Looking Back

This month in mid-atlantic thoroughbred history! For Looking Back archives click here.

25 Years Ago: September 1997

Glenn Petty, a member of the board of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association, executive director of the Maryland-Virginia Racing Circuit Inc., and director of horsemen’s relations at Colonial Downs, gave an account of the newly-established Virginia Breeders Fund, set to distribute its first million after the 1997 racing season, which saw the opening of Colonial Downs in September. Awards would be paid to breeders and stallion owners, as well as to owners of Virginia-breds, and include money for restricted races.

10 Years Ago: August 2012

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett approved a new state budget that did not divert $72 million from the Race Horse Development Fund as had been originally proposed in the preliminary budget. The decision drew applause from the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition, a state-wide group representing more than 10,000 trainers, owners and breeders of the horse racing industry. The fund derives income from slots revenue at racetracks and is used to support purses and breeding programs for Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds in the state.

25 Years Ago: August 1997

Ops Smile, at age 5, graduated into the top ranks of the nation’s turf performers when the late-running son of Maryland sire Caveat, sent out by classic-winning trainer J. William Boniface, won Belmont Park’s Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap. Boniface won stakes with three horses on four consecutive weekends in May and June. Ops Smile started with a victory in the Dixie Stakes-G2 on Preakness Day; Winsox took Pimlico’s Riggs Handicap over reigning Maryland-bred turf champion Awad; and Earth to Jackie deadheated with Cozy Blues in the Hilltop Stakes.

50 Years Ago: August 1972

Preakness winner Bee Bee Bee went down to defeat in Liberty Bell’s $50,000-added Minuteman Handicap when another Maryland-bred 3-year-old, North Sea, sped to a front-running 7-length score in the 11⁄16-mile race. Owned and bred by Alfred G. Vanderbilt, North Sea recorded the first stakes victory of his career. The $34,440 earned by the gray son of Nearctic more than doubled his lifetime earnings.

75 Years Ago: August 1947

World-leading money-winning Thoroughbred Stymie, owned by Mrs. Hirsch Jacobs, of the Bieber-Jacobs Farm in Sparks, Md., added to his tally with a victory in Belmont Park International Gold Cup over a field that included Assault and Phalanx. With the announcement that the Pimlico Special would be renewed in October, it was hoped that the great handicapper would be in the field.


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