Admirals Express Retired For Good

Published: March 4, 2010 07:17 am EST

Here is something you will not see again at a racetrack near you: the Grey Gladiator in full battle gear


For more than a decade the striking Admirals Express has been tearing up the racetracks in Ontario and capturing the hearts of racing fans, but at the age of 14 years old the time has come for the Grey Gladiator to hang up his harness for good.

Trained by Mike Hales for owners Gary Gust and Laurel Gust of Cedar Springs and Cheryl and Edward Sayfie of Rockford, Michigan, Admirals Express compiled a record of 86-53-44 in 353 starts and earned $2,176,860. The 2005 O’Brien Award Horse of the Year took his mark of 1:48.2 in an Open at Woodbine Racetrack at nine – one of 14 sub-1:50 victories in his career.

“He was a once in a lifetime horse and we were fortunate to be apart of his dream path that he has taken,” owner Ed Sayfie told Trot Insider. “It was year after year after year, it was not just a one or two year thing so it was a long and fun ride for all of us.

“I’d just to thank everyone for all their support, and Standardbred Canada and Woodbine Entertainment Group for letting us have a 10-12 year run of racing up there,” added Sayfie. “We made a lot of friends and had a lot of fun and hopefully we’ll have some other horses, although I don’t know if we’ll ever have another Admirals Express.”

The decision to retire the gelded son of Admirals Galley-Platinum Card was made by Hales in collaboration with the ownership group. The Grey Gladiator has since settled into his new retirement home with his former caregiver, Wellington Charles.

“He is fitting in nicely to his new environment,” said Charles. “For me, it is a pleasure and an honour to be reunited with my Grey.

“He goes out everyday 8 a.m. until 4 to 4:30 until the summer, then he will stay out more. I have tried to ride him a couple times. He happens to be winning this 2-0,” he laughs. “But in all he is healthy, happy and doing what he deserves, being spoiled rotten. I also have him booked to go to the standardbred shows, even if it is just to let everyone see him, he definitely loves the attention.”

Charles was adamant in stating that Admirals Express would not race again.



I certainly support Marty's comments. When he retired the first time, he left the track a true champion. He gave 125% everytime he stepped on the track. Last year, I actually stopped watching him race because it saddened me to see him gut it out every week! Let's face it, 'The Admiral' raced some very tough miles week after week throughout his career and I think he still ranks high for sub 1:50 career wins. One of his best races was a loss at the Meadowlands (his only appearance there) when he finished out of the money, but he pushed everyone on this day to post the fastest mile of the season! Every trainer and driver knew the only way you could beat `The Grey Gladitor` was park him and push him hard. What I admired most was watching him leave in 26 and a bit get on top and challenge any horse who tried to pass him.

I have many fond memories of watching `The Admiral` race! Hopefully these memories will replace the decision to by the owners and trainer to race him beyond his prime.

What a fantastic race horse!

Where does Wellington Charles live as I`d like to visit this amazing horse again.

Carey Lewis

it's about time, after all he hoopla the first time,the poor old guy was gutting himself week in and week out...what a relief for those of us who actually LIKE horses, and race for the sport

I have retired six standardbreds to date, every one of them still racing sound, two of which we still own and drive as a team, the others sold for small fee to great homes. I think it is great that the horses can have another, less stressful life before they are too old to enjoy it. My mom has a horse that she even trucked from Ontario to Florida so they could enjoy the winter together. Retirement is far from the end, jsut as it is with humans. All the best, Grey feller!!

Well Admiral,it will be hard to say goodbye, but we all have to give up sometime in our lives. I loved watching you race, you were always so proud of yourself out there. Head held high, racing like a true prince. Will miss you terribly.

Marty how true! My dad always told me never put a dollar in front of a friend. You can always find a dollar but you can't always find a friend. What a great horse, loved to watch him race. He was a true Gladiator!

Charles, I am sure he is good hands. Saturday nights when he was in his great form and Frank calling...he sure was an added attraction to the racing card. Met some great people over this magnificent animal and we are still close.
Marty I am really suprised that the comment of claimer came out of your mouth..because at the age of 13 ( and there sure aren't too many around) his times last March to July still stayed in the 52-54 mark...most of the time picking up some $$ but like time all good things must come to an end so run with pride BIG GUY deserve a well earned retirement.
Now lets get him in the HALL OF FAME.

As far as I am concerned absolutely nothing should be taken away from this wonderful old racehorse!! He did his best throughout his career and did some wonderful things!!

The only black marks that should be issued where he is concerned should be issued to the ones that decided to race him far beyond his time.

Have a wonderful retirement Admiral!!

Steve Livingston

I am so happy for the Old Grey Horse....I find it strange how he is fitting in nicely into his new environment when he hated it so much the last time his connections tried to retire him.I feel they got every cent out of that poor horse out of GREED and when there was no more to get they gave him to his old care giver?? So they dont have to pay to feed him for the rest of his life...Why didnt they give him the horse the last time??? Toward the end of his carreer i couldnt bare watching him race anymore it was giving me nightmeres of him hobbleing down the stretch in distress and giving his all! Good Luck Old Man....God Bless

Wishing the Admiral nothing but the best in his retirement.
I will certainly miss watching him race. No matter what the outcome I loved watching him on the track.
Please keep his fans updated on the Admiral on his facebook page would like to see some pictures of him enjoying retirement

Marie Stoyles-Moura

I agree Marty, I made a note here a few months ago when he was last in a slow race at Kawartha. Why would they bring him back? Money? He made enough for the owners, he retired with grace, now he has to,two very different things.

What i will remember most about him is the day he turned them all back in 1.48.2 at woodbine to take the track record! His legacy should not be tarnished one bit. Look at Muhammid Ali. His Career wasn't too pretty at the end either but he is still a legend!!! So is the Admiral!!! Giidddy up big boy!!!

Like any other athlete....theres a time and reason for retirement !

I will miss seeing this most beautiful of horses coming down the stretch at Mohawk ,enjoy your new life old friend!!

Is it just me, or has a black cloud been placed over the career of Admirals Express. I covered him at 2 when I produced the TV show Michigan Hoof Beats, and later, followed his heroic career.

When he retired the first time, the harness racing world embraced his magnificence. Like Kareem Abdul-Jabbars final year around the NBA, Ontarios racing community followed the Admirals last races; but then, after all the hoopla, all the marketing, all the grandstanding, someone decided to bring him back, where he looked like nothing more than a Windsor 4 claimer! How sad!

Yes, I'll remember Admirals Express as a tough racehorse, and a champion, and yes I will wish him well in retirement, but there will always be that black asterisk beside his name!

Marty Adler
Integrity and transparency in harness racing

In reply to by Marty Adler

I see your point Marty but to say he looked like a 4 claimer, Thats Sad. He was a race horse who did what he was asked to do, He couldnt do it anymore like he could years ago. To me I have my Good friend back in my life and I am going to enjoy every moment with him that I possibly can.

Have something to say about this? Log in or create an account to post a comment.