Source: The Early Life of Lexington [KY] before the Year 1820, Mary Estelle Delcamp, A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Transylvania College in Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Arts June, 1916
Lexington has indeed been the home of the race-horse from the early times, when the city fathers found it necessary to take action against racing in the streets (Apr. 4, 1795). From the year, 1789, purse races became popular (Aug. 22, 1789). In 1794 the purse for the first day was $100, and for the second day $50; while in 1811 the purse was $1800, and a sweep stake was run the second day the entrance money for which was $20 (May 7, 1811). The so-called "Lexington races" began in 1793 (Sept. 28, 1793). By 1797 the Jockey Club was holding meetings at Mr. Postlethwaits (Oct. 21, 1797). In 1804 the purse of the first day of the Jockey Club event was $247; for the second day, $120 (May 8, 1804). Five years later the order was given by the same organisation that all riders must be dressed in silk or satin jackets and wear caps (July 11, 1809).
In 1803 the sweep-stakes became popular. The usual terms were $100 in cash and a $100 horse for each subscriber. All the races were usually held on the Lexington turf in October or November (July 29, 1791; Sept. 8, 1792; Oct. 7, 1798; Sept. 28, 1793; Oct. 21, 1797; July 11, 1809; Oct. 3, 1799; Oct. 10, 1795; Oct. 1, 1802; Aug. 13, 1811; Sept. 18, 1806). According to advertisements in the newspaper, there were only a few times in which the event took place in May (May 7, 1811; May 8, 1804; Mar. 5, 1811). If the races lasted three days, the four mile heats were run the first day, the three mile the second, and the two mile the third (Oct. 11, 1794). The handicaps, as given in 1794, were: for the aged horse ten stone-weight; six year old, nine-stone weight; for the five year old, eight; four year old, seven, three year old, a feather (Oct. 11, 1794). In 1812, for the sweep-stake to be held in May, the handicaps were as follows: 120 lb. for aged horse; 114 for six year old; 106, for five year old; 96, for four year old; and 86 for three year old (Mar. 17, 1812). In 1806 the subscription race lasted four days; On Wednesday the three mile heats were run for two-thirds of the subscription money; on Thursday the two mile, for one-third the subscription money; on Friday the one mile, for the entrance money; on Saturday two and three year old colts ran for an "elegant saddle, bridle and whip" (Sept. 18, 1806).
Transcribed February 2003 by pb