Northfield Park races well over 200 nights per year, offering Northeast Ohio a destination to watch and wager on harness racing. Northfield’s exciting and competitive action has helped it to achieve international prominence through its strong simulcast that is sent to over 700 venues across the globe. That reach gives Northfield the second largest annual wagering volume of any harness racetrack in North America.
This Saturday (November 26) Northfield hosts one of its four Grand Circuit races during the year, the $125,000 Courageous Lady. It is a race for the best three year-old filly pacers in North America. The “Lady” began in 1990 and has featured some of the finest fillies in harness racing, including 2001 Horse of the Year, Bunny Lake. Just last year, Sassa Hanover came to compete in (and win) the Courageous Lady at the end of her storied sophomore campaign, which also included a victory in the prestigious Jugette at the historic Delaware County (Ohio) Fairgrounds.
This year looks to be no exception. Included in the 2016 edition of the Courageous Lady is millionaire filly L A Delight. She has won 20 of 30 lifetime races, including this year’s Jugette. Harness Racing Hall of Famer John Campbell is expected to be in her sulky.
In addition to world-class excitement on the track, an impressive array of activities has been planned for guests in attendance. “Home for the Holiday” drawings will be announced throughout the evening where winners will be taking home household goods worth thousands of dollars. Guests can also try their luck in Ohio Lottery Plinko and second chance drawings for non-winning instant lotto tickets that are $5 or more in value. Attendees can also enjoy dinner in Lady Luck’s Clubhouse Restaurant, which offers a panoramic view of the races.
HISTORY OF THE RACE:
The race is named after one of the finest and most popular pacing fillies ever to compete on Northfield Park’s Flying Turns — Courageous Lady.
The poignant story behind the race revolves around the late Ruth Cohen of Mayfield Heights. In 1977, Julian Cohen, a Cleveland attorney and avid harness racing fan, paid $35,000 for the two year-old filly Courageous Lady for his sister Ruth, who had been diagnosed with cancer and given only two years to live. “We bought Courageous Lady midway through the filly’s two year-old season and Ruth loved that horse,” said Mr. Cohen, who himself passed away in 1997. “We followed her to all of her races. Ruth lived another eight years, primarily because of her horse.”
Courageous Lady, an Ohio-sired daughter of Captain Courageous from the mare Painter Pam, earned $418,256 between 1977 and 1981. She took a time-trial mark of 1:54.4 and twice equaled the 1:55.2 world record of the famed Silk Stockings. Among her other illustrious accomplishments, Courageous Lady became the first Ohio Sires Stakes champion to defend her title. She won numerous stakes in the United States and Canada, setting multiple stakes and national season’s standards.
As a broodmare, Courageous Lady produced two outstanding offspring prior to her untimely passing in 1989 at age 14. The filly Uptown Swell as a 1:54.2 performer with career earnings of $728,135, and Courageous Legacy, a Sonsam stallion, garnered a 1:52.2 lifetime record while banking over $183,000 for owner Julian Cohen.
Northfield Park is proud to honor Ruth Cohen and the great mare, Courageous Lady. The outstanding fields of distaff talent annually assembles for the Courageous Lade are a fitting tribute for two of racing’s most memorable and truly courageous ladies.