Kawartha An Worthy Passes
Published: September 15, 2016 10:30 am ET
Last Comment: September 19, 2016 1:27 pm ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments
Kawartha An Worthy, the trotting mare who overcame the odds to not only race but win the O'Brien Award for Canada's Older Trotting Mare in 1996, has passed away at the age of 26.
Purchased by Cedar Valley, Ont.'s Robert Burgess in December 1993 at the tail end of her three-year-old campaign, Kawartha An Worthy (Worthy Bowl - Kawartha Anitra) made a break in her first start for her new connections. It wasn't just any kind of break, she cut herself while on a gallop.
"I later saw the replay of the race and saw she made a break before the gate for no apparent reason," said Burgess in a 1997 Trot interview. "In so doing she clipped herself and sliced a tendon in her left rear leg just above the sesamoid.
"Apparently there was blood all over the place when she got back to the barn and the veterinarian just said she'd make a good broodmare. It was not good news."
Burgess bred his new acquisition to Balanced Image. She had a foal, a colt in April 1995. By September, when the colt was ready to be weaned, she and the injury looked to be in tremendous shape. Burgess considered putting Kawartha An Worthy back into training.
"I'd heard that some mares calm down after having a foal and I hoped that perhaps she might be one of them as she was a hot head on the track," explained Burgess.
She started jogging back for trainer Rocco Auciello in September, and she won her initial qualifier on October 28 at Kawartha Downs in 2:04.2.
"Not long after we started back Rocco called me and said he couldn't believe how easily this mare was getting in shape. It all came so easy that he said in late October she was ready to qualify which was less than two months time. It didn't make sense but there she was."
In her first start back, entered in a $15,000 claimer at Mohawk on November 4, she won by eight lengths in 2:00.2f for driver Kelvin Rose. While consistency remained an issue, she showed flashed of brilliance that kept her on the track instead of the broodmare shed. Auciello continued to work with her, trying to change her attitude and getting her to relax more.
"Gradually, her attitude began to change and I should say that Kelvin's manner of driving helped too," said Burgess.
In July 1996, the now six-year-old Kawartha An Worthy rattled off four straight wins at Woodbine Racetrack in upper conditioned trotting classes. On August 4, she tackled the best older trotters on the WEG circuit and won the Junior Free-For-All in 1:55, a track and Canadian record. Proving that was no fluke, she won the Junior Free-For-All again in September. She competed in the top class in all but one start for the remainder of the year, facing and defeating the likes of Glorys Comet, Impeccable Image, Supergrit, Oaklea Count and Megarama.
Kelvin Rose, trainer Rocco Auciello, Kawartha An Worthy and Robert Burgess
Her 1996 season summary of 11-2-1 from 30 starts and more than $122,000 in earnings garnered Kawartha An Worthy the O'Brien Award for Older Trotting Mare. She was also runner-up in Dan Patch Award voting to CR Kay Suzie, despite never racing in the U.S. that season.
Kawartha An Worthy was retired in June 1997 to the broodmare ranks. That first colt, A Fine Balance won 39 races lifetime and banked more than $133,000. Her next foal, Coldspot was her best performer. A Balanced Image full brother to A Fine Balance, Coldspot was a multiple Ontario Sires Stakes winner at two and banked more than $367,000 over his racing career.
In 2011, two of Kawartha An Worthy's foals raced on the same card -- but on different gaits. Ironically it was her pacing progeny Worth Remembering who emerged victorious that night in the $60,000 final of the Ontario Spring Filly Stakes. Her final foal, Arrakis, is currently racing at Yonkers for Auciello's son Carmen.
Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the connections of Kawartha An Worthy.