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Dean Hoffman's Blog


Farewell, Baltic Speed

Published: March 15, 2009 11:14 am ET

Last Comment: September 19, 2009 4:39 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Baltic Speed sired Valley Victory and Peace Corps.

Now, quick, name another top trotter that he sired. C'mon, I'm waiting.

Time's up. Okay, I'll give you Bosphorous, Baltic Striker, Baltic Bet, Baltic Region, Miss Baltic, and so on. But they hardly compare to the impact of Valley Victory and Peace Corps.

Valley Victory's racing career and stud career were both cut short, but he left a lasting impact on the breed. Peace Corps never amounted to much as a broodmare, but what a wonderful race mare she was on both sides of the Atlantic.

Baltic Speed sired both of them in his first crop and never was able to top that feat. He stood at Castleton in New Jersey for several seasons before being exported to Italy. He died there recently.

I remember him well from his days on the track. He was one of the trotters from Team Nordin, horses that found out what hard work was all about. I remember the Nordins training Baltic Speed and others a few days before the World Trotting Derby at DuQuoin in 1984. The next day I recall seeing Baltic Speed's groom, Marcia Hamilton, taking him for a swim in a lake on the fairgrounds. The Nordin horses worked hard and played hard.

One of my prize possessions is a pencil drawing of Baltic Speed in full flight as rendered by Soren Nordin, the masterful Swedish horseman. It's a large print and the details of the horse, his gait, and each buckle on the harness and equipment were depicted very accurately---and it's not easy to capture the gait of a horse in any type of artwork. Ironically, if I were to fault the illustration at all, it would be that the facial characteristics of the driver weren't quite true. And the driver was Jan Nordin, son of Soren Nordin!

Great memories of people and horses.

September 19, 2009 - 4:39 pmHi Dean, As usual you have

Hi Dean,

As usual you have great input for this sport of harness racing. I'd like to elaborate a little on your comments about my great friend Baltic Speed. I trained Baltic three days before the World Trotting Derby as the actual Nordins were training elsewhere and can't be in several places at once. Also, I took Baltic for a fun swim in the pond at DuQuoin the day before the World Trotting Derby, not a few days before, just to get him off the track and give him a chance for some real fun. You took a super picture of me and him in that pond (small lake), a picture which I have to this day and will be forever grateful to you for it.
I will miss this horse terribly as he gave me so much, friendship being one of those things. He always looked for me when it was time for me to come to the barn, he was always friendly and ever so gentle but a true tiger on the track. He most often came from behind which almost gave me several heart attacks, but he almost always came through , earning over $1.2 million. My last visit with him in Italy will always leave a lasting memory with me and I am so grateful to have been able to see him one more time. Thanks, Dean

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