SC Rewind: The Last Adios
Published: May 29, 2010 8:26 am ET
Last Comment: September 16, 2011 12:26 pm ET | 4 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments
Robert Smith looks back at the great Adios and the tremendous influence he had on the sport of harness racing for several decades in this week's Rewind.
Those in attendance at the 1967 Harrisburg Sale witnessed some very spirited bidding resulting in new records being set. The Hanover Shoe Farm consignment alone sold 188 yearlings for a record $2,281,800. The colts averaged $14,588 while the 96 fillies number was $ 9,816. This was an era when the records of one sale were usually quickly surpassed the following year.
This year was a special one for sale goers for a couple of reasons. Almost a generation of horse fanciers had attended this annual sale and watched the offspring of the great sire Adios sold. They then followed their racing careers and were often in awe of what each succeeding crop accomplished. However this time there was almost an aura of sadness, as with all good things there comes an end. Also that year another tremendously popular stallion's final offspring were sold at this sale. Hoot Mon, who had dominated the sport as its premiere sire of trotting talent for many years also faded from the scene as his last crop went on the auction block as well.
With the passing of Adios two years previous, the last crop of colts and fillies were offered at auction. It was such a momentous occasion that journalist Louis Effrat, who had chronicled the great career of Adios recorded the actual time of the last sale. At exactly 3:24 p.m. on November 2, 1967 Iroquois Hanover was sold by auctioneer George Swinebroad for $30,000. Most of Mr. Effrat's writings appeared in The New York Times and in 1963 The Hanover Shoe Farm named the bay son of Adios out of Eastern Star Effrat Hanover. The colt went on to a productive race career starting at age two.
Ten yearlings sired by Adios sold at this sale and they went for an average of $42,900. Heading the list was Bart Hanover a full brother to Bret Hanover who equaled the highest price ever for the sale of a yearling when he went for $105,000. Getting the final nod was Mrs. Louis Silverstein of Rose Hild Breeding Farm of New Hope, Pa. Future plans for the high priced yearling would see him go into the Stanley Dancer Stable.
Adios, sired by Hal Dale out of Adioo Volo, was foaled on January 3, 1940 at The Two Gaits Farm in Carmel, Indiana. He soon became a world champion, setting many records including the track record set at Shelbyville, Indiana which stood for 43 years. He took a lifetime mark of 1:57 1/2 in a time trial. His career on the track was considered to be spectacular, but in hindsight his influence as a sire is indeed how he is best remembered.
Adios was first owned by Harry Warner of Warner Bros. Pictures fame and raced by the great horseman Frank Ervin. Later he became the property of another equally great horseman - Delvin Miller, and is most often associated with the many years under his ownership and promotion and syndication. When Adios died in 1965 at the age of 25, he was buried at Miller's famous Meadow Lands Farm in Pennsylvania. His final resting spot was under an apple tree in the pasture where he often grazed over a 17-year time span.
As a sire, Adios compiled some astounding records. No less than eight of his sons won the coveted Little Brown Jug as well as setting most of the speed records for several decades. Additionally, both Adios Butler and Bret Hanover were Triple Crown winners. His sons and daughters often raced against each other as this was an era prior to being able to have enough quality horses of each gender to have separate divisions. Perhaps the most famous meetings of all took place between the Canadian owned filly Dottie's Pick and her "brother" Adios Harry, owner of several world records. Most often Dottie prevailed, including a famous match race held at Roosevelt Raceway in 1956 in which the mare won by open lengths with a purse of $25,000 up for grabs.
In 1967 a race was created known as "The Adios" as a lasting memorial to this great horse. It is held annually in August at The Meadows in Pennsylvania and has become one of the most prestigious of all races and rightfully so. In 1982 The Adios Golf Course was built in Coconut Creek, Florida by Delvin Miller and designed by golfing icon Arnold Palmer, a close friend of Delvin's. I would venture a guess that this may be the only golf course ever named after a standardbred.
Although some 45 years have passed since the death of Adios, his memory looms large to those who remember what a great and memorable horse he was. He was indeed in a class of his own.