As reported by The Thoroughbred Times (thoroughbredtimes.com) Trainer Bill Donovan passed away on Wednesday, August 27, at the age of 75, from emphysema. Donovan trained graded stakes winners Jacody and Diamond Duo; but he was probably best known as the trainer of Lost Code, a lifetime winner of a dozen stakes, including the 1988 Oaklawn Handicap over Cryptoclearance and Gulch.
On Saturday, August 30, the day the Thoroughbred Times reported Donovan's death, a field of five went to the gate for the 7th Race at North Dakota Park. It was the featured race of the afternoon, the Certified North Dakota Bred Thoroughbred Derby, for three year olds with a purse of $10,000, run at a distance of one mile. One of the entrants was Givem Hell Harley, a three year old grandson of Lost Code. In his last race, on August 17 at Assiniboia Downs, the chart of which can be found here (drf.com) Givem Hell Harley finished seventh in a field of ten. Saturday's result was different. Much different.
Givem Hell Harley, the grandson of Lost Code, racing on the first Saturday since the passing of Lost Code's trainer Bill Donovan, won the featured race at North Dakota Horse Park by thirty-four and a half lengths. The full chart of the race is here (drf.com).
Dale Jr's motorcoach should be overflowing today with flowers, fruit baskets and thank you notes from guys like Allmendinger, Sadler and Waltrip. But seriously, I can't help but laugh at all the Junior apologists.