The 3 lb. gelding weight allowance

Every generation has it’s own set of perceived problems and divisive opinions. While today it’s shortened distances and medications, yesterday it was the standard 3 lb. gelding weight allowance.

“Mr. Editor: I do think that we have too long been submitting to a custom which reason cannot justify, to wit:–giving 3 lbs. to mares and geldings. It is my opinion, that as mares are soonest made up, so they, at three years old, are not entitled to any allowance. I should say, at three, equal weights; at four, mares and geldings 1 lb.; at five, mares and geldings 2 lbs.; and at six and aged, mares and geldings 3 lbs. allowance. How very few of the great runners of the present day are stallions; for in fact the stallion does not come to his maturity as soon as the mare.” (American Turf Register and Sporting Magazine (Vol. 3 No. 7), March 1832)

“…With the universal craze on the part of horse owners to emasculate young horses, see the enormous damage done to the breeding interests. I say that the gelding allowance is now a menace to our struggling breeding industry, and that the various racing authorities of the country should for the next few years put a stop to it. So long as the average horse owner knows that geldings are to receive the three pounds now allowed by the rules of racing, just so long will they continue the indiscriminate use of the knife on their young horses…Under ordinary circumstances the use of the knife on many hundreds of young horses was not only well advised, but really necessary, perhaps, to prevent the increase too rapidly of a breed of “weeds.” But we are now facing a desperate state of affairs…”
(Joseph J. Burke / Daily Racing Form, 02/16/1912)

“Frank R. Hitchcock proposed that the gelding allowance of three pounds be eliminated. Both amendments are likely to pass.”
(Daily Racing Form, 12/19/1915)

“The Jockey Club held its annual meeting today… The most important subject discussed was the amendment to the rules relative to the three-pound gelding allowance, proposed by Frank R. Hitchcock. The amendment was adopted and the customary allowance given to geldings was stricken out of the rule. Hereafter, geldings will carry the same weights as colts.”
(Daily Racing Form,  01/14/1916)


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