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Sanford stud named to Hall of Fame

Saturday, May 10, 2014 - Updated: 4:08 AM


SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Just in time for the 100th running of the Sanford Stakes this summer, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame will induct one of Amsterdam racing mogul and entrepreneur Stephen Sanford's champion horses.

Clifford, an elite racehorse of the 1890s, is Sanford's first horse to be named to the hall of fame.

The museum's Historic Review Committee made the announcement Friday. Clifford will be inducted at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion Aug. 8.

"This is a big day for the Sanford Stud Farm and the Sanford family," said Sam Hildebrandt, a member of the Friends of the Sanford Stud Farm. "It is a very big distinction."

After a distinctive career that spanned from 1892 through 1897, in which he won 42 of 62 starts, Clifford was purchased by Sanford for $7,000, and sent to the former Hurricana Stud Farm on Route 30 in the town of Amsterdam for stud duty.

He produced several horses, including Molly Brant, Hill Top, Kennyetto, Cliff Edge, Sea Cliff, and Blackford before his death in 1917 at age 27.

"He was quite a horse," Hildebrandt said, adding that he was one of Sanford's most adored horses.

According to a release from the museum, Clifford was foaled in Tennessee at W. H. Jackson's Belle Meade Stud in 1890. He raced from 1892 through 1897, compiling a record of 42-10-8 from 62 starts and purse earnings of $65,143.

Clifford was owned by Clifford Porter and later Eugene Leigh and Robert L. Rose. He was trained by Charles H. Hughes, Leigh and Hall of Famer John W. Rogers.

Clifford made his debut in September 1892, and won the only start he made that year as a 2-year-old.

Clifford finished 18-1-4 in 24 starts as a 3-year-old, including 11 wins in a row (all during a five-week period at Hawthorne Park). He carried as much as 133 pounds during the win streak, which was snapped when he was forced to carry 140 pounds, giving the winner 36 pounds, when he finished third in the Austin Handicap.

Among Clifford's wins as a 3-year-old were the Phoenix Handicap, Latonia Spring Prize, Melrose Handicap, Forest Handicap, and Special Sweepstakes. In the Special Sweepstakes, Clifford defeated the great mare Yo Tambien by eight lengths and Lamplighter, a top handicapper, by 11 lengths. It was Clifford's 18th and final victory of the season.

At 4, Clifford went 10-4-1 in 16 starts. Early in the year, he defeated Yo Tambien again, this time in the Montgomery Stakes. Clifford then won four consecutive stakes: the Albany, Sea Foam, Flight, and Moet and Chandon.

In the fall of 1894, Clifford defeated Hall of Famer Henry of Navarre in the Second Special at Gravesend. Henry of Navarre entered the race with 10 wins in a row, including the Belmont and Travers.

Clifford won his first four races at age 5 and finished the year 7-2-1 in 10 starts. His wins that year included the Club Members' Handicap, Kearney Stakes, Omnium Handicap, Oriental Handicap and another victory in the Second Special. At 6, Clifford won the Memorial Handicap and the Flight Stakes.

As a 7-year-old in his final season during 1897, Clifford won the Long Island Handicap. He carried top weight in the race and defeated Hall of Famer Ben Brush, a 4-year-old at the time. That year, he also dead-heated with Hastings (the 1896 Belmont winner) in the Kearney Stakes.

Clifford pulled up sore after finishing third in the Omnium Handicap in September 1897 and was retired.


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