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 Looking Back

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

Martie Jenney’s 4-year-old Maryland-bred Inkslinger won the second running of American steeplechasing’s richest race, the $100,000 Colonial Cup in Camden, S.C., giving trainer D. Michael “Mikey” Smithwick a perfect record in the race. He sent out Mrs. Ogden Phipps’ Top Bid to victory in 1970.

Jenney’s soon-to-be ex-husband Marshall Jenney purchased Inkslinger for his wife out of the Timonium Eastern Fall Yearling sale for $5,500 three years earlier. Sent to trainer Jonathan Sheppard, Inkslinger failed to win twice on the flat, but proved a rising star over jumps when winning six in a row at 3, three stakes, and was named the nation’s top 3-year-old hurdler. Smithwick took over his training early in 1971, and was always quick to say that Sheppard “made Inkslinger.”

The first winner of a $100,000 stakes bred by Glade Valley Farm, Inkslinger was named Maryland-bred champion steeplechaser a record five times, from 1970-1974. From 1972 until his retirement in 1974 he raced in Europe before returning home to become a foxhunter for his owner, Martie Symington Sanger, who had since remarried.

  • An agreement was reached to transfer stallions Kauai King and Royal Gunner from Sagamore Farm in Maryland to Reg Day’s Hamilton Stud in Newmarket, England for the 1972 breeding season.

    Both horses were raced, and later syndicated, by Mike Ford, and entered stud at Sagamore in 1967.

    Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Kauai King, a son of Sagamore’s sire Native Dancer and his richest earner, was foaled at Sagamore in 1963. Ford reported that the trip to England “was a one-year agreement which may or may not be extended.”

    Kauai King never returned to the States. He was purchased by Japanese interests two years later and spent the remainder of his life in Japan until his death on Jan. 24, 1989, at age 26.

  • The editorial “A Peculiarly American Tragedy” by Snowden Carter turned the spotlight on steeplechase racing in the U.S.

    “Way back in 1944 a cub reporter for the Baltimore Sun wrote an article for The Maryland Horse that was titled ‘In Defense of Steeplechasing.’ Twenty-seven years have passed. The Sun’s cub reporter is now the gray-haired editor of The Maryland Horse. About the only thing that hasn’t changed is steeplechasing’s struggle for survival.

    “When the New York Racing Association announced last month that there would be no steeplechases in 1972 at either Belmont or Aqueduct, the game’s survival became, at best, dubious.

    “So what will they do with Inkslinger, Soothsayer, Top Bid, et al? Keep them for 20 days at Saratoga and the Colonial Cup?

    “If I had a jumper, I’d send him abroad. Then after America has all its forests bulldozed, its land paved for highways and its racing reduced to five-furlong sprints for 2-year-olds, I’d sit back in my chair in England, Ireland or France and say: ‘Damn it, America, you asked for it, and I hope you like what you got.’ ”

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