To understand horse racing, you must know just a little history. In 1875, John M. Hill (1793-1868) and a few other young men founded the racing circuit. They ran races in their own private arenas, but they had to have a private entrance, so that the spectators could not see them from inside the races. So, they developed a very small-race area (about a third of a mile square) that was not open to the public. By 1879, one of the promoters said, “Well, if that’s going to be our limit for admission, why not let folks enter the arena and let them race?”
In 1901, the racing was banned by the U.S. Supreme Court. But this left the promoters to decide whether or not to continue running the races. They decided to run only in private arenas, so, as a consequence, there were far more seats available.
As people started becoming more involved in horse racing, racing grew in popularity. But not without some setbacks.
For the first time, people began to take horses to races, so there was a lot of money to be made in the racing business. This also gave people a chance to become the best horse-trainer in the country. Today it’s pretty common for professionals, not just amateurs, to take their horses to the track. It was very common to be able to call up a well-known trainer, talk to him about the needs of his horses and ask him to give them a test. In my riding career, I was lucky enough to have worked for three such people, including a famous trainer; and the three of us would come and work together. Many people, not to mention the “professional” trainers, would ask their athletes to walk past the training tracks and go into the “barnstorming” area for a chance to meet a celebrity trainer. Because of this, these elite trainers were really the “big dogs”, as they were called at the time. So, in the 1920s, many of the horsemen had to stop using all their talent to get into the racing business. Their talent came from the fact that they had a bunch of good horses. Their luck came from just being born into a good business family.
Today, you are far less likely to see someone riding a horse, because racing events are so organized and because they are such a financial boon for the sport. This is also why the race horse is now not
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