Racing History Highlights - Jan. 31-Feb. 12

What happened in Thoroughbred racing the past 80 years? The NTRA compiles a sample of historic events that took place for January 31-February 12.
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What happened in Thoroughbred racing the past 80 years? The NTRA compiles a sample of historic events that took place for January 31-February 12.

Jan. 31, 1958: Jockey Bill Shoemaker notched his 3,000th career win, aboard Eternal Pere, in the eighth race at Santa Anita Park. >Feb. 1, 1941: Golden Gate Fields opened for its inaugural race meet. After a five-day "season," the track was forced to close because severe rainstorms washed out the racing surface. The advent of World War II prevented the facility from reopening until Sept. 9, 1947.

Feb. 1, 1999: Owner-breeder and philanthropist Paul Mellon of Rokeby Stable died at his residence in Upperville, Va. He was 91.

Feb. 2, 2001: The Jockey Club announced that gross purses in the United States during 2000 topped $1 billion for the first time, an increase of 7.0 percent compared to 1999 figures.

Feb. 3, 1989: Apprentice jockey Nate Hubbard hung on for second-literally-when his horse, Sweetwater Oak, stumbled near the finish line at Golden Gate Fields and flipped the rider out of his saddle. As he tumbled forward, Hubbard grabbed on to the filly's neck and hung in mid-air until the race was over. The track stewards ruled it an official finish because Hubbard's feet never touched the ground and Sweetwater Oak carried her assigned weight throughout the race.

Feb. 3, 1990: Jockey Bill Shoemaker rode his final career race at Santa Anita Park, finishing fourth aboard Patchy Groundfog in 'The Legend's Last Ride.' He retired with 8,833 wins, a world record.

Feb. 4, 1926: Wheatley Stables, formed by Mrs. Henry Carnegie Phipps, recorded its first win ever, with a two-year-old filly named Sturdy Stella.

Feb. 4, 1997: Cigar was named Horse of the Year for the second consecutive year.

Feb. 5, 1997: A six-year-old horse, Isitingood, broke the world record for a mile- 1:32 1/5- set in 1968 by Dr. Fager. Isitingood was timed in 1:32.05 over the Santa Anita Park turf course.

Feb. 7, 1894: The Jockey Club was incorporated. As originally conceived, it was to assume the management of racing, previously overseen by the Board of Control. Included in The Jockey Club's functions were licensing, allotment of racing dates, appointment of officials and the interpretation and enforcement of racing rules.

Feb. 7, 1969: Diane Crump became the first woman jockey in America to compete in a parimutuel race when she finished tenth of 12 aboard a 48-1 shot, three-year-old Bridle 'n Bit, in the seventh race at Hialeah Park.

Feb. 7, 1996: A racing oddity occurred at Oaklawn Park when all the winners of seven consecutive races started from the number one post position.

Feb. 7, 1999: Jockey Eddie Delahoussaye picked up his 6,000th career victory aboard Sweetcakesanshakes in the third race at Santa Anita Park. Delahoussaye became the 14th rider in North American racing history to reach the 6,000-win mark.

Feb. 8, 1941: Whirlaway began his three-year-old season with a win in a six furlong allowance race at Hialeah.

Feb. 9, 1940: After a year's absence from competition, seven-year-old Seabiscuit, champion handicap horse of 1937 and 1938, returned to racing at Santa Anita, where he finished third in a handicap race. Seabiscuit ran three more races in 1940, concluding his career with a win in the Santa Anita Handicap.

Feb. 9, 1974: Jockey Chris McCarron rode his first winner, a five-year-old gelding named Erezev, at Bowie Racecourse. By year's end, McCarron had established a then-record number of winners for a single season: 546. Fifteen years later, on Nov. 30, 1989, jockey Kent Desormeaux eclipsed that mark.

Feb. 10, 1998: Undefeated Two-Year-Old Champion Favorite Trick was named 1997 Horse of the Year.

Feb. 11, 1933: The Jockey Club released data showing that as of 1932, the United States had surpassed Great Britain and Ireland in foal production for the first time, to become the world's leading producer of Thoroughbreds.

Feb. 12, 1981: Julie Krone rode her first career winner, a $3,500 claimer named Lord Farkle, which was owned and trained by Les St. Leon, in the sixth race at Tampa Bay Downs.