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Widener Handicap

Defunct Stakes race
Widener Handicap
Location Hialeah Park Race Track
Hialeah, Florida, United States
Inaugurated 1936
Race type Thoroughbred - Flat racing
Website N/A
Race information
Distance 1¼ miles (10 furlongs)
Track Dirt, left-handed
Qualification Four-years-old & up
Weight Assigned

The Widener Handicap at Hialeah Park in Miami, Florida was a Grade I stakes race for Thoroughbred racehorses 4-years-old and up. It was run over a distance of 1¼ miles (10 furlongs). Initially called the Widener Challenge Cup Handicap, the race was named for Hialeah Park owner Joseph E. Widener. It was first raced in 1936 as the East Coast counterpart to the Santa Anita Handicap in California.

The magnificence of the track facilities drew the rich and famous to the track and a purse of $50,000 quickly made the Widener Handicap one of the major events of the winter racing season, drawing many of the country's top horses. Mantagna, ridden by Eddie Litzenberger, won the inaugural running in 1936 in a track record time of 2:01.80 for 1¼ miles. The March 16, 1942 issue of TIME magazine said: "nearly every glamor horse in the U.S. was entered in Florida's Widener Handicap, richest race of the winter season." [1]

The Widener Handicap was a Grade I stakes race won by Hall of Fame horses such as War Admiral, Citation, Armed, Coaltown, Nashua, Bold Ruler and Forego. A life-size statue of Citation was erected in his honor. Compertition from other racetracks in the area and from other entertainment sources plus the advent of the Breeders Cup races in 1984 saw the race decline in popularity to the point where it was reduced to a Grade III stakes. In 2001, financial difficulties spelled the demise of Hialeah Park and with it the Widener Handicap.

Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day won four consecutive runnings of the Widener Handicap from 1996 through 1999.

Past winners

  • 2001 : Albert The Great
  • 2000 : Blazing Sword
  • 1999 : Golden Missile
  • 1996 : Mecke
  • 1995 : Party Manners
  • 1994 : West By West
  • 1993 : Honest Ensign
  • 1992 :
  • 1991 : Sports View
  • 1990 : No race
  • 1988 : Personal Flag
  • 1987 : Launch a Pegasus
  • 1984 : Mat Boy
  • 1983 : Swing Till Dawn
  • 1982 : Lord Darnley
  • 1981 : Land of Éire
  • 1980 : Private Account
  • 1979 : Jumping Hill
  • 1978 : Silver series
  • 1977 : Yamanin
  • 1976 : Hatchet Man
  • 1973 : Vertee
  • 1972 : Good Counsel
  • 1971 : True North
  • 1970 : Never Bow
  • 1969 : Yumbel
  • 1968 : Sette Bello
  • 1967 : Ring Twice
  • 1966 : Pia Star
  • 1965 : Primordial
  • 1963 : Beau Purple
  • 1962 : Yorky
  • 1961 : Yorky
  • 1959 : Bardstown
  • 1958 : Oligarchy
  • 1957 : Bardstown
  • 1954 : Landlocked
  • 1953 : Spartan Valor
  • 1951 : Sunglow
  • 1950 : Royal Governor
  • 1948 : El Mono
  • 1945 : No race held
  • 1944 : Four Freedoms
  • 1943 : No race held
  • 1942 : The Rhymer
  • 1940 : Many Stings
  • 1937 : Columbiana
  • 1936 : Mantagna





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