, with a two-year-old filly named Sturdy Stella.
Feb. 4, 1997: Cigar was named Horse of the Year for the second consecutive year.