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Throwback Thursday: Matts Scooter

Published: May 14, 2020 8:13 pm ET

Last Comment: May 22, 2020 8:29 am ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

At one time, Matts Scooter was harness racing's fastest horse. While that world record has since been broken, his legacy lives on as the grandsire of one of the breed's modern-day legends.

Born on this day 35 years ago (May 14, 1985) Matts Scooter (Direct Scooter - Ellens Glory) was bred by Max Gerson of New York and purchased by Gord Rumpel in 1986 for $17,500. Lightly raced at two, Matts Scooter rose to prominence as a three-year-old in 1988 for owners Gordon and Illa Rumpel of Calgary, and Charles Juravinski of Dundas, Ont. Ineligible for the lucrative Little Brown Jug and Cane Pace at three, Matts Scooter still managed to earn $1.7 million, winning 11 races and finishing out of the money only once in 22 starts.

Matts Scooter - 1988 Meadowlands Pace

One day after winning the 1988 Little Brown Jug with BJ Scoot, driver Mike Lachance and Jug-ineligible sophomore Matts Scooter scorched The Red Mile in Lexington, Ky. with a 1:48.2 time trial. That was the fastest mile in harness racing history and nearly a full second faster than the great Niatross.

In addition to winning the Meadowlands Pace and breaking the world record at age three, Matts Scooter also captured the New Jersey Classic, Messenger, American National, Prix d'Ete, Confederation Cup, and Nat Christie Memorial. He was named three-year-old pacing colt of the year in both Canada and the U.S., Pacer of the Year in the U.S. and Horse of the Year in Canada.

Matts Scooter returned to the track at age four and competed in the sport's top events for older pacers, turning in the fastest mile ever in Canada when he captured the Mohawk Gold Cup (1:51f) and also capturing the Breeders Crown, William Haughton Memorial, Driscoll Free-For-All, Cornell Free-For-All, and legs of the U.S. Pacing Championship, George Morton Levy Memorial, and Graduate Series. He was retired from racing with 37 wins in 61 starts and purse winnings of $2,944,591 -- second most in harness racing at the time -- for his connections. His 1989 season concluded with Horse of the Year honours in Canada and the U.S.

Matts Scooter - 1989 Breeders Crown - Freehold

“He never really did anything bad. He didn’t break any carts, but it wasn’t for lack of trying," said Poulton of Matts Scooter. "He was always bucking, kicking or doing something. We shipped him home 12 hours one day, and the next day he was on his hind legs in the yard. I don’t know where he got his energy.”

In his 22 years at stud, Matts Scooter sired the winners of more than $77.5 million, with four millionaires. His greatest legacy as a sire is undoubtedly his son Mach Three p,3, 1:49 ($2,376,700), who won the 2002 Meadowlands Pace and later sired the incomparable Somebeachsomewhere.

Among other notable offspring are the millionaires Royal Mattjesty p, 1:48.4 ($1,840,681); 1996 U.S. Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer of the Year Mystical Maddy p,4, 1:50 ($1,436,325); His Mattjesty p,3, 1:51 ($1,038,861) and Mattaroni p,3, 1:52.3 ($744,481).

As a broodmare sire, Matts Scooter's credentials include the million-dollar winning mares Glowing Report, Economy Terror, Yellow Diamond and Drop The Ball, plus Santanna Blue Chip, Shadow Play, Georgia Pacific and American Ideal.

Matts Scooter was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1992 and the U.S. Living Hall of Fame in 1996. He passed away on Monday, June 30, 2014 at Mid-Atlantic Equine Clinic in Ringoes, N.J. He had been residing at Perretti Farms in New Jersey, where he had stood at stud virtually his entire stallion career.

May 22, 2020 - 8:29 amFor me, the greatest pacer I

Craig Conley SAID...

For me, the greatest pacer I ever saw!!! His gait...Wow, his gait.

May 14, 2020 - 10:35 pmWhat a tremendous horse he

What a tremendous horse he was.

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