Racing History Blog

Regret: The Hall of Fame filly who beat the boys and brought national acclaim to the Kentucky Derby

Posted Dec 13, 2023


More than a century after her landmark victory in the Kentucky Derby, Hall of Famer remains one of only three fillies to win the Run for the Roses

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director

The great filly Regret’s legacy was established through a sparkling record of defeating her male counterparts with dramatic flair in some of America’s most prestigious races. Beating the boys, however, was only part of Regret’s fascinating story. Along with leaving the best colts of her generation in the dust, Regret’s landmark victory in the 1915 Kentucky Derby entrenched the race as an American institution.

Parole: An iron horse of a distant era

Posted Nov 29, 2023


Hall of Famer won 59 races during his fascinating career 

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director

Revered as an equine hero in both America and England, the mighty Parole cemented his legacy as one of the finest racehorses of the 19th century during a fascinating 11-year career that was defined by durability, determination, and a series of masterful performances in marquee events.

Citation's crowning achievement

Posted Oct 2, 2023


Seventy-five years ago, the Calumet Farm legend became America’s eighth Triple Crown winner en route to immortal status

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director

In the 1940s, baseball and horse racing could both make a rightful claim as America’s greatest pastime. When writers of the era partook in their quarrels about the best of the best — the iconic dynasties of the respective sports — the discussions inevitably turned to the New York Yankees and Calumet Farm. The Bronx Bombers won four World Series titles during the decade and featured future Hall of Famers such as Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, and Phil Rizzuto. Calumet, meanwhile, dominated to the tune of 10 Triple Crown race victories in the 1940s. The farm’s embarrassment of riches included four winners of both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and two Triple Crown champions — Whirlaway in 1941 and Citation in 1948.

Ted Atkinson: An uncommon path to glory

Posted Aug 31, 2023


A fortuitous recommendation from a stranger convinced Ted Atkinson to become a jockey. He developed into one of the best ever, winning 3,795 races, becoming the first rider to surpass $1 million in purse earnings in a single year, and earning a spot in the Hall of Fame.  

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director

Sometimes the best advice comes from the most unexpected sources. For Ted Atkinson, it came in the form of a chance encounter with the driver of a truck he was loading while working at a chemical plant in Brooklyn, New York.  

Leonard Jerome: A New York titan

Posted Jul 18, 2023


Leonard Jerome was a monumental figure in American society and thoroughbred racing who spearheaded the creation of three iconic New York tracks in the 19th century

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director 

Leonard Jerome’s imprint on American thoroughbred racing in the 19th century — specifically on the prominent and prestigious New York scene — was enormous. Known as the “King of Wall Street,” Jerome was a flamboyant stock speculator, financier, and patron of the arts who became a powerful figure in the thoroughbred game as the driving force behind the conception of three major racetracks in the New York City area. One of those tracks, the iconic Jerome Park, introduced the classic Belmont Stakes.

August Belmont I: Royalty of American racing

Posted Jun 9, 2023


August Belmont enjoyed great success as an owner and breeder of thoroughbreds and brought prestige and leadership to American racing in the formative years following the Civil War

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director

August Belmont proved to be a most important benefactor to thoroughbred racing during an era when the sport was at a crossroads in America. In the aftermath of the Civil War, racing and breeding was struggling to find its footing when Belmont entered the picture. Throughout a critical time in the sport’s history, Belmont served the game with distinction as an owner, breeder, and influential leader, leaving behind a legacy that remains prominent today.

Sunny Jim: A beloved great of the game

Posted Apr 29, 2023


James “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons won 13 Triple Crown races en route to becoming one of the most respected and beloved trainers in American racing history

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director 

It had the audacity to rain throughout the afternoon James “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons retired from thoroughbred racing after a 78-year association and love affair with the sport. The rain, however, mattered little on this day. Nothing was going to dampen the celebration that took place on June 15, 1963, at Aqueduct. A life’s work was complete, an enduring legacy was assured, and it was time to pay homage to one of the most esteemed individuals in the history of American thoroughbred racing. A crowd of 48,160 disregarded the raindrops and gathered at Aqueduct to honor the grand old man of racing, the 88-year-old legend, Mr. Fitz.

Count Fleet: Among the immortals

Posted Feb 27, 2023


Eighty years ago, Count Fleet assured his status as an all-time great by sweeping the Triple Crown in dominant fashion

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director  

On June 5, 1943, Count Fleet cruised his way to a 25-length victory in the Belmont Stakes to become America’s sixth Triple Crown winner. Eighty years later, the son of Reigh Count retains his status as one of the greatest thoroughbreds in American racing history.

The incomparable James Rowe, Sr.

Posted Jan 30, 2023


A masterful horseman, Rowe trained more champions (34) and Hall of Famers (10) than anyone in American history

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director

James Gordon Rowe was one of the finest jockeys in America during the 1870s, winning such prestigious races as the Belmont, Travers, Saratoga Cup, and Jerome Handicap, among others. He was the nation’s leading rider from 1871 through 1873 and became the regular jockey — at the age of 14 — for one of the greatest horses of the 19th century, Harry Bassett. As distinguished as they are, Rowe’s achievements in the irons are a mere footnote in a much bigger story. When he could no longer make weight as a jockey, Rowe made the transition to training thoroughbreds. It proved to be his life’s calling.

Celebrate the holiday season with some "Christmas Cookies"

Posted Nov 28, 2022


A selection of photographer C. C. Cook's holiday greeting cards is on display at the National Museum of Racing

By Brien Bouyea
Hall of Fame and Communications Director 

Charles Christian Cook, known in horse racing circles as C. C. Cook or “Cookie,” earned acclaim as one of the sport’s iconic early photographers. In a career that spanned from the early 1900s to his retirement in 1947, Cook captured American racing legends such as Man o’ War, Gallant Fox, Seabiscuit, and Citation, among others. He was also known for his exceptional images of jockeys, trainers, and owners, as well as track scenes.

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