by Dean Hoffman
The lithe bay filly Peace Corps was simply amazing. She didn’t have the best gait and drivers often said that they got a “bumpy ride” behind her, but she had more than enough determination to compensate for that flaw.
She demonstrated her ability during her first season on the track in 1987, winning the Merrie Annabelle and the Breeders Crown at Pompano. Sometimes she would hit her shins with her front hooves, but she stuck to her task. And she kept winning.
She continued as a 3-year-old. Peace Corps endured a six-week layoff prior to the Hambletonian and came up short in that event, but marched to a new world record for females of 1:52.4 in the World Trotting Derby in DuQuoin, Illinois. She came back and won the Kentucky Futurity at Lexington and then capped her season with another victory in the Breeders Crown at Pompano.
But would the third time be the charm in 1990? She had campaigned throughout Europe that year for her Swedish owner Bjorn Pettersson and trainer-driver Stig H. Johansson, then made a 9-1/2 plane trip from Europe to the USA for a third try at a Pompano Park Breeders Crown.
She was sent off the favorite, but rivals Peach Pit and Scenic Regal weren’t willing to concede the Breeders Crown to her. They demonstrated their intent by leaving the gate fast at Pompano, but Peach Pit soon took a seat behind Peace Corps. Scenic Regal and driver Harold Story, however, pressed Peace Corps from post seven and was parked out around the first turn. Scenic Regal was simply not taking back and made it to the front and crossed over to the inside before the half-mile marker.
When driver Johansson sensed Scenic Regal easing up, he pulled Peace Corp out after 5/8-mile and she immediately sprinted past the pacesetter. At that point, the race was over; the only unfinished matters were the time and the winning margin.
The time was 1:54.2, the fastest mile ever trotted by a female on a 5/8-mile track and the margin was a widening six lengths.
Peace Corps had done it!
She’d become the first horse to sweep three Breeders Crowns over the same track.
That one victory in her only start in North America was so impressive that she was named champion older trotting mare in the U.S. and Canada for 1990.