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Trainer Scotty Schulhofer
On Thursday, December 14, racing lost one of its greatest ambassadors when retired trainer Flint S. "Scotty" Schulhofer passed away at the age of 80 after a short battle with cancer. The Hall of Famer, inducted in 1992, came from a racing family in Aiken, South Carolina. His father owned a racing stable and a riding academy, and he worked for trainer Oleg Dubassoff at the age of 17. His career as a horseman was briefly halted when he was called to active duty as an infantryman in Germany during World War II.
Schulhofer with 1999 Belmont Stakes winner Lemondrop Kid
Returning to America after completing his tour of duty, he briefly attended The Citadel in Charleston before returning to Dubassoff's barn to work with the horses. From 1950-1962 he rode in steeplechase races and was among the national leaders until he switched to training, taking over famed Tartan Farm upon the retirement of trainer John Nerud. He tallied win number 1 at Aqueduct in 1962, and would go on to saddle 1,119 winners in a career that spanned 4 decades. His charges earned $52,245,076 in purses, with a career record of 7,157 starts, 1,119 wins, 1,015 seconds, and 913 thirds. He left Tartan in 1972 and operated a public stable until retirement, with the exception of a brief stint in 1982 as the private trainer of Harbor View Farm. Seven times, he was ranked in the top 10 nationally in the earnings standings.
1999 Belmont Stakes winner Lemondrop Kid
During his career, he saddled 80 stakes-winning horses, including Eclipse Award winners: turf horse Mac Diarmida, who won 10 consecutive races, juvenile Fly So Free, sprinter Smile, and older male Lemon Drop Kid. Colonial Affair won the Belmont Stakes in 1993, and then Lemon Drop Kid pulled off the Belmont-Travers double in 1999. Schulhofer said, "I always told people (Lemon Drop Kid) was the best horse I've ever trained. I had a lot of good ones, but he was the real thing."
Other top horses under his care include Cryptoclearance, Cahill Road, Dr. Carter, Montreal Red, Scan, Senor Pete, Shared Interest, Strategic Maneuver, Sewickley, Tappiano, and Unaccounted For. He ranked 23rd in trainers in Breeders' Cup earnings with $2,841,400. His final year as a trainer ended on a sad note, as Gazelle and Beldame winner Exogenous injured herself in a freak accident before the post parade of the 2001 Breeders' Cup Distaff at Belmont Park and was put down a few days later.
2001 Beldame winner Exogenous in the winner's circle with Schulhofer on the far left
Jockey Jose Santos, who rode many of Schulhofer's stakes winners including Lemon Drop Kid, said, "My favorite memories of Scotty was coming to the barn in the morning to visit when he had Fly So Free and Lemon Drop Kid. When we won the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga in 1994 with Colonial Affair, that was a big achievement for both of us."
Schulhofer at the trophy presentation for the 2001 Beldame Stakes
When he retired from training, he stayed in the industry as a breeder. It was very fitting that on the day he died, Commodore Way, a horse he bred, won the sixth race at Aqueduct. Schulhofer also trained Commodore Way's dam, Chloe.
Trainer Sal Russo, who served as his assistant until opening a stable of his own, said, "He was a special, very classy man and an excellent, excellent horseman. He taught me everything. He was a very classy man, and he treated everyone with respect, and he loved his horses. He was a very good caretaker. If he could have taken them home with him at night, he would have. He always preached: if you treat them right, they'll treat you right. They don't make them like that anymore."
Schulhofer is survived by his wife Stephanie, son Randy, daughters Margaret Rapp and Susan Kleinburg, and seven grandchildren: Jordan, Haley and Thomas Rapp, Miranda Steadman, Isabelle Kleinbub and Scott and Evan Schulhofer. The funeral will be at his hometown of Aiken at the Shellhouse Funeral Home on Monday December 18.
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