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 Looking Back

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

David and JoAnn Hayden’s Dark Hollow Farm was in the spotlight and covered was the couple’s rise from humble beginnings to top breeders producing valuable, first-class sales horses year after year. The couple’s current yearling crop made headlines before the sales by taking grand and reserve champion at the 75th Maryland Horse Breeders Association Yearling Show. The grand champion (who, like the reserve was an offspring of Malibu Moon) sold for $400,000 at Keeneland’s September yearling sale. 

  • 1109PADTR16Donald Campbell’s 8-year-old Delaware River, trained by Campbell’s son Bill, captured the $125,000 Smarty Jones Classic Stakes for the third consecutive year on Pennsylvania’s Day at the Races at Philadelphia Park. Bred by Bill and Denise Dommel’s Land of Believe Farm, the son of Quiet American boosted his lifetime record to 16 victories from 65 starts and $630,612.

  • Four Grade 1 winners traveled to Erie for the third running of the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters, now a Grade 3 in its first year of eligibility, and 9-10 favorite Informed Decision rolled home a 21⁄2-length winner, finishing the 61⁄2-furlong test over Tapeta in 1:15.10, just shy of the track record. It was the fourth stakes win of the year from five starts for the Augustin Stable filly trained by Jonathan Sheppard, and with the win she became a millionaire. Informed Decision was the first winner of the Masters to capture the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint-G1, which she did in 2009, and was followed by Musical Romance in 2011 and Groupie Doll in 2012 and 2013.

  • Richard’s Kid pulled off an upset in the $1 million Pacific Classic-G1 at Del Mar, paying $50.80 for his first graded stakes win. Bred by Robert Meyerhoff’s Fitzhugh, the Maryland-bred was making his third start for new connections after being sold privately that May. The 4-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid, winner of the John B. Campbell Handicap for his breeder that year, added $600,000 to his bankroll to propel his lifetime earnings to $759,370 in 19 starts.
    With the lucrative win, on top of a stakes score by Encaustic at Mountaineer and two other winners from six starters, Meyerhoff led all North American breeders by earnings the first week of September.

  • Construction was underway for the National Sporting Library’s National Sporting Art Museum in Middleburg, Va., with the grand opening of its inaugural exhibit set for 2011. Located next door to the library in the historic Vine Hill mansion, its 11 galleries would feature exhibitions of the best of American and European sporting art.

  • The Retired Racehorse Training Symposium, the first of its kind, was held Oct. 4 at the Maryland Therapeutic Riding Center in Crownsville, Md. With a sold-out crowd of nearly 350 people from 10 states, the symposium showcased local rescue/retraining groups with ex-racehorses available for adoption, riders working with horses in their first year off the track, and horses whose post-racing careers changed the lives of their owners. Steuart Pittman, president of the Maryland Horse Council, came up with the idea and said, “Requests for similar events have come in from all over America, and we are already working on expanding the format.”

  • Little Joe Verrone, quite possibly the longest-active jockey’s agent in the country, declared his retirement at 86 years old, after spending 60 years as an agent. “I’ve been in the game all of my life,” he said, his voice slightly cracking, “and I have enjoyed every minute of it. But I’m going to give you a scoop. I’m going into retirement now; I’m going away from all of this.” During his career, Verrone carried the books of such riders as Paul Kallai, Nick Santagata, Danny Nied and Mike Smith. The Meadowlands that fall was his final meet. Verrone passed away Feb. 27, 2017 at the age of 93.

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