1993 29¢ Thoroughbred Racing
· Issued at the 119th running of the Kentucky Derby
· From the second block of four stamps to honor horses
Stamp Category: Commemorative
Set: Sporting Horses
First Day of Issue: May 1, 1993
First Day City: Louisville, Kentucky
Quantity Issued: 40,000,000
Printed by: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Lithographed, engraved
Format: Panes of 40 from plates of 160
Perforations: 11.1 x 11.5
Color: Multicolor with black intaglio
Why the stamp was issued: As a follow-up to the 1985 Horses block (US #2155-58), the Sporting Horses were issued at the 119th annual Kentucky Derby.
About the stamp design: Engraved by Yves Baril, the stamp features artwork from first-time US stamp designer Michael Dudash (who had previously worked on stamps for the UN). While the USPS chose not to specially feature famous horses in this set, the illustrations were based on photos from actual events.
For the thoroughbred stamp, Dudash based his artwork on photos from Sports Illustrated magazine. The lead horse was taken from a 1977 photo of For The Moment, winning the Bluegrass Stakes. The other two horses on that stamp were taken from a 1982 photo at the Preakness of Linkage and an unidentified horse.
Special design details: There was a mistake in the selvage markings for the Sporting Horses sheet. The phrase “Use Correct Zip Code,” is incorrect – ZIP should be in all capital letters as its an acronym for “Zoning Improvement Plan.” There was also at least one pane of 40 stamps found without the black intaglio printing for “29¢” and “USA.”
First Day City: Issued at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky, during the 119th annual running of the Kentucky Derby.
About the Sports Horses Stamps: The USPS referred to the block of four as “Horses II,” considering them a follow-up to the 1985 Horses block. Those weren’t the first US stamps to picture horses. A post horse and rider was included in the 1869 Pictorial Series (US #113). However, only two other stamps prior to this had pictured equestrian sports – a 1974 10 stamp honoring the 100th anniversary of the Kentucky Derby (US #1528) and a 1979 15¢ stamp showing an Olympic horse race (US #1794).
History the stamp represents:
Based on the speed of horses and the skill of jockeys, horse racing has thrilled spectators since ancient times. With colorfully dressed jockeys on sleek horses thundering towards the finish line, it’s not surprising that horse racing attracts more fans than any other type of sports event in the U.S.
Most race horses are Thoroughbreds, and can trace their ancestry back to one of three stallions; Byerly Turk, Darley Arabian, or Godolphin Barb. Known for their speed, these three stallions were carefully bred with English mares, producing swift, strong horses.
In flat races – races around a flat, oval track – jockeys use their riding skill to control the horses. Each jockey wears a special jacket and cap called “silks.” Silks identify the owner of the horse by their colors and the arrangement of those colors.
The earliest records of horse racing date back to 1500 B.C. when chariot races were held in Europe and Africa. The Olympic Games in Greece first included chariot races in 680 B.C., and by 648 B.C. races featuring horses with riders had been added. Eventually the sport spread to other parts of the world, and during AD 40s the Romans brought it to England, where it became the “sport of kings.” The sport was brought to America in the 1600s by European immigrants. In 1665, New Market, a U.S. race track was established.