Eagle Time's Story and Beyond the Blinkers Giveaway

This pre-Christmas blog has two purposes: to commemorate the career of the recently retired hard knocking stallion Eagle Time and to provide you guys with the opportunity to win an awesome Blood-Horse calendar. Consider it my Christmas present to you!

You may have heard of Eagle Time, a remarkable 14-year-old horse whose final start was a 1 1/2-length victory at Thistledown Oct. 1. While The Blood-Horse did run a story about his retirement, it kind of got lost in the shuffle. Because I feel like Eagle Time didn’t receive the credit he deserved, I contacted his owner/trainer Rick Jordan for a little inside information and personal photos.

In addition to being the oldest horse to ever win at Thistledown, Eagle Time also holds the record as the oldest horse to score at River Downs. The son of Light of Morn was honored for that feat in a winner’s circle celebration at the Cincinnati-area track in October.

Eagle Time and his connections at his retirement party at River Downs, photos by Melody Jordan 

Jordan will now stand Eagle Time at his farm near Dillsboro, Ind., for $1,500 in 2012. He’s an old pro at that job, though, as he has sired a handful of foals since 2005. Eagle Time was first retired from racing to become a stallion in 2004. He was sent back to the track five years later, however, due to lack of interest from outside mare owners and the fact he still showed vigor for a regular work routine. 

Eagle Time finally exited racing for good this fall with a record of 16-20-12 from 82 starts and earnings of $277,396. Among his victories were the 2000 Texas Derby at Sunland Park and the 2003 Memorial Day Handicap at Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort.

During his nine seasons of racing, Eagle Time campaigned at 10 different tracks in five states and logged nearly 200,000 miles behind Jordan’s pick-up truck.

From left to right: Shelbi Kurtz (granddaughter of Rick Jordan), Eagle Time, Butch Jones (groom)

When Scot Gilles wrote a blog about Eagle Time in 2009, there were mixed reviews about whether the horse should still be racing at such an old age in addition to moonlighting as a stud.

I asked Jordan how Eagle Time had maintained the resilience to fulfill both tasks at his age, even ending his racing career with one final victory.

“He was just a very sound horse and he had a very good mind…you could breed him and race him and it didn’t bother him any,” said Jordan of Eagle Time, who has sired nine foals since 2006, two of which—Sir Jim and Eagle Won--are winners. Eagle Time is booked to six mares so far for 2012.

Jordan, who bought Eagle Time as a 2-year-old, said he had been told the horse was the oldest in training in the continental United States in 2011.

Jordan picked Eagle Time out of the 1999 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training. He was bought through Loy Kempthorne for $4,000 from Clare Silva, agent.

“I liked him as an individual,” Jordan said. “He had enough breeding for me…I didn’t give much for him, but he turned out to be a nice horse.”

Bred in Florida by Silva, Eagle Time’s sire, Light of Morn, was a two-time stakes winner in England, while his dam, Telina, a winning daughter of El Gran Senor, is a half sister to five winners and is from the family of group I victor Starsky (by Selkirk).

Telina has produced 10 named foals, seven of which are winners, including other stakes winner Power Strokin (by Robyn Dancer). She is also the dam of stakes-placed runners Mecke’s Queen and Mecke Monster (by by Mecke) and stakes producer Babb’s Be Good (by Navarone).

According to Jordan, Eagle Time had the looks and personality to match his racing abilities.

During his retirement celebration at River Downs, Eagle Time was presented with a carrot cake decorated with 14 carrots, one for each year of his life. By the way he stood proudly in the winner's circle with his muscular frame, he looked more like a 3-year-old.

Rick Jordan feeding carrot cake to Eagle Time at his retirement party at River Downs

“Wherever he was racing, there was always a crowd there for him; he was a crowd pleaser,” said Jordan. “He won more races after he was 12 than most horses win all their lives.”

Jordan said Eagle Time is still “Very nice to be around. He’s been like that all his life…you can put him wherever you want, turn him out in the paddock 18 feet away from mares, and he will not have a fit. He’s just a good, level-headed horse.”

Shelbi Kurtz and Butch Jones spend a special moment with Eagle Time

In spite of his obvious connection with Eagle Time, Jordan, who currently has six horses in training at Turfway Park, said he would sell the horse if the right offer came. “He would have to go to someone who had mares of their own for their own private stallion,” said Jordan, whose son and daughter-in-law stand nine stallions at their nearby Breakway Farm.


To win a free 2012 Blood-Horse calendar, leave a comment telling me who your all-time favorite older horse is (past or present) and why. I will select a name at random on Thursday, Dec. 22 and will ship your calendar to you that afternoon so you'll be all set for the New Year. The calendar has beautiful photos for each month, many of which were taken by our photographer Anne Eberhardt and depict pivotal moments in the Thoroughbred world in 2011.


Best of luck and happy holidays to all!

Eagle Time in all his 14-year-old glory


Leave a Comment:

carol in utah

john henry....not a fancy beginning..but he always tried his very best..became a legend and earned his place in history...got to love that determination

20 Dec 2011 4:58 PM

The tin man. Broke his maiden in a flashy manor and continued to flourish for nearly a decade. An iron horse for sure.

20 Dec 2011 5:47 PM

Evening Attire winning a stakes race at 10 years old

20 Dec 2011 5:49 PM

Red Rum, who won his third Grand National at age 12. Did any horse ever try harder?

20 Dec 2011 6:47 PM
anita b

Kelso was the ultimate iron horse. Didn't he win the Jockey Gold Cup (at 2 miles) 5 years? And he carried weight too---horses today DON'T.

20 Dec 2011 7:34 PM

Zenyatta is the one for me. She won 19 consecutive races if you count her as an older horse. Also Brass Hat because he was 10 when he retired.

20 Dec 2011 8:02 PM
Jess Moulder

Brass Hat, had he had a book written on him, he'd be the stuff of legends. He broke his leg more times over then Seabiscuit and the Tin Man put together, and ran with metal screws in his athletic bones. Now that's what I call determination and heart. He's inspired me. His jockey once said of him that Brass Hat was "The Kentucky Seabiscuit." This solid bay hard knocking gelding is my favorite!!!!

20 Dec 2011 8:12 PM

Brass Hat, definitely... Coming back from two serious injuries, winning a grade 1 in record time, setting another track record and racing until he was ten? Definitely my favourite older horse!

20 Dec 2011 8:20 PM
Sandi Becker


I have a challenge for you.  You do all of the stories on retired OTTB'S.  I have a horse for you.  His name is HIGH POINT GIVEN.  He was rescued from the from the New Holland Sales Barn in Pa.  He came from Mountaineer, who I thought had a policy on horses ending up at killer sales.  I think a story should be done on horses that come from tracks where they are supposed to be protected.  My favorite older horse is TOM FOOL.

20 Dec 2011 8:30 PM

The incomparable John Henry. He was a real life Cinderella story, selling for $1,100 as a yearling before becoming a champion. I was fortunate enough to be there for his last race, the Ballantine Scotch Classic at the Meadowlands, where he went out a winner.

20 Dec 2011 9:05 PM
Thoroughbreds are the best

In the late '60s and early '70s I rode at a big barn in Western PA.  We got nearly every horse in the barn off the track (and there were probably 85 head).  Those thoroughbreds were sound, athletic and never quit.  And durable...

I've looked several up on the five-cross pedigree page and was shocked to see the number of races so many had run in.  My first thoroughbred was a HUGE chestnut gelding.  His name was great, Bronze Button, but at 17.2hds he was anything but a button.  He was eight or nine when we bought him off the track and went on to be a nice hunter at the local shows.  He was a fabulous mover and would have been a super dressage horse had that been available at the time.  When he cantered, you felt like you were riding a battleship.  He had won ten races over the course of his career from Fairgrounds to Hialeah, but we had picked him up at Waterford Park as he had hit the bottom of the claiming ranks.  Later I discovered that he had not only run at good tracks over the years but he had run 85 times!  I started looking up others if I could remember their registered names.  I discovered that many of these wonderful kids' horses ran an average of about 75 times before joining a hunter barn.  Were they all super show horses? No but many of us weren't super riders! But they all carried us safely over the craziest things.   We loved those horses.   They taught us how to communicate with a powerful sensitive animal. They let us groom them by the hour, ride them anywhere and were always ready to go. To this day, I'd rather not ride anything else.

20 Dec 2011 9:08 PM
Mookie's Hero

Mookie's Hero

For this year it would be Goldikova (meaning a horse that ran this year) but for all time it would be Zenyatta. Because they are female and beat the males and because they brought excitement to the sport of horse racing.

20 Dec 2011 9:19 PM
Needler in Virginia

How about my favorite, Zippy Chippy? Ran his heart out, never won but remains a champion in many eyes. The love his trainer and his fans have for this old war horse is staggering and if you ever get to Old Friends Cabin Creek outside Saratoga, you'll see why!

Cheers and safe trips to everyone, especially Zippy Chippy and all the other Old Friends we love.

20 Dec 2011 9:31 PM

My favorite older horse has to be John Henry.  He had it all and is truly the horse that kept me interested in racing at a time when I was losing that interest.  He opened up my eyes to racing beyond the triple crown, and I know he did that for several people that I know.  I still have the copy of Equus magazine that had articles on him, his movement, his heart and so much more.  He truly made me a fan.

20 Dec 2011 9:54 PM

Evening Attire not only won at 10 years old, he set a track record!  Got to love a horse who just trots out of the starting gate only to win!  But Eagle Time, now that I know about him, is running neck and neck

20 Dec 2011 9:57 PM

John Henry.  Met him at the horse park when he was retired and he was still a grumpy little man...

20 Dec 2011 10:18 PM
Linda in Texas

Esther - so glad you brought full attention to this wonderful stallion named Eagle Time. I love the story,

it is real and his age, are you really sure he is truly 14 years old?

What a handsome bright eyed horse he is indeed. No doubt he has been a loved and wanted member of their family.

I have no name to submit, i just wanted to thank you for bringing this delightful fellow to the front of the class.


20 Dec 2011 10:25 PM

Assault-Against all odds this horse won the Triple Crown and raced beyond the average racing age and NEVER gave up.

20 Dec 2011 11:41 PM

Better Talk Now.  51 starts over an 8 year racing career.  He was always game.

21 Dec 2011 12:08 AM

Native Diver. Won his 3rd Hollywood Gold Cup at 8, and probably would have won a forth if not for his untimely death. Although a West Coast runner, he set records as well as hearts on fire by his determination. Each track should be lucky enough to have a "Diver".

21 Dec 2011 12:55 AM
Arts and Letters

Persian Punch - so beautiful and so brave.  He raced for 8 seasons.

21 Dec 2011 1:06 AM
Rebs Policy

My favorite wasn't famous but he was a real trooper. His name was Acknowledge, a bay gelding born in 1961. He was already a year older than me in 1970, the first year I was around the track. My mom worked for his trainer at the time, Jerry Fanning, and it was at Del Mar that I first met him. I was told that in his day he had been quite successful, especially routing on the grass. His most prolific year had been at age six, when he had won or placed in stakes at Santa Anita and Bay Meadows, and at Del Mar, setting a track record for 9f(T)in the Balboa Hdcp. He was in the claiming ranks when I got to know him and was just a sweet old guy. He still gave his all every time and even after he left our barn he still continued to thrive in long distance racing. (When he was 11, he was 2nd in the 2 mile Appleland Marathon Hdcp. at Yakima Meadows (WA). ...a kind and courageous old THOROUGHBRED, in the truest sense of the word.

21 Dec 2011 1:31 AM

Brass Hat...Didn't always win but always tried. So glad he retired happy and healthy.

21 Dec 2011 1:53 AM

Kelso -- no looker but he was consistent and durable and managed to win even at high weights.

21 Dec 2011 6:14 AM

While I adored The Tin Man, and Affirmed Success, and loved John Henry, my favorite old timer was my own horse Moren (Trade x Mortsie, by Recupere [FR]), who won 22 races in 115 starts through age 9 and he did it the hard way: at Finger Lakes, Penn National, etc.

21 Dec 2011 6:19 AM
Esther Marr

I really love reading all of these responses-it made my morning! Your love for the horse really shines through. A winner will be picked tomorrow at noon--spread the word to anyone else you think might want to enter!

21 Dec 2011 8:48 AM
Zenyatta - Perfection Personified

Zenyatta. As Mike Smith said, how can you argue with perfection?

21 Dec 2011 10:22 AM

My favorite older horse is Cigar. I began to get interested in horse racing back in 1993, but I only followed it occasionally until Cigar came along.

My family and I would gather around the television for every race he ran that was aired on national television - something that even Zenyatta was not afforded!

We would scream and yell and jump around to cheer him on for his 16 consecutive victories. No other horse since has been able to bring my family together to enjoy racing.

21 Dec 2011 10:52 AM

My favorite older horse is my lead pony Frosted Sunsation aka "Frosty". He is 26 years old and is still on the job. He calms fillies and makes colts show respect. He loves what he does and it shows. Like Eagle Time's owner I often get a hard time about my partner's age and how he should be retired. I commend Rick Jordan on listening to his horse voice above everyone else.

21 Dec 2011 10:54 AM

There are so many older horses who are now retired that I just adore... Zenyatta, Brass Hat, Cigar, to name a few. But, if I was to pick one that is still racing it would have to be Inherit the Gold. Read an article about him that Barbara Livingston wrote and photographed and just fell in love with that horse! He doesn't always win but he puts in 100% effort each time. He has a great story behind him, too!

21 Dec 2011 10:56 AM

Happy Retirement, Eagle Time!  I'm right behind you and looking forward to it. You and Zenyatta are my favorites!

21 Dec 2011 11:03 AM
Mike Relva

Great comments regarding some special horses. As a reader commented, am also a big fan of Cigar. I'm about five hrs from Kentucky and visited him last month. He looks great and doesn't seem to be almost twenty two. Always bring with me his fav treat, mints. Got to visit with John Henry three weeks prior to his passing..... a special time. In Sept.  actually spent time with Brass Hat, he looks well and settled into retirement. For the past three years started visiting The Tin Man, first at River Edge Farm and a year ago, moved to another location. Last time to visit was July, he's a friendly horse who loves attention and mints.

21 Dec 2011 11:30 AM

Forego is my all time favorite horse.  To win Sprint Eclipse, Jockey Club Gold at 2 miles and the Woodward 4 times is amazing.  Can't forget his Malboro win.  All these races won while he's carrying half the Grandstand on his back.  They'll never be another one like him.

21 Dec 2011 11:31 AM
Three D Invitation

It is so gratifying to see that Eagle Time has finally been retired and appreciated for his efforts. And while it is a happy story, the exceptions prove the rule, and the rule is that for every Eagle Time there are many  thousands of horses who are raced or worked too hard for too long and meet with ignominious ends. A true tragedy. We need to work harder to end breeding in numbers that can't be coped with and in providing a happy end for all equids. It is only the right and responsible thing to do.

Now, on to my favourite older thoroughbred. All horses are my favourite but there is a very special thoroughbred mare that we were all priveleged to watch back in the 80's and who we lost in 2010. Her name was Personal Ensign.

This extraordinary mare was the epitome of guts and determination. She won 13 races in a row, broke a leg at 2 that was held together with a plate and screws and came back to race at 3 and 4. She was victorious over some of the best racehorses, male and female, same age and older, that have ever graced the racetrack, including Winning Colors in the 1988 Breeders Cup Distaff in one of the most breathtaking races ever run.

She was the Champion Older Mare of 1988, the dam, granddam and great granddam of both male and female champions including Breeders' Cup winners My Flag and Storm Flag Flying (the only mare to produce 2 B.C. winners after winning it herself),1996 Broodmare of the Year and Hall of Fame inductee in 1993.

If a true champion is determined by what they do and what they pass on to future generations then Personal Ensign deserves to be on the list of all-time favourite thoroughbreds.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the best in 2012 to everyone!

21 Dec 2011 12:24 PM

hard not to say Eagle Time after this article but my vote goes to Lava Man.

21 Dec 2011 1:09 PM

I have 2 all time favorites. the first is Ruffian. Her story is a good one but a sad one at that. I have read a book about her and seen her movie multiple times.

My second favorite is the mighty Secretariat. Every time I see the movie about him or look at pictures or read about him I am Awestruck. He was quite the horse and its quite sad I never got to see him race in real life.

21 Dec 2011 3:25 PM

I have 2 favorites.

Chindi was competitive in graded stakes races until age 11 in 2005. He earned $1 million in 81 starts. There was nothing more exciting than watching the nearly white horse fly from last to first in 6 furlong sprints.

The other one is Catlaunch. He became only the 3rd Ohio-bred millionaire this year at 10. He has a record of 91s 39w 18s 9t, and I believe a 2012 campaign is planned. I have also been able to get to know him a little bit while volunteering  at Beulah Park. He is a special, special horse!

21 Dec 2011 3:44 PM

I grew up watching John Henry, so he is the first that comes to mind.  I also had the honor of visiting him several times at the Kentucky Horse Park.

21 Dec 2011 3:50 PM
Donna M

I can think of Many but I have to say it's a toss up between Leaping Plum and Our Legal Eagle.  These tough old guys ran well past age 10!  Also, my dear old Uncle's favorite horse- Maxwell G.   I'm a fan of Arlington and I loved Fort Prado.

Over all...  The plum and Eagle for me!  they were troopers!


21 Dec 2011 3:52 PM

Desert Bloomer - My OTTB who won his money the hard way with 52 starts - raced until he was nine - now at 15 doing dressage and jumping!!  May not be famous like the other names, but he represents the majority of - starting race after race for low purses and somehow, they just keep on going!

21 Dec 2011 4:06 PM
mary kautzman

Hermosilla, because he was able to continue racing and his owners supported him through it all.

21 Dec 2011 4:19 PM

I'd have to say (in a very close race with John Henry) Exterminator. He ran 99 times with half of those being wins and was just an extraordinary personality. He was a true classic iron horse who ran against any and everybody. A real shame he never got to face Big Red, but "the Galloping Hatrack" shall always be a huge personal favorite of mine.

Great tribute to Eagle Time, Esther. I enjoyed reading about him in a day and age where his kind are rare.

21 Dec 2011 4:39 PM
Terry M.

My favourite is from away back! The great Discovery (foaled 1931) made 63 starts with a record of 27-10-10 and career earnings of  $195,287 (a lot in those days). He was called The Iron Horse and won Horse of the Year in 1935, the year Omaha won the Triple Crown. He was a wonderful broodmare sire and is a source of stamina in pedigrees.

But there are many, many durable old horses plugging along in the low-end allowance and claiming ranks who keep on paying the bills for many years. These are the real heroes, the unknowns who are the bedrock of horse racing.

21 Dec 2011 4:55 PM

My favorite older horse was Spendthrift Farm's gallant gelding Rossi Gold, a big bay with a slightly Roman nose and a huge heart. He won approximately ten stakes races, including graded stakes, at Arlington Park in the early eighties. Rossi used to thrill the fans with his come-from-behind finishes. I got to meet him after the 1982 Arlington Million; that meeting counts among my most cherished racing memories.

21 Dec 2011 6:16 PM

John Henry was amazing!  Loved the story of Eagle Time, he's my new, 2nd favorite. He must have a big heart!

21 Dec 2011 6:31 PM

I have many favorites, hard to choose, but I guess I have to go with John Henry.  Not only was he a determined racehorse, he had an ornery, unique personality.  His love of donuts is also comical and special. Great that he lived out his years at the KY Horse Park, so many others could become acquainted with him - from a somewhat cautious distance, of course!

21 Dec 2011 6:50 PM

Who's The Cowboy, he will be 10 years old in 2012.  He is a New Jersey bred, or tomato bred as they can be called.  He won my heart as a 2 year old with his antics of begging for carrots, grass, yams, watermelon and anything else he could eat.  He won some nice stakes for his owners and breeders the Sleeters and now is in the optional claiming ranks and still loves to run.  He has quite the personality, his attention to those that feed him treats is comical.  He will dislocate your shoulder if you are holding him and hears and or  sees me or another treat person approach. i pray he has a happy ending and gets a good home.  He deserves it!

21 Dec 2011 8:31 PM

While ALL those mentioned above are more than worthy .... the accolade must go to my 10 year old TB "Manton".  He has been retired a year now. While nominated for the Breeders Cup as a colt he suffered a broken hind leg but raced and won some for over 6 years. He is now a hunter with a loving home for life. I must purchase another to race!!!

21 Dec 2011 10:10 PM

my favorite older horse is Forego because he always tried his best and showed so much courage on the track.

21 Dec 2011 10:30 PM

I really love this blog and the work it does to bring awareness to the need for good loving homes for Thoroughbreds finished with their careers. Heartwarming stories and photo's that reach out and touch you. It's so hard to pick just one older horse as my favorite, but I would go with Ruffian. She had guts, a lot of try, and a really big heart. She loved her job, every minute of it. And like Eagle Time her connections loved her and treated her like a beloved family member until her unfortunate and tragic passing.  Everyday this lady marched out onto the rack ready to go.She ran her life out, it takes true passion and grit for your profession to continue to run and refuse to be pulled up until after the wire. Her connections also did such a great job trying to save her with what limited vet technology was available at the time. I think the only horse now that can compete with Ruffians story is Zenyatta. I think if Ruffian had survived her story would match Zenyatta's.  Ruffian like so many before her is the people's horse.

21 Dec 2011 10:55 PM

Steelyeyed- raced until he was 10, started 124 times, won 204,000 the hard way on the Ohio circuit.  He retired to the farm I worked for and I fell in love.  It took him awhile to come down, but now he lives with a bunch of retired "ladies" and is quite happy.

21 Dec 2011 11:32 PM

Gotta go with the old man John Henry.

22 Dec 2011 12:31 AM

Forego is my favorite. His versatility and come from-behind wins were a big part of my what caught my heart for racing early on.

22 Dec 2011 2:06 AM

My horse Mike. A 1990 Thoroughbred gelding. He is 22 but still sound. Looks like he is 3. Acts it too with his antics. He still jumps competitivley (A/O Lows which are 3'6"-4') and third level dressage. He never stops trying. I've had him for 11 years and he has recovered from a suspensory blow, shattered accesory carpal bone, cannon nine fracture, and bone spavin in his hocks. And yet. There he is today...jumping over a round bale to body slam his 17.3 hand 1600 lb Dutch Warmblood pasture mate. He doesn't care for consequence. He just wants a running buddy and to show his guts. He is the example of what a heart of a Thoroughbred is. Did I mention he is so strikingly beautiful the barn owner out him in the first stall so visitors see him first!

22 Dec 2011 2:18 AM

I just love the Tin Man, Assult, Forgo, Exterminator, John Henry and Queen Z.  

Amazing creatures - just amazing.

22 Dec 2011 6:59 AM

Even though he was before my time, I've always admired Kelso.  Not only did he beat all the top horses of his day, and earn Horse of the Year honors 5 times, but after he retired from racing, he became a show jumper (I did get to see him in that career).  That being said, my heart belongs to Zenyatta.  How many times my heart stopped beating as she came from so far behind stirred up emotions I hadn't felt in years.  My head says Kelso, but my heart screams Zenyatta!

22 Dec 2011 9:27 AM

Of all the greats, it's a tough call ...while I'd have to say John Henry from a list that includes Kelso, Forego, Dr Fager, Gallant Bloom, Evening Attire and Personal Ensign,....I'd be remiss if I didn't offer up, in the spirit of this tribute to Eagle Time, my personal favorite, ....Teddy Drone ...remarkable, versatile old banger who tore up tracks all up and down the East Coast

22 Dec 2011 9:42 AM

My favorite older horse is my own former racehorse, Turbo Jet..  He was foaled in Louisiana, raced here, raced there, and wound up at Beulah running at age 9.  He broke down there and was on stall rest when I met him.  He was given to me at age 10, and cannot support a rider, so he is a pasture pal now.  Turbo will be 17 on Jan. 1, and he is all I could wish for in a horse.  He's my unicorn, my Pegasus and the horse of my dreams whether or not I'll ever see the view from between his ears.

22 Dec 2011 9:50 AM
UA Guy34

Unbridled...he was my first Kentucky Derby win bet before I knew much about handicapping.  Bet him because I heard a psychic on the local news pick him to win.  True story...been hooked ever since.

22 Dec 2011 10:05 AM
Golden Gate

It is great he was allowed to race as long as he was. My horses really enjoy it. My favorite older horse is one called Royal Illusion. He was stakes placed and then contracted EPM and even with treatment some of his muscles atrophied. His groom took him and saved his life and through the years moved him different places with her. He passed away last year. He was a very kind horse and just a good old boy. I miss him. www.pedigreequery.com/royal+illusion4

22 Dec 2011 11:38 AM
kelso fan

As my handle indicates it would have to be Kelso.  An iron horse who was Horse of the Year 5 times, who ran and won at distances up to two miles and on dirt and turf (despite rumors to the contrary seconds in the International before he won it did not indicate that he did not do well on turf especially when one of those seconds was a record time as well).  He was much beloved by fans in the 60s with his own fan club (I was a proud member of Kelsoland - would love to hear from others - Heather Noble, are you out there anywhere) and retired to an amazing career as a show horse and fox hunter ridden by his owner.  What an amazing life he led and feisty for every minute of it.

22 Dec 2011 11:40 AM
Jeanie from CA

My favorite older horse is With Aniticipation. This gray gelding was unbelievable as a race horse. He WON three Grade I races at age 7 and came in second in three other Grade I wins, also at age 7, including the BC Turf. This guy was something else. The last I heard he was in his second career as a hunter somewhere in the north or central eastern part of the US.

22 Dec 2011 12:18 PM
Judy G ~ CA

Two words: JOHN HENRY!  He set the bar high ~ tenacious on and off the track! He knew where the wire was; he wouldn't let a horse pass him if he had them in his sight!  He was the "Blue Collar" horse for sure!

On a somber note, John~John's exercise rider, LEWIS CENICOLA, is gravelly ill and be treated at home by Hospice... John, you and Louie will meet again... ride into the sunset for eternity.

God Bless you both!

22 Dec 2011 1:42 PM

That Eagle Time is one nice stallion !I realy enjoyed the story and wish everyone the best !

I have known many a good horse , but my ALL time favorite just has to be my senior stallion:


A big , handsome stallion who has proven himself on the track, 69 starts , Eight years, over 400 K Black-type, etc ,but why he is my favorite of all time is his intelligence & honor.

When I purchased him he had been re-sold a few times and at times he didn't have the very best of homes. He had lost trust in people & thought he had to fight in self defense. After awhile he learned what love really is but would never lower his head to anyone, not even to me. One day a deer got in his paddock & I went out to bring my stallion in & try to let the deer out.(Anyone who knows about deer does know that a trapped deer is one of THE most dangerous creatures )

Using hand signals , I called "CLASSI" & as he began to come to me to go into his box, the deer made a blind charge at me.

I suddenly saw the deer, but it was too late to move to safety , it was headed straight for my chest at top speed in the deep snow & a mere 20 feet away !

CLASSI ENVOY could have moved away, he could have shied in terror... but he flew through the air like Pegasus and hit the deer with his body, deflecting it off of me. He then killed the deer, a sight I will NEVER forget. Then he raced to the stall where I had hidden myself, came charging in...blood, foaming, and hot, he searched for me wildly. He lowered his head to me and looked me right in the eye.

We have been the very best of friends since that day & he has changed so much since he saved my life.

Courageous , intelligent , loyal...this is why he is much the best to ME.

It is with pride that I can honestly say that his "foals" are a chip off the old block.


22 Dec 2011 2:21 PM

Here in Vancouver, at Hastings Racecourse my horse, at 7, beat an 11 year old by the name of Colonel Courtney. The Colonel then went on to win 3 races in a row(bottom claiming) at Hastings and then went on to win a big starter allowance sprint race at Portland Meadows just 2 weeks ago (& I see he's entered on Dec 27th). He's a real trooper.

22 Dec 2011 3:30 PM

My favorite horse of all time is the one & only John Henry.   His sheer determination & steel-driving will to win still gives me goosebumps, he truly was the little horse-who-could! And his nastiness just adds to it, being first a nasty equine athelete on the track, and then a cantankerous old man at the KHP!

22 Dec 2011 6:24 PM

Better Talk Now!  I was there for his '07 Manhattan.  I have a soft spot for a closer, I love how long he ran at the top of the game & will cheer for Graham Motion's horses forever because of him!

22 Dec 2011 6:33 PM
Terry M.

Sunny Farm, that is amazing. I think you should get a calendar just for sharing that story about your wonderful stallion. You should nominate him for a Purina Animal Hall of fame award, or SPCA Animal Hero award, or something similar! Too often, people hear the bad things about Thoroughbreds instead of the many good and courageous things they do.

22 Dec 2011 10:53 PM

Classi Envoy's story is a great one and brings to mind a couple of other stallions who save my butt. One was a Standardbred (don't know his name) but at 14yrs of age I walked 8 miles each way to my grandmother's house South end of Columbus Ohio to Hamilton Meadows, then an  additional 6 miles to go see these horses. I wanted to play with the babies, but this horse was in the way (my choices were to go in his paddock or the paddock beside him which had a bull, cow, and calf). I fed him grass from outside his paddock and he followed me like a lost puppy. By the time I got to the back of his paddock I went thru and got 1/2 way between fences and he went bullistic, rearing and pawing at the fence and screeming. I turned and at the other end of the paddock lane was the bull, head lowerd and ready to charge. Before I saw the bull, I had thought the boy just wanted more attn. The manager came to rescue me in time. I went to thank him and was told to never go near him, he'd kill me. I didn't tell them I had already been in there with him..lol..I waited til they left (like any sneeky kid) and went back to thank him with a great big handful of grass. The other stallion was a Thoroughbred, named Cat Ridge. I managed him for 4 yrs. In '08 he had a 7 month old colt that had gotten loose and headed towards the 'girls'...lol..Cat hollerd for his son and got him to come back to his fence. His paddock was attached to the barn where he had a stall & paddock combined..he led that boy to an area that I could catch him. Cat did not act that way

towards other babies, he knew which was his. Cat also had seen a guy trying to flirt with me. When this guy went to trim his feet, he tried to kick that man in the head..guess I was his boss mare.

As for older favorites..Seabuscut was at the top of my list until I saw John Henry run..I grew up watching him. Then came along Cigar..but the ALL TIME FAV  is Secretariat...that old buy tried to bite my boob when I tried to give him a hug about 3 months before he died. I was 7 yrs old when he won the Triple, been hoooked line and sinker every since. {I never underestimate the int elegence of stallions}

22 Dec 2011 11:07 PM
patsy finley

I love the story of Eagle Time just a shame not all stallions can do what he has done. Our sport is all about money and not about racing and keeping them sound and loved. I got a chance to work for a amall breeding farm and racing stable and most of our racers were claimers at the bottom side. I fell in love with the big horses as well and hope that Rapid  gets his chance in the histroy books if he runs and wins one more to beat CITATIONS RECORD. i THINK A TRUE CHAMPION is  or should be what they have accomplished no matter what type of race. Lets face it only claimers and allowance horse run 30 plus time in their life and they are not even reconized as worthy horse for year end honors. i applaud Eagles owner for his love and dedcation to him. Watched a movie starrinf Loyd Bridges in it as he played a low claiming trainer he said and is true that without claimers they would have only one stake race aweek he is just about right. 20 plus years ago it was nothing for horse to run weekly or bi weekly now days if they done that the humane socity people would holler animal crulity. Those pepole dont live in the reallity that for some horses that is their pleasure.  i could make a case for alot of old timers as well as younger horse as well Barbbro for what he has given in research Ruffin started it for they rellay went to work harder after they lost her when she woke up thrashing to undo every thing they had done.The horse that has made their sports medicine to help other horse to survive great injurys or health issues are the greatest heros for we will never know them all or their owners for they just vanish so all of our heros as benefitted from them for them to be where they are today for all of the greats of racing and the ones never thougt of  I say thank you for saving our runners of today that is a giving spirt and a heart of gold that a thoroughbred has.

23 Dec 2011 4:06 AM
Rachel NH

New England hard knocker Swan's Way...last race age 15...80+ starts, lives at "Old Friends"

23 Dec 2011 5:36 AM
carrie hacker

With Anticipation is my fave. I loved watching him run. When he was on fire he was awesome. Raced 8 seasons. To me he was just anticipation.

23 Dec 2011 4:36 PM

My favorite hard knocker would be "Our Legal Eagle" he ran 217 times, usually on the bottom but always tried, and retired at 14 years of age.  Never had a chance to see him run but would of loved too root him on

24 Dec 2011 5:20 PM
Pony Pete

Unless I missed it what about Four Star Dave? Not memorable?

The problem w/THR is there are few "heros" that race more than a year maybe two. This article shows the lasting interest in these veteran legends.

Uncle who? (will)remember in 10 yrs?

The breeding shed won't do much good to owners when there is nobody at the track!

I love THR but it needs to build it's fan base with something or it will go the way high button shoes.

27 Dec 2011 12:52 PM

Commentator!  I loved watching him power home in his second Whitney - at age 7!  

Plagued by physical ailments throughout his career, Commentator embodied what I love best in racehorses:  speed, determination, and versatility - dominating races from 7 furlongs to 1 1/4 miles.  

02 Jan 2012 12:03 AM
Grande Fan

I love Precisionist, he had such dignity and heart. Soon after he passed at Old Friends, a YouTube video surfaced featuring Precisionist racing at Santa Anita. He had lost jockey Chris McCaron, won the race (w/o his jockey) and leaped over the finish line. He did it just for the love of racing to win, What a champ! A grand and game competitor with lots of style - to his final breath.

04 Jan 2012 7:04 AM

As a small child I watched "The Mighty" Kelso race and cannot help but mention him as one of the greatest older thoroughbreds ever. He loses a few points with me because I read of his very unpleasant disposition, despite being gelded. Therefore, my official vote goes to Exterminator, who competed decades ahead of my time. He was also known as "Old Bones" due to his angular and unattractive appearance. This champion gelding raced until he was 9 years old and carried weights as high as 138 pounds.

04 Jan 2012 1:57 PM

The mentions of Our Legal Eagle amazes me. I remember him from when he was a young horse. He spent most of his career at Thistledown in Barn 32 in "tin city" he raced nearly every week and he tried every time. I was not his trainer but I was stabled in that barn for many years right across the shedrow. I don't really have one favorite older horse, I love them all and in all of my years in the business I have seen many hard knocking old guys and gals that give their all every time out. I am just amazed to see one that I knew personally being mentioned here in Bloodhorse

04 Feb 2012 9:12 PM

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