Ferocious Won (2003-2022)
Lite the Fuse – Shawklit Ruse (Air Forbes Won)
He had a tough constitution to run 91 races and win 14 of them, including two stakes. But ferocious he was not. He was one of the sweetest horses ever to grace Old Friends.
Ferocious Won was a New York-bred and he competed on the New York tracks, from Belmont to Aqueduct to Saratoga to a long stint during the last years of his career at Finger Lakes. In fact his only races outside his home state were two claiming competitions at Delaware Park, one of which he won. His New York wins include the 2006 Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont and the 2006 New York Derby at Finger Lakes. He peaked at three, but he continued to pound the tracks through age ten.
He’s not famous. You won’t find his obituary in the Blood-Horse or his two proudest wins on Youtube. But we loved him and are sad that he succumbed to a persistent hock infection. He’s the kind of horse who doesn’t claim a lot of noisy attention but who touches your heart.
He sure won us over from the moment he set foot on the farm. For one thing, he was as pretty a horse as we’ve ever known, fiery red, finely made and gracefully balanced, with a beautiful head and kind eye.
He also had a distinctive white patch on his right side.
He immediately demonstrated that pretty is as pretty does. He was friendly, gentle, and loved to be petted. We fell in love immediately.
Ferocious Won was popular with the other horses, too. Always willing to let others play the boss of whatever herd he was in, he was peaceful, the kind of easy going good company that the other horses sought out.
Hard as it is when any of the horses pass, it’s harder when the horse is only 19 and hardest of all when he earned, and deserved, more than the 9 years of retirement he enjoyed. His bright-eyed, sweet ways cannot be replaced. We miss him, and always will.
Later note: What do you know! A determined search actually did find Ferocious Won winning, not a stakes but a work-a-day claiming race at Aqueduct at age 8. It’s got such an excitingly close photo finish that I almost hesitate to give you the spoiler that he won. The resolution isn’t high definition, but it’s worth watching. This ordinary race shows as clearly as any championship the meaning of spirit, determination and heart.
Scroll down to race 5 and click the video replay link to see a hero at work.
I also found this 17 second video of Ferocious Won being trotted on a lead at Finger Lakes in 2013, his last year on the track. When he turns you can see his face and it’s definitely him. You never know what you’ll find until you look. But Old Friends could look forever and never find a horse sweeter than Ferocious Won.
photos by Laura