Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Hawkin's Special—Bette's Gold by Espea - b, h
Trained by William Mott
Lifetime: Starts 41; Wins 21


Obit: September 19, 2006 This afternoon, under a broad Kentucky sky, Taylor's Special died. The great horse with the big ears and a bigger heart can never be replaced. His reputation rests on a staggering 21 wins from 41 starts over five years with 13 stakes wins at nine different tracks under the astute handling of trainer Bill Mott. At 5, he crushed the six furlong record at Arlington Park - a record that, unfortunately, outlasted him. But, as great as he was on the track, he was even better as a retiree. At Old Friends, he loved posing for pictures and showing off for visitors, throwing his head back and arching his back, showing everyone that there was still something left in the old bay son of Hawkins Special. Everyone loved him. No matter how much you prepare for the inevitable eventuality it doesn't make it any less painful when it's time to say goodbye. Maya DeRosa and Sylvia Buerkle along with farm manager Janet Beyersdorfer, trainer Kent Ralstin and veterinarian Dr. Holly Aldinger joined with our invaluable volunteers to let Taylor know, his his final moments, how much we all loved him. The sun is setting now over the paddocks of Creator and Sunshine Forever and Ogygian and Bull Inthe Heather and Precisionist is staring out at Popcorn Deelites and Special Ring. Tomorrow we'll begin preparing for our newest retiree, Awad. Things will eventually get back to normal. But they'll never be the same.


History: You might say Taylor 's Special was, well, suited for the racetrack. Boasting a staggering 21 wins out of 41 starts, the bay colt raced for five seasons, accumulated 13 stakes victories, and helped propel Bill Mott into racing prominence.

Bred as a sprinter, the son of Hawkin's Special unpredictably had a career wrought with staying power. As a 2-year-old, Taylor 's Special sewed up four out of seven starts, including his first added-money win in the Iroquois. He blazed a 3-year-old campaign winning five out of six starts—a streak that climaxed with consecutive wins in the Louisiana Derby and the Bluegrass Stakes. That display of high-class speed made him a bonafide Triple Crown contender and so he vied in both the 1984 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. At 5, the seasoned vet crushed the 6-furlong track record at Arlington Park when he ran a blistering 1:08 . A year later, at the same track, he scored another banner achievement: Capturing the Washington Park Handicap, Taylor's Special raised his lifetime earnings to over $1 million.

Found abandoned on a farm in Granite, WA., the stallion came to Old Friends in 2005 through the Washington-based Hope for Horses.