International racing at its best didn’t begin with the Breeders’ Cup. The first major event in the U.S. was the brainchild of Marylander John D. Schapiro, who took over the reins as Laurel’s president in 1950 and decided to create a race designed to bring together the world’s best horses at a mile and a half on the grass. He named it the Washington, D.C., International. The race had its first running in 1952 and was an immediate hit, as *Wilwyn carried the banner for England. Parties in D.C. were a mainstay on the social calendar and everyone from dignitaries to royalty to movie stars were in attendance. Horses came from around the world, including Russia, for the next half-century until the Breeders’ Cup drew competitors away.
Learn more about the history of the Washington, D.C., International and racing visionary John Schapiro when his step-son, nationally recognized steeplechase trainer Joseph Davies, comes for a talk at the Maryland Horse Library & Education Center on Monday, October 23 at 4 p.m.