In the Beginning - Part 3
A Time To Remember
Return to Part 2


My sincere thanks to The History of Thoroughbred Racing in America 
by William Robertson.
 Permission to excerpt their material 
that those new to the sport of racing 
may re-live the moment is greatly appreciated.


 Three-year-olds were just beginning to be allowed to race . . .

and four-year-olds were campaigned sparingly. To race a horse younger than five at 4-mile heats was considered unsportsmanlike. And, naturally, the time required to develop campaigners for this type of competition, not to mention the time required to acquire suitable race courses,. was a factor in the delayed appearance of distance racing on the American scene.
That course racing over a distance was well established by 1737 is evident from an announcement that year in which it was "proposed that 20 Horses or Mares do run around a three mile course . . . at the Old Field in Hanover County . . . If permitted by the Hon . William Byrd Esquire, Proprietor of said Land." Permission from Byrd was forthcoming for the race subsequently was run and won by a bay horse belonging to a Mr. Tynes.
With horses they imported and horses they bred___which included such cornerstones of the breed as Monkey, Traveller, Jolly Roger and Lee's Mark Anthony___colonial Virginians earned recognition as founding fathers of the American thoroughbred.
Among the numerous stallions imported into Virginia before the Revolution, two stand out as having exercised particular influence on the breed: Janus, imported as a ten-year-old in 1756 by Mordecai Booth, and Fearnought, brought over as a nine-year-old in 1764 by John Baylor.
Fearnought did not found an enduring male line. The reason being that because of their size, strength and speed his offspring were very popular with Virginia patriots as mounts during the Revolution and many of them were lost. However, in other that the top line the blood of Fearnought still abounds in modern pedigrees.

The most significant turf family of the period immediately preceeding and following the Revolutionary War were the Tayloes of Mount Airy in Virginia. John Tayloe II owned the renowned stallion Yorick, who after sex seasons at stud was put back in training in the sons at stud was put back in training in the  1770's to accept a challenge to run a single 5-mile heat against Dr. William Flood's "breed horse".

At the age of thirteen, Yorick covered the distance in 12 minutes 27 seconds, to win easily, "in hand the whole way," while carrying 180 pounds.
Tayloe's son John III, later owned another formidable weight carrier over great distances, the gelding Leviathan, America's first unsexed champion. Leviathan won 23 consecutive races, and after his string was snapped, he came back in 1802 to win a 5-mile "dash" under 180 pounds conceding 70 pounds to his opponent Brimmer.