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 Looking Back

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

10 Years Ago: July 2010

Lookin At Lucky, a roughed-up also-ran in the Kentucky Derby-G1 as the favorite, saw his fortunes change in the Preakness Stakes-G1 with new rider Martin Garcia. Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman’s 2-year-old champion fought off longshot First Dude to give trainer Bob Baffert his fifth win in the classic.

25 Years Ago: July 1995

Bill Boniface-trained Maryland-bred Oliver’s Twist just missed taking one of the fastest Preaknesses on record as the 25-1 shot finished a half-length behind juvenile champion Timber Country and a neck in front of Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch.

Within a span of five months the Bonita Farm-bred Horatius colt owned by Charlie Oliver had gone from winning for a $20,000 tag in his debut to capturing the $150,000 Federico Tesio-G3, with victories in the Rollicking and the Maryland Juvenile Championship in between. Boniface won the Preakness in 1983 with another Bonita-bred, Deputed Testamony.

50 Years Ago: July 1970

Windfields Farm’s first Maryland-bred yearlings were to be offered for sale under the same format as had been conducted in Canada since 1954.

The yearlings would be pre-priced and buyers could purchase any on a first-come, first-served basis. The sale would be limited to three of the six colts offered, and seven of 13 fillies. Those not sold would join breeder/owner E.P. Taylor’s racing stable. The yearlings were available to inspect throughout July, and purchases could be made from July 27 through Aug. 8. Included in the group were three colts and one filly by Northern Dancer.

75 Years Ago: July 1945

The one-day Pimlico June program “was sparkling, from beginning to end,” reported Don Reed – even surviving temperatures well into the 90s. The highlight was the Preakness won by Polynesian. Carrying the colors of Mrs. P.A.B. Widener of Philadelphia, the Morris H. Dixon Jr.-trained Polynesian went to the front quickly and stayed there, holding off Kentucky Derby winner Hoop, Jr.

10 Years Ago: June 2010

Virginia-bred Researcher became the first horse to earn $1 million in Charles Town purses with his second consecutive score in the Charles Town Classic. The 6-year-old gelded son of the late Virginia sire Two Smart expanded his bankroll to $1,377,629, more than $1.15 million earned at his home track. But new owner Zohar Ben-Dov (Kinross Corporation), who purchased Researcher the week before the Classic from the family of late owner Hermen Greenberg, had a career change in mind – that as a steeplechaser. Wrote editor Lucy Acton: “It’s a surprising move. . . But it also stands as one of the most sporting decisions this region has seen in quite some time.”

25 Years Ago: June 1995

“The whirlwind of gray that blew past the finish of the 99th running of the Maryland Hunt Cup did not descend from the heavens. But it may well have seemed that way to those who were watching their most cherished fantasies turn into heart-stopping reality,” reported Margaret Worrall as Arcadia Stable’s Buck Jakes, ridden by Anne Moran, prevailed by a nose over Bachelors’ Hall’s Florida Law, with John Bosley aboard. Doug Croker’s Red and Gray finished third. Buck Jakes’ victory demolished, by three seconds, the race record of 8:33 3/5 established by *Ben Nevis II in 1978.

50 Years Ago: June 1970

Legendary trainer Hirsch Jacobs died a few months before the 1970 classics, but his family gave him full credit when homebreds Personality won the Preakness and High Echelon the Belmont Stakes. “He bred three generations back of that horse,” said his oldest son, head trainer John Jacobs, about Personality, a product of homebred champions Hail to Reason and Affectionately.

75 Years Ago: June 1945

Maryland was well prepared to return to racing after Fred M. Vinson, director of War Mobilization and Reconversion, gave the go-ahead to resume May 9. Seven days later the state’s spring season kicked off at Pimlico. The meet was shortened, “so as not to conflict with the regular dates of other courses in this vicinity,” most notably Delaware Park, which would hold a 30-day meet starting May 29.

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