“He is Mr. Clark to everybody on the race track except the really old hands like Buddy Raines and George Mohr and Alfred Vanderbilt. The number who called him Henry was reduced by one with the passing of Bernie Bond a year ago,” wrote Jack Mann about the legendary Hall of Fame trainer Henry Clark, who turned 90 in January with little fanfare. “. . . but Mr. Clark saw no reason to make a fuss about it anyway,” Mann added.
Clark still had eight horses stabled at Pimlico, and about 15 more on the farm – mares, yearlings and pensioners. He trained over the decades for celebrated owners such as Liz Whitney and the Lungers’ Christiana Stable and wasn’t ready to hang it up. “I enjoy just taking care of my own horses.”
• Charles Town was clinging on to existence after more than six decades, Bill Mooney reported. “Charles Town has remained alive, nurtured by the dedication of horsemen and track employees alike, who, come boom or bust, would rather be there than anyplace else.”
“Nobody’s prospering,” said Dickie Moore, the track’s racing secretary, “but I’ll tell you this, I’d much rather try to make a go of this place than a track several times its size.” A chart of the track’s statistics going back to 1974 revealed daily attendance down by nearly half over the decades, to 2,384, and average daily wagering on a similar trend, to $274,902. The only rise over 20 years was average daily purses ($22,688 in 1974 to $34,883 in 1993).
• The annual Mid-Atlantic statistical section offered the following:
Richest runner of the year – Virginia-bred Kentucky Derby-G1 and Travers Stakes-G1 winner Sea Hero, $2,484,190.
Top sires by state – Caveat (Md.), $2,330,360; Castle Guard (N.J.), $556,154; Circle Home (N.C.), $112,173; Nepal (Pa.), $522,401; Val de l’Orne (Fr) (Va.), $971,779; and Weshaam (W.Va.), $425,282.
Number of state-bred stakes winners in 1993 – Maryland (81), New Jersey (26), North Carolina (3), Pennsylvania (21), Virginia (31) and West Virginia (12). South Carolina statistics wouldn’t be added until 2003.
Virginia led all states by number of Grade 1 winners, with five: Sea Hero, Colonial Affair, You’d Be Surprised, Sir Beaufort and Husband.
• Paradise Creek, winner of the 1992 Hollywood Derby-G1, failed to win a stakes in 1993, but was 2-for-2 to start 1994, capturing the Grade 3 Appleton and Grade 2 Canadian Turf Handicaps in quick succession to rank as one of the top turf horses in the country.