BATAVIA, N.Y. --- "He's earned it and we can't deny him his retirement," said co-owner Sandra Compton as she spoke of the official retirement of one of Western New York's all-time favorite horses in Michael Scores.
Batavia Downs will honor the 12-year-old pacer on Saturday night (Oct. 5) as Michael Scores will make one last appearance on the track as he will lead a classy field of seven through the post parade of the 11th Annual $50,000 Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace, a race he won back in 2006 with a record time of 1:52.1.
"He's had a lot of aches and pains and we refuse to have him do what he's really not good at anymore," Sandy Compton said of retiring Michael Scores, who is co-owned with her husband Jim. "We don't want to hurt him so we decided to pull the plug on his career. He can relax now."
Jim Compton added, "This is a process of racing. I've got mixed feelings. I hate to see him go but horses have to retire sometime and it's his time."
It's been a great career for Michael Scores, a home bred that has spent his entire life in the Compton's barn. He never had a start in a claiming race in his 275 career outings where he was victorious 86 times while finishing in the money on another 74 occasions. His career earnings are $668,079 and he set track records at Buffalo Raceway, Batavia Downs and Tioga Downs along the way. His lifetime best was 1:50.4 at Tioga Downs back in 2007.
Michael Scores best year came in 2006 when he won 17 of 34 races and put $106,590 in the bank and took the Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace. "We've talked about that race many times," Sandy Compton said. "He beat some pretty good horses that night."
Jim said, "That Kane race was one of the more memorable ones for me. He had a lot of great races over the years including the Sire Stakes but setting the Batavia track record in 1:52 and a piece is one I won't forget."
And while Michael Scores calls it a career this season, he still did managed two victories in 2013, winning twice at Buffalo Raceway in six starts including a sharp 1:55.4 mile.
The Comptons gave driver Kevin Cummings a lot of credit for Michael Scores success. "Kevin knew him like the back of his hand. He knew how to get the best out of Michael," Sandy stated.
And when Michael Scores steps out on the Batavia Downs track for the last time on Saturday night, Compton said with a touch of sadness in her voice, "I am going to be very happy for him. He's been unbelievable...a blessing, a wonderful horse."
She added, "He's loving his retirement right now. He goes out after eating his grains in the morning and just seems to be enjoying everything."
And Jim Compton said in closing about Michael Scores, "He has a home with me as long as I have a home."
Post time on Saturday night is 6:30 p.m.
by Brian J. Mazurek, for Batavia Downs