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 Looking Back

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

10 Years Ago: May 2012

Cindy Deubler recounted the historic win and controversy of the 1962 Preakness, where Virginia-bred Greek Money survived a stretch slugfest with division leader, Ridan, to win by a nose. Ridan’s jockey Manuel Ycaza lodged an objection as winning owner/breeder Donald Ross (of Delaware), trainer Virgil W. “Buddy” Raines and jockey John Rotz awaited the photo finish announcement. After extensive review, the stewards allowed the results to stand and ultimately suspended Ycaza for elbowing Rotz in the final yards. A now-famous photo by the Baltimore Sun’s Joseph A. DiPaola showed the proof.

25 Years Ago: May 1997

Live pari-mutuel racing would become a reality for Virginia in September with the long-awaited opening of Colonial Downs racetrack in New Kent County. The Virginia Racing Commission approved an amended dates request, which called for the track’s inaugural Thoroughbred meeting to run from Sept. 1 to Oct. 12.

50 Years Ago: May 1972

Off a championship juvenile campaign in 1971, Meadow Stable’s Riva Ridge headed to the Kentucky Derby after winning the Blue Grass at Keeneland. Trained by Lucien Laurin, the homebred son of First Landing won the Derby by 31⁄4 lengths in 2:014⁄5 in front of 130,564 racegoers.

75 Years Ago: May 1947

Stuart S. Janney Jr. was named chairman of the Maryland Racing Commission, succeeding George P. Mahoney. Maryland Gov. William Lane made the announcement while Mahoney was in Lexington, Ky., attending an annual meeting of the National Association of State Racing Commissioners.

10 Years Ago: April 2012

The Maryland Bred Fund celebrated 50 years. In 1962, House Bill 106 created the Maryland Bred Fund, rewarding the state’s Thoroughbred breeders and owners by increasing the pari-mutuel wagering takeout one percent and earmarking the additional revenue to purses and bonuses for horses born in the state. The move created the first state-bred bonus program in the United States and immediately upgraded Maryland’s Thoroughbred industry. The legislative move lifted an industry and launched a renaissance, changing the landscape of Thoroughbred racing forever.

25 Years Ago: April 1997

As of 1997, the American Horse Council Federation documented that the national horse industry was a $25.3 billion business, with Maryland’s horse industry boasting a $1.5 billion impact to the economy. At that time, around 82,900 Marylanders were involved in the industry as owners, service providers, employees and volunteers, with a total employment impact of 20,000. Additionally, there were 82,000 horses in Maryland, with more than 60-percent involved in showing and recreation.

50 Years Ago: April 1972

Frank Alexander, a 34-year-old native of Long Island, was celebrating one year as Sagamore Farm’s manager. Not originally from a horse family, Alexander got his start with horses when he was 16 working in a hunter stable and later broke yearlings on Capt. Harry Guggenheim’s Long Island farm, before joining the Air Force in 1957. After a few years running his own business of buying and selling horses, he switched paths and began galloping horses for Alfred Vanderbilt’s trainer Mike Freeman, later taking on the role of his assistant trainer.

75 Years Ago: April 1947

During the Maryland Racing Commission’s roundtable meeting in March, Harry Parr III announced that the Maryland Jockey Club would operate the Laurel racetrack purely as an independent investment and would continue plans to relocate and construct an entirely new Pimlico track.

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