By Dick Jerardi
When the first Parx Hall of Fame Class was inducted a decade ago, it included such legendary horses as Smarty Jones and My Juliet, trainers John Servis and Scott Lake, jockeys Tony Black and Rick Wilson. A decade later, the 10th class, which was inducted on Oct. 12, included three horses, three trainers, one jockey and two special achievement honorees.
Pure Sensation was based in New York with trainer Christophe Clement, but make no mistake, the gray blur was a Parx horse. In the closing-on-50-year-history of the race track, no horse has earned more money at Keystone/Philadelphia Park/Parx than Pure Sensation.
The gelding raced eight times in the two Parx graded stakes turf sprints, the Parx Dash and Turf Monster. He won the Dash in 2016, 2017, and 2019 while finishing third in 2018. He won the Monster in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
“He was always trying,’’ said assistant trainer Christophe Lorieul. “He loved this place. It was something special about here. He was a delight to train.’’
And a delight to watch run.
The wonderful filly Cathryn Sophia began her career with four dominating wins, finished third in the 2016 Ashland Stakes before winning the Kentucky Oaks.
“So many good memories,’’ said owner Chuck Zacney. “We picked her out at the Fasig-Tipton Maryland sale in 2014 for $30,000.’’
Bought for $30,000, she earned $1.229 million.
“This is really special,’’ Zacney said. “This is my second one. Two years ago, Jaywalk and now Cathryn Sophia. Parx, I consider my home base.’’
The filly was Servis’s fourth Parx HOF along with Smarty Jones, Jostle and Jaywalk.
“She was a filly that showed her talent early on,’’ Servis said. “She just constantly had nagging issues. We just had to be very patient with her. We finally got her to the races and she showed her stuff, went on, had a great career and took us on a heck of a ride.’’
Indeed she did.
“This is my home and we put all of our effort into Parx, not just training, but on the (PTHA) board, trying to make this place a better place,’’ Servis said.
Trainer Carlos Guerrero always had high hopes for Spun to Run. The colt rewarded his trainer and owner Bob Donaldson with a powerful win in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile after wins in the Smarty Jones and Ballezzi Appreciation Mile. The colt won $1.14 million that year.
“He did have an incredible year,’’ Donaldson said. “I felt the Ballezzi set us up really well. He ran a 110 Beyer and that was the highest Beyer of a mile or over of that year for a 3-year-old so that’s really what made our decision to go to the Breeders’ Cup.’’
A great decision it was.
Jockey Joe Hampshire, who grew up in South Philly, rode for 33 years from 1983 to 2015. He spent his early career at Keystone/Philadelphia Parx, went to New England for much of the 1990s and early 2000s where he was leading rider 18 times and then returned in 2004 to finish his career at Philadelphia Park/Parx.
“Joe was a star around here for many years,’’ said PTHA board member Steve Appel who accepted on behalf of Hampshire. “He had an amazing career which he finished up here at Parx.’’
Hampshire was ill so he could not attend the ceremony, but he can still be seen most every day at the track as a highly successful jockey’s agent and all-around good guy.
Trainer Butch Reid joins older brother Mark in the HOF. His career really turned when he came to Parx with wife Ginny when the purses took off 15 years ago.
He now has 12 graded stakes winners, including dual Grade I winner, Breeders’ Cup winner and 2020 champion 2-year-old filly Vequist.
“It’s a lifelong dream and struggle and (Ginny’s) been through a lot of it with me along with my daughter Whitney, living various places around the east coast,’’ Reid said.
Now, they are at Parx, winning more than ever with better horses than they ever had before. Reid has 829 career winners and his horses have earned $28.5 million.
Like the Reids, trainer Pat Farro and husband Mike are a backstretch team.
“I can’t believe it,’’ Farro sait.“ It’s still a shock to me. Everything that we’ve accomplished together. It’s great to do something you really love and make a living at it.’’
It really should not have been a shock.She deserves it.
Farro’s horses have won 1,909 races and earned $47.3 million. From 2012-17, she won 704 races, getting more than 100 wins every year during that six-year period
Eugene Euster was the trainer of My Juliet, the only Parx-based horse elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame. The brilliant filly won 24 of 36 career races. She raced at 16 tracks from coast to coast. She ran 24 times between 6 and 7 furlongs and won 19. She won the Black Eyed Susan, Cotillion and Test in 1975. She beat Kentucky Derby winner Bold Forbes in the 1976 Vosburgh. And she helped get her trainer elected to the Parx HOF.
Anthony J. Lacovelli, also known as Vince Reed in the Lower Bucks County sports community, was a Racing Analyst at Parx Racing. Vince passed away in 2017. He was such a track fixture that he was an obvious HOF choice in the “Special Contributor’’ category.
“It’s overwhelming,’’ said Reed’s son, also Vince. “He would have loved this. He thought the world of everybody here. This was like another family to him.’’
Reed was elected to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
Roberto “Bobby’’ Velez was a forever fixture at Parx when he suddenly passed away in August. He was another natural as a “Special Contributor.’’
His resume was unending, first as the assistant trainer for Budd Lepman when he had the great sprinter Eillo, winner of the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Then, he was the exercise rider for 1985 Kentucky Derby and Jersey Derby winner Spend a Buck and an assistant to John Servis during the unforgettable Smarty Jones run.
Maureen Donnelly was also a Servis assistant back then and she and Velez became constant companions
“We’re just so proud of him that he was recognized,’’ Donnelly said. “He’s been around (Parx) since the 70s when it was Keystone. It was a special place for him.’’
And he was a special person at Parx as are all of the HOF Class of 2021.