Even the most ardent of quintessential racetrackers would have difficulty matching the resume that Howard "Gelo" Hall has attained throughout his many years around horses. A native Baltimorean, Hall witnessed the famous match race between War Admiral and Seabiscuit at Pimlico Race Course. His love for the game grew as he accompanied his father, a jockey valet, to the Maryland tracks. From that point on, Hall experienced a wide-range of racetrack roles.
The great Bertrando enjoyed two somewhat separate lives on the racetrack. In the early 1990's, he won the Del Mar Futurity as a 2-year-old, and the Grade 2 San Felipe a year later for trainer Bruce Headley. He continued to blossom as a 4-year-old, winning the prestigious Pacific Classic at Del Mar, and later finished a valiant second to Breeders' Cup Classic upsetter, Arcangues. In the Classic, he suffered a chip in his knee, and while convalescing with the injury at River Edge Farm, he covered 70 mares, who had 58 foals.
He then returned to the track and barely missed a beat. He flashed more of his brilliance by tallying in the Wicker at Del Mar, and the Goodwood at Oak Tree. He retired after his successful return and, beginning in 1995, developed into a top California sire in the years ahead.
The Arlington Million owns a history that is matched by few other races, and the 2003 edition might be the most memorable -- and controversial. The great Storming Home, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey, Gary Stevens, opened up a big lead, and hit the wire the winner. However, as he crossed the line, Storming Home inexplicably spooked and sent Stevens hurtling to the ground in a nasty spill. Storming Home's sudden transgression interfered with two others, and eventually Sulamani was placed first through a disqualification, and Storming Home was dropped to fourth. Stevens suffered significant injuries, but was in the saddle when Storming Home returned to racing just six weeks later.