Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets
May 23, 1775, the 1st Transylvania Convention opened at Fort Boonesborough with Harrodsburg, Boiling Springs, St. Asaph, and Boonesborough representatives. In only four days, the legislatures passed nine laws: addressing a court system, regulating a militia, prohibition of swearing/sabbath-breaking, rules for debts, clerk’s and sheriff’s fees, improvement of horse breeding, and game preservation. These laws reflected the settlers’ dependence on game for food, sound horses, and an ever-ready militia for defense against Native Americans. The governments of VA and NC immediately denounced the Transylvania Company as land pirates. The Transylvania government, with Harrodsburg as its capitol, lasted for a short time.
On May 23, 1788, William Whitley, a Revolutionary War veteran living in Lincoln County, built the 1st horse racing track west of the Allegheny Mountains near his home, “Sportsman’s Hill.” Legend says Whitley so despised the British that he insisted that races on his track run counter-clockwise rather than in the English tradition. Today, American horse races follow Whitley’s tradition and run counter-clockwise.
On May 23, 1790, Native Americans attacked a group of settlers headed home from Brashier’s Creek. One white man died, and one white woman was taken captive. A group of settlers gathered and pursued the Natives. However, the Natives killed the captive and dispersed when the settlers got too close.
On May 23, 1853, Darley, aka Lexington, ran his 1st race as a three-year-old in the Association Stakes at the Kentucky Association Race Track in Lexington. Trainer Henry Brown leased the colt from Dr. Warfield, who was retiring from racing. Despite running over two miles before the official break, Darley led from flag fall to finish, leaving a remarkable 1st impression; he did the same in the 2nd heat. Richard Ten Broeck later agreed to purchase the colt a few days before the Citizens’ Stakes on behalf of a syndicate. Little did they know he would become the most successful sire of the 2nd half of the 19th century.
On Tuesday, May 23, 1873, Pimlico Race Course’s 2nd race on the card was the Preakness run at 1 ½ miles. Maryland Governor (1868-72) Oden Bowie, a sportsman and racing entrepreneur, created and named the race in honor of Preakness, an impressive colt who had won the Dinner Party Stakes on Pimlico’s opening day in 1870. Survivor won a purse of just over $2,000. He won by ten lengths, which remained the largest margin of victory for over 100 years.
Wednesday, May 23, 1883, Leonatus won the 9th Kentucky Derby going 1 ½ miles in 2:43 on a very heavy track. Owners Jack P. Chinn & George W. Morgan, trainer Raleigh Colston Sr., and jockey William Donohue completed the winning connections and earned $3,760. Racing officials postponed the Derby by one day due to heavy rains and the track being a “sea of mud.”
Kentucky Trivia: The name “Churchill Downs” was 1st used to landmark the racetrack for the 1883 Kentucky Derby. In an article from the former Louisville Commercial: “The crowd in the grand stand sent out a volume of voice, and the crowd in the field took it up and carried it from boundary to boundary of Churchill Downs.” The track’s official name was The Louisville Jockey Club, and in 1937 they incorporated as Churchill Downs Racetrack.
On May 23, 1926, a mountaineer attempted to rescue his friend from a posse of Dry Agents and died in a shoot-out. The battle occurred in a crowded restaurant in Marrowbone, 14 miles southeast of Pikeville. The mountaineer lived at Morgan’s Creek.
On May 23, 1940, a real estate firm auctioned off Travelers Rest, the famous 600-acre Bluegrass farm formerly owned by Isaac Shelby, Kentucky’s 1st governor. Meanwhile, Adolf Hitler agreed to free Norwegian soldiers captured during the war in the East.
Horse Racing Trivia: Native Dancers’s owner Alfred G. Vanderbilt declined the responsibility of safekeeping the Woodlawn Vase. Therefore, the track began making valuable replicas each year after. The original is on display at The Baltimore Museum of Art and is brought to Pimlico Race Course under guard for the annual running of the Preakness.
May 23, 1982, Horseman John R. Gaines appeared on the front page of The Lexington Leader to promote the bold idea of a Breeders’ Cup Series, a Super Bowl of Horse Racing. Mr. Gaines started by saying, “That it was a sure thing. It isn’t a question of if it will be done but how it will be done.” The 1st Breeders’ Cup ran in October 1984 at Santa Anita Park.
Wednesday, May 23, 2018, Jenny Urie, a Social Studies teacher at Owen County High School, returned to work as the Democratic nominee for Kentucky’s 62nd House District. She won the primary the night before. She stated, “The disrespect of educators in Frankfort catapulted many teachers to run for office.” She gave it the college try but came up short in November.
On May 23, 2020, Governor A. Beshear reported no new deaths on a Saturday for the 2nd time in a month and a half. Hence, the death toll remained at 391. He also noted that Kentucky’s rate of new cases declined. Nevertheless, the state reported 484 Kentuckians hospitalized due to coronavirus, and 89 were in intensive care.
On May 23, 2021, federal officials told the public that vaccinated people no longer needed to get tested. The change represented a new phase after nearly a year in which testing was the primary weapon against the virus.
On May 23, 2022, Paintsville native Tyler Childers made a surprise visit and played the small Eastern Kentucky Fallsburg Summer Stage Music Festival in Lawrence County after one of the headliners could not attend.