Winky's Gill, winner of a heat of the 1983 Hambletonian, dam of 1993 Hambletonian Oaks winner Winky's Goal (1:54.4, $844,924) and 1987 Peter Haughton Memorial winner, Supergill (1:53.3, $664,194) died at the age of 34 on Aug. 8 at Perretti Farm, her home of 14 years. She was buried in the farm's equine cemetery.
The daughter of Bonefish and Lassie Blue Chip was bred by Ulf Moberg and was born Jan. 31, 1980, at Castleton Farm in Lexington, Ky. She was trained by the Continental Farm Stable trio of Hakan Wallner, Berndt Lindstedt and Jan Johnson. Her stakes wins include the 1982 Merrie Annabelle, Acorn, Review, Hayes and Lexington Filly Stakes. In addition to a heat of the 1983 Hambletonian against colts in which she was third overall, she won the Coaching Club Oaks, Breeders Filly Stakes, Review and the Bluegrass Stake. Her 15 wins in 27 starts got her purse earnings of $472,154 and a mark of 1:55.2.
In her later years, Winky's Gill served as babysitter for yearling fillies at Perretti Farm, a job at which she excelled, but only after two tries.
"We tried her back when she was a young girl in her middle twenties,” said Breeding Operations Manager Lindsay Taylor in the book Standardbred Old Friends, in which Winky is one of 43 horses featured. "Winky decided she really didn't want to come in to the barn any more. It became a problem. She figured out that every time we were coming out, she was coming in the barn and would be separated from her charges.
"She decided she was the matriarchal mare and she was going to round up her herd and take off for the foothills. She regarded it as her responsibility to round up the babies and take them to a safe place. It was actually pretty funny if you weren't the one out there trying to catch them.”
Given another chance a few years later, Winky got the hang of the job and made life easier for farm staff by leading fillies in to the barn for farrier and veterinary care.
"It's like the Pied Piper,” said Taylor. "Where ever she goes, they follow her in a little line. She usually selects one or two favorites, or they select her, I's not sure which way it goes.
"She'll have a couple, we call them her lieutenants, who have a special affinity for her or she for them. She keeps them within 20 or 30 feet. They form a kind of bond. When she moves, they go with her. If not, she usually goes back and round them up and takes them with her.”
Taylor said that Winky's Gill liked those she knew well, but had a definite opinion about one particular profession. "She's been around enough veterinarians that she's a little leery of them.”--By Ellen Harvey/Harness Racing Communications