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Record-breaking pony Cherokee’s Ironman dies

Huge loss: Cherokee's Ironman

Multiple record holder and crowd favourite Cherokee’s Ironman has died.

The 12-year-old gelding succumbed to stomach complications on December 4 in Indiana, where the harness racing pony was bred and had been competing for the past two years after a racing stint in Bermuda.

“He had a twisted gut and they tried to save him but it was just his time I guess,” Arnold Manders, the pony’s owner, told The Royal Gazette. “He died after finishing a pretty decent season.”

Manders said the loss is devastating.

“That was a hard hit after having success with him,” he added. “I spent a lot of time with that horse from when he was a baby to racing him.

“I spent a lot of time watching him race in Indiana before bringing him to Bermuda and had some good times in both places.

“He was a special horse and probably one of my favourites even though I had one go faster than him. He was just like a son.”

Cherokee’s Ironman achieved considerable success throughout his career.

He won the coveted Champion of Champions title and multiple stakes races at the Bermuda Equestrian Centre and also held the two-year-old and three-year-old records on multiple tracks in Indiana.

“He’s had a great run,” added Manders, who purchased the horse from Indian Creek Stables in Indiana.

“He never got a chance to break the record here. But he was probably the most consistent horse in the Free for All for the last three or four years before he left.”

Cherokee’s Ironman wowed race fans both in Bermuda and Indiana.

“He was a crowd favourite anywhere he was and they loved him in Indiana,” Manders said. “People enjoyed watching him race because he was just a machine.”

Local pair Tyler Lopes and Darico Clarke were among the drivers who competed with Manders’s horse.

“He’s definitely one of the best ever to go around the racetrack,” Lopes said. “I’ve driven a lot of horses in my time and, as far as having heart, I wish they all had a heart as big as he did.

“That horse wanted to win. He genuinely wanted to win, loved to win and gave you every ounce he possibly could every single time he hit that racetrack.”

Clarke added: “He was a dream drive. You didn’t have to ask for much; he got it done for you most of the time.

“Whatever you asked for he gave it to you. He stuck to what he was born to do, and that’s run.

“It was a pleasure driving him. I actually wanted to get away to drive him at least one more time but never got that chance.”

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Published December 18, 2021 at 7:59 am (Updated December 18, 2021 at 7:59 am)

Record-breaking pony Cherokee’s Ironman dies

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