Today in Racing History is an occasional feature focusing on some of racing history’s interesting, important, or unusual events.
by Richard Hackerman
APRIL 8, 1978
On this date in 1978, Sally Gibson’s 1977 two year-old Maryland-bred champion Caesar’s Wish took the 1 and 1/16 mile Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico for three year-old fillies, beating Silver Ice by a half-length in 1:45.
Trained by Richard Small and bred by Nathan Cohen in Maryland, this dynamic filly went on to win the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico and the Grade 1 Mother Goose at Belmont. She also ran second in the prestigious, Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks.
Small, who died on Friday, trained a who’s who lineup of great horses, including Maryland Thoroughbred Hall of Famers Broad Brush and Concern. But he believed that this filly was the best horse he ever trained. Caesar’s Wish set a stake record in the Mother Goose, breaking Ruffian’s record, a mark which stood until 1994.
Caesar’s Wish won 11 of 16 starts and earned in excess of $300,000. She is remembered with a race at Laurel Park named in her honor, although, oddly, she never ran at Laurel, making three of her local starts at Pimlico and two at Bowie. Steady N Love won the Caesar’s Wish Stakes earlier this year.
- “Richard Small bio,” Laurel Park website
- “Caesar’s Wish,” Reading Eagle, April 9, 1978
- “Lakeway’s time shatters stakes mark,” Baltimore Sun, June 13, 1994
- “Caesar’s Wish,” Equibase