The Joel Lane Museum House presents a lecture on “All in the Family: Diomed, Sir Archie, and Henry, from the 1780 Epsom Derby to the Great Match Race of 1823” by Jim Beckwith.
In a remarkable forty years, from the close of the American Revolution to an omen of the Civil War, three generations of race horses made a great impact on America. Just in time for the Kentucky Derby, Jim Beckwith tells the story. Diomed, the great English racer who came to Virginia late in life, was the father of Sir Archie. Sir Archie, after coming from Virginia to North Carolina, became the great foundation sire of the American thoroughbred. Then his son, Henry, foaled near Halifax, North Carolina, representing the South, ran against Diomed’s grandson, American Eclipse, representing the North, in the Great Match Race of 1823 on Long Island. Sixty thousand people attended this race, which was the first sporting event to capture the imagination of the young republic, causing Congress to adjourn and the stock exchange to close.