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Western Harness Racing Association
December 1963 - Hoof Beats

WESTERN HARNESS Racing Association's current meeting will go down in history as the fastest ever staged. With two weeks to go the 'record of eighteen magic 2:00 miles or better has already been equalled with both attendance and pari-mutuel handle up 4% over a year ago.

A record crowd (for Hollywood Park) of 20,558 saw L. B. Sheppard's Gamecock, under the magical touch of little Joe O'Brien, win the $50,000 American Pacing Classic by three parts of a length from the fast closing Adora's Dream. Henry T. Adios, the favorite in a field of sixteen starters, was parked out all the way from his No. 15 post and after taking command in the stretch was unable to s ustain his drive. Gamecock had to start from No. 16 in the second tier, but he began behind the fast leaving Mike Pick in the front row, and was able to get to the rail quickly. Time for the mile and one-eighth was 2:133/5. Gamecock, a four-year-old son of Tar Heel, originally was purchased by Sheppard for stud purposes next spring, and it is not known whether his conquest in the Classic will change Sheppard's plans.

Although he was beaten in the Classic the pint-sized Henry T. Adios -earned $7500, enough to shoot his bankroll to $557,728 and past Bye Bye Byrd as the wealthiest pacer in the world.

Cold Front with Clint Hodgins was second choice in the Classic, but finished out of the money. However, his 1:571/5 in winning the Roche Memorial Pace from Henry T. Adios by a nose was the fastest of the meeting.

Clever driving by youngsters like Larry Gregory and Jay Sears has been one of the features of the season. The latter, son of the veteran Gene Sears, took the place of his indisposed father one day and drove the promising three-year-old Hi Lo's Solar to a 1:591/5 clocking. Until he left for the Harrisburg sales right after the Classic, O'Brien appeared to be headed for his ninth Western Harness driving title. Then came the news of the Camp dispersal, including Almahurst Farm in Kentucky and sale of the horses at Hollywood Park. This more or less left clear sailing for the veteran Jimmy Cruise to take command. He was tied with O'Brien at 22 winners apiece on the latter's departure for the East. If animals are good luck omens Cruise will win the meeting in a breeze. His stable includes four goats, four guinea pigs, three dogs, one nesting duck and a gander.

The California debut of New Hat, the giant French horse who is Italian owned and German driven by Gerhard Kruger, is awaited with interest. New Hat is scheduled to start in two races here-the $15,000 Preview Trot on Nov. 8 and the $50,000 American Trotting Classic on Nov. 16, closing day of the meeting. The Preview is at a flat mile, the Classic at a mile and one-eighth. (Biff Lowry)