INGLEWOOD, Calif. (September 1, 2011)—Noor, whose stakes victories included wins in the American Handicap and Hollywood Gold Cup in 1950 at Hollywood Park, was buried Wednesday at Old Friends Equine, a retirement facility for thoroughbreds, in Georgetown, Ky.
The interment ceremony concluded a long odyssey for the Hall of Famer and champion older male of 1950. His remains were moved from Loma Rica Ranch in Grass Valley, Ca. to their new resting place thanks primarily to the efforts of Charlotte Farmer, a retired executive secretary from Redding, Ca.
Farmer raised almost $8,000, according to Jennie Rees of the Louisville Courier Journal, to bring Noor’s remains to Kentucky after learning that the Loma Rica Ranch property was going to be developed for commercial and residential purposes.
A process that took some four years ended Wednesday when Noor became the first resident of a cemetery for Hall of Fame inductees that is being planned at Old Friends.
“It has been a long four year journey and to be able to bring him here to Old Friends where he will be honored with other Hall of Fame horses that will be following him….I like the distinction that he is the first in,’’ Farmer, who drove Noor’s remains from California to Kentucky, told Rees. “Finally, he is getting his time. I felt he never got the press he deserved.
“This is the right thing to do. It’s preserving history. It’s not just a dead horse. He is not Mr. Ed. He is Noor and he is a champion and he came from royal blood. He deserves any amount of effort on my part or anybody’s part to fight for his final resting place. Each person picks their own battles. I chose Noor.’’
Sold by Aga Khan III to Charles S. Howard, the man who also campaigned Seabiscuit, in 1949, Noor was a son of Nasrullah and the Bahram mare Queen of Bagdad. Inducted into Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2002, Noor, who was bred in Ireland, had some success at ages 2, 3 and 4 while racing in Europe, but blossomed in the United States.
During a 5-year-old season that saw him set three world records and three track records, Noor won, in addition to the Gold Cup and American Handicap, the Santa Anita Handicap, the San Juan Capistrano and Golden Gate Handicap.
The Gold Cup was the final start of his career. Carrying 130 pounds, he set a track record for 1 ¼ miles (1:59 4/5) under jockey John Longden. Among those he defeated in the Gold Cup were Assault, the winner of the 1946 Triple Crown, 1949 Kentucky Derby winner Ponder and 1950 Preakness winner and Horse of the Year Hill Prince.
He won seven of 12 starts during his championship season, finishing his career with 12 victories in 31 races and earnings of $383,968. Trained by Burley Parke while in the United States, Noor defeated Citation in four of their five encounters and was the first horse to defeat two Triple Crown winners (Assault and Citation, who swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes in 1948).
One of the people at Noor’s memorial Wednesday was Gary Parke, son of Noor’s American trainer.
“It’s a huge honor just being a part of this,’’ Parke told the Lexington Herald Leader. “I think this is kind of his legacy. He touched so many people in his early years and made a big impact on their lives. Who knew that many years later he would be doing the same thing.’’
Following – courtesy of Kip Hannan of the Hollywood Park television department – is some video footage of Noor, including his win in the 1950 Hollywood Gold Cup.
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