Montana Horse Racing: A History
For centuries, on prairie grasslands, dusty streets and racing ovals, everyday Montanans participated in the sport of kings. More than a century after horses arrived in the region, Lewis and Clark's Nez Perce guides staged horse races at Traveler's Rest in 1806. In response to hazardous street races, the Montana legislature granted communities authority to ban "immoderate riding or driving." Helena led the way to respectable racing, with Madam Coady's fashion course hosting the first territorial fair in 1868. Soon, leading citizens like Marcus Daly built oval tracks and glitzy grandstands. By 1890, a horse named Bob Wade set a world record for a quarter mile in Butte, a mark that stood until 1958. Horsewoman and historian Brenda Wahler highlights the Big Sky's patrons of the turf and courageous equine champions, including Kentucky Derby winner Spokane.
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American Anaconda Anaconda Standard Apsáalooke Armstrong August author interview barn became Benton betting Billings Gazette Billy Bay Bird Rattler Blackfeet Bozeman breeding brought Bucking Horse Sale Butte Butte’s Catman chapter Chouteau County circa colt Conrad Kohrs County Fair County Fairgrounds Crow Fair Daly’s Deer Lodge Elison Equibase Falls Tribune foaled Fort Benton gambling Gervais grandstands Hamilton harness racing Harpo Helena History horse racing horse’s hosted Indian Relay Kalispell Kentucky Derby Kohrs Lewis and Clark Marcus Daly mare match race MHS Photo Archives Miles City Missoula Montana Fair Montana Horse Racing Montana racing named Nardinger NRHP organized oval owner parimutuel Park ponies purse Quarter Horse race meet racehorses racetrack racing days racing’s ranch Ravalli County record rider riding rode rodeo running Shelhamer Shoshone Slade sold Spokane Spokane’s stakes stallion started Tammany Thoroughbred Tomaskie town track trainer trotting Turf Club Velock wagering Wahler Western Montana winner Yellowstone