The Winner’s Circle in a Horse Race
Getting to the winner’s circle in a horse race can be a thrill. Depending on the type of race, the payout can be more than a place bet or a win bet. However, the payoff is not as good if you have a horse that finishes in second place. The payout for horses in stakes races is higher than the payout for horses in allowance races.
The first historically significant Thoroughbred horse race on American soil took place in 1752. This race was contested by two horses in Maryland and Virginia. The battle between the two states over the Chesapeake Bay sparked passions in the region. Both sides believed their horses were better than those in the other. The race was reported in the Annapolis Maryland Gazette. It was deemed a great race, according to the paper.
The race was held at Anderson’s Race Ground in Gloucester, Virginia near Williamsburg. The horse owners in Maryland believed their racing was superior. The horse’s owner, Samuel Gist, imported Bulle Rock to sire faster horses. In the race, Rich Strike was first to the finish line, scooting up the rail in the first half of the race.
The winner, Selima, was a bay mare with a white star on her forehead. She was at the peak of her racing prowess at seven years of age. She was a preternatural talent. Her winning time was unrecorded. Her victory marked the beginning of a new race rivalry between Maryland and Virginia.
Tasker’s decision to enter Selima ignited passions in Maryland. He put 500 pistoles on the line to challenge the horse. The price was outrageous. Each pistole was a measure of value and could furnish a mansion or buy a dozen slaves. Nevertheless, Tasker had a sound equine judgment and believed in Selima.
The horse race began to attract gawkers in the colonies. Many jockeys were young male slaves. The era’s typical handicapping weight was 140 pounds. The horse’s jockey and rider were also included in the weight. The horse’s stamina was considered a mark of equestrian success.
The winner’s purse was large. A $1 stake was added to the 5-1 odds. This means the winner would take the entire purse. The race was run on December 5, 1752. The horse race was reported in the Annapolis Maryland Gazette.
The horse race was run on a hilly Tidewater loam. The race was held in front of taverns. This type of race was popular in Virginia. A horse would sprint across four miles in about eight minutes. A path race was a bawdy affair, with horses racing around city squares.
In addition to the horse race, there were several other races being held. The Fashions on the Field competition included celebrity judges. Several high-end sponsors were involved.
It is difficult to determine the exact date of the race. However, it is likely that horse racing in the United States began around the 1600s. It is also likely that the first race in the United States was in the colony of New York.