07/30/2013 3:34PM

History answers: Sprinters in the Hall of Fame

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Courtesy of Keeneland Library
Roseben, also known as “The Big Train,” carried 130 pounds or more in 59 of his 111 starts, carrying as much as 147 pounds in four races.

See the questions HERE.

1. Roseben was nicknamed “The Big Train,” not only because of his enormous size (just one inch shy of 18 hands), but because of his remarkable ability to consistently shoulder the highest weights ever assigned to a racehorse.

In his 111-start career, Roseben won shouldering 147 pounds on four occasions. In the two times he was asked to carry 150 pounds, he finished second.

His lifetime record was 52 wins, 25 seconds, and 12 thirds and included stakes victories from New York to California and in between.

His wins included two runnings of the Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park, the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct, and the rich Flight Stakes at Sheepshead Bay.

In his final two seasons (1908-1909), Roseben shipped by boxcar to the West Coast, where he ran nine times at Oakland and twice at the short-lived original Santa Anita Park.

He returned for his final four starts in New York. His last victory came on May 29, 1909 at Belmont Park in a $1,000 claiming race. He carried a feathery 115 pounds.

During his lifetime, he carried 130 pounds or more in 59 of his starts.

After retirement, Roseben was sold as a pleasure horse and died in 1918. He was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1956, the second year of inductions.

2. Named (by some accounts) for the teenage daughter, Pansy Zareta, of the Chief of Police of Juarez, Mexico, Pan Zareta became one of the most well-known and well-traveled horses of her time.

In six years and 151 starts, Pan Zareta raced at more than two dozen different tracks, some in remote racing outposts like Idaho and Montana.

When racing began to return to the states, the chestnut mare became a regular at Oaklawn Park, Fair Grounds, and on the New York circuit.

Despite her remarkable record of 76-31-21, she won just over $39,000 in her career, having competed at a time when $300-$500 purses were the norm.

Her biggest monetary win was $1,050 in the Juarez Handicap on Nov. 27, 1913. (Just across the border from El Paso, Texas, Juarez – Terrazas Park – was a major center for winter racing for American horsemen from 1909 to 1916.)

Pan Zareta set 11 track records in her career, most of them at Juarez. This included the five-furlong world record of 57.20 in 1915, which was not broken until Encantadora ran a 57 flat at Centennial in Colorado, in 1951.

After retirement, Pan Zareta failed to get in foal and, while preparing for a return to racing in 1918, she contracted pneumonia and died. She was buried in the infield at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

Pan Zareta was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972.

3. Five-time Horse of the Year Kelso was without question the horse New Yorkers flocked to see in the first half of the 1960’s. But, he had a female counterpart and her name was Affectionately.

A daughter of Hall of Famer Swaps, Affectionately made two-thirds of her 52 lifetime starts at Aqueduct, the scene of her most impressive triumphs.

In her final and best season in 1965, Affectionately won the Correction, Distaff, Toboggan, Top Flight, Liberty Belle, and Vagrancy handicaps – all at Aqueduct. In winning the six-furlong Toboggan, she became the first of her sex to do so in 55 years. In the seven-furlong Vagrancy, she carried 137 pounds to victory.

Retired to the breeding shed, Affectionately had as her first foal Personality, Preakness winner, champion 3-year-old male, and co-Horse of the Year in 1970.

Affectionately was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1989.

4. Ta Wee, whose name means “beautiful girl” in the Sioux language, won 15 times (all sprints) in 21 lifetime starts.

She won eight stakes at age 3 in 1969 and wrapped up the national sprint title winning her final start in the Vosburgh Handicap against not only males, but two other champion females – Shuvee and Gamely. Perhaps the most exciting race that year, the Vosburgh was a blanket finish, with less than three lengths separating eight runners.

The following season, Ta Wee won five handicap sprints, including the Fall Highweight, carrying 140 pounds, and the Interborough, under 142 pounds (the runner-up carried 113).

Ta Wee died in 1980 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994.

5. Safely Kept was caught in the last strides of the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, losing by a neck to Dancing Spree.

In the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Safely Kept was caught in the last 40 yards by the European invader Dayjur, but because that colt jumped shadows on the track twice nearing the wire, Safely Kept was able to snatch victory from what appeared to be certain defeat.

A Maryland bred, Safely Kept won a remarkable 22 stakes races, all sprints. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame two years ago.


(Photo on questions page: Pan Zareta)