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Friday, December 6, 2013

R.I.P. : High Profile Horses We Lost In 2013

Here is a brief tribute to a few of the high profile horses we lost this year. One that you may recall is Armbro Goal, the blueblood son of Speedy Crown and Armbro Flight. The 28-year-old winner of the 1988 Hambletonion was euthanized in Denmark in February. He was voted three-year-old trotter of the year, having won, in addition to the Hambletonion, the World Trotting Derby, Dexter Cup, Beacon Course Trot and Zweig. The 135,000 yearling was lightly raced, only making 18 lifetime starts, but he won eleven of the thirteen starts he made as a sophomore. Armbro Goal never lost a race he didn’t break in.

Jan Johnson trained him and Berndt Lindstedt did the driving most of the time, however, he was sold to a Swedish group prior to the Hambletonion for 2.5 million and John Campbell got the driving assignment. He won easily at a short price. Armbro Goal was Jan Johnson’s first Hambletonion winner after trying with 24 other trotters. Campbell, who won the previous year with Mack Lobell, was the first driver in two decades to win in consecutive years.

Armbro Goal stood at Castleton and produced the million dollar winner Winky’s Goal from his first crop. Lawn Tennis, the dam of Credit Winner, was also from that crop. Other good ones were the three million dollar winner Fool’s Goal and Legendary Lover K.


Twenty-five-year old Giant Victory, a son of Super Bowl, died at Hanover Shoe Farms in September. He was owned by Ted Gewertz and trained by Per Eriksson. Although he earned more than 120,000 at two, he only managed to win one of 13 starts. He had no gate speed and generally took the long road home. John Patterson Jr. was his regular driver but Jack Moiseyev drove him when he won the Hambletonion in straight heats in 1991, which was the first year that it wasn’t necessary to win two. Giant Victory also won the Breeders Crown and the Canadian Trotting Classic that year. He took 9 of 20 starts and earned more than a million dollars at three.

He stood at Hanover for several years beginning in 1992 before being shipped overseas. Giant Victory returned to Hanover twelve years later as a retiree. He was no great shakes as a sire, however, his daughter Aldyth Hanover did produce D Train, the unraced daughter of Donerail who gave us Donato Hanover and Here Comes Herbie.


Alf Palema, the Speedy Somolli stallion who won the Hambletonion the year after Giant Victory did, passed at Palema Farm in Sweden at the end of April. Unlike his predecessor, he was a successful stallion over there. Alf was part of a Swedish sweep on Hambo day. His trainer, Per Eriksson, also had the second place finisher, King Conch, while Bjorn Berglund’s Herschel Walker finished third. Alf was one for nine going into the race and not expected to win, but Mickey McNichol got him home. Alf, who also won the World Trotting Derby, was voted Trotter of the Year in 1991.


A Go Go Lauxmont, the 28-year-old Balanced Image stallion, also passed this year. He was euthanized due to colic at the end of August. He didn’t function at the level of the previous trio, banking about 300,000 and getting most of his wins in the OSS. His best effort was probably a tough second to Armbro Goal in the CTC. Another noteworthy performance was his 1:54.3 TT for Ron Waples at the Red Mile. That turned heads and filled his book when he got back to Canada but he had an up and down breeding career with more downs than ups. That notwithstanding, A Go Go Lauxmont is the sire of the dam of Broadway Hall, so without him there would be no Broad Bahn, Cooler Schooner, Pilgrim’s Taj, Pilgrim’s Chuckie or Frau Blucher.


The biggest loss of all, of course, was 11-year-old Rocknroll Hanover, who was euthanized in March due to a gastric impaction. The 2005 HOY was a great racehorse and an even better sire. He gave us Rocknroll Heaven, Put On A Show, ARNRD, Nitelife, Pet Rock, Rocklamation and so many more. Next season we should get some inkling as to whether Heaven will follow in his footsteps. And Pet Rock and ARNRD will join the stallion ranks in Ohio and Pennsylvania, respectively, in 2014. Also, Rocknroll’s mares will soon be turning out sons and daughters of SBSW.


As Promised, Alberta’s go to stallion for almost two decades, died at age 24 in August. He overcame physical issues and became a rock solid pacer, and he overcame geographical isolation to become a successful sire. He was inducted into the Canadian HOF for his talent and tenacity on both fronts.


The great Peace Corps passed in November of 2012, but since, for some strange reason, it wasn’t reported in the harness press in NA until June of this year we’ll treat it like a 2013 loss. The 26-year-old daughter of Baltic Speed died on the island of Mallorca, off of Spain. She was Trotter of the Year in 1989 and a five-time division winner. This member of the Living HOF was also voted HOY twice in Sweden. She won the Breeders Crown four times.



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