Looking Back

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

Thomas R. O’Farrell, a former Maryland State senator and member of the House of Delegates, vice-president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, a key figure in the passage of the Maryland Fund Program, and instrumental in the success of stallion Rough’n Tumble, died of a cerebral hemorrhage at his Windy Hills Farm in Westminster. He was 55.

“An expert horseman in every sense of the word” O’Farrell was “colorful in speech and tremendously well-liked, he was, in many ways, a born politician and salesman.”

  • Nebraskan Michael J. Ford, who got into the breeding business three years earlier and kept his horses at Bowling Brook Farm in Maryland, moved his 34 mares, 20 weanlings and 25 yearlings, in addition to stallions Royal Gunner and Umbrella Fella, to Sagamore Farm, home to Ford’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Kauai King.

  • Nathan Cohen’s flashy 4-year-old colt Mister Diz, favored to repeat in Laurel’s Constellation Handicap, delighted his fans with a decisive victory. It was the seventh stakes win for the two-time Maryland-bred champion, a son of Panacean who stood at C. William Hetzer’s Milestone Farm in Williamsport, Md.

  • Dizzy Babe, bred in Maryland by Mrs. and Mrs. William J. McDonald, won Bay Meadows’ Tanforan Handicap. McDonald, publicity director at Shenandoah Downs, reported he acquired the stakes winner’s dam, Dizzy Irish, with Dizzy Babe in utero.

    The story went: “It seems as though Warren Wolf, racing secretary at Tropical Park’s summer meeting, traded the mare for four Angus cows. A week later the mare gave birth to Dizzy Babe [who went on to win four stakes and earn $182,216]. Meanwhile the Angus cows have increased their number to 30. Wolf noted: “Dizzy Irish was a mean, common mare, but she could run some. Matter of fact, she won two races for me while she was carrying twins. Both of them died, though, and I’ve always suspected she killed them herself. “Her rotten disposition was the main reason I decided to get rid of her. She was an awful shipper who would tear a van apart. I figured raising cows would be a lot more restful.”

  • The University of Maryland was undertaking an economic study of the industry as part of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s national project. Maryland horsemen were encouraged to cooperate. One of the objectives of the study was to determine the economic framework and influence of the racing industry.

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