After a spectacular racing career, pacer and 1990 Horse of the Year Beach Towel retired as the richest single-season Standardbred (both gaits) of all time.
A son of French Chef out of Sunburn by Armbro Nesbit, 1987 foal Beach Towel was bred by Hall of Fame Immortal Norman S. Woolworth and Alice Johnston, widow of Immortal David R. Johnston, at their Stoner Creek Farm in Paris, Kentucky. He was owned by Seth Rosenfeld of Uptown Stables. Beach Towel was trained by brothers Gordon, Larry and Hall of Famer Ray Remmen and driven by Ray Remmen.
Although plagued by allergies as a two-year-old, Beach Towel won 11 of 13 starts, earning $478,497. He set stakes, track or season records with each victory, including the Presidential, Matron, Potomac and a Governor’s Cup elimination.
As a three-year-old, Beach Towel entered the winner’s circle in 18 out of 23 starts. Victories and records included the Little Brown Jug, Meadowlands Pace, Adios (world record for 2nd heat), Breeders Crown (setting a stakes’ record), Prix d’Ete (setting a 2-heat world record), Tattersalls (setting a world record for single-season earnings and tying the world record for a 2nd heat), American-National (setting stake and track records), Miller Memorial, Hanover Colt and Terrapin Stakes. That year he set the records for the most sub-1:55 wins in a season (18) and the most 1:53 wins in a season (12). Beach Towel was voted 1990 Horse of the Year, and he retired as a world champion and the richest single-season Standardbred of all time ($2,091,860). His lifetime earnings totaled $2,570,357.
Upon retirement from racing, Beach Towel stood at the Meirs family’s Walnridge Farm in Cream Ridge, New Jersey. He sired winners of over $47 million, with 146 $100,000 winners. He is the sire of 8 in 1:50 and 192 in 1:55, including three-time Breeders Crown winner Jenna’s Beach Boy p,4,1:47.3 ($1,972,172). As a broodmare sire, Beach Towel sired the dams of winners of over $44 million with 218 in 1:55. Beach Towel was inducted into the Living Horse Hall of Fame in 2005.
In 1998 David James Bloodstock Ltd. purchased an interest in Beach Towel and oversaw his Down Under breeding career on behalf of Uptown Stables and the Meirs family. The great stallion arrived at Woodlands Stud in New Zealand in September 1999. After retiring from stud duties in July 2008 he went to Puketutu Island, Auckland, New Zealand, the final home of the Immortal Cardigan Bay. Beach Towel passed away there at the age of 22 on March 21, 2009.
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 2006-2009 IMMORTALS