ONE of the modern day greats has been lost to the industry with the death of Shakamaker this morning.
The stallion’s former trainer John Justice broke the news while reminiscing the champion which took the horseman to the pinnacle of harness racing.
“I got a call from John (Wolfe) this morning telling me the sad news,” Justice said. “He was a wonderful horse…a true champion and I’ll never have another one like him.
“He was amazing during his racing career and had enjoyed a good life in retirement.”
Purchased for $3500 from the Australian Pacing Gold Sale, Shakamaker finished second on debut before winning his next six starts including the 1998 APG Final at Harold Park.
Continuing his rapid rise to the top as a three-year-old, the son of Bookmaker won 12 of his 17 starts – with five placings also to his credit – with his wins including the Western and South Australia Derbys, Vicbred Final and APG Three-Year-Old Final.
Making a smooth transition to Grand Circuit racing at four, Shakamaker created history by winning the first $1million harness event in the southern hemisphere.
The record stake was the grand prize for the 2000 Melbourne Inter Dominion at Moonee Valley made possible through the vision of Harness Racing Victoria chairman Ian McEwen.
With Justice in the cart Shakamaker came with a sweeping run to score from Breenys Fella and Happy Asset.
“That is a night I will never forget and remains his biggest win,” Justice said. “He was right at his peak at that stage.”
Remaining a benchmark throughout the remainder of his career, Shakamaker added another Vicbred Final, two Legends Mile, Tasmanian Championship, Victoria Cup and South Australia Cup to his tally.
Shakamaker was also among the placings in an Inter Dominion Final, two Victoria Cups, two A G Hunter Cups, Chariots Of Fire, Australian Pacing Championship, Queensland Championship and the Australian Derby.
He was retired to stud with 46 wins and 22 placings from 81 starts for earnings of $2,229,634 to be Australasia’s richest pacer.