The Thoroughbred is a horse breed synonymous with racing. All modem Thoroughbreds trace back to three stallions imported into England from the Middle East in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. English Thoroughbreds were imported into North America starting in 1730. Diomed, brought to Virginia in 1798, signiﬁcantly impacted American Thoroughbred breeding, mainly through his son, Sir Archy.
Ralph Wormeley of Brunswick owned and raced Sir Archy brieﬂy circa 1807. Prominent horse breeder, James J. Harrison of Diamond Grove Plantation on the Meherrin River owned offspring of Sir Archy including sons Sir Charles and Timoleon—both 19th century stars as sires and racers. Harrison also spearheaded the development of a United States studbook like the English volume.
Racing and horse breeding were at their peak economically and socially in early 19th century southern Virginia. There were numerous racetracks in the region including Diamond Grove, Lawrenceville and Charlie Hope. By 1830 there were county races twice a year, spring and fall, lasting four days, with gala balls, parties in homes, fox hunts and excursions. Many a woman, it is said, invested a fortune on attending the races with an elegantly dressed daughter in an attempt to 'marry her off.'- Gay Neal
During the Civil War both the Confederate quartermasters and Union raiders had taken crops, livestock including thousands of horses for their troops. Coupled with the devastated post-war economy, the horse industry declined locally.
Many racehorses foaled in America descended from Sir Archy, including legends Secretariat, Man O'War and Seabiscuit seen here.
Horse Racing Trophy Jim Baney
Dressed to win a trophy