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Fair Says Thanks For The 'Memories'

Published: January 11, 2010 2:05 pm ET

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It is common to see horsepeople gravitate to areas of finite specialization in today's racing industry: different kinds of catch drivers; specific trainers for young trotters; horsemen that specialize in breaking horses, etc. Although, at the age of 74, horseman Al Fair is currently wearing many hats -- and wearing them well.

Based at his Ancaster, Ont. farm, Fair, backed by his solid group of five caretakers/assistants, sent out 512 starters last year. In 2009, horses from Fair's operation banked over $380,000 in purses and recorded 39 wins, 64 second-place finishes and 46 thirds.

Fair, who currently has 23 of his 28 head in training, is not merely campaigning his stock, though. He is right in the midst of virtually every aspect of the horse racing business. The horseman does purchase yearlings, but is extremely active in the breeding end of things.

Fair has found particular success with foals out of Cloahs Go Go, a 17-year-old daughter of A Go Go Lauxmont. The horseman told Trot Insider that he wasn't planning on having the unraced lass enter the broodmare ranks as early as she did, although, things have played out well.

"She (Cloahs Go Go) was injured early and we bred her," Fair explained. "It has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. She has been a great-producing mare. She gets in foal easily and has been a 100-per-cent producer. She's currently in foal to Thunder Road."

One of the Cloahs Go Go's foals which has turned out to make quite a splash on track is Mr Bitter (4,1:57.4f - $303,291), who at the age of nine is still locking horns at Ontario tracks. But it is one of Cloahs Go Go's offspring in particular, Memories Of Texas, which has proved that Fair and his crew are adept at breeding, raising, breaking, training, racing, and sustaining stock at a high level.

Memories Of Texas (6,1:55.3s - $458,415) raced pari-mutuelly for eight years. The Wesgate Crown lass began her career as a two-year-old and retired this past fall at the age of nine. The mare raced her entire 210-dash career from Fair's farm, a feat that in today's racing industry is rare, especially in the province of Ontario.

"She's just a good, tough mare," Fair said about Memories Of Texas. "She's not great big in size, but when she got out on the track she would take on anybody."

Memory Of Texas' heart was evident to those which knew her well. In what was scheduled as the final start of her career, which took place October 22, 2009 at Woodbine Racetrack, the mare injured herself, but put her tenacity on display and got up for a gutsy closing victory.

"She came out of the race sore on her right hind," explained Fair, who noted that the mare had never been injured her entire career. "The problem proved to be a stress line on a sesamoid. If we were going to keep racing her it would've the type of situation where she would get a couple of months off and then get back to it. She's now healed up 100 per cent from the injury -- it didn't take anything at all for her to rebound from it.

"With the money that she's made, and her background, it was just time to breed her. She's been a really classy mare for us and has earned a great retirement from the races."

With Fair's knack for breeding horses, he told Trot Insider that Memories Of Texas will be bred this season. He said that the only thing which he had to contemplate was the right sire. "We're considering Angus Hall or maybe some of his sons," Fair said. "There is also The Pres and many other very good sires to consider within Ontario."

And although Fair has kept virtually all of his operation's babies on his farm, he told Trot Insider that he is planning on selling Memories Of Texas' foal when it comes -- something the horseman admits will take some getting used to.

"I never did like to sell them (babies), but I think I'm breeding to sell with this one, which isn't easy for me to do. We trained them all and kept them on the farm, and I'm pretty proud of that."


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