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Monday, November 4, 2013

On Richard Young Issuing A Match Race Challenge To Captain T

In light of Richard Young, the owner of I Luv The Nitelife, challenging Team Treacherous to a match race; back in the day these races were relatively common. They were employed primarily as a publicity stunt, whether for the track or the syndicate issuing the challenge. More often than not nothing came of these challenges. For instance, in late September, 1966 Milton Goldstein, a spokesman for the large syndicate that owned three-year-old Romeo Hanover, challenged four-year-old Bret Hanover to a $50,000 winner take all match race at Roosevelt Raceway in mid-November. Morty Finder was one of the owners. Romeo had won 15 races in a row, and like Bee's owners, they believed that entitled them to HOY honors.  Bret had recently set a WR with a :54 time trial at Vernon and he had also passed Su Mac Lad as the leading money winner in the sport.

Frank Ervin was anxious to accept the challenge, believing his charge would handily beat Romeo. However, Bret was due to call it a career in the Classic at Hollywood Park on November 5, after which he would be shipped to Castleton Farm for stud duty. Owner Richard Downing and future owner Fred Van Lennep decided to stick to their schedule, so the race never happened. Bret had nothing to gain from accepting the challenge, while Romeo had everything to gain and little to lose.

One of the more interesting challenges occurred when trainer Dick Thomas dared Nevele Pride to a match race with the Red Sheep Stable’s Dale Frost pacer, Fulla Napoleon. Having a premium trotter take on a premium pacer certainly would have drawn a crowd. As one might expect, Dancer and the Sluskys wanted no part of that freak show.

Charlie King wanted a match race between his pacer, Cardinal King, and the Derrico Stable’s  Henry T Adios for a $25,000 side bet but he and Dancer could not agree on a distance…..Adios Harry and Adios Boy created a regular circuit for their match races, each one for $7,500, winner take all. They tangled from Foxboro to Roosevelt Raceway……The great Dottie’s Pick crushed Adios Harry in a match race at Yonkers in the mid-fifties. And I recall seeing a match race between Handle With Care and Armbro Omaha—both from the Haughton stable. So the notion of a top filly taking on a top colt in a match race is not a new one. However, since The Captain has everything to lose and nothing to gain from such an endeavor, just issuing the challenge is a little unseemly and desperate. Under no circumstances will it be accepted.


Anonymous said...

Captainmeaningless hasn't accepted a challenge yet. For a "champion" he refuses to race on a half-mile track and chickens out of heat racing, even classics like the Jug. Harness racing needs a better face than this. Beating (and barely each time) a mediocre crop of 3-year olds and avoiding premier races is not going to bode well for him in the annals of history. It's about time that the people involved in harness racing think more about the sport and less about immediate profit.

Anonymous said...

A good example of this is coming up. Team Treacherous avoided nominating to the Matron where Sunshine Beach, Vegas Vacation, Dedi's Dragon, Twilight Bonfire, Ronny Bugatti and six others go in an elimination on Sunday. Instead they're scheduled to start Captain T in the American National which has a much lower profile and will have a much softer field.