|Foaled||1 September 1976|
|Owner||Don Carrazza, John Green, Ken Grivec, Morris Kasses and Greg Pardo|
|Major Wins, Awards and Honors|
A G Hunter Cup
Australian Pacing Championship
|1982/3 Australian Harness Horse of the Year|
|Best mile rate, 1:53.2|
|Infobox last updated on: 2009-05-17.|
Popular Alm was an Australian bred Standardbred pacer. He was one of the fastest pacers Australia has produced, running exceptional times over many distances. Popular Alm set a world record for a mile time trial at Moonee Valley on 13 May 1983, running 1:53.2. He raced 62 times over seven seasons for 49 wins, seven seconds and three thirds for stake earnings of $710,883.
He was bred by Arthur Pearce and foaled in 1976 at Bendigo, Victoria. Popular Alm was by Sovereign Adios from Direct Design, a daughter of Truant Hanover. He was inbred to Adios in the third generation (3x3) of his pedigree.
Making his racing debut as a two year old Popular Alm had raced only five times before being sold for $40,000 to clients of Kilmore based trainer Bob Knight. Making his debut for Knight in the 1980 South Australian Pacing Derby at Globe Derby Park, Popular Alm was the subject of a betting plunge. He was backed from 33/1 to 9/4 but finished second behind fellow Victorian Gammalite.
After suffering an injury upon returning to Victoria he was sent for a spell and did not race again until August 1980. Progressing quickly through his classes Popular Alm won 15 consecutive races including the 1981 Kilmore Cup and a track record breaking win in 1.55.9 over the mile at Harold Park in Sydney. The winning sequence came to an end when he finished second in the 1982 Ballarat Cup off a 25 metre handicap. After an unsuccessful Interdominion campaign when he finished third in the final, Popular Alm was given a spell before beginning the 1982/3 season which saw him become Australian Harness Horse of the Year. During 1982/3 he won the Winfield Cup (later known as the Victoria Cup), the Miracle Mile, the A G Hunter Cup, all three legs of the Tasman Challenge, and finished second in the Auckland Interdominion final behind Gammalite. He completed the season with his 1.53.2 time trial. By breaking the previous Australian mile record by 1.7 seconds, he reduced the record by more than any horse since Walla Walla in 1933.
On October 29, 1983, Popular Alm became the shortest priced favourite in Australian harness racing history when winning at Brisbane’s Albion Park.
Popular Alm began the 1983/4 season by winning the Craven Filter Sprint on the opening night of the new Albion Park in 1.54.5, a new Australian record time for a race. He then won the Australian Pacing Championship and the Winfield Cup before suffering a serious injury. 'Poppy' as he had become known, had broken a bone in his leg during trackwork and did not race for nearly a year. During his recovery he received get well cards from children.
Popular Alm was able to return to racing in preparation for Melbourne's 1985 Inter Dominion Championships. Although winning his only two starts after returning to racing late in 1984 he never regained full fitness and was retired to stud.
Popular Alm died aged 24 in South Australia after suffering the effects of a crippling spinal disease caused by a spur-like calcification on a vertebra in his neck.
He has had a race, the Popular Alm Free For All, named after him since the 1996/7 season. This race is an important lead-up to the Victoria Cup one of Victoria's premier harness races.
- 1983 A G Hunter Cup
- 1981 & 1982 Kilmore Cup
- 1982 & 1983 Winfield Cup
- 1983 Miracle Mile
- 1982 Harold Park Spring Cup
- 1983 Craven Filter Sprint
- World and Australasian record time trial in 1983
- Australasian mile race record in 1981 & 1983
- Cain, Robert Kilmore - The Cup That Grew (1988)
- Australian Harness Racing Guide (1991), Australian Harness Racing Council
- ↑ Classic Families: Popular Alm Retrieved 2010-5-18
- ↑ Agnew, Max, "Silks & Sulkies – The Complete Book of Australian and New Zealand Harness Racing", Doubleday, Sydney, 1986, ISBN: 0 86824 245 4
- ↑ Cain, Robert Kilmore - The Cup That Grew (1988)
- ↑ Australian Harness Racing Guide (1991), Australian Harness Racing Council
- ↑ Just Racing