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Carlspur retired, heading to stud duty in Canada

February 14, 2008

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Two years ago he was Monticello Raceway’s Horse of the Year and last season he earned the track’s Comeback of the Year Award, and now the veteran  pacer Carlspur is set to be retired.


Few horses who ever looked through a bridle were more gritty than Carlspur and few horses are more deserving than a life of leisure than the 12-year-old son of Meadowlands Pace winner Carlsbad Cam.


In a career that included 74 lifetime victories in 284 trips to post, Carlspur amassed a total of $910,406 in purse earnings and had a lifetime mark of 1:48 taken at the Meadowlands at age nine.


“He has given our partnership great thrills and joy. We are so grateful for having the opportunity to come back from his major surgery in November 2006 to return to the racetrack and win three straight races in August and September at Freehold and Monticello,” said Tom Trezza, the corresponding officer for the Salerno-Trezza Partners 25,  who have owned the veteran pacer since 1999.


“We’ve been through  a lot together over the years; mostly great times but in recent years we worried about our old warrior,” Trezza said perhaps referring to Carlspur’s fight for life against an extremely bad case of colic a few years ago which the pacer overcame with surgery and constant care from his connections.


Last year when Carlspur won in 1:53.4 at Monticello Raceway it was the fastest time ever paced on a half-mile track by an 11 year old. And his 1:48 victory at the Meadowlands at age nine was the fastest mile ever by a 9 year old.


It was partly because of that 1:53.4 victory that he returned to action at Monticello Raceway after a near death experience Carlspur was named Comeback of the Year recipient by the local harness writers at their annual awards banquet.


However, not long after his victories and award at Monticello, Carlspur became sore so trainer and co-owner Tony Salerno conversed with his partners and together they decided to get the old campaigner sound before they tried to race him again.


Though Carlpur was nearly perfect and perhaps ready to qualify his connections instead opted to retire the old warrior. 


“After giving him some time off after his last race on Nov. 8 he trained back real good but just didn\'t seem 100 percent—having some minor issues with his front ankles,” said Trezza. “We were ready to qualify in mid January but decided that we did not want to risk any injury to Carlspur after all these years, especially at the level of competition that he would have to compete against. The fact that Carlspur\'s two main tracks—Monticello and Freehold—had cut their purses significantly just confirmed that this was the right time. Lastly, we knew of two breeding opportunities that had a deadline of Jan. 31 which finalized our decision. We wanted to give him this opportunity.”


 Carlpsur was bred in Mt. Hope, Ont., and  was later purchased at age three by Salerno Trezza Partners 25 for $60,000 in a deal brokered by Steve Manzi’s Global Standardbreds after the pacer had three wins and about $8,000 in purse money. Carlpur will now return north of the border again but this time he’ll going to in Saint John, New Brunswick.


“A gentleman by the name of Dr. Hugh Baird purchased Carlspur and has plans on breeding five or six of his mares to him and Dr. Baird thinks he’ll get 20 or so more mares in the Canadian Maritimes to breed to him, too,” Trezza related. “Our partnership will retain a few breeding rights each year to Carlspur and now we’re in the process of looking for mares to breed to him.”


Recently Freehold Raceway, the site of 24 of Carlspur’s 74 lifetime victories, contacted  Trezza and his partners asking to have the honor of retiring Carlspur in a winner’s circle ceremony Saturday, Feb.16.


“Carlspur really did it the hard way—usually racing  in the Opens and Invites—with purses at or around $15K,” said Trezza. “(We) would have loved to have a chance now with the purse structures the way they are at Yonkers and Chester.”


Record of Carlspur

$910,406 lifetime earnings

74 lifetime wins (268 starts)

27.6% lifetime win ratio

54.4% lifetime 1st-2nd-3rd ratio

1:48 lifetime mark set at the Meadowlands at age 9-on Hambletonian Day (August-2005)

1:49 lifetime mark set at the Meadowlands at age 9-the week before his 1:48 mark (July-2005)

1:49.3 lifetime mark set at the Meadowlands at age 7 (July-2003)

1:51.1 lifetime mark on 5/8 mile track-Pocono Downs-(June-2002)

1:52.2 lifetime mark on 1/2 mile track-Freehold (Sept. 2003 & May-2004)

1:53.4 win at age 11 at Monticello (last lifetime win)


Some Stakes Highlights of Carlspur

$100,000 Harrington Pace final at Harrington (Oct. 2002)

$53,200 Fox Sports Net final at Meadowlands (April-2000)

$50,000 Bert Beckwith final at Plainridge (Sept. 2003)

$40,800 Sagamore final and all three divisions at Yonkers (March 2000)

2 Divisions of the Chill Factor Series at Meadowlands (Jan.-2000) 

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