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 Looking Back

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

 John E. Mooney ended an eight-year post as general manager of Delaware Park to become senior vice-president and general manager of Laurel and Pimlico. 

Mooney’s hiring was part of an executive shuffle at the Maryland tracks. James P. Mango, formerly in charge of day-to-day operations, was named senior vice-president/development and mutuels. Glenn Petty came on board as a consultant regarding plans for a Maryland/Virginia racing circuit. 

 Jeanne F. Begg’s colt by Silver Badge was selected as grand champion of the MHBA’s annual yearling show by Baltimore native Thomas J. Kelly. The colt had yearling show connections – his stakes-winning half-sister Sentimental Tango was the Yearling Show premium award winner of 1992 as the top 2-year-old money earner from contestants shown her year. And their dam Royal Tango won her class in 1981.

Kelly, 73, had launched his career with racehorses 60 years earlier as an exercise boy at Worthington Farms in Glyndon, approximately 10 miles from the yearling show site in Timonium. The trainer of more than 80 stakes winners, including champion Plugged Nickle, was to be inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame later that summer.

The show champion was named Royal Silver, and he went on to a long career, making 108 starts, winning 19, and was stakes-placed twice on his way to earning just shy of $200,000.

Finishing fourth in her class of 36 was a Citidancer filly who went on to much greater glory – millionaire and Grade 1 winner Urbane.

 The French-based Maryland-bred filly Corrazona remained undefeated in three starts with a victory in her 3-year-old debut, the Prix Vanteaux-G3 at Longchamp. The daughter of El Gran Senor was bred by Maryland horsewoman Diane Rachuba, and foaled at her Marriottsville farm. Rachuba and a partner had purchased the filly’s dam Heartbreak privately in 1985 in England. The Stage Door Johnny mare’s foal of 1987 was eventual millionaire and Grade 1 winner Thirty Six Red, one of the top 3-year-olds of 1990. His success resulted in Corrazona being sold as a weanling for $550,000 later that year.

Corrazona eventually won the Grade 1 Beverly Hills Handicap and earned $518,218. Her dam sold at the same Keeneland November sale in 1990 for $775,000, carrying a full sister to Thirty Six Red.

 Well-regarded Maryland trainer W. Meredith “Mert” Bailes died of a heart ailment at age 56. Bailes’ career began in Virginia at Meadow Stud, where his father Bob Bailes was the on-farm trainer. Mert broke the yearlings, most famously Secretariat, until inheriting the farm trainer job in 1972 upon the death of his father, a position he held until the farm disbanded three years later. Bailes established a stable at Bowie in the late 1970s and counted among his best runners graded winner J. R.’s Horizon.

 Sagamore Farm, the former showplace of Alfred G. Vanderbilt which had fallen on hard times, was undergoing more than $200,000 in repairs. Leasing out barns were Carlos Garcia and trainer Kim Godwin. Improvements to the property owned by Patsy Ward, wife of developer Jim Ward, included new fences, repairs to the training track, a new roof on the 66-stall training barn and tree work.

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