Having completed a stellar racing career downunder in New Zealand and Australia, that included two demolitions in two consecutive NZ Trotting Cups, smashing the World Record for 3200m in the first of these, Lazarus was to be purchased by Taylor Made Stallions of Nicholasville, Kentucky in the USA.
The undisclosed sum is reported to be a record for a standardbred in the southern hemisphere of something close to $4,000,000, for the son of Bettor’s Delight and the Christian Cullen mare Bethany.
Lazarus was bred by G Chin and Studholme Bloodstock Limited and was consigned to the 2014 NZ Premier Yearling Sale as a bay colt named Bettor Than The Best. How very apt that was to become.
The colt was purchased by Philip and Glenys Kennard for $75,000 and was to undergo a name change to become Lazarus, the second. Interestingly, Lazarus was a name that had previously been assigned to a 1987 bay horse by Talk About Class out of Spanish Lace who had died in 1993, so Lazarus had truly arisen again.
Philip and Glenys, who are also Breckon Farms Syndicate members, were to sell shares in the yearling to fellow Breckon Farms Syndicate member Trevor Casey, as well as Australian industry stalwart Kevin Riseley.
The group were to enjoy an incredible journey as Lazarus completed his career racing in Australasia with amazing statistics of 45 starts, for 35 wins, 5 seconds, 4 thirds, for a record $3,821,066 in stake earnings. He had a best Mile Time of 1:49.0, set as a 4-year-old in winning the 2017 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle in Sydney and also set 5 NZ Records, with 15 Group 1 wins included in his resume and was NZ 3YO & 4YO Pacer of the Year. His only unplaced start in his entire downunder career was in his last race before being sold, when he drew the outside barrier and was posted 3-wide for the entire trip in a 1:46.9 Miracle Mile, understandably finishing back in 7th placing.
After this race on the 24th February 2018, the owners of Lazarus began to receive interest in purchasing the horse and after much deliberation a sale was eventually finalised with Taylor Made Stallions, a group who had previously been involved mainly with thoroughbred horses.
In May, Taylor Made Stallions placed Lazarus in the care of leading USA trainer Jimmy Takter, with the aim to further enhance the career of the richest Standardbred of all-time down under by aiming to win some important stakes races in North America and attempting to break the World Record of Always B Miki of 1:46 for the mile and then become a dual hemisphere stallion, serving mares in both North America and Australasia.
Lazarus made his first public appearance in the USA on the 28th July, when he attended the Qualifiers at The Meadowlands, running a sensational 1:48.3 mile, only three-fifths of a second off Pure Country’s all-time 1:48 record for a qualifier, to win and beat the outstanding 3-year-old Lather On, winner of the North America Cup and run home in a last half of 53 and a last quarter of 25.3, for driver Yannick Gingras.
After this impressive performance, Lazarus’ North American race debut was to be fast-tracked with his new owners making the $25,000 late entry fee payment for Lazarus to be able to contest the US$325,000 Dan Patch at Hoosier Park in Indiana on the 10th August, a race for older pacers and restricted to the 10 highest lifetime money-earners that enter for the race, with the winner receiving an automatic nomination to the $175,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby on the 21st September.
So, Lazarus was to take his place in the Dan Patch field, but was once again dealt a blow when drawing the outside barrier at No.9 for the mile race, on the 1400m track and with the field including William R Haughton Memorial winner McWicked who had won six of eight starts this season for $574,561 and was approaching $3,000,000 in career earnings as well as being the current top horse in harness racing’s older male pacer division at that time, it wasn’t going to be easy for Lazarus.
The Friday night local time race was to air live on TAB Trackside TV early on Saturday afternoon the 11th August in New Zealand and was also to be shown on Australia’s Sky Racing 1. Sky Racing’s Greg Hayes was on-course to add some downunder comment to the presentation and so it was to be an opportunity for New Zealand and Australian fans to be able to watch their hero’s USA race debut live.
The field also included fellow Kiwi Bit Of Legend and in true character, Lazarus was not to disappoint. Being sent out a 6/5 favourite despite the odds being stacked against him, he made a fast beginning from out wide to settle handy early, before pressing on to lead after the first quarter was completed and running through the first half mile in 54.2, before going on to win in stylish fashion and confirm all the pre-race hype. Yannick Gingras was once again in the sulky, as Lazarus was challenged strongly from the quarter, running home in 26 seconds flat, to win in 1:48.4.
It was a dream start to his North American career and obviously Lazarus will be enhancing greatly his already impressive race record and no doubt his future stallion prospects as well.
I’m sure his previous owners will enjoy the ride and no doubt experienced huge thrills in watching him win on debut in the USA, as we all did.
Lazarus’ New Zealand trainer Mark Purdon said after his USA win, “It was great to see Laz go so well though we know how good he is and Jimmy Takter is just thrilled with him. He should be able to really put his stamp on American racing now.”
Lazarus’ next major race has been confirmed as the Canadian Pacing Derby, which has eliminations on the 25th August and the Final on the 1st September (Sunday 2nd September NZ Time) at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
It is then likely that Lazarus’ schedule will include the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby (as mentioned above), the Allerage Farms Open Pace on 6th October at the Red Mile and the Breeders Crown Eliminations on the 20th October and the Final on the 27th October at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
After that, the world is his oyster, whether it be on the track, or in the breeding barn.
We offer our CONGRATULATIONS to all concerned, past and present !!!