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 Looking Back

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

50 years ago
• Gallorette topped the list of the five best Maryland-bred runners of all time in the poll of eastern sportswriters, being named on every ballot and edging out Challedon.

The top two vote getters, foaled at Glade Valley Farm near Walkersville, were by *Challenger II out of *Sir Gallahad III mares, and raced by William L. Brann. Rounding out the top five were steeplechase standout Elkridge, the remarkable gelding Find, and top handicap horse Vertex.
The newly established Maryland-bred Hall of Fame includes these five luminaries as well as seven others. Profiles of the Maryland-bred greats appear in the Maryland Horse newsletter in this issue.
• Former Maryland Horse editor Humphrey S. Finney expressed his disappointment in a letter to the editor of the absence of a special runner on the list of candidates of top Maryland-breds. “From a personal standpoint as well as a matter of justice,” Finney extolled the virtues of the little gray mare Tred Avon, a star of the nation’s handicap division in the early 1930s. Finney had witnessed Tred Avon’s birth at Sylvester Labrot’s Holly Beach Farm 35 years earlier.
• Locust Hill Farm’s Knocklofty, pinned the Maryland Horse Breeders Association’s yearling show champion in 1961 by Gallorette’s trainer Edward Christmas, opened his 3-year-old season with two stakes wins. The gelded son of Parnassus, who had wintered in Camden, S.C., captured Bowie’s Annapolis Stakes and Prince George’s Stakes.
Knocklofty was trained by Frank “Downey” Bonsal for Mr. and Mrs. Stuart S. Janney Jr. Noted writer Joe Hickey: “The manner in which Bonsal’s charges have been winning this year makes it appear more than mere possibility that Knocklofty will prove worthy of classics consideration.”
It was also reported that Knocklofty’s dam, Bold Irish, recently delivered a “black or gray” Native Dancer filly and was bred back to that sire.
Bold Irish’s foal of 1963, born on March 17, was Shenanigans.
• It was official: Three Maryland tracks were to close for good. The Maryland legislature passed a bill that sealed the fate of Bel Air, Cumberland and Baltimore Raceway.
The racing dates from those tracks were divided among the nine left (the milers–Pimlico, Laurel and Bowie; half-milers?–?Timonium, Marlboro and Hagerstown; and harness–Rosecroft, Laurel and Ocean Downs).
In Senate Bill 89’s final form, the number of racing days in Maryland increased from 276 to 312 (and did not include the two-day hunt meet at Fair Hill).

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