Oct. 10, 1974: With female riders still a novelty, Lincoln Downs staged a $5,000 match race between jockeys Denise Boudrot and Mike Lapensee. The race, dubbed the ‘contest of the sexes,’ was won by Boudrot. In a rematch one week later, in which the riders switched their mounts from their previous encounter, Boudrot again prevailed.
Oct. 11, 1924: A crowd of 60,000 assembled at Latonia to watch the third and final International race, for which a French colt, Epinard, was the headliner. Epinard, who had finished second in his two previous Internationals, did so again, losing as the even-money favorite to Sarazen.
Oct. 12, 1920: In the final race of his career, three-year-old Man o’ War defeated 1919 Triple Crown winner Sir Barton in a match race, the Kenilworth Park Gold Cup, at Kenilworth Park. Sent off at odds of 1-20, Man o’ War won by seven lengths in his 14th consecutive victory.
Oct. 12, 1966: Damascus, owned by Edith W. Bancroft, broke his maiden at Aqueduct Racetrack, winning by eight lengths.
Oct. 12, 2000: A new ESPN Sports Poll measuring fan interest in major sports during the first half of 2000 showed an interest growth in horseracing of 8.5 percent when measured against the same period in 1999.
Oct. 13, 1927: Arlington Park opened. The track, built by H. D. Brown, had a steeplechase course and a polo field and was adjacent to tennis courts, a golf course and a one-mile training track.
Oct. 13, 1956: At age four, 1955 Horse of the Year Nashua won his last race, the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes at Belmont Park.
Oct. 13, 1984: At age nine, odds-on favorite John Henry won his last race, the Ballantine’s Scotch Classic at The Meadowlands, to earn the richest purse of his career, $740,000, which included a $500,000 bonus for winning both the Turf Classic, run at Belmont Park on Sept. 22, and the Meadowlands’ race. John Henry retired as America’s then-richest horse with earnings of $6,597,947.
Oct. 14, 1952: Jockey Bill Hartack rode his first career winner, at Waterford Park.
Oct. 14, 1953: After a 21-year hiatus as a professional jockey, Earl Sande, 54, won his first race in a comeback, with Miss Weesie, at Jamaica. Sande’s comeback began on Oct. 5 and ended with his win at Jamaica, where he received an ovation from a crowd of 18,184.
Oct. 14, 1968: Sandy Hawley won his first race aboard a two-year-old gelding named Fly Alone, riding at Woodbine Racecourse.
Oct. 14, 1972: After finishing first in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, Secretariat was disqualified and placed second, after bearing in on Stop the Music, who was declared the official winner.
Oct. 15, 1977: In the fifth of their 10 meetings, Alydar won his second victory over Affirmed in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park.
Oct. 17, 1970: Nijinsky II ended his career finishing second in the Champion Stakes at Newmarket. In 13 races he won 11 times and finished second twice.
Oct. 17, 1986: Kent Desormeaux made his Maryland debut, in the fourth race, at Laurel Racecourse, Laurel, Md., aboard Shonda’s Shickels. He finished second, but was disqualified for interference and placed fourth.
Oct. 17, 1991: Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr. rode his 7,000th victory aboard Dont Cross the Law [sic] at Belmont Park.
Oct. 18, 1956: Nashua, ridden by Eddie Arcaro, was paraded at Keeneland in his last appearance at a racetrack.
Oct. 18, 1973: The owners of Secretariat announced that his last race would be the Canadian International Championship Stakes at Woodbine Racecourse.
Oct. 18, 1976: MacK Miller swept the top three spots in the Long Island Handicap with his trainees Javamine, Nijana and Fun Forever.
Oct. 18, 1978: Jockey Dave Gall became the first rider to win eight races during a single program. He rode 10 consecutive races for the day at Cahokia Downs, finishing second and fifth in his two losing efforts.
Oct. 18, 2001: Unbridled, the 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, was euthanized after developing colic.
Oct. 20, 1923: Zev, winner of the 1923 Kentucky Derby, defeated England’s hero Papyrus, winner of the 1923 Epsom Derby, in a $100,000 match race at Belmont Park. The race, the International Special, marked the first time an English champion had been sent to the U.S. to race. For his victory, Zev was awarded $80,000 and a gold cup valued at $5,000. Public interest in the race was so great that it was broadcast on the radio_a first. Within two days, films of the race were distributed at movie theaters in New York City and, eventually, across the nation.
Oct. 20, 1954: Bill Shoemaker rode his 2,000th winner, Florence House, at Tanforan.
Oct. 21, 1961: Eddie Arcaro won the Jockey Club Gold Cup for a record tenth time. His mount, Kelso, won the Gold Cup five straight years, 1960-64, setting the mark for most consecutive victories in a stakes race.
Oct. 22, 1945: El Lobo and Featherfoot became the first Thoroughbreds to be transported by airplane. They were flown from Los Angeles to San Mateo in a twin-engine Budd transport plane piloted by Maj. William Hoelle of the Flying Tiger Line, who landed the plane in the parking area at Bay Meadows. On Oct. 27, El Lobo won the Burlingame Handicap at Bay Meadows, proving that horses could fly (and win).
Oct. 22, 1955: A rare triple dead-heat for first took place at Mexico’s Caliente in the eighth race. Stormsorno, Chance Speed and Beaufair were the three winners.
Oct. 22, 1964: Jockey Bill Shoemaker won the 5,000th victory of his career aboard Slapstick at Aqueduct Race Track.
Oct. 22, 1973: Secretariat was flown to Woodbine Racecourse, where he would compete in his final career race, the Canadian International Championship Stakes.