Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sagley "51 Wins"

Most working class people work hard there whole life. We survive but are never credited for our contribution or are worth. That is sadly the way our human society works.
The movie stars, the politicians, the music stars, star athletes and the business enterpriser's. Get all the credit and recognition for making our quality of life, rewarding.

Well just to let you know there was a small dark bay horse named "Sagely". Who didn't care he was just working class. For Sagley contribution to "The Sport Of Kings" was monumental!
Just by doing his job well. Also that fact that Sagley loved doing it. Contributed to him running in 124 races over his 15 year racing career.

This is copied from the Finger Lakes Racetrack "Hall Of Fame" page as Sagley was inducted into there "HOF" in 1996.

1970 Dk. b.c. by Sage and Sand - Four Crown
51 Wins in 124 Starts from ages 2 to 16
Career Earnings: $116,196

1983 - New Track Record at Finger Lakes - 1 mile 3/16 in 1:59:4

Racing the majority of his 15 year racing career against modest claiming competition, Sagely became one of the few thoroughbreds in racing history to post 50 career victories. At the tender age of 14, Sagely earned his 50th victory with an eight-length romp in the first race at Finger Lakes on November 10, 1984. He won 17 of 22 starts for trainer Bill Strange, who brought Sagely to Finger Lakes in 1975. From 1982 through his retirement in 1986, Sagely won 39 races at Finger Lakes - 26 times after turning 11 years old in 1981. From 1981 through 1984, he won at least six races each year. Sagely won all four starts in 1975, and was seven-for-seven in 1977. During a three-year stretch from 1975 through 1977, he finished no worse than second, while winning 12 of 14 starts. Sagely's longevity was matched by his courage and desire to compete.

I would enjoy to hear anybody who knew Sagley or was a fan of this classy and special Thoroughbred. I did enjoy the special privilege of attending Finger Lakes Racetrack and watch Sagley do what he enjoyed to do best. Win a horse race!

Secretariat "Big Red"

One of the treats of being a horse racing fan through the 1970s. That we were entertained with 3 triple crown winners. Secretariat who was affectionately know as "Big Red" was a very strong and handsome son of Bold Ruler out of the mare Somethingroyal by Princequillo. Was considered one of the most talented Thoroughbreds in Racing history. Yes and we got to enjoy his exciting career.

It was just fate that Big Reds' owner Penny Tweedy came up with Secretariat. As she won him in the flip of a coin deal with Owner Breeder Ogden Phipps. Secretariat who was honored with the same nickname as racing legend "Man o' War. Went to live up to that honor as Secretariat became the first U.S. Triple Crown Winner in 25 years, in 1973.

In winning the; Kentucky Derby, The Preakness, and the Belmont. Big Red completed the great accomplishment in amazing style as he set record times for winning the 3 races. The Kentucky Derby (1:59.4), The Preakness (1:53), and the Belmont (2:24). Which Secretariat won the Belmont by an unbelievable 31 lengths.

Secretariat was trained by Canadian Trainer Lucien Laurin. Big Reds' race record; 21 starts:16 wins-3 seconds- one third. Secretariat regular pilot was famous Canadian jockey Ron Turcotte.

Secretariat won 15 stake races;
Sanford Stakes (1972)
Hopeful Stakes (1972)
Futurity Stakes (1972)
Laurel Futurity (1972)
Garden State Futurity (1972)
Bay Shore Stakes (1973)
Gotham Stakes (1973)
Arlington Invitational (1973)
Marlboro Cup (1973)
Man o' War Stakes (1973)
Canadian International (1973)
American Classic Race wins:
Kentucky Derby (1973)
Preakness Stakes (1973)
Belmont Stakes (1973)

We Canadian Racing fans were given the chance of a lifetime. As Secretariat would make the final start of his illustrious career, at Woodbine. As Big Red would race and win the Canadian International Championship. I was at Woodbine for Secretariat final race. It was one of my special memories of being a horse racing fan!

Videos of Big Red
1973 Kentucky Derby
1973 Preakness
1973 Belmont
1973 Canadian International Championship

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Belle Geste

One of all time best Canadian Bred Thoroughbred runners of all time. Was great turf mare "Belle Geste". Truly a legend in Ontario Racing. And for good reason for Belle
Geste was a true grade one champion. It takes a rare and exceptional female to be able to compete on even terms with male horses. Especially in grade one company. Belle Geste was able to do and beat some very talented male horses. To win some very important races.

Belle Geste was owned by Beatrice and Bill Latimer of Toronto. Belle was trained by Carl Chapman and her regular jockey was Noel Turcotte. It was always a big deal when Belle Geste went to the starting gate for a race. Like any star performer. Belle Geste was exciting to watch race and seldom disappointed her fans.

One of Belle Geste greatest races was in the 1972 Canadian Championship. Back in the good old days. The Canadian Championship use to run at the distance of 1 5/8 miles on the turf, until 1986. As it now runs at the 1 1/2 distance on the turf. Belle Geste came very close to winning the most coveted race in Canada. Sure the Queens Plate is an important race. But the best horses always competed in the C.I.C. Droll Role with Hall Of Fame jockey Braulio Baeza were both all out to narrowly defeat Belle Geste to win the Canadian International Championship. The bleachers in the barn area were packed that fall day with fans. Elated with Belle Geste tremulous race. A race that great was a good as a win! What a tremendous athlete Belle Geste was!

Belle Geste was only an $11,000 yearling purchase. Belle Geste won 22 of her 41 races. With 8 victories coming in stake races. Belle Geste defeated Kennedy Road to win the Maturity States in 1972. Setting a track record in doing so. Stopping the clock in 2:01.2. Belle Geste was by "The Scoundrel-French Safari". Belle was a true champion racehorse.

Stiff Upper Lip

My dad's training career began in 1972. That is when my interest in professional sports and in horse racing. Started to hit it's best stride.

Two of my all time favorite racehorses. Were trained my Carl Chapman. Also ridden by Noel Turcotte. I have to start this section with "Stiff Upper Lip". Who made quite an impression on a young horse racing fan.

Claiming horses are an integral part of Thoroughbred Horse Racing. Without the working class race horses. There would be no sport at all. A lot of the claiming horses running on the Toronto circuit in the early 1970s. Were not running in the cheaper class races. Because of lack of ability to run. It was due to injuries that had demoted a lot of these talented racehorses into the claiming ranks.

There were a lot of claiming horses that I would become a fan of. During my fun time being and working around the racetrack. There was "Royal Data" owned and trained by Bobby Bruce. "Turk's Pet owned and trained by Alex Wick. "Strong And Able" one of the best racehorses Frank Paserro ever trained. Were all classy performers. Who contributed a lot to entertain us race fans in Toronto. And to keep us coming back for more!

Stiff Upper Lip was well named. This classy racehorse was sired by "Gallant Man" out of the mare "Cup Of Tea". He was a Maryland Bred. Raised by Legendary Horse Owner and Breeder Alfred Vanderbilt. On his famous "Sagamore Farm". It will be hard to determine how the "Garden City Stable" obtained "Stiff Upper Lip". Or my biggest question is. What was his racing record as a young racehorse? Was Stiff Upper Lip a stakes caliber horse? When he was a young racehorse.

By the time he was racing at Woodbine in 1972. Stiff Upper Lip was already a 6 year old. The first time I watch him race was June 28th 1972. He was entered in a $2500 claiming race which was reaching rock bottom. As far as the cheapest class a racehorse could compete on the Toronto Circuit. The rumor going around the barn area among the horseman was that Stiff Upper Lip was nursing serious tendon problems in his front legs. And that his racing career was nearing it's end.

There was a lot of interest for Stiff Upper Lip's race on June 28th. Would he be able to compete at all. Would he be able to finish the race. Without suffering a life threating injury. The starting gate opened after track announcer. The voice of Canadian Horse Racing shouted. "There At The Post, There Off". Stiff Upper Lip sprang out of the gate in fine style moving into a commanding lead. Jockey Noel Turcotte was just steering Stiff Upper Lip. As he lead all the way and cruised to an easy 7 & 1/2 length victory! It was evident that there was still some great races left in Stiff Upper Lips war torn legs.

Carl Chapman would run Stiff Upper Lip right back now moved up in class to compete in a $6000 claiming race. This race at 1 mile & 1/8. This race was a real race to remember as we got to see the true ability of this great and talented racehorse. For Stiff Upper Lip just toyed with his competitors in this race. Looking like the excellent racehorse he was. Increasing his lead running by ever pole. Running away from the field and winning by a stunning victory margin of 15 horse lengths! The old horse left a vapor trail running down the strength that day at Woodbine. Winning for fun and stopping the telemeter in an impressive 1:52. Wow! Watching this fine and courageous horse was a lot of fun. I was now a dedicated racing fan. Thanks to Stiff Upper Lip and all of his impressive front running wins! There were to be more wins to come that summer on the Ontario Racing Circuit.

I am trying to post a picture of Stiff Upper Lip. However it will be a challenge. I believed that Stiff Upper Lip was jockey Larry Attard first winner in his career. During the 1973 racing season. Owner trainer Jack Watson would be Stiff Upper Lip last trainer in his racing career. I did recently contact Larry. But in fact Stiff Upper Lip was Larry Attards' third victory in his career. Unfortunately Larry did not keep a win picture of Stiff Upper Lip for posting on this blog. I would like to thank friend and horse racing historian Don Burton for providing the Racing Form Past Performances of Stiff Upper Lip. Allowing me to bring all of these great memories from the past, back to life!

If anyone who reads this post and has a picture of Stiff Upper Lip. Please contact me. I would enjoy to post a picture of this very talented racehorse.