Courtesy David Edwards
Ak-Sar-Ben Media Guide
But Ak-Sar-Ben had plenty of its own star horses as well. Through the decades, but particularly in the 1980s, AkSar-Ben was a stopping point for some of the best horses in the Midwest, including the beloved and seemingly ageless Who Doctor Who. Owned by Herb and Nancy Riecken and trained by Herb, Who Doctor Who was a sensational sprinter who won 27 races from 49 starts at Ak-Sar-Ben from 1985 to 1992, including four straight renewals of the Beef State Stakes and three editions of the Speed Handicap. In 1987, he won a six-furlong allowance race at Oaklawn Park in such impressive fashion— stopping the clock in 1:08 45 Nebraska-bred Who Doctor Who became a local legend in his home state and across the ⁄ —that the legendary jockey Midwest during a career that included 64 starts, 33 wins, 16 seconds and five thirds Pat Day gave him a major with earnings of $813,870. compliment. “When Pat got off the horse,” remembered Kotulak, “he reportedly said to trainer Herb Riecken, ‘If I’d have been on him in the Count Fleet [a Grade 3 race held the day before at Oaklawn], we’d have won the race.’ ” The voice of Terry Wallace, the longtime Oaklawn announcer who also spent years at Ak-Sar-Ben, bellowing “Who Doctor Who” as the gelding chalked up victory after victory still resonates with racing fans to this day. Competing during the same time period as Who Doctor Who was the remarkable filly Explosive Girl, a fan favorite that won six stakes races in Omaha from 1987 to 1989, including two consecutive renewals of the Ak-Sar-Ben Budweiser Breeders’ Cup Stakes. With two such popular horses racing at the same track during the same years, it was only natural that they should run against each other, and while such dream The track ran a promotion in which fans could “own” a matchups rarely come to fruition, this one did. On July piece of Who Doctor Who, or at least receive a portion of the money the Doctor Stat gelding earned at the track. 23, 1988, with 21,043 racing fans in attendance, Who
22 AMERICAN RACEHORSE • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
Published on Sep 14, 2016
This issue of American Racehorse magazine features a long-form article about the magic of Ak-Sar-Ben racetrack in Omaha, Nebraska, plus a lo...