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Tune Town Passes

Published: December 12, 2016 3:44 pm ET

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Well-known Delaware Standardbred Tune Town, 24, passed away on November 18 due to the complications of old age.

Tune Town, who was retired from breeding in 2013, lived out his final days at Safe Haven Farms in Ellendale, Del.

"Everybody remembers him as the incredible racehorse he was," said his owner, Rhonda Owens-Whitehouse.

Tune Town (Big Towner-Paris Song-Colt Fortysix) won 25 races in his six-year career on the track. He was the Dan Patch Award Older Pacing Horse of the Year and Nova Award Older Pacer of the Year in 1997.

In a decade in the breeding shed, he sired 120 foals, 74 of whom made it to the races. Standout performers include Dinas Gamble p,1:50.3f ($521,507), Fine Tuner p,1:50.1 ($184,814) and Tuneariffic p,1:50.2 ($277,511) among others.

Owens-Whitehouse, who managed Tune Town's breeding career, said that while he was initially one of the most difficult stallions she'd ever worked with, they came to understand each other. She discovered the subtleties – his interest in entering the breeding shed only after seeing a favourite paint mare, his penchant for strawberry Pop-tarts – that made him easier to work with and came to appreciate his character.

"He became part of the family," she said. "We spoiled him rotten."

And she didn't even know Tune Town in his days as a champion pacer. Through the years, however, she's heard various horsemen recount his victories on the track. She said driver Ron Pierce even called to offer his condolences when the horse passed.

Tune Town, who was trained by Andrew Kovath for Anthony Cotroneo (they were also the co-breeders), raced 115 times and earned more than $1 million in his career. Though he didn't race as a two-year-old and made just one start as a three-year-old, between 1996 and 2000 Tune Town won 25 races and earned $1,097,390. Four years in a row he exceeded $100,000 in earnings, racing against horses like Western Dreamer, Red Bow Tie and Pacific Fella in the U.S. Pacing Championship, the Canadian Pacing Derby, the American-National and other events for older pacers.

"He made a million the hard way," Owens-Whitehouse said. "He went sub-1:50 miles before it was hardly heard of."

Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the connections of Tune Town


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