Chicago Barn to Wire

HAWTHORNE NOTES

Hawthorne Racecourse Daily Notes

Contact: Jim Miller (708) 780-3700

Overage doesn't look it

Though he'll probably never get a mention as one of racing's all-time greats, Overage is continuing to bring one family happiness and they think of him as one of the greatest racehorses who has ever lived. Though he hasn't raced at Hawthorne since 1993, the venerable Overage is still alive and well and thriving under the tender loving care of Linda and Tom Conro, who have been like the parents of a newborn baby since purchasing him in 1995.

Overage, 19 years old and loving it, has been totally babied since being acquired by the Conros. But, he hasn't always had it so easy.

Winner of two Hawthorne stakes races, the Jet Pilot and the Bold Bidder, both in 1988, Overage accumulated earnings in excess of $561,000. He continued to race on and off the Chicagoland circuit over the next five years.

Shortly after his last race at Hawthorne, at age 11, Overage was supposed to be pensioned. But, surprisingly, a couple of months later, he was spotted racing at Mountaineer Park in West Virginia. In a brief period of time, Overage went through six owners.

His last victory came in May of 1995 and, according to Tom, he closed 10 lengths to get there in front. Unfortunately, by this time, his physical condition had started to deteriorate badly and little was done to return him to health.

In fact, at one point he had a date with a slaughterhouse. But fate stepped in. Purchased by Earl Summers for a slaughterhouse price, he was slowly nursed back to health.

Linda Conro had been in love with this horse for much of his career and she and husband Tom knew that they had to have him. They got him. They put out $1,200, sight unseen, and brought him home on January 9, 1996. He's been there ever since.

But, it hasn't been easy for the Conros. Linda had to get a job, working a paper route, just to make ends meet. But it was all worth it. According to Tom; "Overage is opinionated but he's still a joy to ride. We would do anything for him and for Smokey Lonesome (the Conros' other "baby," referred to as Overage's brother). We would sell anything," continued Tom, "including our house. We've made a commitment to these horses and we will honor it, whatever it takes." Hopefully it won't come to that.

One interesting note: As you know the OFFICIAL birthday of all thoroughbreds is January 1. Yesterday, May 4, was the REAL birthday of Overage. With a little luck he'll get to see the race named in his honor.

There's a strong possibility that Overage will be at the track today and he might take a turn past the grandstands that were once filled with his adoring fans. It would be good to see the old guy.

Tom Conro says that Overage never shows any desire to run but it will be interesting to see if he perks up a bit when he returns to the location of his former glory. Wouldn't be at all surprised to see some of that old fire in his eyes when he hears the call to post.

Editor's note: Overage did make it out to Hawthorne today, and paraded past the stands.

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