Megan. 21. Texas girl. Horse racing nut. Proud owner of way too much stuff. 90's kid for life. Potty potty Potterhead. Forever Hiddlestoned. Movie enthusiast, the older the better. Mama to two dogs, a rabbit, and a kitty (soon to be more!). Cleans dog poo for a living. Glad and willing to answer any questions, at all times. I love conversation
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*NOTE: None of these photos are mine (unless otherwise stated), obviously, because most of these horses died way before I was born. I did, however, pay for the rare and vintage magazines and books that a lot of these photos come from
Anonymous said: Why do fillies carry less weight in the triple crown?
Fillies and mares receive a weight break in any race where they face males. This is known as a “weight allowance”, and it is usually a five-pound break, in the case of equal ages
Additionally, any three-year-old racing older horses will also receive a weight break, male or female. For example, Rachel Alexandra carried five pounds less than the boys in the Preakness, but received an eight-pound break in the Woodward because she was racing older males
It’s not still done today, but back in the 19th century, geldings also received a weight break when racing colts, usually around three pounds. Vagrant, winner of the 1876 Derby, carried 97 pounds to the colt’s 100 (the other gelding in the field, Parole, also carried 97, as did the two fillies, Lizzie Stone and Marie Michon). It continued through Old Rosebud’s win in 1914, when he and runner-up Hodge (both geldings) carried 114 pounds to the colt’s 117. In 1915, Regret carried 112 pounds, the geldings Sharpshooter and Goldcrest Boy carried 114, and the colts had 117. The first Derby-winning gelding to carry full weight was Paul Jones in 1920, when the entire field had 126 pounds, save for the filly Cleopatra (121)
Anonymous said: Did Kincsem even exist? There is no record of her race times and that 54-0 record seems like such an outlier as to be statistically impossible.
Of course Kincsem existed…like, do people actually think she’s made up? Really?
There’s no record of her race times because, and this is important, she raced in the 1870’s. They didn’t exactly have stopwatches back then. There’s not much info floating around because she raced mostly in her native Hungary, and most of the original documents regarding her have just never been translated into English.
What is certain, though, is that this “lanky, pot-bellied, and sway-backed” mare did indeed win all 54 of her career races. There is ample documentation of that, because while she was racing, she was a bona fide celebrity all over Europe. When she made her only excursion to England, for the 1878 Goodwood Cup, the media covered every detail of her arrival, appearance, eating habits, anything they could find to print about her. She was incredibly popular, and her deeds were told and re-told by hundreds of thousands of adoring fans.
54 races may seem like a lot, but note that at least six (and maybe more) were walkovers, because her reputation frightened away any competition. She won 10 races as a juvenile, 17 at three, 15 at four, and 12 at five. She won three consecutive runnings of the Hungarian Autumn Oaks and three runnings of the Grosser Preis von Baden (a race still run today). She was, simply put, just that damn good.
And when she was retired, it made national news:
When she died, all of Hungary officially went into mourning for three days, with flags at half-mast and newspaper articles bordered in black. They named parks, hotels, a horse track, even a golf resort after her. They built her a statue in Budapest, The bloodlines of her five foals carried across the world, she has descendants in nearly every racing country.
And, of course, if Kincsem never existed, then who the hell does this skeleton belong to? It’s on display in the Hungarian Agricultural Museum:
So, in summary: Yes, Kinscem was a very real, extremely kick-ass racemare
"Than Imp, no greater mare ever was sadded on this continent…Imp is the queen of the equine queens - a perfect racing machine; one of the best thoroughbreds ever has been the good fortune of American Turfmen to look upon. She is something more than the best mare in training. She has earned a higher honor - that of being the best thoroughbred, horse or mare, now racing in America.”
- New York Press, 1899
"Of trainers who spent more than a half-century racing or racing against good fillies, James Rowe Sr, John W Rogers, R Wyndham Walden, Green B Morris, A Jack Joyner, Tom Healy, and Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons each declared Miss Woodford the best filly of them all.”
- Kent Hollingsworth, The Great Ones (1970)
"Miss Woodford was a sturdy mare of the masculine type, but Firenze, in my opinion, was a greater performer. Firenze could run all day.”
- Jockey Jimmy McLaughlin, who rode both of the great mares
"The performance was so brilliant that it caused her to be proclaimed the greatest racer of her sex that had ever graced the American Turf, for it came as a climax after a wondrous previous career."
- John Hervey, on Beldame's 1905 Suburban Handicap