Looking Back

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

The “Mid-Atlantic region’s best Breeders’ Cup ever,” saw the day’s two biggest races – the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1 and $2 million Breeders’ Cup Turf-G1 – go to Maryland-bred Concern and Pennsylvania-bred Tikkanen.

The first horse bred in the region to win the Classic, Robert Meyerhoff’s Concern, a homebred son of the breeder’s Grade 1-winning homebred Broad Brush, shocked the Churchill Downs crowd as he rallied from last under Jerry Bailey to mow down Preakness and Belmont winner Tabasco Cat and win by a neck. Burt Bacharach’s West Virginia-bred Soul of the Matter, by Maryland sire Private Terms, finished fourth.

European-based Tikkanen, a George Strawbridge homebred trained by Jonathan Pease, also was far back early and rallied from last of 14 under Mike Smith to surge past favored Virginia-bred Paradise Creek in deep stretch and win going away. Paradise Creek finished third. Tikkanen’s course record of 2:26.50 for 11⁄2 miles stands to this day.

Also of note was the third by Maryland-bred Unfinished Symph, by former Maryland stallion Aloha Prospector, in the Breeders’ Cup Mile-G1. And a Breeders’ Cup first when Virginia-bred half-brothers Honor the Hero and Prenup faced off in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint-G1, the latter campaigned by breeder Edward P. Evans. Honor the Hero finished seventh after setting a scorching pace; Prenup, by Maryland sire Smarten, was 13th of 14.

  • Sea Hero, winner of the 1993 Kentucky Derby-G1 and Travers-G1 for owner/breeder Paul Mellon and trainer Mack Miller, retired to stud at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky. The Virginia-bred won six of 24 starts and earned $2,929,869.

  • Charles Town was on the verge of closing after Jefferson County voters turned down a measure to allow video lottery machines at the West Virginia track. Experiencing declines in attendance and handle for six consecutive years, the track was projecting a bottom-line loss of $1.3 million; 1994 purse distribution averaged $31,000 a day. Keith Wagner, the track’s president, announced Charles Town would not seek dates for 1995.

  • Charming Alibi, dam of champion race mare and outstanding producer Dahlia, along with Canadian Bound (by Secretariat), the first million-dollar auction sales yearling, died from complications of old age at Albert Coppola’s Drumlanrig Farm near Upperville, Va. She was 31.

    Coppola had purchased the mare six years earlier for $17,000 out of the Nelson Bunker Hunt dispersal; her last foal was born in 1986.

  • Freshman sire Citidancer, standing at Country Life Farm in Bel Air, Md., got his first stakes winner when 2-year-old filly Urbane captured Hollywood Park’s Mocassin. Bred in Maryland by Frank J. Zureick and Violet Cleveland, she raced for Jan, Mace and Samantha Siegel.

    Urbane went on to become a multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire and a stellar producer, counting among her seven winners millionaire Suave.

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