Montana Horse Racing: A History

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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.
ISBN: 9781467140324
Format: Paperback
Publisher: The History Press
State: Montana
Series: Sports
Images: 112
Pages: 272
Dimensions: 6 (w) x 9 (h)
A fourth-generation Montanan with a lifelong interest in horses and history, Brenda Wahler showed horses in the 1970s and 1980s, when the racing community was a major presence at fairgrounds across the country. Through college and beyond, she taught riding and judged horse shows. Today, she is an attorney and owns Wahler Equine, an education and consulting business. She and her husband live near Helena, Montana, with assorted horses and house pets. Visit her blog at
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