March 21, 2013
When the spring comes we start going outside and enjoying the beautiful weather. Springtime bring us to our favorite outside activities, activities such as gardening, fishing, and hiking, after being cooped up in the cold winter. We have the exciting sport of baseball opening up that get us putting on our shorts, caps, and sunglasses to experience the sporty outdoor. But what about those spring spectators who wear their suits, sport jackets, dresses, and the iconic sun hats? Yes, springtime also brings the world of thoroughbred horse racing. Thoroughbred horse racing is an ancient sport that has been around since the beginning of recorded history. After the Civil War, the American Stud Book began in 1868, beginning the organization of Thoroughbred Racing in America (Winning Ponies Inc.). Today there are many racetracks in the United States, some of the most popular tracks in Arcadia, California, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Louisville, Kentucky. It is a very formal and expensive market that includes million dollar farms, high purse races, high stakes gambling, and most importantly, top of the line horses. Thoroughbred horses are bred to perform well on the racetrack. Owners match sires and dams in hopes to produce offspring who may have the athletic ability to contend for championships. There is no science to breeding racehorses. You can breed the best mare in the world with the best stallion in the world and get an average horse that may not even be athletic enough to compete in big races. Breeding thoroughbreds is simply a method based on how much money you have and a lot of luck. One March night in 1970, Penny Chenery had luck with her as a legend was born on the Meadow Stud Farm (Wikipedia). In 1968, Penny Chenery and Ogden Phipps had a unique breeding contract. Penny Chenery had two mares, Hasty Matelda and Somethingroyal, bred to Phipps stallion, Bold Ruler, a highly awarded and athletic racehorse. They then turned around in 1969 and bred Bold Ruler to Somethingroyal, again. The flip of a coin in 1969 was the deciding factor on which weanling belonged to which owner. Phipps won the coin toss and choose the filly out of Somethingroyal, and Penny Chenery was left with the weanling out of Hasty Matelda and the unborn colt out of Somethingroyal. In 1970, the colt was born as a red chestnut with three white socks, a star on its forehead and a stripe down his face. As a yearling the colt was named Secretariat, and began the career of a legend (Wikipedia). Secretariat was the best thoroughbred racehorse that had ever stepped foot on a racetrack because of his dominating performance, the size of his heart, and the legacy he left behind. In any sports performance or career people look at the stats produced by the individual, because numbers do not lie. Most racehorses have short careers in the thoroughbred world. Racehorses who are very successful as a two year old and three year old may only race those two years, then the breeding rights of the horse are sold. When the horses’ breeding rights are sold they then retire from the track and became a stud. Any horse whose worth millions in breeding contracts would be considered a great horse, because horse owners hope to attain an offspring with the same athletic ability. In most cases, if a horse was not affective or successful, his legacy may not have been continued. Secretariat only raced in 1972 and 1973. In the 21 races that he started he won 16. In his other five raced he either place second, third, and fourth, most of these coming his first year. He was named Horse of the Year in both years he ran, 1972 and 1973. In 1973, he became really successful beating records and attaining slim odds. In the world of thoroughbred horse racing, the most prestigious event in the United States is the Triple Crown series. It consists of three races, the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky, the Preakness...
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