Looking Back

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

Mr. and Mrs. Stuart S. Janney Jr. had a small operation, but what they lacked in size they made up for in success.
Their only two older horses in training in 1972 were Icecapade and On Your Toes. The former, a son of Nearctic and Shenanigans, earned more than $150,000 that year with four stakes wins. On Your Toes (a Maryland-bred by Restless Native) won Laurel’s Capitol Handicap and was approaching $100,000 for the year. 
The couple also had four juveniles, with two already winners (Indian Sign and Norumbega), while the highly promising Bold Ruler filly Laughter (a half-sister to Icecapade) had yet to start, but was quite close to a race, according to trainer Frank Whiteley. 
Icecapade became a highly successful sire at Gainesway Farm in Kentucky, credited with nearly 70 stakes winners. His son Wild Again won the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1, and he was the damsire of Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Lady’s Secret.
Laughter was unraced at 2, won four times at 3 and retired to the breeding shed where she produced five stakes winners including graded winners Private Terms, Blue Ensign and Light Spirits. 

  • Ben Cohen, one of Pimlico’s principal owners, won the track’s opening day $20,000 Cameo Stakes with Native Go Go, a 2-year-old filly bred and owned by his wife, Zelda. Ben bought his first racehorse in 1951, just before purchasing Pimlico with his brother Herman. 
    “It was in January at the dispersal of the Riddle Estate horses,” he recalled. “I had always been interested in Man o’ War, so we picked out a grandson of his named War Age. Paid $12,500 for him. We gave something like $3,500 for a filly named Aunt Jane. Both were unraced 2-year-olds.
    “Well, War Age earned just under $100,000 for us and won a stakes race (the Maryland Sprint Handicap). Aunt Jane won, but she wasn’t much.” The Cohens’ big horse was homebred Hail to All, winner of the 1965 Belmont Stakes. 
    “The only way to get a good horse these days is to breed one,” he said. “Aside from your own family – the children and the grandchildren, particularly – the greatest thrill a man can have is to see one of his own homebreds win a race.”

  • A Thoroughbred fund breeding program was passed by both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature. Administered by the racing commission, the program would be worth almost $250,000 in its first year to state breeders, owners of stallions, and racehorses in competition. It was first proposed by the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association.

  • In a complete reversal of policy, it was announced that the winners of the Maryland Hunt Cup would automatically qualify for a starting berth in the Grand National at Aintree. Two-time Maryland Hunt Cup winner Landing Party was obligated to compete in qualifying races for the 1972 Grand National after being shipped to England in 1971. He was severely injured in one of those races, which resulted in his death.

  • Maryland lost two well-known members of the local community – Fritz Boniface, patriarch of one of Maryland’s best-known families of horsemen, died at age 92; and John M. Heil, general manager of the Timonium race track and fairgrounds since 1950, was gone at 65. 
    Boniface and his wife, the former Ellen Louisa Judd, moved from England to Canada in 1913, and relocated to Maryland in the 1930s, where Fritz became manager of Mrs. Robert H. Heighe’s Thoroughbred nursery in Bel Air. Three of his sons – 
    Sydney, John and William (the latter the longtime racing editor for the Baltimore Sunpapers) – were professional horsemen, as was his grandson, J. William Boniface.
    Heil started working at Timonium as a teenager and was described by staff writer Lucy Acton as “a rather outspoken and forthright man. . . who always meant what he said, and he always said what he meant.”

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