Looking Back

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

Off a championship juvenile campaign in 1971, Meadow Stable’s Riva Ridge headed to the Kentucky Derby after winning the Blue Grass at Keeneland. Trained by Lucien Laurin, the homebred son of First Landing won the Derby by 31⁄4 lengths in 2:014⁄5 in front of 130,564 racegoers.

Kentucky-bred Riva Ridge ended his career with 17 wins from 30 starts, accumulating $1,111,497. The 1971 champion 2-year-old colt added the Belmont Stakes, but lost the 3-year-old title to Virginia-bred Key to the Mint before being crowned the 1973 champion older horse. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.

  • Dr. Fred Lewis claimed he never wanted to be anything other than a veterinarian. Much more than that, he became a successful breeder, fox hunter and family man, among others.

  • An injury halted the racing career of two-time Maryland Hunt Cup winner Landing Party. After a fall at Fontwell in England, Landing Party experienced a stiff neck that his veterinarians believed to be the cause of neurologic problems. After the Maryland-bred – owned, trained and ridden by Dr. John R.S. Fisher – won the Maryland Hunt Cup in 1969 and 1971, Tom Tinsley spent $50,000 to buy the horse with the goal of winning England’s famed Grand National at Aintree. Sent to trainer David Nicholson in England, Landing Party started four times – including the fall – and never reached his American form.

    Euthanized in England when the 10-year-old’s condition worsened, Landing Party won all three Maryland timber classics – My Lady’s Manor, Grand National (three times) and Maryland Hunt Cup (twice) – and posted an American record of nine wins and a second from 11 starts including one point-to-point. A post-mortem exam revealed a herniation in his brain, likely caused by the fall.

  • When Herb Madden led J.W.Y. Martin Jr.’s Early Earner into the winner’s circle after the 76th Maryland Hunt Cup, he became the second man in the history of the race to be the “head groom” for six winners. Madden had led into the paddock winners Fluctuate (twice), Third Army, Lancrel, Jay Trump and Early Earner. The only other groom to bring in as many as six Maryland Hunt Cup winners was the late Walter Tyndall, who won three times each with Blockade and Mountain Dew.

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