October is galloping this way! While our favorite time of year is racehorse season, October is a particular favorite. Leaves falling, colder weather, and, of course, Halloween. To get the spooky feeling, we’re going to tell one of the oldest ghost stories involving one of the most famous racehorses.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’s Gunpowder

Calling Gunpowder, the horse in Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a racehorse is a bit of a stretch. According to the novel, Gunpowder was a broken-down plough-horse that had outlived almost everything but his viciousness. Gunpowder was nearly blind, haggard, old and malnourished. The story also says the horse is devilish, meaning the horse probably disobeys its master.

However, the story hints at Gunpowder’s running prowess, or at least its vitality and energy; hence the name Gunpowder. It is also said that Gunpowder’s original owner was a furious rider. This possibly means during Gunpowders peak, he may have been a regular Secretariat.

So, would Gunpowder make a great racehorse in Kentucky? No. But like Sir Barton, he had a certain something about him that made the race for its life more believable. Despite all his negative racehorse qualities, Gunpowder escaped a horse fit for a Hessian soldier (or depending on your interpretation, Brom Bones, who is a stunt horseman.)

While the story only alludes to Gunpowder’s racing capabilities, we make the claim Gunpowder is one of the most famous racehorses and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of the most famous horse racing legends in the United States.

How many horses on their last limb do you know that can outrun a superior horse and rider?

Raise the Stakes at Ellis Park Racing

While they’re aren’t any headless horsemen at Ellis Park Racing, we do have the thrills similar to being chased by one. Come down to our racetrack in Henderson, Kentucky, and try your hand at one of our historical horse racing machines.

Come down to Ellis Park Racing and raise the stakes.