Stakes that came back

Discontinued stakes races that returned.

by Bob Heyden

These stakes events took a year hiatus — or more — and made it back.

Let’s take a look at some of those:

1. The Governor’s Cup. You can go a long time without seeing a race debut at $1 million, then repeat that, then go away. The Governor’s Cup started in 1985 at Garden State Park in their debut season. The $1,357,500 event was won by Barberry Spur. The 1986 edition went for even more, $1,513,500, with Redskin taking the rich 2-year-old pacing event. Then in 1987, nothing. But, it’s been around ever since, missing a year again in 2012.

2. Battle Of Brandywine. Held 1960-1989 at Brandywine Raceway, it took a long break, but came back in 2007 at Harrah’s Philadelphia and then Pocono, skipping the 2014 edition.

3. Lady Maud. Started in 1960 featuring sophomore pacing fillies. 2004 was a skip year. Notables that have captured this event include: Handle With Care in 1974, Mistletoe Shalee in 1977, Happy Lady in 1978, and a pair of Horses of the Year Fan Hanover in 1981 and Bunny Lake in 2001.

4. Goldsmith Maid. It kicked off in 1990 at Garden State Park in Cherry Hill, NJ. Kramer Nobles took the first edition. 2012 was a skip year as the stake bounced around some. But Peaceful Way in 2003, Passionate Glide in 2005 and Snow White in 2007 got a chance for all us to preview what was to come.

5. Sheppard Memorial. Started in 1964 at Yonkers as a highlight on the schedule for 2-year-old pacing colts. From 2004-2011 it was discontinued. Remember that this was a huge focal point for the freshman. The race went for $666,800 in 1983 when Trutone Lobell won it, $643,000 when Praised Dignity captured it for Hall of Fame inductee Bill Popfinger and an even $600,000 for Laugh in 1985.

6. The Review Stakes has had an interesting past. The 3-year-old pacing colt Review started in 1929, but 1894 for the sophomore trotting colt counterparts. Rain canceled it in 1975 and 1985 for the pacers, while the trotters did NOT compete in the Review in 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1946, 1975, 1980 and 1985. Springfield was the host track.

7. Molson Pace. Started in 1972 as the Labatts Pace (1972-1991). NOT held in 2003. This is one of the more colorful histories. THREE horse dead heat in 1998 — Any Excuse, Emery Flight and What A Beach. Then, just two years later, a ‘regular’ dead heat with two — Laag Text and Windsong Flyer. The race is now called the Camluck Classic.

8. Art Rooney Pace. The 1989 kickoff at Yonkers attracted the top sophomore pacers. NOT raced in 2004 and 2005 (Yonkers under construction for a 2006 re-opening). Horses of the Year seemed to regularly on their agendas — 1991 Precious Bunny, 1994 Cams Card Shark, Gallo Blue Chip in 2000 and No Pan Intended in 2003.

9. Betsy Ross. It was around in 1962 to start at Brandywine, went away and re-emerged in the 2007 season, though it didn’t actually kick off until the following year when Southwind Tempo won the first of her two straight scores.

10. George Morton Levy. In 1978, Sirota Anderson got things going. Maybe the most interesting edition was the 1979 one, held late in the season, when Try Scotch led all the way. Two sophomores tried their luck to no avail. Hot Hitter — the first ever horse to bank $3/4 million in a single season (1979 $826G) — and Direct Scooter, the $800G career earner who would sire HOY Matts Scooter (1989). The Levy was a staple on all free-for-allers schedule until 1997 when it took a decade off. It remains to be seen how the 2020 edition will figure on the schedule.

11. Breeders Crown Mare Trot. Started in 1986 when Grades Singing called this race her own, taking it again in 1987 and 1989. But the Trot was NOT Held from 1996 to 2003. Yet that did not stop ladies from beating the boys on the combined Breeders Crown Trot — 1998 Moni Maker en route to her first of two HOY titles, this coming after C R Kay Suzie beat the boys and the world in the Open Trot and then called it a career.

12. Colonial made a big splash kicking off in 1968 with Triple Crown winner Nevele Pride scoring. Mack Lobell took it in 1987, and Chuck Sylvester did it again in 1993 with Pine Chip. The Colonial was NOT held in 2004-2005-2006 and 2014.

13. The World Trotting Derby took a break in 2003. This was for many colts the NEXT biggest test behind only the Hambletonian. The WTD ran for three decades missing the 2003 edition. Panty Raid the 1981 Trotter Of The Year, won the inaugural and paved the way for other outstanding ladies to do the same, notably Peace Corps in a lifetime best of 1:52.4 in 1989.

14. The Three Diamonds was a nomadic race. It started in 1989 at Garden State Park and Miss Easy took it in 1990. It was not raced in 2012. Five different tracks hosted the freshman filly contest in the first 21 years — Garden State, The Meadowlands, Mohawk, Woodbine and Chester.

15. Roosevelt International was held from 1959-1987 at Roosevelt Raceway and today at Yonkers as the sport’s only million-dollar test for older performers.

16. Fox Stake. This event for 2-year-old pacers started in 1927 with Sep Palin taking it with Red Pluto. There was no race in 1962 due to rain. Bret Hanover won it in 1964 as part of his 24-race win streak en route to his first of three HOY titles.

17. Maple Leaf Trot. Maybe the most colorful past of all. Started in 1950. Did NOT fill in 1955. NOT held in 1956. Twice, a horse has three-peated in the MLT: 1969-1970-1971 Grandpa Jim. 2009-2010-2011 San Pail, the last vaulting him over the top as the HOY. John Chapman did something in 1975 unprecedented in the sport’s history. He won a split division of the Maple Leaf Trot with two Horses of the Year — Delmonica Hanover (1974 winner) and Savoir (1975 winner).