Nov. 26, 1946: American Air Lines transported six horses from Shannon Airport, Eire, Ireland, to Newark, N.J., completing the first trans-Atlantic flight for Thoroughbreds. The plane arrived in the U.S. on Nov. 27.
Nov. 26, 1992: Sandy Hawley became the ninth North American rider to win 6,000 races. His record victory came aboard Summer Commander in the second race at Greenwood Racecourse.
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Nov. 26, 2001: “Seabiscuit,” Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling book about the rags-to-riches story of a 1930s Thoroughbred champion and the colorful people associated with him, was honored with the United Kingdom’s prestigious “William Hill Sports Book of the Year” award.
Nov. 28, 1982: The brilliant Landaluce, who won her five lifetime starts by a total of 46 1/2 lengths, died of a viral infection. She was buried in the infield at Hollywood Park, where she had won her first two races. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Landaluce was later voted champion two-year-old filly of 1982 over another undefeated filly, Princess Rooney.
Nov. 30, 1989: Jockey Kent Desormeaux surpassed Chris McCarron’s 15-year record for most number of victories in a single season when he rode his 547th winner for the year, at Laurel.
Nov. 30, 1997: Jockey Edgar Prado became the fourth jockey in history to ride 500 winners in a single year.
Nov. 30, 2001: Advertising on jockeys’ attire, owners’ silks, and track saddlecloths became legal at California tracks.
Dec. 1, 1962: Ten thousand fans attended a ceremony at Tropical Park in honor of Carry Back’s retirement. By Saggy out of Joppy, Carry Back was known as “the people’s horse.” He retired after 55 starts and earnings of more than $1 million.
Dec. 1, 1982: In the first race to feature mother and daughter jockeys, Patti Barton rode against her daughter, Leah, at Latonia. Patti finished fifth aboard Tam’s Angel while Leah was tenth on Diane’s Ms. Lolly.
Dec. 1, 2002: Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey broke his own single-season North American earnings mark after finishing third aboard Royal Gem in the Hollywood Derby at Hollywood Park. His total purse earnings of $19,032,509 propelled him past his 2001 total of $19,015,720.
Dec. 2, 1936: Fair Grounds, New Orleans, La., licensed its first female trainer, Miss Meryl Eckhardt of Flint, Mich.
Dec. 3, 1997: Jockey Russell Baze became the 12th rider in Thoroughbred racing history to win 6,000 races when he won the fourth race at Golden Gate Fields aboard Clover Hunter.
Dec. 6, 2001: Jockey Russel Baze gained his 400th victory of the year aboard Golden Peace at Golden Gate Fields, marking the ninth time in his career he had reached the 400-win plateau in a single year. No other rider has recorded 400 victories in a year more than three times. Baze, whose best total was 448 in 1995, won 400 races for seven straight years from 1992-98. A broken bone in his back limited his victory count to 373 in 1999. Baze then bounced back with 412 victories in 2000.
Dec. 7, 1957: A two-year-old colt named Silky Sullivan won the one-mile Golden Gate Futurity after making up 27 lengths, establishing a running style that became legendary. Horsemen still invoke the name of Silky Sullivan when referring to a horse that runs from far off the pace.
Dec. 7, 2001: The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders’ Cup Limited announced that John Deere will have entitlement rights to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI) and to the series of races that makes up the World Thoroughbred Championships Turf Division. As part of the agreement, John Deere will also be the presenting sponsor of the newly created Great State Challenge, an annual event featuring the top state-bred horses from around the country.
Dec. 7, 2002: The inaugural NTRA Great State Challenge was contested at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston. Team Kentucky, led by Take Charge Lady in the Great State Challenge Distaff, won the state competition with 36 points, finishing just ahead of second-place Florida (34). The day’s betting handle of $5,083,692, including on-track and simulcast wagering, shattered the previous Sam Houston all-sources record of $4,070,715.
Dec. 8, 1989: Power to Geaux paid a record $2,922 for a $2 wager made at AK-sar-ben on the simulcast of the 11th race from Fair Grounds. The previous record for a payoff on a $2 wager was set June 17, 1912, when Wishing Ring paid $1,885.50.
Dec. 9, 1999: Jockey Laffit Pincay, Jr., tied Bill Shoemaker’s all-time record by registering his 8,833rd lifetime win aboard I Be Casual in the 4th race at Hollywood Park.
Dec. 10, 1977: In his second year of riding, Steve Cauthen became the first jockey to win $6 million in a single season when he rode a three-year-old filly, Little Happiness, to victory in the sixth race at Aqueduct. Cauthen was dubbed “The Six Million Dollar Man,” and “Stevie Wonder” by his admirers and was named 1977 Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated, the Associated Press, ABC’s Wide World of Sports and The Sporting News. He also received three Eclipse Awards, being voted an award of merit in addition to earning top honors as both a journeyman and apprentice jockey.
Dec. 10, 1999: Laffit Pincay Jr. became the world’s winningest jockey when he registered his 8,834th career victory aboard Irish Nip in the 6th race at Hollywood Park. The victory eclipsed the previous mark of 8,833 wins held by Bill Shoemaker.