“Life Lived Large: The Tale of Dickie Small” was writer Vinnie Perrone’s chronicle of the life and career of one of Maryland’s most iconic horsemen.
“Top of the class in officer candidate school. Freefalls through the blackest Vietnamese sky for a top-secret special forces unit of the Green Berets. Only Maryland trainer to snare the Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1. Stakes wins every year from 1974 to 2002. Three million-dollar earners,” were just a few of the 63-year-old Small’s achievements. Training highlights included the careers of the meteoric Caesar’s Wish, Breeders’ Cup champ Concern, and the remarkable Broad Brush. “They put a crazy horse with a crazy man,” said Small of Robert Meyerhoff’s $3-million earner and future leading sire, “and the stars aligned.”
Perrone had recently earned his own accolades. The former Washington Post writer and regular contributor for Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred won an Eclipse Award for a memoir on his late colleague and mentor, Clem Florio, that appeared in the magazine in 2008.
Charles Town celebrated its 75th anniversary with the unveiling of its new Charles Town Racing Hall of Fame, featuring horses, horsepeople and industry figures from the local area who played significant roles in racing history. The first 10 inductees were trainers Sylvia Bishop and Robert Hilton; track founder Albert J. Boyle and track announcer Costy Caras; jockeys Vincent Bracciale, Jesse Davidson and Sam Palumbo; and horses Annie’s Dream, Crying for More and Turn Capp.
Maryland Stallion Station left its site in Glyndon and relocated its eight stallions to Bonita Farm in Darlington and Shamrock Farms in Woodbine. The horses were moved Dec. 29, five days after the new arrangement was announced, and were ready for the upcoming breeding season.
The National Sporting Library’s Museum of Sporting Art at Vine Hill opened to the public Jan. 1 in Middleburg, Va. It was still a work in progress, as construction on a new wing was to begin in the spring.
One of the hottest runners on the East Coast at the end of the year was Rutledge Farm’s Researcher. The bay Virginia-bred won his fourth straight, third in a stakes, when capturing Aqueduct’s Queens County Handicap-G3 in December. The foal of 2004 was a result of the breeding program at Virginia Tech’s Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center (MARE Center), which used donated mares and stallions, and subsequent foals, in equine nutrition studies.