Looking Back

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

A kingpin among American builders and real estate developers, Carl Freeman, who owned 500-acre Tusculum Farm in Montgomery County, entered the Thoroughbred industry with the purchase of a 50 percent interest in two highly-promising 2-year-old fillies. With partner Frank A. Bonsal Jr., the plan was to buy high-quality fillies they could race first and breed later. Everything went according to plan for about two months. Their Wage Freeze finished second in her first start at Pimlico, and then won. The Boldnesian filly trained brilliantly. Then they both went wrong. “I have found,” says Mr. Freeman, “that there is no end to the things that go wrong with horses. And I’m continually amazed by the casual manner in which major horse transactions are made. Horse people are so different from businessmen.”

The Boldnesian filly, a Maryland-bred named Miss Tusculum, never did race. But Freeman kept to his plan and was rewarded when three of her first four foals were stakes winners Bold Josh and Nancy’s Champion and stakes-placed Heaven Knows. But the best was yet to come. Three additional stakes performers followed, topped by 1991 Breeders’ Cup Turf-G1 winner and champion grass mare Miss Alleged (by Alleged). Wage Freeze produced Golden Wage, Freeman’s winner of the Pearl Necklace Stakes.

  • The 12th annual Eastern Fall Yearling Sale at Timonium broke every previous record with gross receipts totaling $1,277,900. The average price was a record $7,179, compared to the previous mark set in 1971 of $5,438. The auction featured E.P. Taylor’s 18-horse Windfields consignment. Included in that group was a half-brother to Northern Dancer who went into the ring with a $100,000 reserve. The son of Dr. Fager wound up selling for $155,000 – more than tripling the sale’s previous high price of $45,000 set in 1967.

  • The victory of Gambler’s Nade in the $12,500 All Maryland Handicap at Timonium meant almost as much to the 2-year-old colt’s breeders as it did to owner-trainer Heather Buchanan. Mr. and Mrs. Allen Murray Jr. bred the Nade colt out of the first mare they ever bought, Rip-Fleet, purchased for $800 at the Samuel M. Pistorio breeding stock dispersal in 1959. Allen Murray, an electronics engineer at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, credited Rip-Fleet with making possible the purchase of the couple’s 40-acre Murmur Farm in Aberdeen, Md. The first foal they bred out of the mare, a colt by Tuscany, was sold as a yearling for $3,400, and that, in addition to savings bonds, was used to purchase the farm.

  • Dr. Jean Poirier and his two partners won the $60,500 Tri-State Futurity at Shenandoah Downs with their maiden filly Softly. She was one of four horses of racing age owned by Dr. Poirier and his partners, and the second stakes winner bred by Dr. Poirier. His first was Tearing Around, winner of the $25,000 World’s Playground in 1968 and $15,000 Gold Coast Handicap in 1969. Both Softly and Tearing Around were out of the first mares ever owned by Dr. Poirier, purchased from his good friend and neighbor, Dr. Robert A. Leonard, manager and part-owner of Glade Valley Farms.
    A daughter of Solo Landing and Luey Miss, by Martins Rullah, Softly is the fifth dam of Hall of Famer Ashado. Of her 13 foals, nine were winners, four stakes horses, although none were bred by Poirier.

  • Stuart Janney boasted one of the classiest Thoroughbreds in the hunting field, riding his own five-time stakes winner Promise. Bred by Janney, the 7-year-old son of The Irishman out of Vowed stood two seasons at stud following his retirement at the end of the 1969 season. But he became sterile during his second season and was gelded.
  • Editor Snowden Carter writes of Marylander Carolyn Rauck and her remarkable rise in the breeding world. “Think you know horses? That you can outguess the professionals? Well try pin-hooking for a real test. Go to Kentucky and buy weanlings [as Miss Rauck did] and sell them a year later at yearling sales. If you make money, you qualify as an expert. Rauck more than doubled her money on her pinhook venture. “Carolyn Rauck’s farm is named Green Willow. It’s located in Carroll county, near Westminster. In my opinion, it’s a farm worth watching.”
    Rauck married Ronnie Green, and the two expanded their farm into one of the largest and most influential in the state over the next four decades, standing stallions and selling commercially. Notable horses they bred included Maryland-bred Horse of the Year The Big Beast and Hall of Famer Tepin’s dam Life Happened.
  • The feature race of Fair Hill’s highly successful two-Saturday meet, the $10,000-added Grand National Hurdle Handicap, was won by Mrs. F. Ambrose Clark’s Gran Kan, a 6-year-old Chilean-bred trained by Sidney Watters Jr. Inkslinger, winner the previous Saturday’s $5,000 Manly Hurdle Purse, was weighted at 165 pounds, but the Maryland-bred passed up the big race. Gran Kan carried high weight of 158 pounds.
    It would be Gran Kan’s last race for more than 19 months. He came back in 1974 and won the race again under higher weight, and earned that year’s Eclipse Award.


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