White Birch Farm’s Farm Manager Steve Williams reports that multiple O’Brien Award winning mare Town Pro p,3,1:51.4 ($1,229,582) has passed away at the farm at the age of 27.
Williams says that the standout daughter of Big Towner-Programmed passed away overnight on Sunday (October 26) and was found lying peacefully in her stall the morning of Monday, October 27.
“She passed away very peacefully during her sleep,” Williams said. “There were no signs of colic and no signs that there was any thrashing or that she was in any discomfort.”
Williams stated that Town Pro’s passing was tough on him, as the Hall of Fame mare has been with him at White Birch for roughly 20 years.
Town Pro, who was bred by Brian Webster of St. George, Ont. and Raymond Bednarz of Brantford, Ont., earned an O’Brien Award as Canada’s two-year-old pacing filly of the year in 1989. She followed up her juvenile campaign with a standout three-year-old season in 1990 which saw her earn an O’Brien Award in her category in addition to being named Canada’s horse of the year.
Williams said that Town Pro has been buried at White Birch in a spot which overlooks the farm.
Town Pro was the first filly to win consecutive Breeders Crown titles and O’Brien Awards in 1989 and 1990; three-year-old pacing filly honours in North America and Horse of the Year title in Canada in 1990. She was retired from the racetrack in 1992 at the age of five with 40 wins, eight second-place finishes and four third-place efforts from 65 starts. In her racing career, Town Pro accumulated a bankroll of $1.22-million and set a world record – the fastest winning time by a three-year-old pacing filly on a five-eighths-mile track (1:53.1) in the Fan Hanover Stakes at Greenwood Raceway.
During her racing career, Town Pro was owned by the Pro Group Stable, which consisted of her trainer, Stew Firlotte, her driver, Doug Brown, and Robert Grand, Jack Robillard, Tony Delmonte and David Bradshaw. She was bought as a yearling in 1988 for $60,000. To commemorate her greatness, the Woodbine Entertainment Group created the Town Pro Series in 1998, a multi-leg stakes event for three-year-old pacing fillies.
At age two, Town Pro won 12 of 13 starts. Her only loss was in the Countess Adios Stakes. The loss was Firlotte’s cue to give her a rest. The rest worked well, as Town Pro came back to win the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and the Breeders Crown at Pompano Park, where she got her mark of 1:55 over a heavy track.
Town Pro was just as impressive at three, as she won 14 of 17 starts and the American-National, Simcoe, Tarport Hap, another Breeders Crown and the Fan Hanover at Greenwood in 1:53.1.
After her racing days were over, Town Pro joined the broodmare ranks and foaled standouts such as triple millionaire Darlins Delight p,4,1:49.1 ($3,024,304), the hard-hitting Ameripan Gigolo p,4,1:50s ($470,996), Gentleman Friend p,6,1:50.3s ($245,512) and The Ladies Pan p,4,1:52.2s ($193,537), among others.
(Standardbred Canada with files from the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame)