Little did anyone expect that the small, spindly legged yearling wearing hip number 33 at the 1973 Liberty Bell Sale would one day turn into a world famous racehorse. In fact, what convinced Ken and Claire Mazik to purchase Silk Stockings had little to do with her pedigree or conformation and a lot to do with what they considered to be a divine message. Always perceiving 33 to be a holy number, Claire Mazik was not at all surprised when their sale catalog kept falling open to the page displaying Silk Stockings’ information. The Maziks had come to the sale to acquire a horse for the Au Clair School, a small institution they owned and ran in Bear, Delaware which focused on the education and care of autistic children. Having limited funds to support the school, they hoped that a racehorse would not only provide entertainment for the children, but also a chance to gain extra funding.
Silk Stockings was bred by Bert V. James of Windsor, Ontario and was trained and driven by Preston Burris, Jr. of Smyrna, Delaware. Her new owners, the Maziks, Instantly grew attached to “Silky,” viewing her as a child filled with potential. She told Hoof Beats: “We staked her to everything…Just like with a child, you want to give them every advantage to be great if they are.” And she did not disappoint. She began to show her talent within her first racing season. Winning divisions of the Hanover Filly Stakes, Battle of Saratoga, Pocahontas, a heat of the Almahurst Farm Stake and six New York Sire Stakes, Silky closed 1974 with an 18-12-4-2 record and a total of $144,110 in earnings. She was voted the 1974 Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer of the Year.
Continuing to train hard, by the start of her second season Silky had outgrown her small, weak looking frame and reportedly grown to be a respectable sixteen hands. She started the season strong at Brandywine with a time of 1:57.4f which set a new track record for sophomore fillies of either gait. Less than two weeks later she set another track record, this time at Goshen Historic Track, for all-time, all-sex, all-gait. Silky only picked up speed from there, setting seven more track records, eight world records, pacing nine 2:00 miles, and achieving her best time of 1:55.2. She also took the Monticello O.T.B. Classic, which was the largest single purse in history up to that point, the Adioo Volo and the Jugette. By the end of 1975, Silky had achieved a 24-15-5-3 record and earned a total of $336,312. Due to her consistency upon whatever track she raced, she proved herself as the season’s champion on all track sizes and was voted the 1975 Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer of the Year and Pacer of the Year. In the closest contest in over twenty years, Silky lost the title of Harness Horse of the Year to Savior by three votes but was proclaimed by The Harness Horse magazine to be the “New Queen of Harness Racing.”
Foot problems shortened Silky’s third season, but she was still able to match her previous record of 1:55.2, pace seven 2:00 miles and set a track record at Wolverine Raceway and a world record at the Meadowlands for four-year-old pacers on a mile track. Her 1976 season closed with 12-8-1-0 record and a total of $89,552 in earnings. By this time Silky’s fame and popularity had managed to reach beyond the limits of the sport. She became a public-relations icon, featured in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and television’s 60 Minutes. The Maziks even began planning a full length movie focusing on Silky’s amazing story. The anticipated movie drew enough interest from the community that Northwood, New Hampshire schools celebrated “Silk Stockings Day” in order to let the kids watch her be filmed at local Rockingham Park. Unfortunately the movie was never completed.
In 1977 Silky continued to impress her fans by pacing four 2:00 miles and setting two world records for aged mares, one of which she did on film at Rockingham Park without a prompter and with a stiff wind against her. Tragically, Silky’s racing career came to a sudden halt when her foot was injured beyond repair during a shipping accident. She was forced to end her season early with a total of $124,920 in earnings and was retired to breeding under the care of Carter Duer at his Peninsula Farm. She produced five colts and five fillies, two of note being Temujin p,3,1:54.3h ($633,284) by Race Time, and Lady Longlegs p,2,1:58.1 ($258,149) by B.G.’s Bunny. After a difficult delivery in 1995, Silky enjoyed her retirement close to Claire Mazik at Boxwood Farm in New Jersey. She passed away at Boxwood on October 3, 2003 at the age of thirty-one.