Just two days after Philadelphia Park presented the $50,000 Devil's Honor Stakes, 9-year-old Devil's Honor made an appearance in the paddock at the Pennsylvania track.
No, he wasn't there earning an appearance fee. He was there to race.
Six years after his triumph in the Pennsylvania Derby, Devil's Honor competed Oct. 7 in a 2 1/16-mile steeplechase event over national fences for owner Warren Dempsey and trainer Jack R. S. Fisher. Though the gelding finished third, it was a pleasant trip down memory lane for fans and those who were associated with him in his heyday.
Devil's Honor won eight stakes and banked almost $800,000.
"It brought back a lot of memories watching him today," jockey Tony Black, who rode Devil's Honor in the Pennsylvania Derby, said from Delaware Park. "I wanted to win the Pennsylvania Derby more than anything, because Philadelphia Park is where my heart is. And Devil's Honor gave me that victory. There was no way I wasn't going to watch, and I had most of the guys in the jocks' room watching and cheering for him, too."
Not only did Devil's Honor give Black his first Pennsylvania Derby win, but it was the second win for a female trainer, Cynthia Reese. (The first was Pam Shavelson, who saddled Thelastcrusade). He became the first Pennsylvania-bred to win the track's signature event, too.
After nearly a year in retirement at the Timber Creek Farm of Reese and her husband, Walter, in Allentown, N.J., Devil's Honor was sold by owner Noreen Carpenito as a show horse, but then Fisher bought him sight unseen as a steeplechase prospect in late 2000.
Though he had knee chips removed during the latter part of his career on the flat, Fisher said the gelding is an excellent jumper, but he's not sure how many more times Devil's Honor would compete over fences. In 10 starts, he has only had one win.
Fisher trains him on the grass at his Monkton, Md., farm, and hinted that retirement could be imminent.