Sept. 20, 1965: Jockey Jorge Velasquez made his American racing debut, riding for owner Fred W. Hooper, at Atlantic City Racecourse. He won with his first mount, aboard Keypoint, in the sixth race, at 8-1 odds.
Sept. 20, 1976: Two-year-old Seattle Slew made his racing debut, winning a six furlong maiden race by five lengths at Belmont Park. His zesty workouts prior to the race made Seattle Slew the 2-1 favorite and he was the public’s choice in both his subsequent races that year. After only three starts (including the Champagne Stakes) in the space of 27 days, Seattle Slew was voted champion two-year-old colt for 1976.
Sept. 20, 1980: Before a crowd of 23,000 spectators, four-year-old Spectacular Bid won the Woodward Stakes in the world’s richest walkover. To the surprise of trainer Bud Delp and owners Harry, Teresa and Tom Meyerhoff, “Bid” was awarded only $73,300, which was half of the winner’s share of the purse, but all that was allowable under the track’s rules. There had not been a walkover in a major U.S. stakes race since Coaltown won the Edward Burke Handicap on April 23, 1949.
Sept. 20, 1999: Storm Cat’s stud fee was raised from $200,000 to $300,000.
Sept. 20, 2001: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Dubai’s Crown Prince and Defense Minister of the United Arab Emirates, donated $5 million to a disaster relief fund, established by Keeneland, to assist those affected by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.
Sept. 20, 2001: Leading breeder Harry T. Mangurian, Jr., pledged $1 million to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association-New York Heroes Fund.
Sept. 21, 1938: A hurricane disrupted racing at Rockingham Park, which ended the day’s program after the sixth race. Thirteen barns were destroyed during the storm.
Sept. 21, 1940: For the first time in the history of photo finishes a triple dead heat for first place was recorded, at Willow’s Park, Victoria, British Columbia.
Sept. 21, 1973: Secretariat had his first workout on a turf course, going a half-mile in :48 3/5 at Belmont Park.
Sept. 22, 1988: Stuart Symington Janney Jr., owner of Ruffian, died at age 81.
Sept. 22, 1996: Larry Ross trained the top four finishers in the Washington HBPA Stakes at Emerald Downs.
Sept. 23, 1998: Clay Puett, who invented the electric starting gate more than 60 years ago, died at age 99.
Sept. 23, 2000: The 13-day Keeneland September Sale concluded with gross sales of $291,827,100, topping the previous mark of $233,020,800 set last year.
Sept. 24, 1943: The Jockey Club announced the creation of The Jockey Club Foundation, which was established to aid indigent members of the racing community.
Sept. 25, 1866: Jerome Park, named for its founder, Leonard W. Jerome, opened in the Bronx, N.Y. The track was a magnet for New York’s fashionable society, and the first to attract women in large numbers. Even the racehorses were fashionable, with ribbons of their owners’ colors braided into their manes and tails. Jerome, seeking to emulate the British racing system, also established the American Jockey Club, precursor to the present Jockey Club, formed in 1894.
Sept. 25, 1948: Fans at Atlantic City Racecourse filed onto the track after the 3-2 favorite in the fourth race, Even Break, dwelt in the starting gate as the race went off. A total of $71,414 was refunded to the angry crowd of bettors.
Sept. 25, 2002: The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders’ Cup Ltd. introduced a new wager called Head2Head to be unveiled at the World Thoroughbred Championships, Oct. 26, at Arlington Park. The wager challenges bettors to select which of two horses in a given Breeders’ Cup race will finish ahead of the other.
Sept. 26, 1942: The Jockey Club stewards revoked Eddie Arcaro’s license for one year after his display of “rough riding” aboard odds-on favorite Occupation in the Cowdin Stakes on Sept. 19. In the Cowdin, Arcaro deliberately drove his horse into another, Breezing Home, knocking his jockey, Vincent Nodarse, into the infield. Nodarse and his mount had crowded Arcaro at the start of the race, almost causing him to be unseated.
Sept. 27, 1894: Aqueduct Racetrack opened its doors. The building was torn down in 1955 and the new Aqueduct was reopened on Sept. 14, 1959.
Sept. 27, 1924: In the second his three specially staged International races, the French colt Epinard was again defeated, this time by a nose to Ladkin, at Aqueduct. A crowd of 40,000 witnessed the race.
Sept. 27, 1947: Armed, then the world’s leading money-winning Thoroughbred, met 1946 Kentucky Derby winner Assault in the first $100,000 winner-take-all match race, held at Belmont Park. Armed earned an easy victory over Assault, who was not in peak racing condition.
Sept. 28, 1960: Forty years after Man o’ War won the Lawrence Realization Stakes by 100 lengths in the record time of 2:40 4/5, Kelso equaled his time in the same event.
Sept. 28, 1983: Atlantic City Racecourse and The Meadowlands became the first U.S. tracks to engage in simulcasting. The previous year, Woodbine and Fort Erie in Canada had been the first to experiment with simulcasting.
Sept. 28, 1996: Jockey Lanfranco “Frankie” Dettori won seven-of-seven races at Ascot, a single-day wins record in England. His win streak was estimated to have cost English bookmakers £30 million and to have caused the closing of as many as 40 bookmaking shops, which suffered heavy losses after paying off winning punters.
Sept. 28, 1996: Jockey Dave Gall had his 7,000th career win, at Fairmount Park aboard A. J. Onray. He was the fourth rider to attain 7,000 wins.
Sept. 28, 2008: Multiple Eclipse Award-winning jockey John Velazquez gained his 4,000th career win when he guided Rogue Agent to victory in the first race at Belmont Park.
Sept. 28, 2008: Reigning Horse of the Year Curlin surpassed Cigar’s all-time North American earnings record, and became the continent’s first eight-figure earner, when he won the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. The win brought his career bankroll to $10,246,800.
Sept. 28, 2010: Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Horse of the Year, was retired with a record of 19-13-5-0 and earnings of $3,506,730.
Sept. 28, 2011: Jockey Tammi Piermarini won the first five races on the Suffolk Downs race card and moved into fourth place on the all-time victory list among women riders with her 2,020th career tally.
Sept. 29, 1973: With Meadow Stable’s Riva Ridge scratched because of rainy weather, his stablemate Secretariat was left to compete in the 1 1/2-mile Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park. Prove Out, trained by Allen Jerkens, beat the 3-10 favorite Secretariat, who faded after 1 1/4 miles to finish second by 4 1/2 lengths. Another Jerkens trainee, Onion, had defeated Secretariat in the Whitney Stakes on Aug. 4 at Saratoga.
Sept. 30, 1898: Jockey Tod Sloan rode five consecutive winners at England’s Newmarket racecourse.
Sept. 30, 1922: After a six-year hiatus, racing returned to Chicago with the reopening of Hawthorne Park. The popular gelding Exterminator, winner of the 1918 Kentucky Derby and the then-second-leading money winner of all time, made a special appearance, racing solo against the track-record time of 2:04 3-5 for 1 1-4 miles. He completed the distance in 2:10.
Sept. 30, 1969: Jockey Kathy Kusner won her first career race, at Pocono Downs. Kusner, a former rider with the U.S. Equestrian Team, had sued to obtain a jockey’s license in Maryland in 1968. She won her case but was subsequently sidelined by a broken leg suffered in a training accident.
Sept. 30, 1981: Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. had his 5,000th career win, aboard Wander in the seventh race at Santa Anita Park.
Sept. 30, 1990: Bill Shoemaker had his first graded stakes win as a trainer when Baldomero (IRE) won the Grade III Golden Harvest Handicap at Louisiana Downs.
Oct. 2, 1943: Belmont Park hosted “Back the Attack” day in support of the war effort. Admission was by
purchase of $25 or $100 war bonds. Approximately $25 million was raised.
Oct. 2, 1981: At age 17, Behavin Jerry, the oldest Thoroughbred in racing competition, set the record for most career starts by a Thoroughbred, 307. Behavin Jerry began his career as a two-year-old in 1966 and raced every year thereafter through 1978. He took two years off, 1979-80, and returned to racing at age 17 in 1981.
Oct. 2, 2010: Six-year-old mare Zenyatta ran her record to a perfect 19-for-19 by winning the Lady’s Secret Stakes at Oak Tree at Hollywood Park. The 19th straight win tied Zenyatta with Peppers Pride, a filly who ran up her streak against restricted, New Mexico-bred competition from 2005-2008.
Oct. 3, 1942: With a victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Whirlaway, ridden by George Woolf, became the first Thoroughbred to amass more than $500,000 in lifetime earnings.