Saratoga Time Machine - the Year, 1972

Saratoga Time Machine - the Year, 1972
Let’s take a trip in the Saratoga Time Machine, back to what many consider to be the Golden Decade of thoroughbred racing, and the year of 1972.
Do you remember when gasoline cost 36¢ a gallon, a dozen eggs was 59¢, and that you could mail a first-class letter for one thin dime? For the younger crowd, did you even know that the Dow Jones had a high of only 1,036. This was also the time when Richard Nixon was running for re-election against George McGovern and the Watergate Scandal would have its beginnings. The Vietnam War was still going on after 13 years.
Carly Simon had a #1 hit with You're So Vain, which included the noteworthy line, "I hear you went up to Saratoga and your horse naturally won."
It was in 1972 that Secretariat launched racing’s Golden Decade. At Saratoga Race Course, the Meadow Stable star began his run to the Horse of the Year title, one of only three two year-olds to ever be so honored. The legendary Bold Ruler colt registered his second, third, and fourth victories at the Spa. He won his first level allowance, the Sanford, and the Hopeful in a span of 42 days.
 1972 Sanford Stakes
In 1972 Saratoga was the place where racing royalty and racing fans assembled for only 24 days of racing. The leading trainer was Allen Jerkens with 19 winners. The top jockey was Jorge Velazquez with 20 trips to the winner’s circle, which at the time was a simple chalk circle drawn on the track. Spanish Riddle set a track record (1:08) for six furlongs on the main track that still stands today.
In addition to Secretariat, two other horses won multiple stakes at the Spa as they built their resumes for division championships.
Canadian-bred La Prevoyante went unbeaten in twelve 1972 starts. In a campaign that spanned just over six months, the Schuylerville and the Spinaway at Saratoga represented win numbers five and six. The daughter of Buckpasser would win the two year-old filly championship in both the USA and Canada.
Rokeby Stable’s Key to the Mint would become champion three year-old based on a four race win streak that began at Belmont Park with the Suburban. He then moved to Saratoga where he added the Whitney and Travers, a mere 14 days apart. A month later it was back to Belmont to add the Woodward. That was not all for trainer Elliot Burch and Rokeby’s owner Paul Mellon. Their filly Summer Guest would win the Alabama.
The regally bred gray colt Icecapade, sired by Nearctic, was a half-brother of Ruffian, both out of the legendary dam, Shenanigans. Icecapade ran in the colors of Stuart Janney Jr. and his Locust Hill Farm when he won Saratoga’s Saranac. Icecapade held the six-furlong track record of 1:08 at Monmouth Park for many years. Ruffian would come along two years later and captivate racing fans with her sensational win at Saratoga in the Spinaway.  Icecapade and Ruffian would set the stage for the thrills that we all received in 2013 from Stuart Janney III’s Orb.
The royal parade of owners continued when another Buckpasser filly, Numbered Account, who was the juvenile champion in 1971, won the Test for the Phipps Stable. At the time Roger Laurin was the trainer for the Phipps family.
The Greentree Stable of the Whitney family won the Saratoga Special with Stop the Music. Stop The Music would go on to set two track records as a three year-old at Belmont Park, at 5½ furlongs and then at a mile.
Tentam, who was equally talented on the grass as on dirt, won the Jim Dandy in 1972 for owner Charles Englehard. Later E. P. Taylor would buy him for $2,000,000 and send him to stud at his Windfields Farm in Maryland.
In the 41 years since 1972, racing has changed a great deal because the world has changed a great deal. Thoroughbreds ran far more often during a much shorter Saratoga meeting, and their owners and trainers did not hesitate to step up and run against the best competition. Regardless, Saratoga is still a place where we can enjoy racing in its current form, but in a setting that constantly reminds us of the grand history of racing.  
Meet Matt Shifman

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently is a Senior Writer. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs, Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing

Matt has been a co-host of the popular weekly video show HorseCenter for many years.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Matt is also a partner in the New York Hot List handicapping service @NYHotList where he handicaps the races on the NYRA circuit everyday. The Hot List picks are available at several ADW sites around the country.

You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

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