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Gary Kemplen

Gary Kemplen

January 1, 2019
Gary Kemplen
Bred by E.P. Taylor, Glorious Song is a bona fide racing legend. She was a four-time champion for Frank Stronach and Nelson Bunker Hunt and dam of such brilliant stars as champion Singspiel and the high-profile sire Rahy.
 
Stronach bought Glorious Song for $36,000 at the 1977 Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society yearling sale at Woodbine and raced her until selling a half-interest in her to Hunt. The sale took place two days before Glorious Song won the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap in February of 1980.
 
Glorious Song was certainly no longshot when she was honoured with a 1980 Eclipse Award as top older mare, also picking up Canadian Sovereign awards as Horse of the Year and best older mare.
 
She repeated as Canada's top older mare when she won the 1981 edition of the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes along with the Grade 2 Santa Maria Handicap, as well as another Dominion Day Stakes crown, that triumph coming in track-record time.
 
At year’s end, Glorious Song was retired. She recorded 17 career victories, including 13 added-money wins, from 34 starts and earnings of $1,004,534, while trained first by Fred Loschke, then Gerald Belanger Jr., and finally John Cairns.
 
Following her retirement, Hunt bought Stronach's interest in her.
 
In 1995, she was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
 
This Saturday, the annual Glorious Song Stakes, at seven furlongs, will be contested at Woodbine.

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For Gary Kemplen, jockey agent to Woodbine-based riders Patrick Husbands and Gary Boulanger, his association with Glorious Song, dating back some 35 years ago, remains one of his most treasured times in the sport.
 
“I was assistant trainer and exercise rider for the great Glorious Song. She was memorable in so many ways, including her being very temperamental and mean. It’s funny, but the meaner she was, the better she ran.
 
She changed my life in so many ways. She took me all over North America, where we ran in big stakes at Santa Anita, Arlington and New York tracks. It’s where I established so many connections and friendships, people that I still call friends to this day.
 
From there, I became a jockey agent for Dennis Carr in New York, after being an assistant trainer for Walter Kelley in New York as well. After two years with some success with Dennis, (jockey) Dave Penna convinced me to come to Woodbine to work for him in 1991. From there, I was jockey agent for Mickey Walls and Rob Landry, before moving on to Patrick Husbands and Gary Boulanger, who I also had in 2000 and 2001.
 
It’s been quite a journey, but it all comes back to those days with Glorious Song. My fondest memory of her on the racetrack was when she defeated Misty Gallore, who had been on a huge win streak. Glorious Song beat her in the Spinster at Keeneland in the fall of 1981.
 
Life can always get so busy, but to be able to have this opportunity to look back, to remember a great horse, is a wonderful thing. To me, she will always be the consummate athlete – strong-willed, tough, talented, and never giving an inch to her competition. I owe her a lot, and I’ll never forget what she did for me."       
 
By Gary Kemplen 

(C) Ontario Horse Racing 2015. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without permission.
 

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