Spencer - 1928
The year 1928 marked the first year that the name Castleton Farm appeared in the Hambletonian annals. The farm, outside Lexington, Kentucky, was owned by David Look at the time, and it would go on to become a leading breeder and owner of Hambletonian winners. The bay colt Spencer chased the best as a two-year-old; while he won a few stakes, it was Fireglow who was the top trotter among the juveniles. As three-year-olds, the two were again frequent foes until a frightful pile-up was caused by Fireglow in a race near Cleveland, Ohio. While Spencer quickly recovered from his injuries, Fireglow died two days afterward. Spencer prepped for the Hambletonian with a win and a second place finish in the Horse Review Stakes at Goshen before heading upstate to Syracuse for the big test. It was to be the high-headed, pure gaited Spencer’s shining day as he took both heats of the Hambletonian in stakes winning time. Spencer lived out his days as the premier stallion at Castleton Farm.
First of four Hambletonian winners owned by Castleton Farm. Castleton-owned fillies have also won the Oakes four times, including three of the first four years (1971, 1973, 1974). David Look, owner of Castleton, became the first breeder to raise and own a Hambletonian winner. New stake record in the opening heat of 2:02 1/2. Fireglow, pronounced by Walter Cox the greatest trotter he had ever trained, had been all but conceded the trophy when he died two weeks before the race from a mysterious poisoning following the frightful spill at North Randall Park outside of Cleveland. Some observers held Cox responsible for the accident in that race and suspected retribution for it was behind the horse's death. Spencer, a champion two-year-old of 1927, struggled in his return to the races the following year. His first start was the aforementioned Rainy Day Stake, which ended in a wreck. Though he won a heat of the Review at Goshen, he went into the Hambletonian winless in his sophomore year. Also sidelined due to injuries in that spill at North Randall was Spencer's trainer/driver Lon MacDonald, who engaged Bill Leese to drive the eventual winner. With only one start (1929) to his credit, MacDonald would never drive in another Hambletonian. He died two years later.