Sept. 19, 1942: Alsab, runner-up in the 1942 Kentucky Derby, beat 3-10 favorite Whirlaway, the 1941 Triple Crown champion, by a nose in a $25,000 match race at Narragansett Park. The match was arranged after Alsab was scratched from the Narragansett Special, a race won by Whirlaway one week earlier. Narragansett’s president, James Dooley, offered to contribute the track’s share of the mutuel handle, plus breakage, to the Army and Navy Relief Funds, making attendance at the race a patriotic gesture. Alsab and Whirlaway met twice more that year, with Whirlaway winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Oct. 3, and Alsab besting him in the New York Handicap on Oct. 10.
Sept. 20, 1965: Jockey Jorge Velasquez made his American racing debut, riding for owner Fred W. Hooper, at Atlantic City Racecourse. He won with his first mount, aboard Keypoint, in the sixth race, at 8-1 odds.
Sept. 20, 1976: Two-year-old Seattle Slew made his racing debut, winning a six furlong maiden race by five lengths at Belmont Park. His zesty workouts prior to the race made Seattle Slew the 2-1 favorite and he was the public’s choice in both his subsequent races that year. After only three starts (including the Champagne Stakes) in the space of 27 days, Seattle Slew was voted champion two-year-old colt for 1976.
Sept. 20, 1980: Before a crowd of 23,000 spectators, four-year-old Spectacular Bid won the Woodward Stakes in the world’s richest walkover. To the surprise of trainer Bud Delp and owners Harry, Teresa and Tom Meyerhoff, “Bid” was awarded only $73,300, which was half of the winner’s share of the purse, but all that was allowable under the track’s rules. There had not been a walkover in a major U.S. stakes race since Coaltown won the Edward Burke Handicap on April 23, 1949.
Sept. 20, 1999: Storm Cat’s stud fee was raised from $200,000 to $300,000.
Sept. 20, 2001: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Dubai’s Crown Prince and Defense Minister of the United Arab Emirates, donated $5 million to a disaster relief fund, established by Keeneland, to assist those affected by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.
Sept. 20, 2001: Leading breeder Harry T. Mangurian, Jr., pledged $1 million to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association-New York Heroes Fund.
Sept. 21, 1938: A hurricane disrupted racing at Rockingham Park, which ended the day’s program after the sixth race. Thirteen barns were destroyed during the storm.
Sept. 21, 1940: For the first time in the history of photo finishes a triple dead heat for first place was recorded, at Willow’s Park, Victoria, British Columbia.
Sept. 21, 1973: Virginia-bred Secretariat had his first workout on a turf course, going a half-mile in :48 3/5 at Belmont Park.
Sept. 22, 1988: Stuart Symington Janney Jr., owner of Ruffian, died at age 81.
Sept. 22, 1996: Larry Ross trained the top four finishers in the Washington HBPA Stakes at Emerald Downs.
Sept. 23, 1998: Clay Puett, who invented the electric starting gate more than 60 years ago, died at age 99.
Sept. 23, 2000: The 13-day Keeneland September Sale concluded with gross sales of $291,827,100, topping the previous mark of $233,020,800 set last year.
Sept. 25, 1866: Jerome Park, named for its founder, Leonard W. Jerome, opened in the Bronx, N.Y. The track was a magnet for New York’s fashionable society, and the first to attract women in large numbers. Even the racehorses were fashionable, with ribbons of their owners’ colors braided into their manes and tails. Jerome, seeking to emulate the British racing system, also established the American Jockey Club, precursor to the present Jockey Club, formed in 1894.