Sarazen

Sarazen

[sar-uh-zuhn]
Sarazen, Gene, 1902-99, American golfer, b. Harrison, N.Y. The son of an Italian immigrant carpenter, he entered golf as a caddie at Rye, N.Y. In 1922—at the age of 20—Sarazen won the U.S. Open championship. He won it again in 1932, when he also won the British Open. He won the Professional Golfers Association championship three times (1922, 1923, 1933). His 1935 Masters win was punctuated by a 15th-hole final-round double eagle often called the most famous shot in golf history. One of the great golfers of all time, Sarazen won Seniors championships in the 1950s and played into his nineties.
Sarazen (1921-1940) was an American Hall of Fame Champion Thoroughbred racehorse. Owned by Colonel Phil T. Chinn's Himyar Stud, Sarazen won his first three starts in impressive fashion. Chinn then sold him for a huge profit to Virginia Fair Vanderbilt who raced him under her Fair Stable banner. A small horse at only fifteen hands tall, Sarazen's temperament resulted in him being difficult to handle and as such his original owner had him gelded. After his sale to Fair Stable, Sarazen was trained by Max Hirsch and he wound up his two-year-old racing season undefeated, capturing all ten races he entered. At age three, health problems saw Sarazen's handlers pass up the U.S. Triple Crown races. When he came back to the track, he dominated racing and earned the first of his two consecutive United States Horse of the Year awards.

Sarazen's 1924 wins included the International Special No.3 at the Latonia Race Track in Covington, Kentucky over a field of top American and European horses. While setting a Latonia track record, 3-year-old Sarazen defeated Belmont Stakes winner Mad Play, the future Hall of Fame filly Princess Doreen. ("The Princess" came back to beat him in the 1926 Saratoga Handicap), and Pierre Wertheimer's 4-year-old colt Epinard, the champion 2-year-old of France who at the end of the 1924 season would be voted American Champion Older Male Horse.

Sarazen was named Horse of the Year for the second straight time in 1925, winning five of his ten starts. Because he had been gelded and could not sire any offspring, Sarazen continued to race for another two years but became raucous and unwilling to make much of an effort. He was retired after the 1928 season to Brookdale Farm on Spur Road near Lexington, Kentucky.

Sarazen died at age nineteen on December 12, 1940. Following its creation, he was posthumously inducted into the United States' National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1957.

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