Looking Back

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

The region lost one of its best racehorses and sires when Caveat died of an apparent heart attack at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, Md. He was 15.

Caveat was bred in Maryland by Jim Ryan’s Ryehill Farm and campaigned by a partnership that included Ryan, Robert Kirkham and August Belmont, who cele­brated a win by the Woody Stephens trainee in the 1983 Belmont Stakes-G1. Retired to Northview after the Belmont due to an injury sustained during the race, Caveat went on to top the region’s general sires list three consecutive seasons, 1991, ’92 and ’93, and established himself as one of the nation’s premier turf sires. 

Caveat was also the leading sire of 1995. From 11 crops, he had progeny earnings of nearly $26 million. His 39 stakes winners were topped by $3.2 million-earner and four-time Grade 1 winner Awad, plus additional Grade 1 winners Timely Warning and Ops Smile.

  • Barbara Kees, Maryland’s longest-active woman trainer, was at the top of her game with homebred stakes-winning half-brothers South Bend (by Roman Bend) and Mr. Moby Dick (by Horatius). Known by everyone as Bobby, the 74-year-old Kees was based at her Road’s End Farm in Sparks, Md. She bred South Bend on a shoestring – sending her mare Lydia Ann to blue-collar runner Roman Bend, owned by fellow trainer and friend Ellis Pruce, for free. South Bend was (at the time) the only foal for his sire.

  • Maryland-bred Corrazona was retired after exiting the Grade 1 Santa Maria Handicap, her second start of the year, with an ankle chip. The daughter of El Gran Senor had turned in her best season the year before with two graded victories, one the Grade 1 Beverly Hills in which she defeated national champions Hollywood Wildcat and Flawlessly. Bred by a partnership that included Diane and Larry Rachuba’s Willow Wood Farm, Corrazona raced for the La Presle Farm of Jacques Wertheimer, who purchased her as a weanling at Keeneland for $550,000. The 5-year-old chestnut mare, who started her career in France, earned $513,919 from 17 starts.

    Corrazona produced a dozen foals for brothers Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, who took over not only the racing stock, but also the famed House of Chanel, when their father Jacques died in 1996. Five foals were stakes performers, including Olmodavor (by A.P. Indy), a multiple graded stakes winner of $706,540. Her stakes-winning daughter Slow Down (by Seattle Slew) is the granddam of 2020 Tampa Bay Derby-G2 winner King Guillermo.

  • Laurel Park’s Turf Festival, including the Washington, D.C., International-G1, All Along Stakes-G2 and Laurel Dash-G3, was canceled for 1995. Plans called for the Turf Festival to be transferred to Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va., in 1996.

  • Successful owner, breeder and trainer Jack Mobberley, 66, died at Summer Hill Farm in West Friendship, Md., following an eight-month battle with cancer. At the time he was vice president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, and MHBA executive vice-president and Maryland Horse editor Rich Wilcke wrote in a remembrance of the Virginia native: “No one is irreplaceable? Don’t bet on it. Whoever coined that phrase didn’t meet John Calvin Mobberley. . . He will be missed for his good humor as much as his level-headed approach to the issues.”

  • *Ben Nevis II, one of American steeplechasing’s all-time greats, died at 27 from colic at trainer/rider Charlie C. Fenwick Jr.’s farm in Butler, Md. The legacy of the roguish runner included becoming the third U.S.-based winner of the English Grand National (in 1980), and winning his second Maryland Hunt Cup (in 1978) in a course record 8:333⁄5. *Ben Nevis II was buried on the landing side of the 13th jump of the Grand National course in Butler, which was located on part of Fenwick’s farm.

    *Ben Nevis II was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 2009, joining the two previous American winners of the English Grand National: Battleship and Jay Trump.

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