May 24, 1905: Harry Payne Whitney’s Tanya became the second filly to win the Belmont Stakes. Ruthless was the first filly to win the Belmont, in 1867, and Rags to Riches accomplished the feat in 2007. Whitney also won the Kentucky Derby with a filly, Regret, in 1915.
May 24, 1977: At odds of 13-1, Louis and Patrice Wolfson’s two-year-old colt Affirmed won his maiden race by 4 1/2 lengths at Belmont Park, ridden by jockey Bernie Gonzalez.
May 25, 1991: Jockey Steve Cauthen won his fourth European derby, the Derby Italiano, with Hailsham, trained by Clive Brittain. Cauthen has also won the Epsom Derby twice, the Irish Derby and the French Derby, in addition to his Kentucky Derby win with Affirmed.
May 27, 1823: A $20,000 match race between American Eclipse (representing The North) and Henry (representing The South) was held at Union Course, Long Island. Eclipse won in two-of-three heats, after his original jockey, William Crafts, was replaced by Samuel Purdy before the second heat. The race, witnessed by 60,000 spectators, was the first to have been timed by split-second chronometers, which were imported for the event.
May 27, 1878: The entire field of Preakness Stakes horses—three—was owned by a single family, the brothers George and Pierre Lorillard. George’s horses finished first and third.
May 27, 1882: Trainer Robert Walden won his fifth consecutive Preakness Stakes, with Vanguard. Walden won a total of seven Preaknesses, a record for a trainer.
May 27, 1981: Bill Shoemaker became the first jockey in racing history to win 8,000 races when he rode War Allied to victory in the first race at Hollywood Park.
May 27, 1985: Under jockey Laffit Pincay Jr., odds-on favorite Spend a Buck defeated Creme Fraiche by a neck to win the Jersey Derby and earn $2.6 million, the largest single purse in American racing history. Two million dollars of the purse came from a bonus to Spend a Buck for winning the Cherry Hill Mile, the Garden State Stakes, the Kentucky Derby and the Jersey Derby. Angel Cordero Jr., the regular rider of Spend a Buck, was committed to ride Track Barron in the Metropolitan Handicap in New York on the same day and was persuaded to give up his mount in the Jersey Derby. Track Barron finished third in the Metropolitan, earning $40,620.
May 28, 1997: Visa USA and Triple Crown Productions announced that they had increased the bonus for winning the Triple Crown to a total of $5 million.
May 28, 2000: Jockey Edgar Prado registered his 4,000th career victory aboard Thunder Breeze in the second race at Belmont Park.
May 29, 1897: Scottish Chieftain, owned by Marcus Daly, became the only Montana bred to win the Belmont Stakes.
May 29, 1907: Colin began his undefeated career, breaking his maiden by two lengths at Belmont Park.
May 29, 1946: Two-year-old fillies Chakoora and Uleta became the first Thoroughbreds to complete a transcontinental flight. They were flown from New York to Inglewood, Calif., by the American Air Express Corporation, for a 2,446-mile trip that lasted 20 hours due to adverse weather conditions.
May 30, 1903: Flocarline became the first filly to win the Preakness Stakes.
May 30, 1908: Jockey Joe Notter misjudged the finish of the Belmont Stakes and eased up on his mount, Colin, whose career record to that point was 13-for-13. Notter barely recovered from his mistake to hold off the drive of Fair Play, who came within a head of defeating Colin. When he retired, Colin’s record stood at 15 wins in as many starts.
May 30, 1936: Omaha, the Triple Crown winner of 1935, won the Queens Plate at Kempton Park, England, for owner William Woodward.
May 30, 1941: Hollywood Park introduced the “vibrationless camera,” developed by Hollywood cameraman Lorenzo del Ricio. Eight patrol judges with the cameras, which were attached to their binoculars, were stationed at intervals around the track. Jockey Nunzio Pariso was the camera’s first victim—he was shown on film crowding a rival on the far turn.
May 30, 1969: Jockey Patricia Barton won her first career race, at Pikes Peak.
May 31, 1969: Racing returned to Pennsylvania when Liberty Bell racetrack opened, near Philadelphia. The state had not had legal racing since 1802 and became the 30th state to adopt parimutuel wagering.
May 31, 2001: Jockey Pat Day became just the third jockey in history to win 8,000 races, hitting the milestone by winning the sixth race at Churchill Downs aboard Camden Park. Day joined Laffit Pincay Jr. and Bill Shoemaker in the 8,000 club.
June 1, 1881: Pierre Lorillard’s Iroquois became the first American-owned and -bred horse to win a European classic race when he won the Epsom Derby under one of England’s greatest riders, Fred Archer. Iroquois won seven of nine starts as a three-year-old, including England’s St. Leger Stakes.
June 1, 1946: Assault became the seventh horse to win the Triple Crown, with a victory in the Belmont Stakes.
June 1, 1973: In his final tuneup for the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown, Secretariat went six furlongs in 1:11 3/5, doing the first three furlongs in :35 2/5 and five furlongs in :59.
June 1, 1978: In his first start ever on the turf, eventual four-time champion grass horse John Henry won a $35,000, 1 1/16-mile claiming race by 14 lengths at Belmont Park. John Henry was voted champion turf horse for the years 1980-81 and 1983-84.
June 1, 1999: Mr. Prospector, the most influential sire of his generation, died in his stall at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky. He was 29.
June 2, 1943: Trainer Hirsch Jacobs claimed two-year-old Stymie for $1,500. By the end of 1947, Stymie had become the world’s leading money-winning Thoroughbred, with earnings of $816,060 and 22 stakes victories.
June 2, 1947: After a six-year layoff, 13-year-old Honey Cloud won the second race at Aqueduct. His jockey, Clarence Minner, had not ridden in 10 years.
June 2, 2005: Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze recorded his 9,000th career victory aboard Queen of the Hunt in the eighth race at Golden Gate Fields.
June 3, 1943: To further the war effort, the Navy took over Tanforan racetrack and used it as a training base.
June 3, 2004: Smarty Jones became the first horseracing figure to make the cover of ESPN The Magazine.
June 4, 1870: Ed Brown became the first African-American jockey to win the Belmont Stakes, with Kingfisher.
June 4, 1913: At odds of 100-1, Aboyeur became the first horse to win the Epsom Derby by an on-course disqualification after Craganour, who won by a head, was disqualified for bumping. During the race, a suffragette had rushed onto the track and pulled down the King’s horse, Anmer. The suffragette, Emily Davison, died of a fractured skull.
June 4, 1941: Three days before his race in the Belmont Stakes, which would complete his Triple Crown, Whirlaway worked 1 1/4 miles in 2:02 2/5.
June 4, 2005: Jockey Eddie Castro set a North American record for most wins by a jockey in a single day at one racetrack by winning nine races on the 13-race card at Miami’s Calder Race Course.
June 5, 1884: James McLaughlin became the first jockey to ride three consecutive Belmont Stakes winners, when he rode Panique to victory. He previously won with George Kinney (1883) and Forester (1882). McLaughlin repeated his feat in 1886-88, with each of his wins aboard horses owned by the Dwyer brothers. McLaughlin’s triple was matched by jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. in 1984.
June 5, 1901: William C. Whitney’s Volodyovski won the Epsom Derby, making him the second American owner (after Pierre Lorillard in 1881) to have won the race. Whitney leased the English-bred horse for the express purpose of winning at Epsom. Whitney’s trainer, John Huggins, was the first American to train an Epsom Derby winner.
June 5, 1937: War Admiral became the fourth winner of the Triple Crown, with a win in the Belmont Stakes.
June 5, 1943: Count Fleet ended his racing career by winning the Belmont Stakes by 25 lengths. He was the sixth American Triple Crown winner. Count Fleet was such a heavy favorite for the race, going off at odds of 1-20, that no place or show wagering was allowed.
June 5, 1969: Jockey Mary Bacon won her first race, at Finger Lakes. Among apprentices, she finished 23rd in the races-won category that year, with 55 victories in 396 starts and purses of $91,642. Bacon was the first female to join the list of leading apprentices.
June 5, 1985: Steve Cauthen won the Epsom Derby aboard Slip Anchor and became the only American jockey to win both the English and Kentucky Derbies. Cauthen had previously ridden Affirmed to victory in the 1978 Kentucky Derby.
June 5, 1993: Julie Krone became the first female rider to win a Triple Crown race when she won the Belmont Stakes with Colonial Affair.
June 5, 1999: Charismatic lost his bid to become the 12th Triple Crown winner when he fractured his left front cannon bone and sesamoid while finishing third to Lemon Drop Kid in the Belmont Stakes.
June 5, 2004: Smarty Jones’s quest to become horseracing’s 12th Triple Crown winner ended when he was upset by 36-1 longshot Birdstone by one length before a record crowd of 120,139. NBC Sports’ telecast of the Belmont was the highest rated program of any kind for the week.
June 5, 2010: Mandurah, a 6-year-old gelding, set a new world record for a mile on the turf at Monmouth Park. Mandurah completed the distance in 1:31.23, beating the 1:31.41 mark set by Mister Light on January 3, 2005, at Gulfstream Park. Trained by Grant Forster and ridden by Alex Solis, Mandurah set the record while winning a $50,000 starter allowance race.
June 6, 1919: Man o’ War won his first race ever, a five-furlong contest over a straightaway at Belmont Park. He won by six lengths, running the distance in 59 seconds, and went off at odds of 3-5. In each of his 20 subsequent races, Man o’ War was the odds-on favorite.
June 6, 1972: In preparation for his colt’s July 4 racing debut, trainer Lucien Laurin put blinkers on two-year-old Secretariat for the first time. Secretariat responded by working a half-mile at Belmont Park in :47 3/5, the fastest time he had ever worked up to that date.
June 6, 1987: Bet Twice became the first horse to receive a Triple Crown bonus after winning the Belmont Stakes over rival Alysheba. He earned $1 million in addition to the first-place money.
June 6, 1992: Jockey Carl Gambardella won his 6,000th career victory, aboard Nip of Gin, at Rockingham Park.
June 6, 1998: Real Quiet was denied the Triple Crown when Victory Gallop edged him at the wire in the Belmont Stakes before an audience of 80,162. The crowd was the second-largest in the track’s history and just shy of the mark set in 1971 when Canonero II failed in his Triple Crown bid before 82,694 spectators. Total handle on the Belmont Day card was a record of $55,613,482.