“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Crab Orchard in Lincoln County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)

Where Racing Turned Around

Where Racing Turned Around Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, April 12, 2017
1. Where Racing Turned Around Marker
Inscription.  “The Sport of Kings”, or horse racing, has a long tradition within the culture of the British Crown dating back to 1174, when Henry II held the first recorded royal race at Smithfield. James I had a palace and track at Newmarket where he spent so much time racing that Parliament objected to his absences. Charles I and Charles II continued the tradition and by 1750 racing became the first regulated sport, with the British jockey Club’s insistence of establishing rules for racing. In the mid 18th century two horses raced in a “matched race” running straight over longer distances with the emphasis of the race on stamina. Eventually stamina and distance racing was replaced by younger horses racing shorter distances for speed or “class races” as is done now.

William Whitley moved from Virginia to the Kentucky frontier just prior to the American Revolution. During the war with Great Britain, American Indians, allied with the British, terrorized the rebellious colonists. On March 7, 1777 William Ray with his brother and two other young teenagers were clearing land at Shawnee Springs near Fort Harrod when

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they were attacked. William Ray was one of the boys killed, scalped and mutilated. Whitley saw the corpse and was so affected by the horrific sight that he spoke of it throughout his life and developed an extreme hatred of the British crown and culture. When he established the race track at Sportsman’s Hill, everything was opposite to the traditions of the British “Sport of Kings”. The race was run counterclockwise, not clockwise. The track was of clay rather that grass turf, and the spectators were in the center of the track, not on the side of the track. Thus horse racing as we know it today, began here at Sportsman’s Hill in 1788.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Settlements & SettlersSportsWar, US Revolutionary. In addition, it is included in the Kentucky, Sportman’s Hill series list. A significant historical date for this entry is March 7, 1777.
Location. 37° 28.126′ N, 84° 32.751′ W. Marker is in Crab Orchard, Kentucky, in Lincoln County. Marker can be reached from William Whitley Road. Marker is located on Sportsman's Hill across from William Whitley House. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Crab Orchard KY 40419, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Legacy of Sportsman’s Hill at Crab Orchard (within shouting distance of this marker); A Little Bit to Eat at the Race (about 400
William Whitley image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse
2. William Whitley
feet away, measured in a direct line); A View from Sportsman’s Hill (about 400 feet away); Celebration (about 500 feet away); Beginning of Horse Racing in Kentucky (about 600 feet away); Sportsman's Hill / Whitley House - 1785 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sportsman Hill (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sportsman's Hill (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Crab Orchard.
Sportsman's Hill image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, April 12, 2017
3. Sportsman's Hill
William Whitley House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, April 12, 2017
4. William Whitley House
Sportsman's Hill Marker Locations image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse
5. Sportsman's Hill Marker Locations
Credits. This page was last revised on July 15, 2017. It was originally submitted on July 14, 2017, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 275 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 14, 2017, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 17, 2024