As shown above, Gander proved in the 2002 edition of the Saratoga Racecourse Breeders Cup Handicap, that you don’t always need a jockey to guide you to win a race! After a stumble at the start of the Saratoga Breeders Cup, it left Gander’s Jockey Mike Smith on the dirt, Gander recovered and began to run his race through the Saratoga racecourse!. As he raced along the track, you should note that he did not swerve or impact the other horses too much. In such a professional manner, he just did what he knew how to do: RUN!!!
As they past the Saratoga Racecourse grandstand for the first time, Gander is seen in the back of the pack between horses. By the time they round the first turn onto the backside at Saratoga Racecourse, however, he has raced up into second position.
Down the backside at the Saratoga Racecourse, he stalks leader Abreeze staying about 1-2 lengths off of him. Around the far turn, Gander moves up on the outside of Abreeze, and actually surpasses him at this point. At the top of the Saratoga Racecourse stretch, you can hear the announcer saying “Abreeze with the uncontested lead” which is comical because at this point, our riderless wonder is a good 2 lengths ahead of him!
As they come down the stretch, an even funnier comment is as Evening Attire makes him move from second to pass leader Abreeze, the announcer says, “Gander could be a bit of a worry for him.”
In the video it is hard to tell just how many lengths Gander “won” by, but it seems to be at least 3 or 4. Obviously he was disqualified from the race as he lost his rider, but it should be noted his pace and professionalism. He was a classy horse!
Gander was a well seasoned racehorse by this time at Saratoga Racecourse, so if you didn’t look too closely at the race, you may have thought he actually had a rider on him! Gander was born in 1996, which made him 6 years old at the time of this race, and he had probably already run in 30 or more races.
In 7 gritty seasons of racing he started 60 times, with 15 wins, 10 places and 9 thirds with total career earnings of $1,824,011. Gander was always knocking down the doors of the best horses of his generation.
Gander was a NY bred and did most of his running in NY or around the New England area. Gander was named Champion New York 3-Year-Old in 1999 and was New York Horse of the Year and Champion New York Older Horse in 2000.
He was a great racehorse, and is currently retired at Runnymede Stables in North Hampton, New Hampshire.