As the countdown to Smoken Up’s farewell race at Tabcorp Park Melton continues, Harness Racing Victoria has announced it will rename a race in the champion pacer’s honour.
The Legends, previously named The Legends Mile, will become The Smoken Up Sprint (to be run on November 7) to honour the Lance Justice-trained superstar pacer’s career. Smoken Up is a 13-time Group 1 winner who still holds the record for the fastest milerate in Australasia – 1:48.5.
A winner of 73 races from 150 starts, Smoken Up’s achievements have thrust harness racing into mainstream and social media channels.
The winner of over $3.6 million in stakemoney is to have his final ever racetrack start at his home track, Tabcorp Park Melton, in the Casey Classic on Saturday, September 6.
HRV CEO John Anderson said renaming a race such as The Legends in Smoken Up’s honour made sense due to the horse’s phenomenal record at sprint trips – having won four Len Smith Miles and two Miracle Miles, as well as a bevy of other short-course features.
“The Smoken Up Sprint will commemorate the wonderful career of the Lance Justice trained pacer, whose achievements on the racetrack have captivated audiences throughout Australasia,” Mr Anderson said.
“Smoken Up is a Victorian harness racing icon and renaming The Legends in his honour will acknowledge that into the future.
“To illustrate the changing nature of engaging with the public, Smoken Up has generated an enormous following on social media which has enhanced his appeal.”
Smoken Up has his own Facebook page, with fans kept abreast of the horse’s life at home as well as his on-track performances.
HRV will celebrate Smoken Up’s farewell with a special Smoken Up Race Night at the September 6 meeting.
The night will feature a special Smoken Up video package on the big screen, souvenir racebook, rug presentation, Smoken Up poster and mini-flag giveaways and more. Full details will be announced in coming weeks.
By Cody Winnell (Harness Racing Victoria)