- By John Connolly
Thousands of spectators thronged the race meet at Knavesmire in York on August 25, 1804. The crowd was much larger than usual and curious onlookers strained for a view of the upcoming race. The reason for all the commotion was simple: a woman was challenging a man in a horse race. It was a staggering event, derided as pure novelty by some and lauded as step toward equality by others. For many of the day's spectators, it meant drama and entertainment, and they turned out in droves to see it.