Saturday, April 14, 2007

"And They're Off"

Welcome to the cast Dr. Josiah Bartlett aka. Greg Pratt. You may have seen Greg last in "The Ritz"

Dr. Josiah Bartlett caused quite a dustup when he proposed to Congress to discourage "elaborate funerals and other expensive diversions, especially horse racing.." As a passionate fan of thoroughbred horse racing I would have shouted him down too. Here's a little trivia about colonial horse racing.

Although quarter horse racing--two horses running full speed for a quarter mile--and harness racing began their development in America as early 1665, thoroughbred racing did not exist in America until Oliver Cromwell's government (see Part I) forced Royalists and Cavaliers out of England. These families, with their wealth, customs and traditions, settled in Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina; they also enslaved Africans, whose knowledge of hot-blooded horses far exceeded that of their masters. In 1730, Bulle Rock, then a 21-year old of the Darley Arabian (see Part II), became the first true thoroughbred brought to America. Other colonists were involved over the years, including George Washington, who managed a track in Alexandria, Virginia and trained horses at Mount Vernon both before and after the American Revolution. But pedigree record keeping was shoddy in the South, and as debts to England for all colonists continued to escalate leading up to the Revolution, Northern colonial congresses urged the prohibition of all forms of extravagance, especially horse racing. Southerners refused, arguing that racing was a way of life, and an excellent preparation for a war that would erase all their foreign debts. Unfortunately, the Revolution and military effort depleted the thoroughbred stock, and after the war thoroughbred breeding had to begin all over again. From Call to the Derby Post

Speaking of the Derby, it's on my list of things to do before I ____(well you know) horses to keep an eye on are: Dominican, Street Sense, Great Hunter, and a long shot with a great name, Nobiz Like Shobiz.

Thanks to Paul Tarr for bringing us Julie Reed's famous wahoos of Sensuous Bean, Dean Bean, and Beebo's fame.

Congratulations to Matt Ottinger for correctly answering yesterday's trivia questions with: Protestant Women of Independence and fal waving.

No comments: