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 Looking Back

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

Sagamore Farm’s owner Alfred G. Vanderbilt announced that recently retired stakes winners Tinajero and Salem would stand the 1972 season at his Baltimore County farm, occupying the stalls vacated by Kauai King and Royal Gunner, who were shipped to England two months earlier.

  • No listing of Maryland’s all-time great trainers could be compiled without including the name of Baltimore-born Henry S. Clark. In his 35 years as a trainer, he developed star performers such as Cyane, Endine, Tempted, Thinking Cap, Smart and Obeah. Clark credited his success to owner Liz Whitney Tippett’s patronage, and later, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lunger’s decision to hire him as head trainer for their Christiana Stables. His second stroke of good fortune occurred in 1947 when the Lungers tapped Clark as a replacement for Jack Healey, who had died suddenly at age 42.

  • After their purchase of the historical Habre de Venture in Port Tobacco, Md., Helen and Peter Vischer began to acquire broodmares and later Peter’s pride and joy, stallion Tom Stone.
    Tom Stone, a son of Martins Rullah and the Saggy mare Streamlined, won nearly $80,000 during the six seasons he raced and was honored in 1964 as the best Maryland-bred 2-year-old performer of the year.

  • For the first time, the Maryland Hunt Cup and Grand National timber races offered purse money for the 1972 races. The Maryland Hunt Cup purse was $6,000, the Grand National’s prize was $5,000, while no purse was affixed to the My Lady’s Manor.

    “It may not be the answer, but we thought it was worth a try. I can’t see how the addition of a purse will keep anyone from competing, but, on the other hand, it may get us some entries we might not have had otherwise,” said Charlie Fenwick, then secretary of the Maryland Hunt Committee.

    In a letter to the editor, Maryland timber participant Janon Fisher Jr. expressed concerns over adding a purse to the Hunt Cup. He wrote, “By adding money to the Maryland Hunt Cup, the Committee would give up all control of the race to a State Commission over which it would have no authority.”

    Fisher also referenced History of the Maryland Hunt Cup, written by John E. Rossell Jr., secretary of the My Lady’s Manor Race Committee, regarding past deliberations surrounding purse money for the Hunt Cup. “Though the Maryland Hunt Cup has grown from a local hunter race to a leading sporting event of national or even world significance it has never lost the delightful flavor of its early years, a flavor untouched by commercialism, untouched by the unending quest for the almighty dollar, a flavor of sporting events as they really ought to be.”

    The Hunt Cup went ahead with the purse addition in 1972 and was joined by the Grand National. The Manor added a purse in 1978. The Hunt Cup (worth $100,000 this year), Grand National ($30,000) and Manor ($50,000) remain three of the sport’s most important timber races.

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