And There’ll Be More Horses….

My APBA Saddle Racing replay of the 1969 thoroughbred racing season has not exactly been proceeding at a Secretariat-like pace, but (like all my projects) I’m not in any big hurry to get them done. They’re still fun.

We’re still early in the season and the next four races all took place at Hialeah in February and March of 1969. (Click here for the results of the first batch of race replays.) The winter and early spring will see almost all of the pre-Triple Crown races in Florida and California.

Below, recaps of the Seminole, Bougainvillea, Widener and Hialeah Turf Cup Handicaps, plus standings of the horses through nine races.

The four races in this batch1Oh, Lord, it’s been nine months since I even ran a race, this replay will never get done. all take place at Hialeah, making it six straight replay races at the historic South Florida track. Beset by dwindling attendance, an aging facility, competition and changing demographics, Hialeah’s popularity waned to the point where it was closed from 1989-1991. Its owner then moved its schedule of races to Gulfstream Park in 2000 before closing again for several years. Quarter horses began racing there in 2009. But the thoroughbreds still run on my tabletop.

Seminole Handicap

9th race at Hialeah – Feb. 8, 1969

Even though Iron Ruler led wire-to-wire in winning this one, the top three horses finished within a second of each other, and Out The Window and Tropic King II had a back-and-forth battle for second. Iron Ruler, a four-year-old grey colt, led by as many as nine lengths halfway through before Out The Window and Tropic King II closed the gap to create a close competition down the stretch.

(Top) The real-life 1969 Seminole Handicap featured 11 horses, but only eight were carded by APBA, so eight it was. (Middle) Into the first turn, Iron Ruler (blue) had a slight lead over Out The Window (red), but as they came out of turn two, Iron Ruler’s lead had grown to six lengths over Petit Duc (yellow) and Topic King II (gray, on the outside). (Bottom left) It looked like Iron Ruler would run away from the rest of the field, as he had a nine-length lead on the back stretch, but as they came out of the final turn (bottom, middle), that lead had shrunk. Tropic King II, trying to pass on the outside, couldn’t quite get there and finished third, with Out the Window coming on late to claim second.

The win was worth $41,6002$293,215.39 in 2020 dollars. Wow. The third-place finisher at the Kentucky Derby in 2019 – Code of Honor – won $300,000. for Iron Ruler, who went off at 4-1, and paid $8.60 on a $2 bet. The time was more than five seconds slower than Petit Duc’s actual winning time from 1969 on a fast track. It took me an hour and 20 minutes to run this race. It’s still a bit troubling that the top-rated horse in these races seems to have little trouble winning.

Seminole Handicap (8th race at Hialeah) 2/8/1969 [Run 8/11/18]
1 1/8 MILES	(Record: Bold Ruler, March 2, 1957 1:47, 3, 122)
Fin Horse (Rtg)		Jockey (Rtg)		Total	Odds	PP	Standing by Furlong	Time
 1 Iron Ruler (18*)     Velasquez (2)		20	4-1	3	1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1	1:53 3/5	
 2 Out The Window (16)	Gavidia (0)		16	5-1	1	2-2-5-3-4-3-3-2-2	1:54
 3 Tropic King II (16)	Toro (0)		16	7-2	6	3-3-2-2-2-2-2-3-3	1:54 2/5
 4 Petit Duc (18)	Perret (0)		18	5-2	4	3-4-3-4-3-4-4-5-4	1:56 2/5
 5 Irish Dude (18)	Hernandez (0)		18	7-2	5	8-8-8-8-6-5-5-4-5	1:56 4/5
 6 Mr. Brogann (15)	Rotz (0)		15	9-2	8	7-5-4-7-8-6-6-6-6	1:59 4/5
 7 Funny Fellow (16)	Baeza (1)		17	7-2	2	5-6-6-5-5-7-8-8-7	2:00 1/5
 8 Abe's Hope (13)	Turcotte (0)		13     11-2     7	6-7-7-6-6-8-7-7-8	2:00 4/5
				$2 Mutuel Prices:	3 - Iron Ruler		$8.60	$4.60	$3.40
							1 - Out The Window	        $4.80	$4.00
							6 - Tropic King II	                $3.60
IN GATE - 4:50. OFF AT 4:54 EASTERN STANDARD TIME. Start good. Won driving.
Real Life Winner: Petit Duc (1:48 1/5)

Bougainvillea Handicap

8th race at Hialeah – Feb. 15, 1969

Jean-Pierre won for the second time in the replay, providing late drama (for once). Starting from the fifth position, the 5-2 co-favorite was stuck around fourth for much of the race before, with a quarter mile to go, he moved to second and then added a late burst to edge real-life winner Fort Marcy by three lengths, while Taneb beat out Dike by a head to claim third.

Only Dondougald (above, left, purple) was a little slow getting out of the gate. (Top right, from the rail outward) Taneb, Beau Brummell and Jean-Pierre ran close in the early going. By 3/4 of a mile (above, middle), Taneb (white) was a nose ahead of Beau Brummell, but even Out The Window (blue) wasn’t out of the race, just six lengths back. But down the stretch, Jean-Pierre (black, on the inside at bottom right), took a tiny lead.

This race called for one of those distances that APBA Saddle Racing makes a little awkward. Each furlong on the game board is broken into eight sections, and a furlong is an eighth of a mile. So race distances of one mile, or a mile and a quarter or a mile and a half are easy because they’re eight, ten or 12 furlongs, respectively. But a mile and 3/16, as the Bougainvillea was (oddly), require you to break a furlong in half, run that half-furlong first and cut the board results for that segment in half to accommodate. So when you see 10 furlong standings in the chart below, the first one is for that half-furlong, and the rest are for the other nine.

In an expanded look at the last photo, Jean-Pierre and Fort Marcy are neck-and-neck, but (right) Chuck Baltazar whipped Jean-Pierre to the narrow win, with Taneb taking third by a head over co-favorite Dike.

The actual 1969 Bougainvillea Handicap was run in a driving rain, but my randomly chosen track condition was “good,” resulting in a winning time that was just under four seconds better than the actual 2:03 turned in by real-life winner Fort Marcy. Jean-Pierre paid $3.60 to win and cashed $44,5903Some $314,000 in today’s money – though check back if the pandemic lasts much longer.. This one took me an hour and 25 minutes to run, but it was worth it to finally have a late lead change.

Bougainvillea Handicap (8th race at Hialeah) 2/15/1969 [Run 11/17/18]
1 3/16 MILES	(Record: Parka, Feb.1, 1964, 1:53 4/5, 6, 120)
Fin Horse (Rtg)		Jockey (Rtg)		Total	Odds	PP	Standing by Furlong	Time
1 Jean-Pierre (21)	Baltazar (1)		22	3-2	5	4-3-4-4-4-5-4-2-1-1	1:58 3/5
2 Fort Marcy (18)	Ycaza (1)		19	5-2	1	2-4-3-3-3-3-2-1-2-2	1:59 3/5
3 Taneb (15)		Cordero, Jr. (1)	16	5-1	2	4-1-1-2-1-1-3-5-3-3	2:01 3/5
4 Dike (19)		Velazquez (2)		21	3-2	6	2-8-6-5-4-4-5-3-4-4	2:01 4/5
5 Beau Brummell (10)	Baeza (1)		11	7-1	8	1-2-2-1-2-2-1-4-5-5	2:03 4/5
6 Out the Window (16)	Moreno (0)		16	9-2	3	7-5-5-6-6-6-6-6-6-6	2:08 2/5
7 Needles Stitch (13)	Broussard (0)		13	11-2	4	6-6-7-7-7-7-7-7-7-7	2:09
8 Dondougold (16)	Shaffer (0)		16	4-1	7	8-7-8-8-8-8-8-8-8-8	2:09 1/5
				$2 Mutuel Prices:	5 - Jean-Pierre		$3.60	$3.20	$2.20
							1 - Fort Marcy		        $2.60	$2.10
							2 - Taneb	                	$4.60
IN GATE - 4:54. OFF AT 4:54 1/2 EASTERN STANDARD TIME. Start good. Won driving.
Real Life Winner: Fort Marcy (2:03)

Widener Handicap

8th race at Hialeah – Feb. 22, 1969

First run in 1936, the Widener Handicap was named for Hialeah Park Race Track original owner Joseph E. Widener and was one of the top destinations on the winter racing circuit for years. My replay of it was another instance of the highest-rated horse in the field (one of three, anyway) finishing first, which would be a troubling trend if it continues.

This time, at least, the winner started slowly and didn’t lead wire-to-wire. Petit Duc, co-favorite with Irish Dude at 5-2, went from the ninth post position to the lead within a half-mile and pulled away to win by nine lengths over Fort Marcy (who finished second for the second time in as many races.

In some ways, Fort Marcy’s trip to second was more interesting than Petit Duc’s to the winner’s circle. Breaking quickly, the five-year-old bay gelding jumped out to a narrow and short-lived lead in a fast and dense pack before dropping to ninth a quarter-mile in. He then fell farther back, to 10th, before making a charge from sixth to second in the last quarter-mile to edge Out The Window by a nose.

(Top left) Needles Stitch (white) led early, taking a three-length advantage over Out The Window (orange) and Irish Dude (purple). But Petit Duc (gray) came up on the outside (top right) to edge ahead and take the lead he would never relinquish. He pulled ahead by three lengths (right middle) and then opened up a six-length lead coming off the final turn (bottom left). The battle for second became the interesting race as they came down the stretch, with Fort Marcy beating Out The Window by a head.

Widener Handicap (8th race at Hialeah) 2/22/1969 [Run 2/23/19]
1 1/4 MILES	(Record: Bald Eagle, Feb. 20, 1960, 1:59 3/5, 5, 123)
Fin Horse (Rtg)		Jockey (Rtg)	Total	Odds	PP	Standing by Furlong	Time
1 Petit Duc (18)	Perret (0)	18	5-2	9	8-7-4-1-1-1-1-1-1-1	2:24 3/5
2 Fort Marcy (18)	Cruguet (0)	18	3-1	8	1-9-0-8-8-9-4-6-3-2	2:28 3/5
3 Out The Window (16)	Maple (0)	16	4-1	7	4-4-2-3-3-4-3-3-2-3	2:28 4/5
4 Funny Fellow (16)	Baeza (1)	17	3-1	3	7-2-5-6-5-5-8-9-8-4	2:31
5 Irish Dude (18)	Hernandez (0)	18	5-2	4	2-3-3-4-4-3-5-2-6-5	2:31 2/5
6 Abe's Hope (13)	Turcotte (0)	13	11-2	5	5-6-8-9-9-7-6-5-5-6	2:31 3/5
7 Meson II (17)		Vasquez (0)	17	3-1	10	8-8-6-5-6-8-7-7-6-7	2:31 4/5
8 Yumbel (13)		Toro (0)	13	8-1	1	8-0-7-7-7-5-9-8-9-8	2:32 2/5
9 Needles Stitch (13)	Wholey (0)	13	5-1	2	5-1-1-2-2-2-2-3-4-9	2:35 4/5
10 Mr. Brogann (15)	Velasquez (2)	17	3-1	6	3-5-8-0-0-0-0-0-0-0	2:37
				$2 Mutuel Prices:	9 - Petit Duc		$5.40	$2.60	$2.20
							8 - Fort Marcy			$3.40	$2.60
							7 - Out the Window			$3.40
IN GATE - 4:52. OFF AT 4:52 1/2 EASTERN STANDARD TIME. Start good. Won driving.
Real Life Winner: Yumbel (2:03 1/5)

Despite “Fast” course conditions, the winning time of 2:24 3/5 was more than 20 seconds slower than the real-life race, won by Yumbel (8th in the replay) in 2:03 1/5. (And it took me nearly two hours – 1:44 – to run it.) The win was worth $89,180 for Petit Duc ($628,580 in today’s dollars) and paid $5.40 to win.

Hialeah Turf Cup Handicap

8th race at Hialeah – March 1, 1969

Begun as the Miami Cup Handicap in 1926, this race took its eventual final name in 1953. At the time of its last running (when the track closed in 2001), it was the oldest grass race in the country.

Czar Alexander, the 3-2 co-favorite, led wire-to-wire (which is now a disturbing trend) to win by more than a second over Jean-Pierre. There was drama a half-mile in as Distray bumped Fleet Allied (yes, weird things can happen in this game, too, it’s an APBA staple.)

(Top Left) Czar Alexander (blue base) went off from the third position, outside of Ruffled Feathers (white) and Taneb (red). (Middle Left) The horses were tightly bunched coming out of the first turn before (Bottom Left) Czar Alexander started to put some daylight between himself and Jean-Pierre (purple). Just past the half-mile mark (Right), the lead was still in question, but there was drama farther back in the field.

With real-life race winner Blanquette II uncarded4There were only 112 horses given cards each year. Usually they were the top money winners, but not every race I run has all of its competitors carded., the opportunity was left to the top-rated horses, who battled for the first mile before Czar Alexander pulled away.

(Top) A mile in, it was a two-horse race between Czar Alexander (blue) and Jean-Pierre (purple). (Middle) It was then that Panamanian jockey Jorge Velasquez guided Czar Alexander to a small lead, which he extended (Bottom Left) coming out of the last turn and (Bottom Right) held onto for the win.

For bumping Fleet Allied, Distray was disqualified and placed eighth. Czar Alexander, who finished second in the actual race, came in in 2:29, the exact time5I say “exact” even though I’m still not 100 percent sure I’m timing things correctly. of the real-life winner (and his stablemate), Blanquette II. He paid $3.60 to win and took the first-place pot of $72,377.50 for owner Gustave Ring.

Hialeah Turf Handicap (8th race at Hialeah) 3/1/1969 [Run 7/5/19]
1 1/2 MILES (turf).	(Record: Kentucky Jug, Feb. 26, 1966, 2:27 1/5, 5, 115)
Fin Horse (Rtg)		Jockey (Rtg)	Total	Odds	PP	Standing by Furlong	  Time
1 Czar Alexander (20)	Velasquez (2)	22	3-2	3	1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1	  2:29
2 Jean-Pierre (21)	Baeza (1)	22	3-2	4	4-3-2-1-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2	  2:30 1/5
3 Taneb (15)		Cruguet (0)	15	9-2	1	2-2-3-4-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3   2:34 1/5
4 San Roque (15)	Pineda (1)	16	6-1	5	5-5-4-3-4-4-4-5-6-4-5-4	  2:38 4/5
5 Watch Fob (16)	Passmore (0)	16	4-1	7	7-8-6-6-6-6-5-4-4-6-6-5	  2:39
6 Ruffled Feathers (16)	Gustines (0)	16	9-2	2	3-4-5-5-4-4-6-6-5-5-4-6	  2:39 2/5
7 Fleet Allied (14)	Hall (0)	14	5-1	8	8-6-6-8-8-8-7-8-8-8-8-7	  2:48
8 [D] Distray (14)	Knapp (0)	14	5-1	6	6-7-8-7-7-7-8-7-7-7-7-8	  2:43 4/5
[D] Disqualified and placed eighth.
				$2 Mutuel Prices:	3 - Czar Alexander	$3.60	$3.00	$2.60
							4 - Jean-Pierre			$2.20	$2.20
							1 - Taneb				$2.80
IN GATE - 4:50. OFF AT 4:50 EASTERN STANDARD TIME. Start good. Won driving.
Real Life Winner: Blanquette II (2:29)

Only five of the twelve horses that competed in the real-life race earned cards from APBA, so this was not one of the most realistic fields imaginable. I fill in races with age-appropriate horses that I know were in the same state about the same time when possible. So far, the horse’s rating appears to be everything, as eight of nine replay winners have been the horses in the field with the highest (or tied for the highest) rating.

Money Leaders

Here are the (very early) money leaders through nine races. Horse of the Year Arts and Letters hasn’t even run a race yet, so this early list – which includes the 2020 equivalent of each horse’s 1969 winnings – doesn’t tell you a lot.

2Czar Alexander$97,37821100$686,364
3Petit Duc$92,38021000$651,136
5Tropic King II$51,57521010$363,524
6Iron Ruler$41,60011000$293,215
7Fort Marcy$41,16020200$290,114
8Out the Window$31,64550212$223,048
10Ack Ack$16,23411000$114,424
12T.V. Commercial$13,90010100$97,973
14Rising Market$7,50010010$52,863
15Mr. Brogann$6,95030012$48,967
16Funny Fellow$6,86030002$48,352
17San Roque$5,56820001$39,246
18Quicken Tree$5,00010000$35,242
19Al Hattab$4,99510100$35,207
22Class is Out$2,56310010$18,065
23Fast Hilarious$2,49810010$17,607
24Ruffled Feathers$1,28120001$9,029
26Abe’s Hope$040004$0
27Beau Brummell$030003$0
28Needles Stitch$030003$0
30Irish Dude$020002$0
32Watch Fob$020002$0
33Meson II$010001$0
36Fleet Allied$010001$0
38Jay Ray$010001$0
39King of the Castle$010001$0
42Praise Jay$010001$0
43The University$010001$0
44Top Knight$010001$0
45Traffic Mark$010001$0
46Mr. Joe F$010001$0

There are nine more races to run before we get to the first of the Triple Crown races, the Kentucky Derby. At this rate, even with our quarantine, we may have a vaccine for COVID-19 before I get there62024 EDIT: Yes, we did..

Kenn Tomasch

Kenn Tomasch