Horse Racing

Riders gallop during the Hawick Common Riding in Scotland.

The Festival Where Scotland's Violent History Comes Back to Life

Every year in the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders, one of Europe’s largest equestrian events commemorates a lawless time that shaped the region’s identity

Ulysses S. Grant’s 1872 brush with the law marked the first and so far only time a United States president has been arrested while in office. Pictured: Grant with his racehorse Cincinnati

When President Ulysses S. Grant Was Arrested for Speeding in a Horse-Drawn Carriage

The sitting commander in chief insisted the Black police officer who cited him not face punishment for doing his duty

In her new historic novel, Brooks reimagines the life of the itinerant artist Thomas J. Scott, who rendered the distinguished race horse in the oil painting, Portrait of Lexington, ca. 1857, a work that Smithsonian curator Eleanor Harvey describes as "visually riveting."

The Lost Story of Lexington, the Record-Breaking Thoroughbred, Races Back to Life

For her latest novel “Horse,” the Pulitzer-prize winning author Geraldine Brooks found inspiration in the Smithsonian collections

The finish of the 2019 Kentucky Derby.

The Complicated Legacy of 'My Old Kentucky Home'

Sung each year at the Kentucky Derby, the tune's original meaning has long been lost to history

Soi Phet, a 12-year-old gelding, arrived last year at Old Friends in Georgetown, Kentucky, after earning $1 million on the racetrack.

At a Kentucky Farm, Champion Thoroughbreds Live Out Their Retirements

Steeds who made headlines for winning races now get to enjoy their final years at a slower pace

Even large equines can get a little hoarse.

Even Mild Cases of Asthma Can Slow Down Elite Racehorses

Researchers found 80 percent of racehorses surveyed suffered from airway inflammation that impacts performance

In June of 1878, just a few years after he was acquitted for murder, Eadweard Muybridge made history at a racetrack in Palo Alto, California.

How a 19th-Century Photographer Made the First 'GIF' of a Galloping Horse

Eadweard Muybridge photographed a horse in different stages of its gallop, a new Smithsonian podcast documents the groundbreaking feat

Eighty years ago, Seabiscuit trounced Triple Crown winner War Admiral.

Scientists Extract DNA From Seabiscuit's Hooves To Figure Out How He Was So Fast

Eighty years ago, the horse famously trounced Triple Crown winner War Admiral. Did genetics make him an unlikely success?

The Dance Class, c. 1873. Oil on canvas.

One Hundred Years Later, the Tense Realism of Edgar Degas Still Captivates

For this groundbreaking artist, greatness was always one more horizon away

From 1921 to 2000, no black jockeys competed.

How African-Americans Disappeared From the Kentucky Derby

Black jockeys won more than half of the first 25 runnings of the Kentucky Derby. Then they started losing their jobs

Idaho Gem, the first cloned mule, only two days old in this photo but already aww-inducing.

How Mule Racing Led to Mule Cloning

It was a huge advance in cloning in the early 2000s

That Time When Custer Stole a Horse

The theft of a prize-winning stallion gave the famous general a glimpse of a future that could have been

Horses race in the 2015 Belmont Stakes. Researchers have found that horse race speed has increased since 1850.

Racehorse Speed Hasn’t Peaked Yet

But how will horses fare in the race to get faster?

Curling, Baking, Typos: How This Year’s Kentucky Derby Contenders Got Their Names

What’s in a name? A lot, if you want to tackle the Triple Crown

Admire Rakti exercises on November 3rd, getting set for the fatal race.

A Horse Racing Favorite Died Minutes After Completing the Melbourne Cup

Admire Rakti wasn't even the only horse to die at the races

In 1966, Henry Carfagna, the Suffolk Downs track photographer, prepared to take his standard picture of the horses driving toward the wire when he saw a man run onto the track.

At Suffolk Downs, an Unintended Spectator

Photographer Henry Carfagna was in the perfect position to catch the moment when a horse race took a bizarre turn

James Winkfield was a two-time Kentucky Derby winner and raced across Europe after racism kept him from being the best athlete in America's most popular sport.

The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys

African American jockeys once dominated the track. But by 1921, they had disappeared from the Kentucky Derby

"Horses define Lexington in many ways," says Edwards (with Thoroughbred Park's statues).

Lexington Is Kim Edwards' Old Kentucky Home

Far from her Northern roots, the best-selling novelist discovers a new sense of home amid rolling hills and Thoroughbred farms

"During Derby Week, Louisville is the capital of the world," wrote John Steinbeck in 1956.

Derby Days

Thoroughbreds, mint juleps, big hats—the Kentucky Derby's place in American history

May 6, 2006: Barbaro, with Edgar Prado aboard, nears the finish of the Kentucky Derby. He won the "Run for the Roses" by six and a half lengths, the largest margin in 60 years.

Barbaro's Legacy

The effort to save the fallen champion shows how far equine medicine has come in recent years. And how far it still has to go

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