GO FOR WAND 13-RACE TIME CAPSULE
Throughout its almost seven decades of history with modest beginnings, Christiana raced some 45 stakes winners, the vast majority being homebreds before reaching the pinnacle of the sport with dual champion, GO FOR WAND in 1989 and 1990.
As a two-year-old, GO FOR WAND went 3-for-4, capping off a short season with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Gulfstream, en-route to the Eclipse honors for the Two-Year-Old Champion Filly of 1989. She was equally impressive at three reeling off seven out of nine stakes races that season, six of them being Grade I's and was again honored with her second Eclipse Award...this time for the Champion Three-Year-Old Filly.
In her brief but brilliant career, she beat not only her own crop of fillies with matchless speed but also humbled older distaffers as well in the Beldame and Maskette, and along the way gained many new adoring fans. They were captivated not just by her style and ease in winning, buy also by her connections: the young trainer, Billy Badgett and his wife, Rose (GO FOR WAND's devoted exercise rider who probably knew her the best); the wonderful owner, Mrs. Jane DuPont Lunger; and rider, Randy Romero who always wore a smile despite his injury-ridden career.
This much awaited and over-due bittersweet tribute chronicling the meteoric career of the beloved darling of New York racing, GO FOR WAND, features EVERY SINGLE ONE of her 13 RACES ALL IN THEIR ENTIRETY from start to finish in addition to various other rare footage that legions of still devoted fans will cherish. Separating triumph and tragedy is an arduous endeavor, but remembering GO FOR WAND's shocking heartrending public death in the 1990 Breeders' Cup Distaff robs her of all the accomplishments of her life.
Included in this time capsule you will see the following 13 races:
1) Her dynamic debut on 9/14/89 at Belmont in a maiden special weight winning by 4 lengths and featuring SEASIDE ATTRACTION
2) 10/02/89 at Belmont winning an allowance race with apparent ease
3) 10/14/89 losing for the first time to STELLA MADRID in the Frizette Stakes (Gr. I) also featuring DANCE COLONY
4) Proving her superiority at Gulfstream in the 11/4/89 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Filly (Gr. I) by beating STELLA MADRID and avenging her previous loss
5) Entering her three-year-old season in top form winning the 4/10/90 Beaumont Stakes (Gr. III) by 8-1/2 lengths featuring SEASIDE ATTRACTION and TRUMPET'S BLARE
6) Her 5-length triumph in the Ashland Stakes (Gr. II) on 4/21/90 at Keeneland featuring CHARON
7) Her unfortunate loss in the Kentucky Oaks (Gr. I) to SEASIDE ATTRACTION
8) Coming back on track with a vengeance to win the 6/10/90 Mother Goose Stakes (Gr. I) at Belmont also featuring STELLA MADRID and CHARON
9) Her Saratoga debut winning in style in the 8/2/90 Test Stakes (Gr. I);
10) Going for a double in the Saratoga meet in the prestigious Alabama (Gr. I)
11) Beating elders in the 9/2/90 Maskette (Gr. I)
12) And Beldame (Gr. I) on 10/7/90 both at Belmont.
Some thought she was the next RUFFIAN. It doesn't really matter, though. What matters is what happened next on a sunny late Fall October day in 1990, when GO FOR WAND was sent off as the 7-10 favorite and faced her biggest challenge, the great mare BAYAKOA
13) In the 1990 Breeders' Cup Distaff at Belmont Park
Both female champions dominated all competition on their respective coasts - BAYAKOA on the California circuit and GO FOR WAND a New York campaign. To determine the best filly or mare in the land, however, they would have to meet and for almost a year racing fans eagerly anticipated their first head-to-head duel. One of the hallmarks of a great horse is the will to win, the courage and heart to give his or her all as they come down the stretch, to hit the wall and still keep going. No horse can be forced to run this way; they have to want it more than anything else. A great horse will not accept defeat. When two great horses hook up in a race, something happens. You get ALYDAR and AFFIRMED in the Belmont running head-to-head, nose and nose for half the race with neither one throwing in the towel. You get EASY GOER and SUNDAY SILENCE in the Preakness, hitting the wire as one horse. But sometimes....you get tragedy.
As the starting gates sprang open for that 1990 Breeders' Cup Distaff it was as if they both knew what was expected from them and the stage was set. Within steps it became evident the race would unfold as advertised: two champion fillies both with great tactical speed, immediately engaged in battle. Sprinting down the backstretch, they raced as if attached; neither giving an inch. From the grandstand, only GO FOR WAND, who was on the inside with her purple and yellow silks, was noticeable. Turning for home and still matching strides, the crowd of better than 60,000 was getting what they came to see: a race for the ages.
Mid-way into the stretch, still inseparable, it appeared that GO FOR WAND was not going to succumb as is the norm with the horse on the "inside" in a nose-to-nose confrontation. In fact, she looked to be inching away from her older rival about 200 yards from the wire. GO FOR WAND was on the rail and had a short but increasing lead. But the older mare was right there on her outside and still coming fast. It looked like a great stretch duel was in the making - one for the books. BAYAKOA was bigger than GO FOR WAND and older, more experienced. GO FOR WAND was small and nimble and as fast as they come. Neither liked to lose, but short of a dead heat, one horse will always win and one will always lose. Something in one of them has to give way, the tiniest shortening of stride, the smallest hesitation when looking the other horse in the eye. Something has to give way...something did.
In the flash of an eye, GO FOR WAND had over-extended her stride and shattered a foreleg dropping like a stone with rider, Randy Romero. Within seconds, the rest of the field swept past their fallen bodies. One moment she was running as she was meant to - fierce and fast...the next she was on the ground leaving BAYAKOA to run on alone - a bittersweet victory. In that moment, GO FOR WAND transcended the ordinary. She joined the sad pantheon of great horses who have died on the track: RUFFIAN, PRAIRIE BAYOU, BLACK GOLD, ROVING BOY, MR. NICKERSON and so many other gallant runners.
What a shame to have such shining stars forever viewed simply with horror and sadness. Few people knew that GO FOR WAND was a kind filly who loved to be rubbed and treated like a lady. While most of our Thoroughbreds never suffer life-ending injuries, our hearts have always poured out to those who have. We love them for their efforts, respect them for their struggles, miss them for what they gave us of themselves.
The filly, half mad with pain and fear and still pumping full of adrenaline, tried to get up, even though one leg was damaged beyond repair. Before horsemen and medical personnel could arrive, she instinctively staggered toward the finish line...striving as if she was still desperately trying to win the race. Those of us who saw the courage of that moment will never forget it.
Veterinarians put her down right there on the track; with no hope of recovery...it was only humane to put her out of her extreme pain as quickly as possible - her eyes still fixed on the finish line. For one mile of the 1-1/8 mile race it may have been the greatest filly race ever. Today, champion GO FOR WAND is buried in the infield at historic Saratoga Race Course where she had been so dominant and achieved some of her greatest success. The day after the accident, Mrs. Lunger worked out arrangements with the New York Racing Association to have GO FOR WAND buried near the winner's circle complete with a beautiful monument. Saratoga is also where GO FOR WAND was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996 and where the Grade I Maskette was relocated and renamed in GO FOR WAND's honor.
Although her death seemed senseless and cruel, GO FOR WAND's tragedy had positive repercussions for future Breeders' Cup runners and all racehorses. The veterinary and racing communities moved quickly to set up an injury management plan, which was in place by the 1991 Breeders' Cup and remains in effect today. It consists of an, "On-Call" program developed by the American Association of Equine Practitioners and a myriad of specialized equipment and trained staff to respond to injured horses.
How times have changed in how we view GO FOR WAND; in an instant, she became remembered forever for one gruesome incident in the home stretch at a Breeders' Cup rather than for her many brilliant moments on the racetrack. We asked GO FOR WAND for her beauty, her speed, her courage and that indefinable magic that surrounds a great horse. This she gave willingly and still more: she gave her life as well.
They say only the good die young; only the great achieve victory even in defeat. So like the legendary filly RUFFIAN 15 years before her, GO FOR WAND was touched by both brilliance and tragedy. Our fallen hero...we will always remember you, "WANDA" - you were TRULY one of the greats!
GO FOR WAND's painful death, unyielding spirit to win and noble gallantry continue to deeply move people long after her death. This 1 hour and 45 minute tribute recounts the life of the filly whose accomplishments on the track engendered fierce devotion from her fans whose memory will forever hold a special place in their hearts. Sometimes these gallant creatures give their lives for OUR enjoyment - this time capsule was compiled in tribute towards the effort ALL racehorses put forth for US everyday and as a reminder as to how fragile their lives are held in our hands.
FOR A DETAILED CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF ALL 13 RACES FEATURED IN THIS TIME CAPSULE, JUST REQUEST A COPY AND A COMPILATION SHEET ALONG WITH THE 1,2,3 FINISHERS WILL BE E-MAILED TO YOU.
|Format(s) Available:||DVD And VHS|
|Category:||U.S. & Canadian Flat Racing|