Strike Out, (1969-1998), North American Harness racing champion
He was purchased at a yearling auction for $15,000 by Beejay Stables of Oshawa, Ontario, a partnership between harness-racing trainer/driver John Hayes and Montreal, Quebec textile executives, the Shapiro brothers, Robert, Conrad, and Leo. For Hayes, who recognized the horse's talent, it was an opportunity for which he had been waiting a long time.
As a two-year-old pacer, Strike Out earned more money than any horse in his age group and was named by Harness Tracks of America (HTA) and the United States Trotting Association (USTA) as the top harness horse his age in North America. In 1972 he became the first horse to win a Canadian harness race with a $100,000 purse. That year he went on to race in the United States, capturing the important Adios Stakes, the Fox Stake, the Roosevelt Futurity, the Beaver Pace and other major races all over North America, including the Prix D'Été at Montreal's Blue Bonnets Raceway. By the end of the summer, his owners had set their sights on the most prestigious race of all, the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio.
On September 21, 1972, driven by Keith Waples, Strike Out became the first Canadian owned horse to win the Little Brown Jug. Not only did he do it in straight heats, but he won setting a world record over a half-mile track for a 3-year-old pacer in a time of 1:56 3/5. Strike Out was named by the HTA and USTA as top three-year-old.
After compiling a 29-9-1 record in 44 races, Strike Out was retired to stud at the end of the 1972 season. While retaining a half interest in him, Beejay Stables sold the $15,000 bargain-basement colt for $1.5 million. His son, Striking Image became the first 2 year old standardbred ever to run a mile in the time of 1:55. Strike Out also went on to sire 1979 Jug winner Hot Hitter.
Strike Out died on July 4, 1998 and was buried in the horse cemetery at Castleton Farms.
For links to other harness horse information and biographies, see also: