Flanders winning the Frizette (Jason Moran)
1994 was not wanting for talented 2 year olds or competitive fields, that’s for sure.
Before we get started there are a few small caveats to keep in mind that apply to the entire series. In fact, I will probably mention them in every post just make sure you’re paying attention!
I’ve tried to display race replays and compile the list of races in chronological order starting with the beginning of the year. I was rarely able to find an actual date as opposed to a “usually run in the late fall” or “run in the beginning of march”. My goal was try to lay out the racing year as it unfolded. Please leave a comment or contact me if you can help put these races in the right order! Distance and race grade reflect the race in 1994 and again, if you can help correct any errors, let me know.
This is clearly and by no means a complete record, it’s what I could put together over the weekend. If there’s a race you’d like to see listed, let me know and I’ll see what I can track down. I’d love for it to be as complete as possible.
Let’s start off with the Colts. On the east coast you had Montreal Red. By the time racing was nearing an end at Saratoga he was undefeated in 3 races and poised to make history if he could win the Hopeful by becoming one of the few horses to sweep the 2yo series at Saratoga. He had won the Sanford and the Saratoga Special but the Hopeful was not to be for Montreal Red as he placed to Wild Escapade (wish I could find that replay!). He did go on to win the Futurity at Belmont.
On the west coast there was Timber Country, the first horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and then go on to win a Triple Crown race (the Preakness). In the fall he was sent east to compete a rousing rendition of the Champagne, check out that field size!
Not only did you have Montreal Red, the east coast buzz horse that had only been defeated once coming off a win in the Futurity, but there was the undefeated west coaster On Target in the mix as well as Hopeful winner Wild Escapade and Mr. Greeley (who really didn’t do much at 2). Timber Country had to fight for it but he secured his spot as the favorite going into the Breeders’ Cup.
The 1995 Derby winner, Thunder Gulch, improved as the year went on winning the Remsen in the late fall. West Coaster Afternoon Deelites also made the end of the year interesting capturing both the Hollywood Prevue and the Hollywood Futurity. He still holds the record for the Futurity at 1:40:74.
As for the Fillies, I have one word. Flanders. She’s one of the best kept secrets of 1994 and if I had to pick the most impressive horse of 94, it would be her. She had both speed and guts, digging down to repel bids and win stretch battles like an old war horse.
Going into the Spinaway, her firsts stakes race, Stormy Blues was the big buzz horse from the same barn as Montreal Red. Flanders broke quickly and was able to get the lead. Favorite Stormy Blues and Adirondack winner Seeking Regina sat off of her grueling pace but were “never gonna catch her today” as Durkin put it. She still holds the record at 1:23.
In the Matron, Flanders makes the lead early but sets a more moderate pace. Stormy Blues and Phone Caller both move on her at the top of the stretch and for a moment it looks like Flanders isn’t going to be able to hold on. She digs down and not only repels the bid of Stormy Blues, but finds enough to pull away and win by 2 or 3. Impressive.
Not too many takers in the Frizette, and Flanders easily crushes the 4 horse field by almost 20. On the west coast the impressive Serena’s Song was revving up by winning the Landaluce and Oak Leaf to make sure Flanders had some competition by the time the Breeders’ Cup rolled around.
Serena’s Song and Flanders shared two things beyond their talent, they both had similar running styles and they were both trained by D. Wayne Lukas. Flanders never ran again after the Breeders’ Cup. Given what Serena’s Song went on to do, one can only wonder what Flanders might have been able accomplish given the chance.
Serena’s Song winds up the year with a win in the Hollywood Starlet. Stay tuned to see how how our Juveniles fared in the Breeders’ Cup (the last post in the series). The next post will be 3yos.
Were you there? Was 1994 as fantastic as it looks? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you… share some of your racing history, won’t you?