|Owner||Peter and Francis Martin|
|Timely Writer is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Timely Roman by Staff Writer. He was born around 1979 in the United States, and was bred by Dorothy Davis.|
Mayflower Stakes (1981)|
Hopeful Stakes (1981)
Champagne Stakes (1981)
Flamingo Stakes (1982)
Florida Derby (1982)
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
|Last updated on August 17, 2007|
The Boston Globe once described Timely Writer as "the horse with the greatest potential—and the worst luck—whose very story was a fairytale of racing history."
He was known as "The People's Horse." His bloodlines included Northern Dancer, Swaps, Tim Tam, Ribot, Tom Fool, and Count Fleet and others. He was purchased for only $13,500 by Peter and Francis Martin, owners of a meat-packing plant in Boston, Massachusetts.
Timely Writer began his stakes career as a claimer at Monmouth Park, winning by eight lengths, and matching a track record set in 1943. Ridden by Roger Danjean, the colt commanded real attention with wins in the Grade I Hopeful Stakes and under Jeffrey Fell in October's Grade I Champagne Stakes in which he overtook the 4-5 favorite by nearly five lengths.
Timely Writer's racing career was marked by several disappointments. He was passed over in favor of Deputy Minister for the 1981 Eclipse Award as champion two-year-old colt. Key wins in the 1982 Flamingo Stakes and the '82 Florida Derby made Timely Writer a favorite for a Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing in 1982, until a severe case of colic sidelined him for the entire spring season.
With a 50% chance of surviving surgery, Timely Writer once again beat the odds. He not only recovered, but came back to win at Saratoga Race Course less than six months later. The famed Dr. William O. Reed purchased the colt's breeding rights for the sum of three million dollars. Before heading to the breeding shed, Timely Writer would complete the 1982 racing season.
Traces of an anti-bacterial substance found in his system forced Writer's withdrawal from the $150,000 Jerome Handicap, for which he was the favorite. Unprepared for his next start, he finished a seventh but rebounded to win his next start.
As seen on live television, Timely Writer started to show winning form as he broke from the pack in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He coasted along in third before jockey Jeffrey Fell began to urge the colt forward as they approached the far turn. Suddenly, and with no apparent warning, the colt's left foreleg snapped and he fell to the ground where three other horses stumbled over him. With no possibility of repairing his leg, Timely Writer was humanely euthanized. Another colt, Johnny Dance, who had collided with the fallen horse, also had to be euthanized.
A poignant tribute to Timely Writer is included in the book, "Beyond the Rainbow Bridge" by Kimberly Gatto (2005, Half Halt Press) ISBN 0939481715
Edited to add: The Blood-Horse magazine has a nice tribute article on Timely Writer in its September 29, 2007 issue.