Early Records of Horse Racing.: Interesting Article on the Subject Taken from an Old Magazine in England., Daily Racing Form, 1907-01-19


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EARLY RECORDS OF HORSE RACING. Interastinq Article on the Subject Taken from an Old Maqazine in England. Front an old magazine London Sporting Life takes the following, which traces back the origin of the 1 present day racehorse In Kmrland aud likewise in America since the greatest number of thoroughbreds in tills country today trace back to the Knglish liorses or liorses that were brought into Knglaud from other countries: "The date at which improvement in the breed of horses began to l e systematically pursued in Great Britain, may, however, lie written as the year 1010. when James I. gave 500 guineas for an Arabian entire horse, which was named The Markliam Arabian, having been purchased from a Mr. Mark-ham, j a merchant trading with Arabia. A prejudice set iu against the Arabian, as he was not successful as a racer: but this eventually disapi eared; for iu the next century, during the reign of Queen Anne, we lind The Barley Arabian, imported by a Mr. Barley from Aleppo. This horse was fored in the desert of Palmyra, and it is said that his progeny were unequalled for lieatity, sliced, aud strength. The Barley Arabian is often termini the Father of the Turf. and. indeed, the history of the Turf may be said to begin from his time. "Next we have the Godolpliin. It is said, however, that this horse was wrongly described as an Arabian, and that lie was really a Barb, imported from Barl.ary. He lived to be twenty-nine years old, and died 1753. Previous to She time when special care began to foe taken in the selection of sire and dam. it was the custom to turn horses out to graze over the commons of Kugland, and, it was muda law 32 Henry VIII. c. 13, That no person shall put on any forest, chase, moor, heath, common, or waste any stoned horse above the age of two years not lieing fifteen hands high; thus showing that height was thought an essential re-tpiisite for sires in those days. During the last 200 years the pursuit of horse racing has lieen more attractive to the leading families of Kuglanil than any other outdoor pastime. Horse racing as a public s| ort may be said to have commenced in the reign of James L, tlie races then run being purely for amusement: out It Is recorded that so early as the time of Henry II. races were run in SmithheUl for the purpose of selling the horse that got the best of the struggle. In some parts of England horse racing was commonly practiced at Easter time, and at the end of the seventeenth century it was prohibited, as foeing contrary to tlie holiness of the season. In 1740 horse racing had tiecome so prevalent throughout the country that a law was passed by Parliament to restrain it, and it was enacted that after June 24, 1740, no plate should be run for of less value than 4i50. the iienalty for transgression of the law being £200. Parliament further settled the weights to be carried in all races, aa follows: — Five years old, lOst: six years old, list; -even years old and aged, 12st. "It is impossible to ohtain fout few of the per-loruiances of the horses during the earlier part of the eighteenth century. The published records date trotn 17PS. and tlie races were generally matches, and iu long courses, varying four to twelve miles iu length. In the year just mentioned twentv-three matches were decided on Newmarket Heath, in all but one of which the distance was four miles. Iu 1710 the Buke of Wharton made two matches of six miles each, and in tlie same year a Roval fup. value 10O guineas, was given by George" I. for live year-old mares, lost each, distance four miles, which was won foy tlie Duke of Rutlands Bonny Black, foy Black Hearty, son of Byerly Turk. In this race twenty-one started, and no less than sixteen were placed hy the judge. Iu the next year the Royal fup was again given; eighteen started, and Bonuy Black again won. "Iu 1720. twenty-six matches were run, aud in the mouth of October in that year tlie Duke of Whartons faueyskius. list 101b, beat Lord Hillsboroughs Speedwell, 12st, the best of three heats, twelve miles, for 1,000 guineas, thus showing that racing iu those days was more for endurance and stayiug powers than for speed. For a few years only about that time are there any records of the racing that took place, aud not until the latter part of the last century do we find any regular record kept. Iu those early days of racing Give and Take Plates were both common and popular, with conditions as follows: The horses entered carried weight for age and weight for inches, each horse being measured under a standard before starting. Aged horses and mares, thirteen hands high, carried 7st, and for every additional one-eighth of an inch, fourteen ounces extra. Six year-olds carried four | ouiids. and tive-year-olds twelve pounds less: thus, if a horse stood fourteen hands high he Carried Ost, fifteen hands list, and so on iu the same pro|M rtion. The following is a correct return of a Give and Take Plate, run over the Kuavesmire, at York, ou August 21, 1753: A Plate of £50 for horses, etc., Give and Take,* fourteen bauds, aged, Ost; four mile heats. Mr. Hudsons or. m, Pickering Mollv, by a son of Smiling Ball, 13 hands 2 imhes. 8st 11 Lord Rockinghams ch. h, Sillierleg. hy Young fartotich, 13 hands S| inches, BBC. Sib. Hm 3 2 Sir J. L. Kayes fo. g. Adam, foy Young Car-touch, 13 hands 3 inches. Bat, 71h 2 drawn "From about the end of the last century dates the nourishing period of horse racing, which has been annually increased by the evergrowing interest taken in it by all classes of society. In 1752 there were sixty thoroughbred stallions standing in various parts of Knglaud. The fees were then very moderate. Oronootes headed the list at twenty-eight guineas. Bolton S.nT.ng was next at eight guineas. While others varied at from one to three qulneas. Eight of these horses were reputed imported Arabians, and it is owing to these well-selected Arabian and Barfoary horses, crossed with the foest British mares, that England now reigns supreme In production of the best breed of horses iu the world."

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Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800