Addington Welcome to The Addington Harness Hall of Fame.

We aim to preserve the great moments of the past at Addington Raceway by providing an interactive virtual presence using the internet to reach millions of people world wide and our local harness racing industry here in New Zealand.

Harness Racing in New Zealand is one of the most popular forms of equestrian sport. There is nothing more exciting than owning and racing a harness horse.

Addington Harness Hall of Fame is proud to be a part of this wonderful club and venue and we will be there for many more years to come bringing you the great moments of the past and those of the future.

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TIMELINE


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BLAST FROM THE PAST


CARDIGAN BAY: U S Tribute

USA TRIBUTE TO CARDIGAN BAY (From 'Hoof Beats')

A chartered cargo plane, which he had all to himself, deposited Cardigan Bay on American soil on the first day of spring, 1964. It was prophetic. For the next five years the great NZ pacing horse was destined to be the evergreen of harness racing, the hardy perennial which not even advancing old age could keep pruned for long. In the September of his years Cardigan Bay planted springtime in the hearts of millions of racing fans.

Cardigan Bay showed up in the United States with just $158,212 in his pockets. When he had cooled out for the last time beneath the blue and gold blanket of the Stanley Dancer Stable at Freehold Raceway on the late afternoon of September 14, 1968, he had accumulated earnings of $1,001,353 and so become the first millionaire horse in standardbred history.

A month later in a warm Saturday night bath of spotlights at Yonkers Raceway he was officially disarmed, relinquishing his racing shoes and equipment amidst pomp and ceremony and the Prime Minister of NZ. It had been, by formal proclamation, 'Cardigan Bay Day' in Yonkers, New York. The next evening Cardigan Bay walked down a long red carpet, which lead into the living rooms of 20-million viewers, on the Ed Sullivan television show. No immigrant had ever 'made it' any bigger any faster.

Cardigan Bay's path to greatness on the North American continent was not a charted one, nor was it paved with pushovers. In his very first race at Yonkers, he had to beat Royal Rick. He did. In his next few races he had to beat the likes of Overtrick, Irvin Paul, Henry T Adios, Country Don, Mighty Tide, Rusty Range and Cold Front. As often as not he did.

Fact is, the rest of the top free-for-allers had been waiting for him. Cardigan Bay had arrived in the United States in a cloud of press clippings. Everone knew the story. How Stanley Dancer had made the long trip to NZ expressly to see the big bay pacing machine, how he hadn't been able to swing the purchase until just 15 minutes before his plane was due to depart, and how it had still cost him $100,000 to buy an eight-year-old gelding.

Back in the United States the future enemy also quickly heard of the unbelievable training routine which Dancer witnessed the week he watched Cardigan Bay. Monday through Friday 15 to 20 miles of jogging each day, then five more jogging miles Saturday morning, a workout of one and a half miles in 3:30, then an afternoon race of a mile and a half, which he won with a 36-yard handicap. The newspapers also carried Dancer's reaction after Cardigan Bay's first workout at the farm in New Egypt, New York. "This is a million dollar horse," Dancer exclaimed as he hopped out of the cart. "I got him $900,000 cheap."

Yes, North America saw Cardigan Bay coming, but it couldn't stop him. Old Cardy, showing an elusive hip to a pursuing Father Time and straight arming one ailment after another, started in 87 races against the most choice of opposition, won 37 of them, finished second 16 times and third on an additional 19 occasions. Cardy left record performances behind him at big places like Yonkers Raceway and Hollywood Park, whipped Bret Hanover in the widely heralded 'Pace of the Century,' attracted tremendous crowds wherever he went, particularly in a series of thrilling 'challenge' and 'revenge' spectacles with Bret Hanover and Overtrick, and finally left the entire world of harness racing limp as he, at last, 'hobbled' past the historic $1-million in 2:01 for the mile.

Like a very good angel who has done so many nice things in a temporary world, Cardigan Bay's life must now go full circle, back to NZ. This clause was in the original contract which Stanley Dancer signed with Mrs Audrey Dean of Auckland. "Wherever he is, he will never really be far away," Stan Dancer said as he folded up Old Cardy's cooler for the last time and prepared to tuck it tenderly and carefully away. Stan was the spokeman for every racing devotee on this continent.

For every individual man who knew Cardigan Bay was coming, there are now 1000 who know he is leaving. Old Cardy could get to people real quick.

Credit: NZ Trotting Calendar 5Feb69

 
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