Looking Back

This month in mid-atlantic thoroughbred history! For Looking Back archives click here.

75 years ago: November 1943

The Maryland tracks’ 30-day combined fall meet at Pimlico was an unqualified success. Handle broke all records, crowds up to 20,000 attended, and the nation’s best horses competed.

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50 years ago: November 1968

 “Those Long-Sought Stallions Are Arriving” wrote Snowden Carter in his editorial after announcements that Northern Dancer was moving from Windfields in Canada to the Chesapeake City farm, and Dancer’s Image was to stand his first season at Glade Valley Farms in Frederick. “One of Maryland’s new residents says in this issue that the State’s principal deficiency from a horse breeders’ standpoint is the shortage of quality stallions.

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25 years ago: November 1993

Six applications were accepted by the Virginia Racing Commission for a license to operate Virginia’s first pari-mutuel track. Among those submitted were Patriot Park (the Maryland Jockey Club plan), Old Dominion (Virginia Racing Associates), Virginia Beach (Churchill Downs) and Colonial Downs (Arnold Stansley). The final selection was not expected before March 1994

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10 years ago: November 2008

The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern Fall Yearling sale took a hit with a declining national ecomony. The gross was the lowest in 10 years, the average of $17,001 for 483 sold was down nearly 27 percent from the year before, and the buyback rate was an astonishing 36 percent. 

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10 years ago (August 2008)

Delaware native Rick Porter talked about the extreme highs and lows as an owner with writer Sean Clancy. In his 15 years in the business, the highs were stratospheric, with a Breeders’ Cup win in the Distaff with Round Pond, a Grade 1 Alabama victory with Jostle, and classic-placed multi-millionaire Hard Spun. But the tragedy of Eight Belles after finishing second in the 2008 Kentucky Derby-G1 was haunting. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to go on,” said Porter of continuing the stable, but he discussed it with family, friends and trainer Larry Jones. “You try to talk it out and get it off your chest, try not to keep it inside and gradually. . . you’ll never forget it, just somehow you keep going,” he acknowledged. 

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75 years ago (September 1943)


Maryland’s 1943 fall stakes schedule, combining the Havre de Grace, Laurel, Pimlico and Bowie meetings, had 29 stakes listed for the 30-day meet to run from Oct. 9 through Nov. 13 at Pimlico. There was nearly a stakes a day, with the headliner the $25,000 invitation-only Pimlico Special on Oct. 30.

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50 years ago (September 1968)

 The Fasig-Tipton Company and Maryland Horse Breeders Association’s Eastern Fall Yearling Sale was approaching, and among those expected to attend was Judy Johnson. Earlier in the year Johnson became the first woman to saddle a Preakness starter when she sent out Sir Beau in the classic. She had purchased Sir Beau for $4,500, and by late summer of his 3-year-old season, the multiple stakes winner had earnings of more than $81,000.

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25 years ago (September 1993)

 Julie Krone, the first (and still only) woman rider to win a Triple Crown race when guiding Colonial Affair to victory in the Belmont Stakes-G1 that June, was also the leading Maryland Million rider. Her eight wins in five years gave her a two-win advantage over Kent Desormeaux. 

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