Once upon a time, though this is no fairy tale, there was a great race horse named Pharlap. This is his bronze memorial statue at Flemington race Course in Melbourne. Once a year, first Tuesday in November the nation stops, to listen the the iconic race ’The Fosters Melbourne Cup. Pharlap won this race in 1930.
Two days later he returned to Flemington to win the Linlithgow Stakes and two days afterwards he returned to win the C.B Fisher Plate on Final Day. This performance has not been matched again.
After these successes Phar Lap, his strapper Tommy Woodcock and fill-in rider Billy Elliott all travelled over to Mexico to compete in the 1932 Agua Caliente Handicap. This was the richest race in the world and Phar Lap won with authority.
Less than two weeks later, Phar Lap appeared unwell and distressed in his stables at Menlo Park, California. His distraught strapper Tommy Woodcock comforted Phar Lap as they waited for the vet. Upon realising the seriousness of the situation the vet left to seek further help, but by the time he came back Phar Lap was dead.
News of his death rocked the racing world, especially in Australia and New Zealand where he had become a household name. The reason for his death was noted as acute colic but many suspected foul play. The mystery surrounding his death exists to this very day.
In his career, Phar Lap had 37 wins, 3 seconds and 2 thirds from 51 starts. He won 32 of his last 35 races. Pretty amazing statistics!! What a legend of a horse!