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 Looking Back

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

• The Grade 1 Haskell Invitational Handicap was the next stop for fan favorite Funny Cide, who attracted a record crowd of 53,638 to Monmouth Park. But trainer Bobby Frankel once again spoiled the party, sending out a sharp and fresh Peace Rules to a hand-ridden 13?4-length victory over Sky Mesa, with Funny Cide another 9 lengths back in third.


A stablemate of Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, who dashed the Triple Crown aspirations of Funny Cide eight weeks earlier, Peace Rules was owned by Edmund Gann, whose stable included top older horse Medaglia d’Oro, winner of the Whitney Handicap-G1 a day earlier. Both Grade 1 winners were selected for Gann by former Mid-Atlantic trainer and well-known bloodstock agent Mark Reid.
Peace Rules, who had finished third behind Funny Cide in the Kentucky Derby and fourth to him in the Preakness, returned less than three weeks later to finish second in the Travers Stakes-G1.
Funny Cide exited the Haskell with a fever, and returned to be well-beaten in his only other start of the year, the Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1, but his early exploits earned him the Eclipse Award for champion 3-year-old male.
• Fair Hill Training Center in northeastern Maryland–“an idea before its time,” according to co-founder and trainer Dr. John R.S. Fisher–was celebrating its 20th anniversary, after a somewhat bumpy ride.
The first residents–horses from the stables of two of the three initial investors, Fisher and George Strawbridge’s Augustin Stable–moved in during the summer of 1983 (The third investor was Gene Weymouth). But despite on-track successes, Fair Hill struggled to find additional investors and lacked funds to build additional barns or a dirt track. A brief respite came during management by Fasig-Tipton in the mid-1980s, but by the 1990s, the project was failing. The turnaround began when Delaware Park’s business began to surge.
Major stables settled in and barns filled, and Fair Hill became a success story. “It’s a great environment for the horse, and that hasn’t changed,” said full-time manager Sally Goswell. “People tell me all the time ‘If you can’t train a horse at Fair Hill, you can’t train a horse anywhere.’”
• Country Life Farm stallion Malibu Moon was having a sensational summer. His first winner, Perfect Moon, became his first stakes winner, in graded company no less, by taking Hollywood Park’s Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Champion-ship in July. The bay gelding was urged on to a 21/2-length victory by Patrick Valenzuela for owner Annabelle Stute and The Hat Ranch and trainer Mel Stute, who also trained Malibu Moon.
A few weeks earlier, another Malibu Moon gelding, Declan’s Moon, caught the attention of trainer Barclay Tagg, who pinned him first in one of the classes at the Maryland Horse Breeders Association’s yearling show. Bred and owned by Brice and Mary Anne Ridgely, Declan’s Moon missed out on championship honors, as the trophy went to his relative Katie’s Love. The daughter of Not For Love, also bred and owned by the Ridgelys, was a half-sister to Declan’s Moon’s dam Vee Vee Star.

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