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Brothers Are Hall of Famers (02/04/13)
Posted Monday February 4, 2013
By Mike Paradise
On Sunday night Life’s A Holiday, one of the premier ICF trotters at the turn of this century, follows his younger brother Kadabra and his trainer into the Illinois Harness Hall of Fame at the IHHA’s Awards Banquet in Alsip, IL.
Like Kadabra, Life’s Holiday was bred and owned by his conditioner Homer Hochsetetler and his wife Connie. Both elite trotters are sons of Primrose Lane out of their Trotting Happy broodmare Quillo.
Life’s A Holiday, a late March of 1998 foal, raced for Hochstetler from 2000 as a freshman into 2006 as a six-year-old, winning 41 career races and pulling down $721,659 in purse earnings.
Life’s A Holiday best seasons came in his sophomore campaign when he made 14 trips to a winner’s circle and earned over $206,000 and in 2004 at the age of five when he was an 11-time victor and put another $237,000-plus on his card.
In his three-year-old season Life’s A Holiday only missed one purse check in 23 trips postward while taking the $46,000 Cardinal and a $40,000 Hanover at Balmoral, the $60,000 Springfield State Fair Final and the $35,000 Pronto Don at Du Quoin, all with Homer at his lines.
By the time the gelding was five he was taking on strictly open company trotters and more than held his own. . . he never missed a check in 2003.
Life’s A Holiday captured the $108,000 Dygert Final at Hawthorne where he was also a Preferred Handicap winner. The talented trotter won three consecutive Opens Trots at Balmoral and a total of five that year on his home based track in Crete, Illinois.
Homer remembers Life’s A Holiday as a horse that didn’t start out as a trotter with Hall of Fame potential.
“When he was a 2-year-old in training Like A Holiday was kind of spooky out there on a race track,” said Homer. “If you were training him and a bird flew by he would jump and made a break. We were getting close to stake time and I told my wife Connie I didn’t know if I can stake this horse to anything. I don’t know what to expect from him.
“Of course we did and he went on to be a very good horse for us. Once he started racing it was like the lights went on. He was all business and racing a mile wasn’t too long for him. He could go the distance. In fact I think he still holds the track record at Balmoral for a race of a mile and one-eighth.”
Life’s A Holiday does, it’s 2:10.1 set back on May 24, 2001 with Homer at his lines.
“We even raced him a couple of times at Maywood and he won there. And you could race Life’s A Holiday just about anywhere you wanted to. It didn’t matter to him.”
In 2003 Life’s A Holiday picked up the fourth place check in the $250,000 Classic showdown at Dover Downs in Delaware. Nevertheless “about 90 per cent of the money the horse made was made right here in Illinois,” added Hochstetler.
Homer was inducted in 2008 into the Illinois Harness Hall of Fame, two years after Kadabra was installed.
On Sunday evening Life’s A Holiday deservedly joins them.
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Life's A Holiday with his driver-trainer Homer Hochstetler.
Notes and Quotes