Unlike the racing that takes place today, horse racing was first documented in ancient cultures. The earliest record is from the Greek Olympic Games of 700 to 40 B.C. The sport spread to the Middle East and North Africa. These races were often called hurdles. During the early 1700s, these events were held on both land and water.
In 1752, an unusual Thoroughbred race was held in Gloucester, Virginia, near Williamsburg. The race marked the start of competition between Maryland and Virginia, who had been locked in a long series of disagreements.
The race was held at Anderson’s Race Ground in Gloucester, Virginia. The track was a hilly, Tidewater loam. The usual handicapping weight for the era was 140 pounds, which included the jockey. The winning horse typically earned 30 pistoles. The prize money was split between the first, second, and third finishers.
The winning horse in this event, Selima, was a bay mare with a white star on her forehead. She was seven years old at the time. Her winning time was not recorded. However, she was at the height of her racing prowess.
The race itself was reported by the Annapolis Maryland Gazette. The paper described the race as “great,” with a list of the order of finish. It also noted that the winning horse was Selima, a horse that had won the Kentucky Derby the previous year. This was the first significant Thoroughbred horse race to take place in America.
Tayloe’s offer to run two imported Thoroughbreds against Tryal, the grey mare owned by Thornton, became a popular topic. In addition, he offered to put up 1,000 pistoles.
The winning horse in this event was an import from Tayloe. His sire, Bulle Rock, had been imported in 1730. His average speed rating over the last four races was the most important factor. The other factors were his lifetime win percentage, the average amount of money he had earned per race, and his post position. The other notable feat was that he won the race without breaking a sweat.
The winner of the race was a bit of a gamble. But his name was Tasker, a colonel in Anne Arundel County militia. He was an avid horseman, and he had confidence in Selima. He sent word to the Maryland authorities that he intended to enter her in the race. The result was a triumphant victory for Tasker and Selima.
After the race, Tasker and Selima were welcomed back as heroes in Maryland. The victory was also a significant historical moment in American Thoroughbred racing.
Despite being in the middle of a series of controversies, the equine talents of Tasker and Selima won the day. In fact, it was Selima’s victory that marked the beginning of the rivalry between Maryland and Virginia.
Selima’s victory was also the first of its kind to cross the Atlantic. Her winning time was not recorded, but her speed was impressive. In short, the horse’s entry was the “first of its kind.”
For the era, the horse’s “best” was its lifetime win percentage. In today’s world, a 17% probability isn’t bad.