Racing History Highlights - Mar. 8-20

What happened in Thoroughbred racing the past 80 years? The NTRA compiles a sample of historic events that took place from March 8-20.
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What happened in Thoroughbred racing the past 80 years? The NTRA compiles a sample of historic events that took place from March 8-20.

March 8, 1987: Carrying 126 pounds, Zany Tactics set the world record for six furlongs, 1:06 4/5, at Turf Paradise. On Feb. 21, 1993, his time was equaled by Honor the Hero, also at Turf Paradise.

March 8, 1985: Chris McCarron rode his 4,000th career winner, Hawkley (GB), in the fifth race at Santa Anita Park.

March 9, 1977: Seattle Slew made his three-year-old debut, at Hialeah. He won a seven-furlong race in 1:20 3/5, breaking the track record.

March 10, 1808: Diomed, the winner of the inaugural Epsom Derby in 1780, died in Virginia at age 31. He had been imported to the U.S. 10 years earlier and subsequently became an influential sire.

March 10, 1993: At age 41, jockey Eddie Delahoussaye had his 5,000th career winner, aboard Ackler in the fifth race at Santa Anita Park. He was the 14th rider in North American Thoroughbred racing to reach that plateau.

March 11, 1943: After siring 350 foals that won over $3 million, 26-year-old Man o' War was retired from stud duty.

March 12, 1966: In the last race of his 40-year career, John Longden won the San Juan Capistrano Handicap at Santa Anita Park, aboard George Royal. He retired with a then-record number of victories, 6,032.

March 12, 1998: The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and EquiSource reached an agreement in principle for EquiSource to be the exclusive provider of group-purchasing and productivity services for the Thoroughbred racing industry.

March 13, 2000: According to the ESPN Sports Poll, consumer interest in Thoroughbred racing increased by 3.1 percent among people 18 and older during the previous two years.

March 14, 1941: Merrick died at age 38, establishing the longevity record for a Thoroughbred.

March 14, 1973: In his final preparation for the March 17 Bay Shore Stakes, the first race of his three-year-old season, Secretariat worked three furlongs in a blistering :32 3/5.

March 14, 1976: Bill Shoemaker won his 7,000th career victory, aboard Charlie Whittingham-trained Royal Derby II, in the fifth race at Santa Anita Park.

March 14, 1987: Jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. became the first rider in the history of Santa Anita Park to win seven races in a single afternoon. In his only loss of the day, Pincay finished third aboard Bob Back in the eighth race.

March 17, 1973: In his three-year-old debut, Secretariat won the Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct by 4 1/2 lengths.

March 17, 2000: Trainer Hubert "Sonny" Hine, trainer of 1998 Horse of the Year Skip Away, passed away after a long illness at age 69.

March 18, 2001: Zippy Chippy beat a Standardbred horse named Paddy's Lady at Freehold Raceway. Because the race was an exhibition, Zippy Chippy officially maintained his record of 89 starts without a victory.

March 19, 1942: The Thoroughbred Racing Associations of the United States was formed, with John C. Clark as president.

March 19, 1949: Jockey Bill Shoemaker rode his first career race, at Golden Gate Fields. He finished fifth, aboard Waxahachie, in an eight-horse field.

March 20, 1932: Phar Lap, legendary champion racehorse of Australia, won his only start in North America, the Agua Caliente Handicap at Agua Caliente Racecourse in Mexico. His time for the 1 1/4-mile race was 2:02 4/5, a track record. The six-year-old Phar Lap died one month later and the cause of his death remains a mystery. During his four years of racing in Australia, Phar Lap won 36 of 50 starts.

March 20, 1969: Less than two months after she became the first woman to ride in a parimutuel race in America, Diane Crump rode her first winner at Gulfstream Park.