Aug. 14, 1942: One of racing’s oddities occurred at Saratoga Racecourse when Rurales and Joe Burger finished in a dead-heat for first place, giving trainer W.O. Hicks, who saddled both horses, two winners in one race.
Aug. 15, 1972: The 15-race winning streak of England’s Brigadier Gerard was ended by John Galbreath’s American-bred Roberto, ridden to a three-length victory by Braulio Baeza in the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup at York Racecourse. Brigadier Gerard, who finished second in the Gold Cup, went on to post two more victories before retiring with a record of 18-17-1-0.
Aug. 15, 1987: Kent Desormeaux began his career as a journeyman jockey.
Aug. 15, 2000: Jockey Russell Baze rode three winners at Bay Meadows and surged past Angel Cordero into fifth place on the list of all-time winning riders with 7,059 victories.
Aug. 16, 1930: Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox was beaten by 100-1 shot Jim Dandy in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse.
Aug. 16, 1946: Rockingham Park began to film its races from the vantage of a helicopter, using the equipment as a “mechanical patrol judge.”
Aug. 16, 1954: Native Dancer concluded his 22-race career with a victory in the Oneonta Handicap, a non-betting exhibition race at Saratoga Racecourse that he won by nine lengths while carrying 137 pounds. Although he raced only three times in 1954, Native Dancer was subsequently voted Horse of the Year, partly because he had been denied that honor in the previous year, despite having won nine of 10 races, all of them stakes. Tom Fool, 1953 Horse of the Year, had had a perfect 10-for-10 record.
Aug. 16, 1965: John Longden rode his 6,000th winner, riding Prince Scorpion to victory while at Exhibition Park.
Aug. 16, 1972: Secretariat won his first stakes race, the Sanford Stakes, at Saratoga Racecourse. The time for the six-furlong race was 1:10, the fastest time for the distance at Saratoga that year.
Aug. 16, 1976: John Campo swept the top three spots in the Adirondack Stakes with his trainees Harvest Girl, Bonnie Empress and Drama Critic.
Aug. 17, 1918: Samuel D. Riddle purchased the yearling Man o’ War for $5,000 in a sale of August Belmont II’s bloodstock at Saratoga.
Aug. 17, 1977: Jockey Steve Cauthen rode Affirmed for the first time, winning the Sanford Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse by 2 3/4 lengths.
Aug. 17, 2000: Zippy Chippy, loser of all 86 of his lifetime races, was defeated again–this time by minor-league baseball player Jose Herrera in a 40-yard dash. The race, called the “2000 Red Wings Derby,” was held prior to a home game of the International League’s Rochester Red Wings.
Aug. 18, 1923: The Jockey Club announced that the owner of Papyrus, winner of the Epsom Derby, had accepted an invitation to compete in an international match race in the U.S., against an American horse. Zev, winner of the 1923 Kentucky Derby, was chosen to represent the U.S. against Papyrus in the race, scheduled for October.
Aug. 18, 1961: Trainer Dale Baird saddled his first winner, New York, at Ellis Park.
Aug. 18, 2002: Sunday Silence, the 1989 Horse of Year who later became a perennial leading sire in Japan, died after suffering a fatal heart attack today at the Shadai Stallion Station on the isle of Hokkaido in Japan.
Aug. 19, 1978: In the conclusion of their 10-race rivalry, Alydar scored his third “success” against Affirmed in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse, when his adversary was disqualified from first place.
Aug. 19, 1990: Jockey Earlie Fires became the eleventh rider in Thoroughbred racing history to register 5,000 victories when he guided Tex’s Zing to victory in the ninth race at Arlington International Racecourse. He joined history-making jockeys Bill Shoemaker, Laffit Pincay Jr., Angel Cordero Jr., John Longden, Jorge Velasquez, Larry Snyder, Sandy Hawley, Dave Gall, Carl Gambardella and Chris McCarron.
Aug. 20, 1966: Ogden Phipps’ Buckpasser, ridden by Braulio Baeza, became racing’s first three-year-old millionaire after he won the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse.
Aug. 20, 2000: Ron Ardoin became the 16th jockey in North America to win 5,000 races when he guided Heart of an Angel to a three-length victory in the seventh race at Louisiana Downs.
Aug. 22, 1972: In preparation for his next start, the Aug. 26 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse, Secretariat worked a half-mile in :46 2/5.
Aug. 22, 1998: Hall of Fame trainer Woodford Cefis “Woody” Stephens died in Miami Lakes, Fla. He was 84.
Aug. 23, 1956: Carl Gambardella had his first career winner, aboard Rollin Warm, at Hagerstown.
Aug. 23, 1974: Frank Whiteley-trained Ruffian won the Spinaway Stakes by 13 lengths at Saratoga Racecourse, ending her two-year-old season with a 5-for-5 record. Ruffian was subsequently voted champion juvenile filly of 1974.
Aug. 24, 1968: Carrying 134 pounds, Dr. Fager set the then-world record for a mile in the Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park. The time for his 10-length victory was 1:32 1/5. The previous record was 1:32 3/5, set by three-year-old Buckpasser on June 25, 1966 at Arlington Park.
Aug. 24, 1989: Jockey Larry Snyder won his 6,000th career race, aboard a filly named Speedski, in the first race at Louisiana Downs. Snyder was the sixth rider in history to accomplish that feat.
Aug. 25, 1987: Julie Krone gained her 1,000th career victory, aboard Tiger Higgins in the second race at Monmouth Park.
Aug. 25, 1997: Jockey Pat Day gained his 7,000th career victory aboard Bay Harbor in the second race at Saratoga Racecourse. Day became the fifth rider to reach the 7,000-win plateau.
Aug. 25, 2001: A record Travers Stakes day attendance of 60,486 watched Point Given win the race dubbed the “Midsmummer Derby.” The day’s total betting handle of $34,529.273 was also a Saratoga record.
Aug. 26, 1953: A syndicate headed by Howard E. Booker of San Francisco, unveiled a proposal for an off-track betting system in New York. Booker’s group, planning to use Western Union to compile off-track bets, sought to establish 139 betting offices, to be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Aug. 26, 1972: Secretariat won the Hopeful Stakes by five lengths at Saratoga Racecourse, for his second stakes win in as many tries.
Aug. 27, 1953: The Thoroughbred Racing Associations denounced a plan for off-track betting in New York. John A. Morris, the TRA president, declared: “Although it could mean increased profits for the race tracks, off-course betting would inevitably subordinate racing and bring on an adverse public reaction which would kill a traditionally great sport and an economically significant industry.”