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Champion On Ice dies

August 29, 2003

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World champion Champion On Ice was humanely destroyed at the Delong Farm in Clinton, Wis., this past week, according to Maywood Park-based trainer Eric Plowman.

Champion On Ice still holds the world record for a 3-year-old gelding on a mile track of 1:53.2, which he set at Springfield, Ill., in 1994. Plowman, who then worked as a caretaker for Dirk Simpson, had Champion On Ice in his care during the trotter's campaign while under Simpson's tuteledge. The son of Armbro Charger-Icecapade earned $266,660 during his career and took a lifetime best mark of 1:53.1.

Champion On Ice had been owned by Jack and Peggy Hood of Indiana during his racing years. They gave the horse to Plowman five years ago as a pet after his track career was over.

Plowman, who conditions a stable of 15 at Maywood, turned the one-time champ out at Delong's farm. For several years the gelding had led the post parade during the State Fair festivities at Springfield, and was driven by both Ron Gurfein and Dirk Simpson on separate occasions.

"When the horse was seven, Jack Hood gave him to me as a pet," the 32-year-old conditioner said. "He had always had problems with a right hind leg. The stifle joint had deteriorated and it has just gotten progressively worse. We made the decision that it was time not to let the horse suffer any more. He was just a big pet and it was a very difficult decision for me, but it was the humane thing to do."

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