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One for the money...

Posted by Smokey Stover on September 07, 2008 at 20:06

In Reply to: One for the money... posted by Joyce on September 01, 2008 at 15:58:

: What is the origin of: One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and four to go?

This seems obviously a four-count countdown to start a race. Using a query program on the Net produces a number of efforts to elucidate this count, and Mother Goose seems heavily involved. So does horse-racing, in which the first three to cross the finish are respectively regarded, by bettors, as Win, Place and Show. "One for the money" would seem to go with "Win," although nowadays, at least, two would go with "Place," not "Show." Here's a bit of variation found in one version of Mother Goose.

In "The Annotated Mother Goose" p 259 the following rhyme is included
One to make ready
And two to prepare
good luck to the rider
And away goes the mare.

The annotation says this is 'a race starting jingle, the forerunner of the
modern 'one for the money, two for the show, three to make ready and four to go!'

See the following link, where other suggestions are also made.