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 Looking Back

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

10 Years Ago: August 2010

After 35 years, and several million dollars, Jeffrey A. Seder and Patrice M. (Patti) Miller of EQB Inc., felt they’d finally found what separated great racehorses from the common: heart and stride. Though it was a bit more complicated than that, the accomplishments of EQB-selected Informed Decision (2009 Eclipse Award champion), Forever Together (2008 Eclipse Award champion) and Eskendereya (multiple graded stakes winner) had proven the formula worked. Based in West Grove, Pa., EQB had been created by Seder in 1978.

25 Years Ago: August 1995

Tim Capps, who had been working as vice president of communications at Laurel Park and Pimlico, was hired to succeed Richard W. Wilcke, who was leaving the Maryland Horse Breeders Association after 10 years. Wilcke had served as the executive vice president of the MHBA, executive director of Maryland Million Ltd. and editor of The Maryland Horse and Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred magazines. 

50 Years Ago: August 1970

Arriving at Windfields Farm by helicopter, famed Irish trainer Vincent O’Brien inspected the Maryland-bred yearlings offered for sale by the Chesapeake City, Md., farm and lingered most with a Northern Dancer colt out of *Lachine II. When the sale opened 10 days later, O’Brien’s principal owner Charles Engelhard, with partner Garfield Weston, paid $100,000 for the colt. The highest price for a Maryland-bred yearling prior to the sale was $80,000 for a *Nasrullah colt sold in 1956.

75 Years Ago: August 1945

A month prior to Fasig-Tipton’s Meadow Brook yearling sale in August, Humphrey Finney made the rounds at regional farms, inspecting yearlings and making reports.

While at Sagamore, he noted: “These are the biggest, best-grown and most promising group to be sent to the sales in a good many years.” Among the 14 offered were five Discovery fillies – including those out of stakes winners Outdone and The Schemer. The comments for the Outdone (May 16) filly were: “A very nice filly, tall, rangy, a good walker with straight hind leg. Had a kick in the flank in front of the point of the hip which is healing well and does not affect the filly’s soundness.” As for The Schemer’s daughter, born April 26: “A tremendously large, plain filly, but quick as a cat for a big ‘un. Has tons of bone and substance.”

10 Years Ago: July 2010

Lookin At Lucky, a roughed-up also-ran in the Kentucky Derby-G1 as the favorite, saw his fortunes change in the Preakness Stakes-G1 with new rider Martin Garcia. Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman’s 2-year-old champion fought off longshot First Dude to give trainer Bob Baffert his fifth win in the classic.

25 Years Ago: July 1995

Bill Boniface-trained Maryland-bred Oliver’s Twist just missed taking one of the fastest Preaknesses on record as the 25-1 shot finished a half-length behind juvenile champion Timber Country and a neck in front of Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch.

Within a span of five months the Bonita Farm-bred Horatius colt owned by Charlie Oliver had gone from winning for a $20,000 tag in his debut to capturing the $150,000 Federico Tesio-G3, with victories in the Rollicking and the Maryland Juvenile Championship in between. Boniface won the Preakness in 1983 with another Bonita-bred, Deputed Testamony.

50 Years Ago: July 1970

Windfields Farm’s first Maryland-bred yearlings were to be offered for sale under the same format as had been conducted in Canada since 1954.

The yearlings would be pre-priced and buyers could purchase any on a first-come, first-served basis. The sale would be limited to three of the six colts offered, and seven of 13 fillies. Those not sold would join breeder/owner E.P. Taylor’s racing stable. The yearlings were available to inspect throughout July, and purchases could be made from July 27 through Aug. 8. Included in the group were three colts and one filly by Northern Dancer.

75 Years Ago: July 1945

The one-day Pimlico June program “was sparkling, from beginning to end,” reported Don Reed – even surviving temperatures well into the 90s. The highlight was the Preakness won by Polynesian. Carrying the colors of Mrs. P.A.B. Widener of Philadelphia, the Morris H. Dixon Jr.-trained Polynesian went to the front quickly and stayed there, holding off Kentucky Derby winner Hoop, Jr.

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