After he gave up training, Carl Hanford was a racing official and a fixture at Delaware Park. He was elected to the Racing Hall of Fame in 2006. One wonders why it took so long.
His work with Kelso alone should have been enough. Kelso won 39 of 63 lifetime starts and nearly $2 million, a record then that might still stand if adjusted for inflation and much higher modern-day purses. The gelding began his career in 1959 at Atlantic City and ended it in 1966 at Hialeah. He won carrying 136 pounds twice. He won the Jockey Club Gold Cup 5 years in a row. And that was when the fall fixture in New York was run at 2 miles, a distance the modern horse never runs at all.
Hanford, who was born in Fairbury, Neb., started his career in racing as a jockey. He won the first race ever at Suffolk Downs, the track hard by Boston's Logan Airport. He served 5 years in Army Remount Corps during World War II.
And he trained Kelso. The horse won an incredible 31 stakes races. Owned by the Bohemia Stable of Mrs. Richard C. duPont, Kelso won at Atlantic City, Monmouth Park, Aqueduct, Hawthorne, Belmont Park, Saratoga, Garden State Park, Hialeah, Gulfstream Park, Bowie, Laurel (in his third try at the D.C. International) and Delaware Park. That is 12 different tracks. These days, a horse with 12 victories is a big deal.
Kelso was a very big deal. And so was his trainer, Carl Hanford.