Town Pro

Standardbred
Hall of Fame Inductee, 2004

Stew Firlotte was like most trainers when suspecting they might have something special on their hands. That’s how he felt long before Town Pro’s first start. “I was high on her right from the start, but I didn’t want to get too excited, because you never know what can happen.” However, this was one story where a trainer’s lofty dreams indeed came true as the regally bred daughter of Big Towner-Programmed blazed through a meticulously prepared schedule that saw her crowned as North America’s champion 2-year-old filly.

It didn’t stop there during a world championship career that saw her become the first filly to win consecutive Breeders Crown titles and O’Brien Awards in 1989 and 1990; 3-year-old pacing filly honors in North America and Horse of the Year title in Canada in 1990. On the way to these achievements before retiring in 1992 at age five with 40 wins in 65 starts, she had accumulated a bank roll of $1.2 million and a world record – the fastest winning time by a 3-year-old pacing filly on a 5/8ths-mile track (1:53.1) in the Fan Hanover Stakes at Greenwood.

Town Pro was bred and raised at Brian Webster and Ray Bednarz Surge Stable in St. George, Ont., and was owned during her racing career by the Pro Group Stable (Firlotte, driver Doug Brown, Robert Grand, Jack Robillard, Tony Delmonte and David Bradshaw) of Toronto. Firlotte bought her for $60,000 at a 1988 yearling sale. He was well acquainted with her family. He had successfully raced her dam, Programmed, for three years. She was the OJC’s champion aged pacer of 1983 and retired as Bret Hanover’s richest daughter. “She was just a terrific mare, one of the best I ever trained. She worked, trained and raced tough. That’s why I really wanted to get Town Pro.”

At age two, Town Pro won 12 of 13 starts. Her only loss was in the Countess Adios Stakes. The loss was Firlotte’s cue to give her a rest. It worked well as she came back to win the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and the Breeders Crown at Pompano Park, Florida, where she got her mark of 1:55 over a heavy track. She was just as impressive at three, winning 14 of 17 starts and the American-National, Simcoe, Tarport Hap, another Breeders Crown and the Fan Hanover at Greenwood in 1:53.1. During her career she was driven by Doug Brown. Town Pro’s offspring since joining the broodmare ranks include Ameripan Gigolo (1:50s) and The Ladies Pan (1:52.2s). To commemorate her greatness, Woodbine created the Town Pro Series in 1998, a stake for 3-year-old pacing fillies.