Over the past three years, no female pacer can match the accomplishments of Pure Country. In fact, few in the history of harness racing can produce better resumes when it comes to accumulating awards.
Pure Country became the first female pacer to receive a Dan Patch Award at ages 2, 3, and 4 when she was named the sport’s best older pacing mare in December. Only two pacers have ever won more Dan Patch trophies, Anndrovette and Eternal Camnation, with four each.
"It’s quite an accomplishment," said Adam Bowden, whose Diamond Creek Racing owns Pure Country and whose Diamond Creek Farm bred the mare. "It takes a special horse to be the best at 2 when they’re early developers and then continue to be the best at 3 and 4 when everybody else catches up.
"I’m just happy to be part of it."
Pure Country was a perfect 10-for-10 at age 2 and joined JK She’salady (2014), See You At Peelers (2010) and My Little Dragon (2005) as the only 2-year-old female pacers to win a Dan Patch Award with an undefeated season. Pure Country and See You At Peelers won again at age 3.
For her career, the Jimmy Takter-trained Pure Country has won 25 of 47 races and earned $2.23 million, which puts her on the verge of joining the 10 highest-earning female pacers in North American history. Her victories include two Breeders Crown finals, the Fan Hanover Stakes, Lynch Memorial, Lady Liberty, TVG Series championship, Artiscape, and Matron.
Pure Country started slowly in 2017, but won five of her last 10 races of the campaign, including the Breeders Crown and TVG Series championships to close out the stakes season.
"I think in many of the big races in her career, Jimmy has gotten her to race at her best," Bowden said. "And she did it again this year when the big money was on the line. She won the races she had to win to win the (Dan Patch) award.
"It’s always tough to come back at 4 and do it. As Jimmy said last year, it’s sort of a two-year commitment because these 4-year-olds need time to mature and learn how to race against these older, tougher mares. She clearly learned how to do that and ended the year on the top."
Pure Country is a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of one of the first horses Diamond Creek bought, Western Montana, in the farm’s formative years. Pure Country is enjoying a winter holiday in Kentucky, but will return to Takter’s stable in the coming weeks to begin preparations for her 5-year-old season.
"She’s hanging out right now getting bigger and stronger," Bowden said. "She looks great. She’s bigger than the colts that we have; she’s always been like that. She’s a big strong mare. I would expect her to come back and have a good season again. Or at least I hope so.
"The expectations placed on her by me personally are probably almost too much to live up to. That may not have been fair. She’s always been at the top of her division. We’ve entrusted her to Jimmy Takter, who has gone above and beyond. I can’t be more thrilled with that."
Bowden’s award-winning horses in 2017 were not limited to Pure Country. Diamond Creek Racing is among the owners of 3-year-old male pacing champion Downbytheseaside and 2-year-old male pacing champion Lost In Time.
Diamond Creek Farm bred Lost In Time, a son of A Rocknroll Dance out of Summer Mystery who sold for $47,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Sale. Diamond Creek Racing joined the colt’s ownership group in September 2017.
"It’s kind of neat," Bowden said. "A Rocknroll Dance was kind of the first major stallion that we went after and stood. To have his best son so far, not only that we bred but now own a piece of, is exciting. He clearly got a lot of his father’s qualities, which proved themselves on countless occasions. He’s such a big, strong horse that I would expect to see good things from him (at age 3).
"It’s fun to be involved with good horses. Just being part of the ride is exciting. A lot of times, we as owners get to give interviews and get attention, but really it’s a team effort, especially for us with these homebreds. From the girls that work at the farm to the farm managers to the trainers to the grooms to the drivers. Everybody gets to take credit for the success of these horses, everybody can share in it. That’s great."--ByKen Weingartner/HRC