Today the feature race at Fairplex is the Phil D.Shepherd Stakes,and although it is not the most prestigious race ever won by our retiree Southern Wish,it is worth mentioning that he won this race in 1993. Southern Wish turned twenty this year, so we are getting into some history to discuss his race record. Pomona was obviously to his liking because he also ran third in the Pomona Invitational Handicap that year and returned to win it in 1994. Southern Wish was a formidable competitor on the California scene in the early 1990’s, racing 25 times with ten wins against great horses like Alphabet Soup, Prospectforfour, Savino, Lit De Justice and Luthier Fever.He went on to win the Gr.2 Citation Handicap in 1994 and ended his career on a high by winning the Bart Handicap in 1996. He retired with earnings of $513,215.
At the end of Southern Wish’s racing career in 1996 there were really not many viable options for retiring Thoroughbreds in California who did not have owners interested in their support. Tranquility Farm did not yet exist, but a fledgling trainer named Kristen Mulhall put in a call to let it be known that an ex-racehorse was in trouble having been given to a party who did not wish to keep him, and that horse turned out to be Southern Wish.
That call was his lifeline and later that year Southern Wish moved with about sixty other retired Thoroughreds to what would become Tranquility Farm. And so he has been here from day one to greet and mentor the hundreds of other horses who have passed through since that time. Here is a horse that has never had a cross word to say to anyone, human or equine, and he is equally beloved by both species.
Southern Wish has been sponsored in his retirement at Tranquility Farm by Jay Hovdey and Julie Krone. Julie says “He won the Gr. 2 Citation Handicap, and that’s good enough for me.” Ditto.