• Googoo Gaagaa

    When Googoo Gaagaa burst onto the Maryland scene many didn't know what to think. A world record for 2 year olds on a half mile track was impressive, but could he really be that good? It turned out that, at his best, he was even better.

    At two, Googoo Gaagaa started six times in Maryland, against moderate opposition, and won all six races, and earned $38 512 in the process. But winning six out of six is one thing, it was how he won those six that caught the attention of the trotting world. He won the Maryland Sire Stakes final by 41 lengths, racing in 1:12.1/1:56 at the half-mile Oceans Down and shattered the world record. In another race he won by 32 lengths. But against poor opposition it is easy to look good, and skeptical minds looking for things to put their finger on didn't have to look far.

    For starters, Googoo Gaagaa, is by pacing sire Cam's Rocket out of the trotting mare Kora's Trotter. Mixing trotters and pacers has not been overly successful in the last 50 years but there are a few exceptions, the most notable being 1976 Hambletonian heat winner Zoot Suit. Conventional wisdom is that trotters trot and pacers pacer - and mixed offspring are usually good at neither. His breeder (owner and trainer), Richard Hans, did not intend to try out anything new, he had simply sent Kora's Trotter to be covered by Revenue but she failed to conceive and instead of her going empty for a year, he let her be bred by his own pacing sire Cam's Rocket. This unplanned mating produced a freak of nature. An untraditional pedigree was one thing, another was that he was from Maryland, trained by an amateur trainer with little experience training trotters at the highest level.

    As it turned out, Richard Hans knew what he was doing. In his first major event, the Earl Beal Jr Memorial, Googoo Gaagaa silenced most doubter by winning by seven lengths in 1:09.4/1:51.3, another world record time. But some skeptics remained, as he hadn't met the best in the crop yet. As it turned out, he was even better in the final, and lowered his own world record to 1:08.9/1:50.4. Not eligible for the Hambletonian, he hooked up with Market Share in the Colonial Trot at Chester and defeated the Hambletonian winner by a neck in 1:09.7/1:52.1. He would also easily win the Maryland Sire Stakes. But whereas he was untouchable the previous year, he "only" won 9 out of 14 races as a 3 year old. Driver Corey Callahan took the responsibility for the first one, stating he used a sulky that was too small and caused Googoo Gaagaa to break stride. On a few other occasions he, however, clearly not where he should be. In the Cutler elimination he clearly struggled and finished fifth, an examination revealed a problem with an entrapped epiglottis and he was operated on.

    Making a comeback in august he won the Colonial but it did not take long for the problems to resurface. After only 3 starts in 2014 it was announced that Googoo Gaagaa would retire with immediate effect because of his persistent injury problems. In an interview with Harnessracingupdate, Richard Hans stated that "He was operated on twice and it didn't work. He just got worse. He would drink water and it would come out of his nose. He was coughing his head off." He ended his career with 15-1 in 23 starts, a personal best of 1:08.9/1:50.4, earnings of $665.339 but a feeling among many that, despite the glipses of excellence there was a lot more in him had it not been for his injury problems.