handle with care
Handle With Care, the daughter of Meadow Skipper and Lady Emily by Hillsota, was bred by Stoner Creek Stud, Inc., of Paris, Kentucky. On the advice of Billy Haughton, she was purchased in the fall of 1972 for $12,000 at the Tattersalls Yearling Sale by Irving Liverman, a Canadian sportsman and a director of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Trained and driven by Haughton throughout her career, she was retired in 1976 as the richest and fastest pacing mare in harness racing history with a time-trial mark of 1:54.2 and a bankroll of $809,689. This world champion won 53 of 99 lifetime starts, 19 of which were miles in 2:00 or faster. Colonel and Mrs. H. Willis Nichols of Walnut Hall Farm, Lexington, Kentucky purchased an interest in her in 1986 and in 1991 she was sold to Michelle R. Goodman of Kentuckiana Farms.
In 1973 at two, Handle With Care won all 17 of her starts and $141,169. Her stake wins included the Matron, Miss Vera Bars, Belle Acton, La Paloma, Blue Bonnets Grand Circuit, Hanover and Loto Perfecta. She was voted the United States Harness Writers' Association's Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year and Canada's Horse of the Year.
As a three-year-old, Handle With Care extended her winning streak to a world record 24 races. In 1974 she won 19 of 24 starts and $226,278. Major stakes won included the Jugette, Adioo Volo, Flora Temple, Lady Maud, Western Pace, Hanover-Hempt and Canadian Series. Her time-trial that year of 1:54.2 was not only the fastest ever for a filly or mare, it was also two seconds faster than any filly or mare had ever gone. It was the fastest mile of 1974 and the third fastest in the sport's history, behind Steady Star (1:52) and Bret Hanover (1:53.3). Handle With Care's Jugette victory in 1:57.4 equaled two world records set by Bret's Pet in 1972: the fastest mile ever paced by a three-year-old filly on a half-mile track and the fastest mile ever paced by a female of any age on a half-mile track. Her 3:56.4 Jugette total broke the two-heat half-mile track world record for both three-year-old fillies and for females of any age. Her victory in 1:54.4 at Hollywood Park with Peter Haughton driving equaled Albatross's all-age world record for pacing on a mile track in a race. This amazing filly was again voted Canada's Horse of the Year and USHWA's Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year.
At four, Handle With Care raced against the best older pacers in the country, scoring 11 wins and earning $249,159. She was selected as USHWA's Four-Year-Old Pacing Mare of the Year after winning the 1 1/4-mile $100,000 International Pace, the U.S. Pacing Championship and the Continental Cup.
As a five-year-old, Handle With Care's victories included the North American Championship Match Race and the Canadian Cup. She set a world record of 3:01.4 for 1 1/2 miles at Yonkers Raceway on November 6, 1976. Her earnings for the year were $193,083.
Handle With Care produced twelve foals, nine of which were starters with close to $300,000 in earnings and eight of which had records of 2:00 or under. Inducted into the Living Horse Hall of Fame as a racehorse in 2002, Handle With Care died on June 24, 2005 at Kentuckiana Farms, Lexington, Kentucky.
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's "The 2003-2005 Immortals" (2006)