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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Stig Closes Out a Remarkable Encore

Every once in a while you hear about a horse who had been "Amished" who returns to the races and goes on to have a decent career.  Typically, not a career horse, but one that does good.  Time off the track can help some horses.

Well in New Zealand, there is Stig.  While he was not "Amished", he was found working in a double sulky at a tourist attraction near Christchurch Airport; three years after his initial retirement.

Stig has re-retired from racing due to an injury; this time for good.  I don't know if it was the noise working near an airport or a desire to get away from his job, but Stig was inspired.  How inspired?  After his return to the racing wars Stig:

  • Defeated champion trotter I Can Doosit in the Cambridge Trotters Flying Mile where he set his lifetime mark of 1:55.1. 
  • Defeated I Can Doosit again the following week in the National Trot in Auckland
  • A few months later, won the prestigious Rowe Cup
  • Compiled a record of 32-8-7-3 record, including an Australian campaign earning (NZ)$363,929 from the age 9-11.
  • Won at distances from 1609 meters (1 mile) to 3200 meters.  From mobile starts to standing starts, giving up to a 25 meter handicap.   After his first retirement, he won 2 Grade 1 events; 1 Grade 2; 1 Grade 3 race.  Who wouldn't love to have a horse like him in their stable?  (If you wish, you can see some of his victories here.)
For the record, his lifetime record is a none-to-shabby 63-23-12-6 earning (NZ)$855,096 so he clearly had the ability; it was soundness which kept him from becoming a horse to be remembered for years.  Still, not so bad for a horse that was plagued with soundness issues who was pulling a sulky for an amusement ride.  I think it is safe to say this second retirement has punched this trotter to a life in the fields.

The lesson here?  Maybe a trainer would do well to skip the sales and go shaking the bushes looking for a retired horse that looks sound.  Better yet, find out who took care of Stig during his second career and buy them a one way ticket to the States.

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