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 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.
Oct. 24, 1877: Congress adjourned to see a race between Parole, Ten Broek and Tom Ochiltree, which was held at Pimlico.
Oct. 24, 1953: Tom Fool won the Pimlico Special Stakes by eight lengths, capping a perfect four-year-old campaign with 10 stakes wins in as many starts. The Special was his fourth consecutive race run as a non-betting exhibition. Tom Fool was voted Horse of the Year for 1953, acing out Native Dancer, who lost only one of his 10 stakes races that year, the Kentucky Derby.
Oct. 25, 1870: Pimlico, the nation’s second-oldest Thoroughbred racetrack, began its inaugural meet.
Oct. 25, 1947: After winning the Gallant Fox Handicap at Jamaica, a former $1,500 claimer, Stymie, became the world’s leading money-winning Thoroughbred, with earnings of $816,060. Stymie raced two additional years and retired in 1949, at age eight, with lifetime winnings of $918,485.
Oct. 26, 1949: Bill Shoemaker rode to his first stakes victory, the George Marshall Claiming Handicap at Bay Meadows, aboard a five-year-old horse named Al.
Oct. 26, 1990: Jockey Julie Krone rode her 2,000th career winner, aboard John Forbes-trained Rainbow Quartz, at The Meadowlands.
Oct. 26, 1996: The Breeders’ Cup was held outside the U.S. for the first time, at Woodbine Racecourse in Toronto, Canada. At Woodbine, Jenine Sahadi became the first female trainer to saddle a Breeders’ Cup winner when she sent Lit de Justice to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Oct. 27, 1870: Preakness won the Dinner Stakes at the newly opened Pimlico Racecourse. In 1873, the first Preakness Stakes, a race was named in his honor, was held at Pimlico.
Oct. 27, 1990: Bayakoa (ARG) became the second horse to win two consecutive Breeders’ Cup Championship races. Both of her victories came in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Oct. 27, 2001: Tiznow, 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic champion and Horse of the Year, won the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Classic for a second straight year, outdueling European sensation Sakhee in the stretch at the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont Park. Total wagering on the 10-race program was $104,145,186, the second highest Breeders’ Cup total in history, just behind the 2000 total of $108,603,040.
Oct. 27, 2001: Participants in the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships donated more than $2.7 million from their purse earnings to the NTRA Charities – New York Heroes Fund, established to benefit the children and spouses of the firefighters, police officers, emergency workers and other victims who perished in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Sheikh Mohammed’s Dubai-based Godolphin stable, which pledged 100 percent of its Breeders’ Cup earnings to the Heroes Fund, donated approximately $2.5 million on the day, thanks in part to wins by two of his horses, Fantastic Light and Tempera.
Oct. 27, 2001: Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel saw his 0-for-38 streak in Breeders’ Cup races come to an end when Squirtle Squirt won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Oct. 28, 1972: Secretariat won the Laurel Futurity by eight lengths, sent off at odds of 1-10, at Laurel.
Oct. 28, 1973: With jockey Eddie Maple substituting for Ron Turcotte, who was sidelined by a suspension, Secretariat concluded his racing career with a 6 1-2-length victory in the Canadian International Championship Stakes at Woodbine Racecourse. It was his second victory in as many tries on the turf.
Oct. 28, 1983: Jacinto Vasquez had his 4,000th career winner, aboard Sunshine O’My Life, at Aqueduct.
Oct. 28, 2000: Laffit Pincay Jr., the world’s winningest rider, gained his 9,000th career victory aboard Chichim in the $150,000 California Cup Distaff at Santa Anita Park.
Oct. 29, 1948: Calumet Farm’s three-year-old Citation entered the Pimlico Invitational Special Stakes unopposed and won in a walkover, earning $10,000 for galloping the 1 3-16 mile course in 1:59 4-5. Another great Calumet runner, Whirlaway, also won the Special in a walkover in 1942.
Oct. 29, 1955: Charlie Whittingham and Bill Shoemaker scored their first stakes victory as a trainer-rider team with Mister Gus in the William P. Kyne Handicap at Bay Meadows.
Oct. 29, 1998: Triple Crown winner and 1970s icon Secretariat was selected as one of 15 subjects to be honored with a commemorative postal stamp in 1999.