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Trotting Titans Turn 25

Published: March 19, 2016 8:59 am ET

Last Comment: March 19, 2016 6:09 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Two horses, born exactly 25 years ago today, about 10 miles apart. Same sire, same bloodline cross. Both double millionaires, both O'Brien Award winners, both in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.

On March 19, 1991, two sons of Balanced Image -- Glorys Comet and Goodtimes -- were born in Ontario. Glorys Comet, from the Dream Of Glory mare Lou Macs Glory in Caledon, Ont. In nearby Inglewood, Dream Of Glory mare Goodtime Kathy foaled Goodtimes.

The two trotters first raced against each other at Barrie Raceway in September 1993 as two-year-olds and would be familiar foes over the next nine seasons.

The only horse to defeat Moni Maker -- the richest trotter in the world and North America’s Horse of the Year in 1998 -- was a trotter affectionately known as 'Punky' by his owner/breeder George Peters of Brylin Stables. Glorys Comet’s feats were considerable. His accomplishments were marked by his longevity and earnings of more than $2 million in a 10-year career that concluded after his 12-year-old season.

Glorys Comet was the first Standardbred in Canadian history to trot a 1:54 mile, setting a trotting record of 1:53.4. As he aged he added further laurels when he became the richest Canadian-bred Standardbred, passing No Sex Please ($1.8 million) in October 1999. A year later he became the first Canadian-bred and sired harness horse to eclipse $2 million in lifetime earnings.

Glorys Comet won 56 races during his illustrious career, including 53 sub-2:00 miles against the best horses in Canada and the United States. He earned more than $100,000 in seven of his 10 racing seasons and also held track records at Mohawk and Woodbine simultaneously.

Trained by Peters, he received an O’Brien Award in 1997 and 1998 as Canada’s Older Trotting Horse champion. He was also recognized for his achievements south of the border with a Dan Patch Award as Older Trotter of the Year for 1998, which was his best season. He raced every month of the year and finished first, second or third in 24 of 31 races for over $720,000. He raced against and beat some of the world’s top trotters, including Magician, Fools Goal, SJs Photo, Wesgate Crown, and of course, Moni Maker. His best race of the year was his dramatic last to first place sweep in the Trotting Classic at Mohawk, which was characteristic of his durability, a toughness that saw him endure many first over trips.

His stakes victories included the Maple Leaf Trot, Horsemen’s Series Trot, Simcoe, Titan Cup, Cutler Memorial and the Trotting Classic as well as many OSS events. He was retired to Brylin Stables’ farm in Erin in 2002.

George Peters told Trot Insider that Glorys Comet is still patrolling a paddock and enjoying retirement outside Ayr, Ont.

"He's on a farm owned by David and Helen Lee, and he's got his brother with him -- Brylin Image. They just hang out together, I think they've been there about 12 years...we've had different horses turned out there over the years, but he's the boss."

Peters notes that Glorys Comet doesn't get around as well as he used to but he's still the boss in his domain and "pushes everybody around."

Goodtimes retired as a world champion in 2003, the richest Canadian-bred trotter in history with 50 victories and career earnings of $2.2 million -- surpassing Glorys Comet. At age eight (in 1999) he finally earned his first O’Brien Award as Canada’s Older Trotting Horse of the Year. It wasn’t that Goodtimes did not deserve recognition for his years of challenging the best horses of his era. But it seemed at times that his career nemesis, Glorys Comet, would always be in the field of starters, and at the top of his game. Goodtimes passed the $1 million mark in earnings in 1998 on a night he finished second to Glorys Comet. Dave Wall, who drove Goodtimes more than 100 times, said: “They’ve raced against each other many times before. If he’s on his game, he wins, and if we’re at our best, we beat him.”

Purchased for $19,000 at the CSHS yearling sales by Bax, who sold a half interest to John & Barbara Cooper, Goodtimes earned many positive accolades during his 11-year career. He was productive at ages two and three, winning stakes races, and at four won the Horsemen’s Trot final and finished third in the Breeders Crown. Over the years he set a Breeders Crown record with five appearances. He was sidelined at five with a cracked pastern but showed no ill effects when he returned to the track.

His accomplishments as an aged trotter included winning the Frank Ryan Memorial at Rideau Carleton three times, the Maple Leaf Trot, Classic Series Trot and the Trotting Classic. In winning his third Ryan Memorial he trotted to his lifetime record of 1:53.3, a world record on a five-eighths mile track.

Goodtimes’ popularity transcended the track. In retirement he was engaged as an 'ambassador' for harness racing at numerous equine events, including appearances at Ontario Sires Stakes races and participation in a demonstration at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto.

Now residing at the old farm where his Hall of Fame sire once stood, Goodtimes is surrounded by a number of potential future stars at the former Campbellville-area Glengate Farms property. That acreage, now owned by the Bax family, is home of former trotting titans Define The World and Goodtimes, who is turned out with a number of yearlings and hopefully "passing on some knowledge" said Matt Bax with a laugh.

Matt, who is maintaining the Ontario side of the stable while John heads up the warmer Florida arm, notes that Goodtimes is still doing well despite his advanced age.

"The mares and Define The World are on one side and he's on the other side with the yearlings...when it warms up, he's out in the field. The barn, they're able to go inside/outside whenever they want. He's the boss and gets the most feed, and that's not the worst thing in the world.

"The one stretch of track is near his paddock, it might be 30 or 40 feet away. Every once in a while you catch him keeping his eye on everyone."

(with files from the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame)

March 19, 2016 - 6:09 pmHappy birthday to these

Dave Snowden SAID...

Happy birthday to these classy retirees. Best wishes for many more healthy years. This date in history was important to us as our best horse, Queens Arms was born on this exact date as well. She is celebrating with carrots today.

Dave, Donna, Brittany Snowden

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