This one looks really good. Personally I have always liked Gio Ponti and looked forward to his youngsters.
Nice article. And as always thank you for your updates.
Yes I have always felt the breeders need to be held accountable for their horses and the sales agencies need to do more for our equine athletes.
You need to add a percentage from the breeding fees and from the sales prices at auctions to help fund retirements. Even a small piece of a $200k stud fee would be help enormously for our equine athletes.
Wonderful to hear what Gary Contessa did for Seal Team Six. Sadly this is not an isolated story. Couldn't agree more that all horses deserve a better ending than a horrific trip to the slaughterhouse. I think the after care of our equine athletes should be an important issue for all racing entities and I have always felt that the breeders, race tracks and sales organizations should give a percentage of their fees to help provide a safe retirement for our horses.
Not to repeat, but I found my answer as to why Memory Book etc. is not mentioned is because with additional purchases of land in the 1940's it allowed for major changes to the track when they enlarged the grandstand and then added the Beard Course which came about with the changing of the finish line. There was a long list of changes made to the racetrack itself in 1953 according to my book Keeneland: A Legacy 75 th Anniversary so I would assume this is why some time marks were eliminated.
The Breeders Stakes was not renewed after 1938 it seems. Then the Lexington Handicap that Steel Heels won in 1941 which was at 1 1/4 miles then has bounced around from 3/4 mile to 1 1/4 and a couple of distances in between. My book on Keeneland says that several stakes races were not renewed after several initial runnings but doesn't mention exactly which ones out of the list, but clearly the Breeders Stakes, which is mentioned in the book, was not renewed.
The dates of 1937 to 2006 are a little deceptive in that earlier marks were set, but the track was changed substantially, particularly since 1953 when they enlarged the grandstand and made major changes in the finish line and the Beard Course. It seems they bought additional land to add to the track in 1948 that allowed for a seven furlong chute and an extension to the Headley Course along with additional parking. They also purchased more land about 26 acres in 1950.When they enlarged the grandstand in 1953 they changed much of the course and moved the finish line which made possible the Beard course of seven furlongs and 184 feet.
It's interesting because they don't mention the other earlier marks in the 1 1/4 mile races. Memory Book set the record in the Breeders Stakes as a three yr. old under 112 on Oct. 21, 1936 at 2:04. Then in 1941 Steel Heels won the Lexington Handicap at five years old under 116 set a mark of 2:03 2/5 on Oct. 7, 1941. Neither mark is listed in the Keeneland records, and the only thing I can think of is that there were changes to the track. At some point early on the Headley Course was shortened by 40 feet. These marks are listed as best times in the old American Racing Manuals from 1936 to 1941.
I looked in 1941 and there was a horse Steel Heels who ran 10 furlongs in the Lexington Handicap under 116 that lowered the mark to 2:03 4/5. Not sure if this was an actual stakes race or not. The Breeders Stakes previously was and was discontinued with Memory Book holding the record there. It also looks like Keeneland at some point shortened their 1 1/2 mile course by forty feet which is then called the Headley Course.
I noticed on Goblin's info on Keeneland that they went back to 1937 and not when the track started in 1936 when Memory Book set the 10 furlong record in the nine day meet they held in the fall. I'll have to go out and find the books showing the course and see if they made any changes to it. Because the Breeders Stakes was run for a few years.
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