Looking Back

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

The 43rd running of the Washington, D.C., International-G1 was the centerpiece of Laurel’s Turf Festival, and the winner added luster to the race’s great history. Paradise Creek, sent off at 1-5 – the lowest odds in the race’s history – drew off to win by 51⁄2 lengths in 1:593⁄5 for 11⁄4 miles. Trained by Bill Mott, the 5-year-old Virginia-bred carried the colors of Japanese real estate executive Masayuki Nishiyama, who earlier in the year purchased Paradise Creek from breeders Bert and Diana Firestone. A surprise second in the International was C. Oliver Goldsmith’s homebred Redcall, by home stallion Acallade and foaled at his breeder’s Longwood Farm in Glenwood, Md. “The little old country horse” set the early pace and held on for second, a nose over England’s Beneficial (GB).

  • The Turf Festival at Laurel was a celebration for other local connections. Maryland-bred Warning Glance, campaigning for breeder Stuart S. Janney III, captured the $150,000 Governor’s Cup in stakes record time. The 3-year-old son of Maryland sire Caveat from the illustrious family of Shenanigans was trained by Charlie Hadry.

    George Strawbridge’s Pennsylvania-bred filly Alice Springs, by regional sire Val de l’Orne (Fr), captured the $250,000All Along-G2, also in stakes record time. “When she has everything her own way, I think she’s as good as anybody,” said trainer Jonathan Sheppard.

    Jockey Rene Douglas, who won the previous year’s International with Caltech, rode both. 

    Laurel Park president Joe De Francis said the Festival had a “bright future” and would continue at Laurel the next year before moving to Colonial Downs in 1996.

  • Billed “The horse lover’s dream weekend,” the sixth annual Fair Hill International/Festival in the Country was held at the Fair Hill Natural Resources Area in Maryland and featured 58 competitors in the Fair Hill International Three-Day event, one of only two International Equestrian Federation rated three-star CCIs in the nation. Other competitions included combined driving, pony championships, and the rescheduled Fair Hill Races, held for the first time in conjunction with the Festival. 

  • Daniel and Allison Lucas had a growing Thoroughbred operation at their Peace & Plenty Farm in Mt. Airy, Md., but also bred racing Quarter Horses, and those interests crossed when they sent multiple stakes-winning Thoroughbred mare In the Curl to one of the country’s leading Quarter Horse sires, Runaway Winner. In the Curl, a 10-time stakes winner and earner of $749,891, was purchased privately by the Lucases after her racing career. Allison noted that the Maryland-bred daughter of Shelter Half “is built like some mares who have been very successful Quarter Horse producers.” The farm was home to eight other broodmares, in foal to such stallions as Woodman and Capote, and from a Relaunch mare they had a Storm Cat yearling and Deputy Minister weanling. The Storm Cat yearling was Devon Lane, who wasn’t much of a runner, but became a Grade 1 sire in New Mexico. His dam To the Hunt, bred in Virginia by Daniel G. Van Clief, was sold by the Lucases in November 1995 – she later produced Grade 1-winning millionaires Stellar Jayne and Starrer.

  • One of racing’s true good guys, Chick Lang Jr., died at age 47. Known throughout the industry for his easygoing demeanor, humor and intelligence, the son of legendary track executive Chick Lang spent his life in various roles as a jockey’s agent, director of marketing and public relations at Pimlico and Birmingham Turf Club, administrative director at Oaklawn Park and general manager of Retama Park. “There was no one better at developing bonds of friendship with horsemen, customers, and co-workers,” said Oaklawn general manager Eric Jackson.

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