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Quicken Tree (horse)

Quicken Tree
Sire Royal Orbit
Dam Mother Wit
Grandsire Royal Charger
Damsire Counterpoint
Gender Gelding
Foaled 1963
Country United States
Color Chestnut
Breeder Louis R. Rowan
Owner Louis R. Rowan/Wheelock Whitney, Jr.
Trainer 1) Clyde Turk
2) William T. Canney
Record 74: 15-9-13
Earnings US$718,303
Summary
Quicken Tree is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Mother Wit by Royal Orbit. He was born around 1963 in the United States, and was bred by Louis R. Rowan.
Major wins
Escondido Handicap (1966)
Tropicana Hotel of Las Vegas Handicap (1966)
Display Handicap (1967, 1969)
Inglewood Handicap (1967)
Rancho Bernardo Handicap (1967)
Del Mar Handicap (1968)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (1968)
Manhattan Handicap (1968)
San Luis Obispo Handicap (1969)
Santa Anita Handicap (1970)
San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap (1970)
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)

Quicken Tree (April 18, 1963 - October 22, 1970) was an American Thoroughbred racehorse known for his dramatic come-from-behind style of running and his ability to win at classic and marathon distances. His California breeder, Louis Rowan, a co-founder of the Oak Tree Racing Association, named the horse one of the folk names given to the Rowan plant.

Quicken Tree was foaled in California at Louis Rowan's Summit Lake Farm. He was sired by 1959 Preakness Stakes winner, Royal Orbit, a grandson of the great Nearco whom Thoroughbred Heritage calls "one of the greatest racehorses of the Twentieth Century". [1] Louis Rowan owned Quicken Tree's dam, Mother Wit, a daughter of 1951 American Horse of the Year, Counterpoint, who was a son of the 1943 U.S. Triple Crown champion and Hall of Fame inductee, Count Fleet. Rowan, a co-founder of the Oak Tree Racing Association, raced him in partnership with Wheelock Whitney, Jr.

Extremely high-strung, trainer Clyde Turk had a great deal of difficulty training Quicken Tree and the decision was made to geld him. The operation changed little, but time and patience eventually paid off and he made his racing debut at age three in January of 1966. Still skittish, Quicken Tree had problems in the starting gate and froze at the sound of the bell. After finally departing well behind the rest of the field, he finished dead last. His "freezing up" at the sound of the starting gate bell would plague him throughout his racing career resulting in his need to frequently waste energy just to catch up with the rest of the field. Nonetheless, Quicken Tree's problem meant dramatic come-from-behind wins that made him a crowd favorite. He won his first race in his fourth start after which he showed little talent and was offered to potential buyers in claiming races. No one wanted him.

Nearing the end of Quicken Tree's frustrating three-year-old campaign things began to change and he won a division of the Escondido Handicap at the Del Mar Racetrack and the Tropicana Hotel of Las Vegas Handicap at Bay Meadows Racetrack. In early 1967, Minnesota sportsman Wheelock Whitney, Jr. saw the increasing potential in the gelding and purchased a part interest in the then four-year-old. That year, Quicken Tree won two important handicaps in California then captured the two-mile Display Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack in New York. In 1968, he won in California but earned the biggest wins of his career to that point on New York racetracks where he competed against such stars as future U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductees Dr. Fager and Damascus. Quicken Tree's 1968 wins included the Jockey Club Gold Cup at a distance of two miles, and the Manhattan Handicap at a mile and a half.

In 1969 Quicken Tree added to his impressive resume and in 1970 trainer Clyde Turk's assistant, William Canney, took over the horse's race conditioning. Under Canney he continued to win, and, some twenty years after Noor won both the 1¼ mile Santa Anita Handicap and the 1¾ mile San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap, Quicken Tree became only the second horse to accomplish that feat. His win in the San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap would prove to be his last race. Although he recovered following an operation to repair a cracked sesamoid bone which happened when he kicked the wall in his stall, he developed a case of enteritis and died in his stall at Santa Anita Park on October 22, 1970. He was buried next to Lamb Chop near the mile and a quarter chute at Santa Anita Park.

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