Countess Adios and Delvin Miller | USTA File Photo

The Curmudgeon’s Baker’s Dozen:
 greatest female pacers

April 24, 2016

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Before I get to the list, I think I should establish some ground rules.

I think any female pacer who was consistently competitive with the top boys automatically deserves a spot.

There may be, although I doubt it, some who I may not have seen race who are deserving of a spot. However this list as all of my other ones are limited to only horses that I have actually seen.

I believe that of all the categories, this one is likely the most highly competitive and the one that is likely to draw the greatest amount of disagreement.

Of all the females listed, there have been a few who have come close, but in my not so humble opinion, only two, Three Diamonds and Town Pro, have produced a horse commensurate with their greatness on the racetrack, Three Diamonds with Life Sign and Town Pro with Darlins Delight. Rainbow Blue comes close with Somewheroverarainbow.

Here in alphabetical are the honorable mentions: American Jewel, Armbro Feather, Burning Point, Darlin’s Delight, Delinquent Account, Dottie’s Pick, Galleria, Green with Envy, Hazel Hanover, Immortality, JK Shesalady, Loyal Opposition, Put On A Show, Roses Are Red, See You at Peelers, Shady Daisy, Shes A Great Lady, Stienam, Town Pro, Worldly Beauty.

1. Countess Adios — The only pacing filly I’ve seen who was consistently able to handle the boys. She did this quite easily and did so racing free legged. The boys she beat were a very good group. She won both the Cane and the Messenger when these were truly among the greatest races for three year olds. She likely would have also won the Jug if she had been eligible and were in it, thus becoming the only female Triple Crown winner. The only thing that kept her from being the Horse of the Year was a boy named Adios Butler.

2. Eternal Camnation — The all-time, money-winning pacing female. Arguably, the most consistently great of all of them. She came back year after year. If not at the top, she was invariably close to it. Winner of multiple Breeders Crowns.

3. Miss Easy — Big, tough, strong and most importantly fast and game would be among the words I would use to describe this amazon. I recall Lou Guida making a statement to the effect that she could take on and defeat the boys. Mickey Chasanoff took him up on his boast and suggested that the owners of his Die Laughing and Guida put up a significant amount of money and have a match race between the two. Guida declined the offer.

4. Rainbow Blue — Another amazon. Big, tough, strong and, of course, incredibly fast. Horse of the Year in 2004. Except for the one race at The Meadowlands where she made a break, none of her contemporaries could even smell her. I believe that if she had the opportunity, she could have competed with the boys on occasion.

5. Bunny Lake — Yet another amazon. Horse of the Year in 2001. Remarkably consistent and dominated her foes.

6. Fan Hanover — Horse of the Year in 1981. The only filly to ever win the Little Brown Jug. Diminutive in size, but she thought that she was 10 feet tall. I recall her as a yearling as being mild mannered and easy to get along with. My understanding is that she grew into somewhat of a witch and was not the easiest mare to get along with.

7. Anndrovette — Talk about consistency. This mare exemplifies it. She is the second leading money-winning pacing mare of all time. She is a multiple Breeders Crown winner. Just when one might think she has seen her best days, she keeps coming back.

8. Belle Acton — Maybe the first of Bill Haughton’s “bargain basement” buys. He bought her for Georges Landers of Maine for $1,500. I recall Apples Thomas once telling me that the owner never paid a single bill on this mare beyond her initial purchase price. He was behind from the very beginning. Once she started earning money they took what he owed and sent him the balance. A truly great mare that raced consistently against the top boys and occasionally beat them.

9. Handle With Care — A great filly at both two and three. I believe that at one time she won 28 races in a row. The day she took her time trial record as the fastest filly ever, she won the first heat of the stakes she was in at Lexington. Then, instead of going in the second heat, Billy Haughton chose to time trial her and she proceeded to break the world record. If I didn’t have her on this list, my friend Fred Grant would likely never speak to me again.

10. Silk Stockings — An awesome filly that was almost interchangeable with he paternal half-sister Tarport Hap. I think Silk Stockings might have been slightly better at two and as an early three-year-old. But from that point, Tarport Happ became arguably the better mare.

11. Tarport Hap — See above. The arch foe of Silk Stockings. Silky was better at two while Hap took over at three and four.

12. Town Pro — Consistently outstanding throughout her racing career. A member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Together with Three Diamonds, the only mare listed in the Baker’s Dozen and honorable mentions that was able to reproduce herself in Darlins Delight.

13. Three Diamonds — One would have had to have seen her to realize how great a filly she was. Her stats are very good, but in my opinion not as good as she herself was. The only one of those listed above who produced a horse even better than what she herself was, being the dam of Life Sign.

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