Trainer Bryn Robertson was expected to send out the winner of the $50,760 (US) Bank of America Challenge on September 3 at Ajax Downs, but his victorious horse was not the one most predicted.
Robertson’s amazing 7-year-old gelding, One Famous Glass, upset reigning Horse of the Year Country Boy 123 in the 440-yard dash, a qualifying race for the $330,000 (US) final at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa on Oct. 14.
Ridden by veteran jockey Tony Phillips, One Famous Glass, known as ‘Eagle,’ was sharp away from the gate and never relinquished his lead, holding off Country Boy 123 by half a length in a time of :21.60 (estimated) for a 104 speed index.
“Well, it surprised me,” said Robertson, who also trains Ruth Barbour’s Country Boy 123. “But Country Boy didn’t break as good as One Famous Glass. One Famous Glass broke like a rocket and he jumped out there. And once he gets out there he runs great at 440. They had a hard time catching him.”
It was the third win in four races this year for One Famous Glass who finished third behind Country Boy 123 in the $58,000 Picov Maturity on June 18, their only previous meeting.
The runner-up finish by Country Boy 123 was the first defeat from four races in 2017 and only his second loss at Ajax Downs in two seasons.
One Famous Glass is owned by Robertson’s wife Carol, daughter-in-law Jaime and Dr. Charles Hall, a veterinarian. The stocky sorrel gelding was the Horse of the Year at Ajax in 2013. He has won 17 of 35 career races and earned just over $247,000.
A $10,000 purchase by Robertson as a yearling at an Oklahoma City yearling sale, One Famous Glass is a Texas-bred son of One Famous Eagle - Quick Glass, by Royal Quick Dash. He has been an important horse for the Robertsons, who have lived and raised horses on their Hillerin Farm in Hillsburgh, Ontario for almost 50 years.
As a 2-year-old, One Famous Glass was a winner and stakes placed before he blossomed as a sophomore. In 2013 he won two Derbies at Ajax Downs and was named the Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc.’s Horse of the Year as well as the American Quarter Horse Association’s High-Point Three-Year-Old Gelding.
As a four-year-old, One Famous Glass tested the best in the United States in the spring. One of his best efforts was a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Leo Stakes at Remington Park in Oklahoma.
The ‘Eagle’ had a chip removed from one of his legs late in 2014 but came back in 2015 and won the Alex Picov Memorial Championship, a race he won again last year.
“He’s a big, stocky, fast horse but he’s easy to handle and never gives you any trouble,” said Robertson. “He’s about 1,200 pounds but a 10-year-old could ride him.”
Robertson will confer with the gelding’s owners before making a decision on whether One Famous Glass will go to Iowa for the Bank of America Challenge final or try for a third straight Picov Memorial Championship on Oct. 9.
By Jennifer Morrison
Photo by Clive Cohen (New Image Media)