Saturday, July 28, 2012

"Hopenscope" Wins the Fairbank. That's No Bull!!!

Today I bring a special memory of the Sheldon Wolfe Family back to life. It will bring back so many great memories that were a part of our lives. That will live on!

Hopenscope was the first thoroughbred that my farther Sheldon Wolfe trained. In his 30 year horse training career. My dad purchased Hopenscope from Tom Barker senior and his son Tom in the spring of 1972. When Hopenscope was purchased. His racing name was "Two Toms". My farther just loved Hopenscope when he first laid his eyes on him. My dad was happy to give the Barker's a fair profit. To try and get his horse training career off to a good start.

My dad changed his two year old colt's name to Hopenscope from Two Toms. As my dad Hoped that the two year old son of "Malicious" out of the mare "Gramps Girl". Would create a Scope of great things to come in our future.

Hopenscope was not only a very talented racehorse. The "Bull" which was his nickname. Because of a very pugnacious and mean personality. Proved to be very versatile. As the Bull during his 3 year old campaign of 1973. Won 5 races from 13 starts. Hopenscope won an allowance race stopping the clock in a very fast 1:09.3 for six furlongs. Wining an allowance race at Rockingham Park. Located in Salem New Hampshire.

He went on to win two more allowance races at 1 mile and 1 1/16 miles on the turf courses at Woodbine. Not bad for a racehorse that was considered to be a speed horse only.

Going into the Fairbanks. Hopenscope had finished 2nd in a 7 furlong allowance race, at Greenwood. Beaten 1/2 a length by a talented nemesis named "Hatchet Tiger". For that reason. Hopenscope was considered a complete outsider. When my dad decided to run the Bull in the Fairbank. After all the 1973 Queen's Plate winner Royal Chocolate was running in the Fairbank. Also the powerful Stafford Farms would also start the "Price Of Wales" winner "Tara Road" in the Fairbanks Stakes Race. The Stafford Farms entry would be heavily favored to win the last big 3 year old race. Before the 1973 Toronto racing year came to an end.

My farther changed rider's for Hopenscope in the Fairbank. Veteran jockey Bill McMahon. Who had moved his career from England. To be a part of the Toronto Circuit. Would be Hopesncope's pilot in the Fairbank Stakes. Bill was enjoying a very successful Greenwood meet. My dad made the right call. To create this important and very exciting day. In his training career.

The track conditions came up muddy. Which was a big advantage for Royal Chocolate. Who just loved racing in wet and muddy conditions. My dad gave Bill McMahon his strategy for trying to win the Fairbank. Which were; just relax Hopenscope after the start of the race. Try and conserve the "Bull" the best that you can. Then ask him for a big run. In the last 3 furlongs of the race.

The 1973 Fairbabnk Stakes Race went to that exact plan. For Hopenscope was taken in hand and relaxed perfectly for Bill McMahon during the early parts of the Fairbank. The Bull laid in 3rd position for the first 7 furlongs of the race. Then when Hopsnscope reached the 3 furlong marker from the finish line. Bill asked Hopenscope to run. And run he did. The Bull exploded by the two pace setter "Fallen Tear" and "Fabiusand" and opened up a commanding 4 length lead.

I remembering watching as a young boy. As our Bull had spirited to the lead. Would he maintain that lead? To prevent Royal Chocolate and Tara Road from catching him. It was a special moment! As the two stars from the Stafford Farms Stable. Were no match for our "Bull". On that chilly Fall Day at old Greenwood Racetrack.

The officially margin of victory was 3 1/2 lengths. After the thrill of winning his first Stakes Race as a trainer. My dad obtained the film patrol 8mm movie of the race. Also my farther purchased the audio of Daryl Wells call of the 1973 Fairbank.
I just recently had both the film of this race and the audio cassette tape. Digitized and turned into a DVD. So this exciting moment in our lives will never be forgotten or lost.

YouTube Link of the 1973 Fairbank Stakes Race.

I would like to thank Frank who works at John's Video for his great efforts. To keep our memories of this momentous occasion alive and well. John's Video is located at 636 Pape Ave. Toronto Phone #416-463-2674.