US horse racing celebrates 350th anniversary


The sport of horse racing is to celebrate its 350th anniversary in the US this year.

Painting by Frederick Elmiger titled "First Horse Race, Garden City, Long Island", from a series of New York City's early history.
Painting by Frederick Elmiger titled “First Horse Race, Garden City, Long Island”, from a series of New York City’s early history.

In 1665, the construction of the Newmarket course in Salisbury, New York, a section of what is now known as the Hempstead Plains of Long Island, NY, was established.

This first race meeting in North America was supervised by New York’s colonial governor, Richard Nicolls. The area is now occupied by the present Nassau County, New York, region of Greater Westbury and East Garden City.

In celebration of the anniversary, The Jockey Club’s fan development platform America’s Best Racing (ABR) has launched a four-part series of digital video ads filmed and produced at historic Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky.

The occasion of the first race meeting in the US was marked by a painting by US artist Frederick Elmiger, showing a group of dignitaries assembled on the lawn of the Newmarket racecourse as riders on horseback gather in the background. The figure in a long red coat is probably intended to represent Governor Nicholls.

Other significant events in 1665:

March 4, 1665: The Second Anglo-Dutch War began.

April 10, 1665: The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society began publication, the first scientific journal in English.

April 12, 1665: Margaret Porteous is the first person recorded to die in the Great Plague of London. This last major outbreak of Bubonic plague in the British Isles has possibly been introduced by Dutch prisoners of war. Two-thirds of Londoners leave the city, but more than 68,000 die. Plague spreads to Derby.

March 11, 1665: A new legal code was approved for the Dutch and English towns of New York guaranteeing all Protestants the right to continue their religious observances unhindered.

July 3, 1665: The first documented case of cyclopia is found in a horse.

August 27, 1665: Ye Bare & Ye Cubbe, the first play in English in the American colonies, is performed in Pungoteague, Va.

September 17, 1665: Charles II of Spain becomes King while not yet 4 years old.

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