It has been more than 10 days since the death of Carl Hanford, “Mr. Class” in the sport of Kings.Carl was 95.
At this point there is no need for me to go back and talk about each and every major accomplishment he had with Bohemia Stable’s Kelso.
I could easily talk about Carl and Kelso all day long.
Sometimes people would say or I would read in other newspaers, that Carl only had the one great horse.
Well, baby, what a horse Kelso was. In my opinion there isn’t a trainer living then (in the 1960s) or one right now who could have handled Kelso the way Hanford did.
Carl turned a horse that struggled before he was gelded into pure GREATNESS.
Kelso did tjhings no horse did back then or even can come close to today. He was Horse of the Year in the sport five consecutive years (1960-64). He won the Jockey Club Gold Cup in New York five times.
I’m no trainer, expert in breeding or handicapping, but in my opinion, Kelso is as good as any thoroughbred who has stepped out on the racetrack.
Kelso was a handicap horse and most of the time was assigned high weight major graded races. He might be carring four and five pounds more than some of the other solid contenders. No relling how many more races he would have won if the weight was assessed different.
But Kelso was so dominant, that’s the way racing officials felt it had to be done.
That is what makes the job Hanford did eve more remarkable. He kept Kelso fit, strong and ready to win big races several years running for owner, Mrs. Allaire duPont.
But what I want to talk about most is Carl Hanford ‘the man.’ He was always polite to me in our interviews or conversations., Heck, he was polite to everyone.
Carl was a family man, a good husband, to his beloevd Millie, who died in 2005.
Hanford would go out of his way to explain things about horses, jockeys, racing rules, whatever you wanted to know. It was never an inconveniece to him.
HIs daughter Gail Hanford is a chip off the old block. She trains a modest stable at Delaware Park and always handles herself with class.
It was so ironic that M’s Angel, trained by Gail Hanford, won her first career race in a six furlong $50,000 maiden race the day after Carl passed away.
As Rick Glazier, the simulcast host and handicapper at DelPark reminded Gail as she came to the winner’s circle after the first race, the M stood for Millie (Gai’sl late mother).
What a memorable and emotional victory for Gail.
During his life Mr. Hanford was inducted into the Nebraska (his home state) Racing Hall of Fame, the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame(1999), the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame (2006) and the Delaware Park Wall of Fame in 2009.
Carl Hanford was a Hall of Famer in all phases of his life. Class, dignity, love of God and family was written all over him.
Thanks for letting me share in a s
Rest in peace my friend.mall part of that greatness.