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Dave and Marguerite Ratchford of North Sydney have seen their fair share of horses over the years and that's no surprise.
Dave Ratchford has been involved in the harness racing community for 60 years and is the first person to admit he considers himself lucky on the harness racing scene.
But when the Ratchford family purchased a horse by the name of Century Farroh for $17,000 at the London yearlings sale in October 2017, Dave knew there was something special about the colt and he wasn't wrong.
After training in Cape Breton, Ratchford decided to take the horse to Ontario to train with Dr. Ian Moore and be part of the province's sires stakes program, a decision the family surely doesn't regret.
After a slow start to the 2018 season, Century Farroh hit his stride in September of that year, breaking out in the grassroots level of the Ontario Sires Stakes, winning four races including the division championship.
Since then, Century Farroh hasn't slowed down and has continued to impress the Ratchford family.
He finished fourth among the top 10 earners in the country in 2019 with a $590,451 total.
This season, Century Farroh, driven by hall of famer David Miller, has continued his dominance and earlier this month captured the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson, Ind.
To date, Century Farroh's all-time earnings are more than $1.232 million, a number similar to that of Fresh Yankee, a horse owned by Cape Breton's Duncan MacDonald and partners Richard and Dorothy Logue of Sydney.
Fresh Yankee, bred and born at Yankeeland Farm in Maryland in 1963, never set a hoof on Cape Breton Island, but put the Sydney community on the racing map, earning $1.294 million over its career. He died in 1991 at the age of 28 in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
When the Ratchford family purchased a horse by the name of Century Farroh for $17,000 at the London yearlings sale in October 2017, Dave knew there was something special about the colt and he wasn't wrong.
Humble people, the Ratchford family wouldn't consider themselves to have the best Cape Breton-owned horse of all-time, but Century Farroh's performance on the track has proven he deserves to be in the conversation.
Aside from trotter Fresh Yankee and Century Farroh, there have been other great Cape Breton-owned horses over the years.
Lambert Todd, which was purchased in 1929 by residents of Reserve Mines and driven by Allie Lewis, was the first pacer to break the 2:10 record in Nova Scotia. His fastest effort was 2:02 1/4.
Lambert Todd's memory remains strong in the community with the Lambert Todd Days summer festival held each year in Reserve Mines.
In recent years, Surrealist, owned by New Waterford's Dana Getto, has had lots of success in Atlantic Canada.
In 2016, Surrealist posted 12 top-class wins at the Inverness Raceway, including nine in a row which started an 11-race win streak that carried over to victories at Truro Raceway and Northside Downs. He was named horse of the year at Inverness in 2016.
Century Farroh isn't the only horse to find success with Ratchford, who's a member of the Cape Breton Sports Hall of Fame.
Prior to purchasing Century Farroh, the Ratchford family-owned Ms Mac N Cheese, a regular in Ontario for several years, earning him $800,000 before being sold in 2018 to American interests.
If the Ratchford family's phone hasn't been ringing with interest in purchasing Century Farroh, surely it's only a matter of time. However, in a pure prediction, don't anticipate a sale.
Century Farroh's career is far from over, but when it is, don't be shocked when his legacy is etched in history as one of, if not the best, Cape Breton-owned horse of all-time.
Jeremy Fraser covers sports for the Cape Breton Post. He welcomes column ideas, sports story suggestions or feedback about this week’s Sports Chat.
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