U.S. Hall of Fame female trotter CR Kay Suzie, a multiple Dan Patch Award winner including Horse of the Year in 1995, passed away on Tuesday morning in Ocala, Florida, owner Rod Allen said today. She was 31.
CR Kay Suzie was bred by Carl & Rod Allen Stable Inc. and born at the family’s farm in Ocala. The Allens owned both her sire, Royal Troubador, and dam, Country Kay Sue. She was the first foal out of Country Kay Sue, who was inducted into the U.S. Hall of Fame as a broodmare in 2001.
In 24 lifetime starts in North America racing for the Allens, CR Kay Suzie won 18 times and earned $1.61 million. She set or equalled world records on every size track during her career and was a Dan Patch Award winner at ages two, three and four. In 1995, she became the fourth three-year-old filly trotter to be named Horse of the Year in the 49-year history of the award.
“She was just a good family horse,” Allen said about CR Kay Suzie, who was named after his daughter, Kaylie Suzanne. “It was fun to enjoy. It was a hundred per cent family — born, raised, raced — everything was done in-house. She was one of many, but there weren’t too many like her.
“It was unexpected,” he added. “We looked at her and you just wondered where the speed came from. There wasn’t a lot to her; she was small. She was long, but short-legged. You just never know where it comes from. It’s not always that ideal-looking individual, I guess.”
CR Kay Suzie won seven of nine races as a two-year-old, including the Merrie Annabelle Stakes in 1:55.1 at The Meadowlands. Her time was the fastest race mile in history for a two-year-old trotter. She also set world records at five-eighths-mile Rosecroft Raceway and half-mile Freehold Raceway that season.
She capped her campaign with victory by 14-3/4 lengths in the Goldsmith Maid in a track-record 1:56 at Garden State Park. Back To Victory, who had been following CR Kay Suzie near the rear of the field at the quarter-mile point, finished second.
“All of a sudden she began to move,” Back To Victory’s driver Ron Waples told the Camden Courier-Post following the race. “I was following her coming out of the first turn and then she just left me. She’s just a great filly. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The following year, CR Kay Suzie captured the Yonkers Trot by 7-1/2 lengths in 1:56 to equal Peace Corps’ world record for a female trotter on a half-mile oval. She brought a five-race win streak to the Hambletonian, where she would attempt to become the first female to win the classic race since Duenna in 1983, but she went off stride in her elimination while moving for the lead on the backstretch and failed to advance to the final.
“I ran her off her feet,” said Allen, who drove CR Kay Suzie in all but her first three lifetime races. “I take the blame for it. I dropped her head and tried to get her in gear when she was already three-quarters out and she just took a bad step.”
A month later, CR Kay Suzie bested the boys, including Hambletonian champ Tagliabue, to win the World Trotting Derby in straight heats at the Du Quoin State Fair in Illinois. Her clocking of 1:52.4 in the second heat equalled Peace Corps’ world record for a three-year-old filly on a mile track.
“To bounce back and to win at Du Quoin, and my dad and my brother were both in the race, that’s what it was all about anyway,” said Allen. “My brother [Mike] was driving Super Wally and my dad [Carl] was driving CR Track Master. We were all in the World Trotting Derby together. After going under the wire, to have those two come up and compliment me and congratulate me, that was probably the most fulfilling race.”
CR Kay Suzie closed out her season 18 days later with a win over older foes in the Breeders Crown Mare Trot at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Ohio.
As a four-year-old, she raced twice and won the Breeders Crown Open Trot over male rivals, including favoured European star Coktail Jet, at The Meadowlands.
“She never ceases to surprise me,” Allen was quoted after the Breeders Crown Open.
CR Kay Suzie spent the remainder of her racing days in Italy before beginning her broodmare career in 1998. Among her offspring were stakes-winners CR Excalibur ($463,412 lifetime purses) and Dover Dan ($554,772).
Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the connections of CR Kay Suzie.
(With files from USTA)