My time to salute class and greatness

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.

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Porter looking for payback against Blind Luck

From Irish Jack Ireland.
I saw a story on the Thoroughbred Times website this wee, that Wilmington native Rick Porter is leaning pretty hard toward entering his sensational filly Havre de Grace in the Grade I Personal Stakes on Aug. 28 at Saratoga (N.Y.) Race Course.
There is also some indication from the west coast that trainer Jerry Hollendorfer may enter his rival filly Blind Luck in the same race.
If it happens, the race shapes up as another showwown between the two filly starsand a built in riv;lry between the two champs that stretches back .to 2010.
Whoi can forget the last time these two great horses faced off, at Delaware Park no less.
It would give Porter and trainer Larry Jones a chance at some sweet revenge after Blind Luck, Havre de Grace,giving away two pounds of weight to the 3-year old 2010 champion filly (Blind Luck), who had beaten or finished ahead of the DelPark stabled filly three of the previous five races, lost to her by a nose in the Graqde II $500,000 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park on July 16.
However, Hollendorfer may not even leave California, indicating he just might enter his 3-yarchampion filly in the Grade I TVG Pacific Classic on Aug. 28 at DelMar.
Come on Jerry, come east once again sir. I know it’s a long trip, but you beat Havre de Grace at Saratoga if only by a neck) in the Grade I Alabama for 3-year old fillies last Ausust.
This is good for racing. In fact, it would be great for racing. These two fillies, maybe the two best horses period this year, facing off at beautiful Saratoga in late summer.
And lets race with both horses even. What I mean is carrying the same weight. Even jockey Garrett Gomez, who was riding Blund Luck in the DelCap, admitted in an interview with the media right after the race that the two pound weight difference probably spelled the difference for his horse.
I know, the ultimate showdown is the Breeders Clug Distaff For Ladies in October at Churchill Downs, but keep this rivavly alive and well. And on even terms for both fillies.
Porter hinted he may opt for theWoodward Stakes Sept. 3 at Saratoga, but that’s really only if some of the top colts would decide not to go in thaty Grade I. .
I’m counting on Porter and Jones having Ramon Dominguez up on the hard-luck, but terrific Havre de Grace for the Personal Ensign. Lets make it CHAPTER TW0 of the 2011 rivalry.
And, if the track comes up sharp, I’m with Havre de Grace in this one.
Hey, another filly might jump up and beat both of them. That’s what racing is all about.

20 year old Delaware harness sensation

Lets face it, harness racing, as exciting as it can be to the real racing fan, just doesn’t get the national attention it probably deserves.

If a 20 year old pro athlete is excelling in sports like

 football, basketball, baseball and hockey, you would

 find his name in every major  newspaper,

 

online sports website, on television, topic of

 local and national  radio talk shows, facebook, twitter

, blogs, you name it.

However, 20-year old Montrell Teague of Harrington

 has been making quite a name for himself on the

national harness racing scene as the regular driver

for 3-year old pacers Custard The Dragon.

Teague became the youngest drive rto compete in the in the history of the Meadowlands Pace Final on July 17. Teague and Custard The Dragon won their Pace eliminaltion before finishing ninth in the $1 million final as the 4-1 second betting choice.

Teague has come on fast, but he has also been learning from the best. Montrell is the son of George Teague Jr., one of the top standardbred trainers in North America. There aren’t many big-time races George Teague’s stable hasn’t won befpre, including the 2007 Meadowlands Pace with Southwind Lynx.

Montrell

Teague’s success with this 3-year old started last May when he drove Custard The Dragon to victory in the

$300,000 Max Hempt Memorial at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Teague continued  his storybook year in major stakes, winning the $5000,000 Hoosier Cup with Custard at Hoosier Park (Ind.). on June 25.

Teague, with the guidance from his father’s hand, showed he could bounce back from a big disappointment in the Meadowlands Pace. Montrell wo his Delvin Miller Adios elimination as Custard The Dragon posted a  record time of 1:48 1/5, fastest time for any 3-year old this year, at the Meadows Racetrack and Casino near Pittsburgh on July 23.

Custard The Dragon was the 2-1 favorite in the $500,000 Adios final last weekend .Hall of Famer Ron Pierce, who has driven many top pacers for Teague Jr.,spoiled the parade for Montrell as he won the final with Alsace Hanover by 3 1/2 lengths  in 1:48 3/5. Custard The Dragon was sharp, taking second in 1:49 1/5.

Montrell (5-foot-6, 140 pounds) has driven Custard The Dragon in all 12 of his starts, winningh five times.

Heading into last week’s Adios final Montrell had driven 77 winners in 477 career races. He had earnings of more than $1.4 million. Not bad for a 20-year old still leanring his trade.

After the Adios final Pierce said he was impressed with Montrell and his driving skills at such a young age) and how his father has brought him along in the sport. You might remember Pierce drove the great Teague-trained Rainbow Blue to 2004 National  Horse of the Year honors.

When a man like Pierce says that, it’s a good bet Montrell Teague’s career in harness racing in heading in the right direction. With George there to guide and direct, Montrell will just get better and better in the bike.

And for those of you who think football, basketbal, baseball and hockey are so much harder to do, lets see you jump in the bike and handle a horse. You have the sulky to control and a horse, weighing over 1,000 pounds, speeding around the racetrack with seven or eight others in the pack. Not so easy, my friend.

Harness drivers and thoroughbred jockeys are as professional as any athlete out there. Their physical safety is at risk every race.

Horse Slaughter

From Irish Jack Ireland

If you have driven on Route 4 lately, heading for the Newark (De.) area, it’s pretty hard to miss the billboard I would like to mention. At the intersection of Route 4 and Salem Church Road, there is a billboard sitting high to the right of the light that reads in huge letters, “Stop Slaughtering Us.” There is a picture of two older horses nuzzling together, standing just behind a ragged looking picket type fence.
Even if you don’t follow horse racing or have a particular love for animals, this hits home in a hurry. It should make anyone sick to their stomach when you hear how these animals die. Does the word slaughter give you a little hint there.
You have to be sleeping at the light not to know what this sign means. I don’t want drivers to have an accident on the road, but look for it. You can’t miss it.
Horses of all kinds (many of them thoroughbred and standardbred racehorses who have passed their production period), are still being slaughtered for horse meat and sent overseas.
Yes, they did shut down the kill houses in Texas and the midwest a few years back (thank God), but there are people who still want to start them up again.
Slaughter houses are legal in parts of Mexico and Canada. So yes, even some of our fowners in the area (Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania) are selling their horses off cheap and the buyers have one thought in mind – buy them cheap and find a ay tyo haul them in trucks to a kill spot, where they get good money. These kill haulers  then deliver the horses to slaughter houses. Money, money, money is the game.

I know many veternarians support this process, but that doesn’t phase me a bit. It’s wrong. I’ll say it again.” The treatment they receive is just plain  ‘WRONG AND SINFUL’.
Don’t kid yourself, horse slaughter is a big money making adventure or nobody would be doing it here or in other countries.
The encouraging news is that there are hundreds of good owners, horsemen, vets and animal lovers, who are doing their very best to save horses all around the country. They go to these sales (some as close by as New Holland, Pa..) and try to buy as many horses as they can afford and give them a safe home to live out their lives in peace.
I had one vet, who I have great respect for, tell me a couple years back that these slaughtering methods are humane. One of the big reasons some horsmen and vets su[pport slaughter houses is because of overcrowding and horses that are just not wanted anymore or they aren’t healthy enough to carry their weight in this rough economy.

 . Sorry Doc, I don’t buy it. I won’t explain how it’s done (it’s horrible), but there is nothing humane about it.
If an older horse (whether he or she is off the track, a show or equestrian competitor at one time, off a farm, or wherever), it doesn’t deserve that kind of death.
I would like to mention that on the billboard the message is sponsored by Pat Boyer and family. Also it reads ‘Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue (saving American horses).
For more information you can go to stopslaughteringus.com
I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised abpout horses being killed and most people not wanting to do anything about it. Unborn children are aborted every day and so many Americans think that is just fine.
And the elderly (humans) in this country are not excactly respected the way they are in so many other countries.
Enough is enough. These horses are helpless. Pro athletes make millions of dollars and just want more and more, so do Hollywood actors (these people don’t live in the real world), companies get bailouts like crazy, but we can’t come up with any money to rescue horses, who just need someone to take care of them and love them.
Something is just not right here.I salute the people who are working daily to rescue and save these helpless animals.
If a horse is really sick, suffering and can’t go on, the owners can have it humanely put down by a qualified veternarian, then creamated or buried. Oh, I forgot, that cost money, How stupid of me.
Save the helpless horses and thank God for the people who are rescuing as many as they can.

Stop the cruelty and stop it now.