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 Looking Back

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

25 years ago
• A profile on Richard Golden, relatively new to Maryland but an integral part of newly created Northview Stallion Station, offered insight on the New York-based businessman’s Thoroughbred interests.


Golden and his wife Ann had owned horses since 1975 and maintained a relatively small, select operation. They purchased Sycamore Hall Farm in 1984, located a couple of miles from Windfields Farm, and moved the first horses in during the fall of 1987. The farm, named for the trees lining the main entrance, had nearly half of its 575 acres fenced for pasture. The main residence was once home to Olympic rider Mike Plumb.
The Goldens move to Maryland may never have happened had it not been for Allaire duPont. “We met Mrs. duPont for the very first time when we drove down to her farm to see about breeding to The Minstrel (using one of her services),” said Golden. “Our car had barely stopped, and we hadn’t even gotten the doors open, when Mrs. duPont came out of her office to greet us. The first words out of her mouth were, ‘You simply must buy a farm in this area.’?”
Golden was ready to take on a larger role. “Chesapeake City is just about ideally suited, as far as we’re concerned,” he said. “We have access to at least six racetracks, and the New Bolton Center, which is of utmost importance. It’s a wonderful place to raise horses, and I’m always ready to point out the virtues of this area to other people.”
• One of racing’s most loyal supporters, Arthur J. “Art” Rooney Sr., died in Pittsburgh. He was 87.
Best known as the owner of the NFL franchise Pittsburgh Steelers, Rooney had owned Shamrock Farm in Woodbine, Md., since 1947. He and his son Tim bred Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds, and at one time Rooney had owned a Standardbred track. His first homebred Thoroughbred stakes winner and one of his best runners was Christopher R. Named for one of Rooney’s grandsons, the son of Loom won 16 stakes before retiring to stud at Shamrock Farm.
The sportsman had a philosophic outlook on racing and breeding: “For what I’ve put into racing, I’ve gotten a lot out. It’s never cost me anything. Oh, one year I might lose $20,000. But then the next year I get it back. The enjoyment I’ve gotten can’t be measured in money.”
• Jim Ryan’s Maryland-bred Homebuilder got his sixth career stakes win, and fifth of the year (all at different tracks), in the $100,000 Rochester Cup at Finger Lakes. The 4-year-old graded stakes winner, a son of Mr. Prospector trained by Woody Stephens, increased his earnings to $824,147.
Homebuilder and his dam Smart Heiress, a half-sister (by *Vaguely Noble) to Eclipse Award winner Smart Angle, were scheduled to be sold as part of the Ryehill Farm dispersal at Keeneland that November. Smart Heiress was in foal to Nijinsky II.
Smart Heiress topped the 80 horses sold in the Ryehill dispersal, and was the third-highest priced broodmare that year when purchased by Virginia breeder Robert Smith’s Heronwood Farm for $1.65 million. Homebuilder was the dispersal’s second-highest price, going to John Franks for $1.6 million.

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