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San Antonio Belle, 23, dies
Monday, February 03, 2014 - by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications

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Freehold, NJ --- San Antonio Belle, a daughter of one of trotting’s enduring families, died Sunday (Feb. 2) at age 23 at her home and birthplace, Hanover Shoe Farms.

Owned by Russell Williams and bred by his late mother Patricia Sheppard Winder, San Antonio Belle 2,1:59.2 ($44,807) won an elimination race for the Merrie Annabelle and multiple New York Sire Stakes as a 2-year-old.

USTA/Mark Hall photo
San Antonio Belle died Sunday at age 23.

She was the dam of 2000 World Trotting Derby winner Tejano 1:53.2 ($322,723), now retired from stud duty in Maryland. Of her six foals, four took marks of 1:57.1 or better.

San Antonio Belle, named for Williams’ grandmother Charlotte Newton Sheppard, a native of San Antonio, Texas, is the progeny of Speedy Crown and Chickadee Newton, winner of nearly $250,000.

"That maternal family has been multi-generational for us," said Williams. "It goes back to Goddess Hanover, which my grandmother inherited from her son when he was killed (Lawrence B. Sheppard, Jr. died in a plane crash in 1949).

"Goddess produced Cassin Hanover (winner of the 1957 Kentucky Futurity for Fred Egan, driving on his 70th birthday) and she produced the full sisters Elma and Augusta, the great grand dam of San Antonio Belle. Goddess also produced Arpege, the dam of Hambletonian winner Ayres. There are a couple of branches, but it’s a good trotting family and it’s always been ours."

San Antonio Belle has been retired since 2003 at Hanover Shoe Farms, with regular visits from Williams.

"She was always standoffish," he said. "But she liked me and she’d come to me out in the retirement field. I loved that, but horses are that way, they remember everything. We liked each other. She and Cynara Hanover were my good friends."

San Antonio Belle will be buried in a private equine cemetery for descendants of horses owned by Williams, his mother and grandmother.

"Chickadee Newton is there, Boleyn (her grand dam) and Augusta are there, so that’s four generations," said Williams. "Three more generations -- Cassin Hanover, Goddess Hanover, and Little Lie -- are in the Shoe Farms cemetery, and three generations after Belle are in production or racing, for a total of ten generations so far."

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