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.
June 7, 1930: Gallant Fox became the second winner of the Triple Crown after he won the Belmont Stakes under Earl Sande. Gallant Fox subsequently sired another Triple Crown winner, Omaha.
June 7, 1941: Whirlaway won the 73rd running of the Belmont Stakes and became the fifth horse to win the Triple Crown.
June 7, 1947: Owner William Helis had three stakes wins in three different states. Rippey won the Carter Handicap at New York’s Aqueduct; Jobstown won the Absecon Handicap at New Jersey’s Atlantic City and Elpis won the New Castle Handicap at Delaware Park.
June 7, 1980: Genuine Risk became the first filly to compete in all three Triple Crown races. She won the Kentucky Derby and finished second in both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
June 7, 1986: Trainer Woody Stephens saddled Danzig Connection to win his fifth consecutive Belmont Stakes. Stephens won the previous races with Conquistador Cielo (1982), Caveat (1983), Swale (1984) and Creme Fraiche (1985).
June 7, 1997: In his bid to become the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown, Silver Charm was outdueled during the stretch run of the Belmont Stakes by Touch Gold. Silver Charm held on for second and became the 13th horse to have lost the Triple Crown after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
June 7, 2003: Triple Crown hopeful Funny Cide lost his bid to become the twelfth Triple Crown winner finishing third to Empire Maker and Ten Most Wanted before 101,864 in the 135th Belmont Stakes. The NBC telecast of the Belmont generated the highest rating for any horse race since the 1990 Kentucky Derby. The final hour of the telecast earned the highest rating (10.7) of any prime-time program on television that week.
June 7, 2008: Big Brown is eased in the stretch of the 140th Belmont Stakes, ending his attempt to capture the Triple Crown. Longshot Da’ Tara won the race wire-to-wire before 94,476 spectators.
June 7, 2008: Legendary sportscaster Jim McKay, the creator of the Maryland Million, died at age 86.
June 8, 1935: Omaha, son of Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox, became the third winner of the Triple Crown with a win in the Belmont Stakes.
June 8, 1985: Brushwood Stable’s Creme Fraiche became the first gelding to win the Belmont Stakes.
June 8, 1991: Julie Krone became the first female rider to compete in the Belmont Stakes. Her mount, Subordinated Debt, finished ninth as the third-longest shot in the field. Also on that date, Mane Minister became the only horse to finish third in all three Triple Crown events.
June 8, 2002: A record Belmont Park crowd of 103,222 witnessed War Emblem fail in his bid to become Thoroughbred racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner at the 134th Belmont Stakes. War Emblem finished eighth behind longshot Sarava, who paid $142,50 to win as the highest priced winner in Belmont Stakes history. Belmont Park’s previous attendance record was 85,818, set in 1999 when Charismatic finished third in attempting a Triple Crown sweep.
June 9, 1888: James McLaughlin set the record for most number of wins by a jockey in the Belmont Stakes, six, when he rode Sir Dixon to a 12-length victory. McLaughlin’s record was matched by Eddie Arcaro in 1955.
June 9, 1887: Only two horses competed in the Belmont Stakes. It was the smallest field in the race’s history, which again had only two starters in 1888, 1892, 1910, and 1920, the year Man o’ War won the Belmont by 20 lengths.
June 9, 1945: Hoop Jr. won the Kentucky Derby, which was run one month after a national wartime government ban on racing was lifted.
June 9, 1973: Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes by 31 lengths—the longest winning margin in the race’s history—while setting a track record of 2:24, which has not been surpassed. The time was 2 3/5 seconds faster than the mark set by Gallant Man in 1957. Secretariat’s victory made him the ninth Triple Crown winner and first since Citation had swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont in 1948.
June 9, 1979: Spectacular Bid lost his chance for the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes, finishing third to winner Coastal. Trainer Bud Delp alleged that the colt had sustained a foot injury after stepping on a safety pin the morning of the race.
June 9, 1984: Riding Swale in a wire-to-wire victory, Laffit Pincay Jr. won his third consecutive Belmont Stakes, becoming the only rider in this century to accomplish that feat. Pincay rode Caveat to victory in 1983 and Conquistador Cielo in 1982; all three of his mounts were trained by Woody Stephens. Jockey James McLaughlin also rode three consecutive Belmont winners, once from 1882-84, and again from 1886-88. Swale’s Belmont was also the first in which a female trainer saddled a horse for the race. Sarah Lundy sent Minstrel Star to a last-place finish.
June 9, 2003: Spectacular Bid, a Champion at ages 2, 3 and 4, died at the age of 27.
June 9, 2007: Rags to Riches wore down Preakness winner and eventual Horse of the Year Curlin in the stretch to become the first filly in 102 years to capture the Belmont Stakes. It was the first Triple Crown race won by trainer Todd Pletcher.
June 10, 1890: The Preakness Stakes was run outside Baltimore, at Morris Park in New York, under the auspices of the New York Jockey Club. Suspended for three years, the race was next run at the Brooklyn Jockey Club’s Gravesend Course, 1894-1908.
June 10, 1938: Hollywood Park opened in Inglewood, Calif. In its inaugural year, Hollywood Park attracted such racing stars as Lawrin, who had given jockey Eddie Arcaro his first Kentucky Derby victory, as well as Ligaroti and Seabiscuit, whose rivalry later reached its pitch in a match race contested at Del Mar on Aug. 12, 1938.
June 10, 1944: The only triple dead heat for first in a stakes race occurred at Aqueduct Racetrack in the Carter Handicap. The three winners were Brownie, Bossuet and Wait a Bit.
June 10, 1953: Trainer Charlie Whittingham, at age 40, saddled his first stakes winner when Porterhouse, ridden by Bill Boland, won the National Stallion Stakes at Belmont Park. Porterhouse was later named champion two-year-old of 1953.
June 10, 1972: Laffit Pincay Jr. won his 2,000th victory while riding at Hollywood Park.
June 10, 1978: Steve Cauthen, at age 18, became the youngest jockey ever to win the Triple Crown when his mount, Affirmed, won the Belmont Stakes. Also on that day, Alydar became the only horse to finish second in all three Triple Crown races. Affirmed was the 11th winner of the Triple Crown.
June 11, 1898: Willie Simms became the only African American jockey to win the Preakness Stakes when he rode Sly Fox to victory. With this win, Simms became the only African American jockey to have won all three Triple Crown races. His other Triple Crown wins took place in the Kentucky Derby (1896, 1898) and Belmont Stakes (1893, 1894).
June 11, 1919: The first Triple Crown was won by Sir Barton after he completed the Belmont Stakes, then run at 1 3/8 miles rather than the traditional 1 ½ miles. Prior to his Triple Crown sweep, Sir Barton had been winless in six tries at racing.
June 11, 1921: Grey Lag, under Earl Sande, won the first Belmont Stakes ever to be run counter-clockwise. Previous Belmonts had been run clockwise over a fish-hook course that included part of the training track and the main dirt oval.
June 11, 1955: Jockey Eddie Arcaro tied James McLaughlin’s record of six Belmont Stakes wins when he rode Nashua to victory.
June 11, 1966: Jockey Angel Cordero Jr. recorded his first American stakes victory, taking the Christiana Stakes aboard two-year-old Hermogenes at Delaware Park.
June 11, 1973: Triple Crown winner Secretariat simultaneously made the covers of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated.
June 11, 1977: Upon winning the Belmont Stakes, Seattle Slew became the tenth Triple Crown winner and the first Triple Crown winner to remain undefeated, with a career record of nine-for-nine.
June 12, 1920: Man o’ War won the Belmont Stakes, which was then run at a distance of 1 3/8-miles, in 2:14 1/5. He shattered the existing world record by 3 1/5 seconds and also set the American dirt-course record for that distance.
June 12, 1926: The August Belmont family first presented their permanent commemorative Tiffany trophy to the winner of the Belmont Stakes. The silver trophy was created in 1869 in recognition of Fenian’s win in the Belmont.
June 12, 1948: After riding Citation to victory in the Belmont, jockey Eddie Arcaro became the only rider in history to have won two Triple Crowns. His previous Triple Crown was with Whirlaway, in 1941. In wining the Belmont, Citation became the eighth Triple Crown winner.
June 12, 1960: Jockey Angel Cordero Jr. rode his first race at El Comandante in Puerto Rico.
June 12, 1982: Jockey Mike Smith rode his first winner, Future Man, in a $2,000 claiming race at Santa Fe.
June 13, 1874: English-bred Saxon became the first foreign bred horse to win the Belmont Stakes.
June 13, 1913: James Rowe, who had won back-to-back Belmonts in 1872-3 as a jockey, set the record for most number of Belmont Stakes wins by a trainer, eight, when he sent Prince Eugene to victory.
June 13, 1961: Ben A. Jones, who trained a record six Kentucky Derby winners, died.
June 13, 1992: Angel Cordero Jr. won his first race in two tries as a trainer, with Puchinito, in the fourth race at Belmont Park.
June 13, 1999: Silver Charm, winner of the 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and the 1998 Dubai World Cup, retired after finishing fourth in the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. Silver Charm retired with earnings of $6,944,369 (third-highest of all time) and won 12 of 24 starts.
June 13, 2010: Zenyatta scored her 17th win without a loss in the Grade I Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park. The victory moved Zenyatta past Citation, Cigar and Mister Frisky among horses with win streaks in open company races.