Hall of Famer’s Daughters Carry On Family Tradition

Any parent will tell you, they hope that their children can be more successful and prosperous in life than they. And though a retired race horse that has turned into a broodmare will never have the ability to understand that feeling, their connections certainly do. Breeding your own is just one way of acquiring horses to comprise a stable. It is probably done less these days than in years past as the expense and capability to complete the process is often great and perhaps not sustainable for many. For some owners though, breeding is the still the primary mode of acquisition.

Longtime trainer Dave Spagnola along with the Our Blue Streaks Stable, of Saratoga Springs, owned a Saratoga legend at the end of her career. To call Riverofglory a record-setting mare in her time at Saratoga Casino Hotel wouldn’t do justice to all of the accolades that the mare piled up over the course of her career. Trained by Spa veteran conditioner Cindy Milano for about half of her time at Saratoga, Riverofglory was exactly what you’d call a “hard hitter.” That is, she was a horse that showed up consistently over her many years racing locally and put up some incredible numbers. Riverofglory joined the Milano barn early in 2002 and enjoyed some success at the Meadowlands before become a Spa regular in the following seasons. In 2003, the gutsy trotter became a very rare mare to win top honors at Saratoga. Riverofglory not only took home the award for Trotter of the Year at the Spa but did so despite taking on the boys in almost all of her starts. Racing an incredible 41 times in ’04, Riverofglory posted a sensational fourteen wins and hit the board 24 times en route to a career-best $74,718 in earnings. A pretty regular participant in the Open Trot at Saratoga, Riverofglory thrived for the next few seasons posting solid year after solid year despite moving to the barn of a few different trainers including Jordan Myers for a brief period of time and Guy Roemer for several seasons.

Being one of the track’s top horses of the decade despite squaring off against the boys on the regular, Riverofglory achieved some more impressive and unique milestones in what wound up being one of the best careers for a trotter in track history. According to harness racing rules, a horse cannot race after the age of 14. This rule, of course, usually doesn’t come into play anyways as not many horses are able to still compete at that age, not to mention a trotting mare who was tasked with taking on the top competition the Spa had to offer for a full decade. At the time of her retirement after the 2011 campaign, Riverofglory accrued close to a half million dollars in her sensational career and owned track records for being the fastest trotting mare for her age as a ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen and fourteen year old. Successful, classy, consistent and durable. All traits of Riverofglory who was inducted into the Saratoga Harness Hall of Fame in the summer of 2017.

Before her final season, Riverofglory was purchased by Dave Spagnola and the Our Blue Streaks Stable. Presumably acquired for breeding purposes, River’s new connections figured why not race her in the final year that she was eligible? After a fourteen year old campaign in which she became the fastest trotting mare of her age in track history, Riverofglory became a mom. Fast forward now eight years and Riverofglory is a seven-time mama. Her first born has been her proudest and that first born was a winner last week at Saratoga. Riverofroyalty enjoyed immediate success when in 2016 she was named Three Year Old Trotter of the Year following a campaign in which she earned almost $45,000 while competing almost exclusively at the Spa. Much like her mother, Riverofroyalty has really become a Saratoga staple and last Monday won for the 20th time in her career. Now at the age of seven, Riverofroyalty is owned by her trainer Margaret Spagnola who runs the stable with her husband Dave, one of the mare’s breeders. Winning at a solid clip over the course of the last four seasons, Riverofroyalty has earned over $143,000 but was winless in 2020 before dropping in company and scoring on Monday with driver Brett Crawford at the controls. Despite not having her best season, Riverofroyalty does have a lot of her mom in her. What made Riverofglory’s successes all the more impressive is that she thrived in her career at Saratoga despite having a fairly pronounced lack of early speed. That doesn’t mean that either mother or daughter don’t have the ability to move quickly off the gate but their methods are more of that of a closer.

Also on Monday’s matinee card, another pair of Riverofglory’s daughters took to the track. Riverismydam is a four year old mare who hasn’t built the kind of resume that her big sister has but she has been on the improve of late. A winner of just two of her 33 career tries heading into Monday, Riverismydam finished second and has now been the runner-up in two of her last three starts. Her little sister, Riveroffire, also competed on Monday and though she started from the outside post in her race closed sharply to finish fourth. A bit of a late bloomer, Riveroffire broker her maiden at the Spa back in August and has shown that ability to close like her mom and her big sister recently. Heading into her fourth place try last week, Riveroffire finished with a flourish to come up just a nose shy of winning, earning a second-place finish in a final time of 1:59.3, the fastest of her young career. River Of Denile, the sixth foal out of Riverofglory, became the fifth to make it to the races when she debuted this summer. The two year old filly, who made all six of her starts in New York Sire Stakes competition, showed big time promise as a freshman. Her debut campaign was highlighted by a second-place finish in a $15,000 Excelsior A race and her summer was successful enough that she earned a spot in the $50,000 Excelsior Final. The Spagnolas and the Our Blue Streaks Stable are continuing to breed Riverofglory who after not having a baby in ’19 for the first time since becoming a brood mare, this year gave birth to her seventh foal. This time, for the first time, the foal was a colt. She finally had a boy! Only time will tell if the youngster named Delta Win will make it to the races and what kind of horse he will be but one thing we know for sure, his bloodlines sure favor him becoming a factor on the track…and likely a strong-willed competitive grinder who will give it his all every time he’s on the track. That is, if he’s even a bit like his mother.

Live racing takes place every Monday and Tuesday at Saratoga with first post times set for 12 Noon. Until next week, I’m Mike Sardella wishing you the best of luck and we’ll see YOU at the finish line!

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