Lexington, KY - The Maryland Horse Industry Board (MHIB) last week presented the third "Touch of Class" Award to Silver medalists John Crandell III and Heraldic. Crandell and his Triple Crown-winning Arabian gelding won two Silver medals (Individual and Team) at the Pan American Games in Chile on October 21.
During the award presentation, Ashley Valis, deputy director of the Governor's Intergovernmental Affairs, presented the Crandells with a proclamation from Governor Martin O'Malley, declaring November 15 "Heraldic and Crandell Family Day."
"I'd like to commend the Crandell Family for their legendary accomplishments and commitment to the highest standards of equine training and care," said Governor O'Malley. We look forward to the continued success of Heraldic and the Crandells ..."
Heraldic was in routine quarantine in Miami after flying back from Chile, but was released in time to make it to his official homecoming and last week's Silver medal celebration event. Heraldic mingled with well-wishers, ate a few Maryland-grown apples, and posed for pictures in front of the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) headquarters in Annapolis.
"Maryland's rich history of horse-related agriculture goes back centuries, and Heraldic is a prime example of why horses and their stories are so enduring," said MDA Deputy Secretary Mary Ellen Setting during the awards ceremony. "Heraldic is a wonderful symbol of this important industry, and we are proud to host him here at MDA today."
Heraldic has been particularly versatile as an athlete, winning on the fastest as well as the most arduous courses in America. The Pan Am Games race course was a 75-mile course which Crandell and Heraldic completed in 6:03:38. The Crandell family has received recognition around the world for its success in training elite endurance horses, and last week's celebration is their first official recognition in Maryland.
Heraldic's story is the stuff of legend.
Heraldic became the only horse ever to win the Triple Crown of Endurance Riding in 2006. Those three races are the Old Dominion 100 in Virginia, the Tevis Cup in California, and the American Endurance Ride Conference Championship. In each of those events, Heraldic also received the "Best Conditioned Horse" award. And Crandell - who has been a professional farrier and trainer since 1983 - was named Overall Horseman of the Year in 2007 by Chronicle of the Horse magazine.
But in 2008, Heraldic suffered a life-threatening injury when he badly injured his stifle and had to recuperate without bearing any weight on the injured leg for months. Heraldic spent two years in rehabilitation but came back last year to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown again as well as his two Silver medals at the Pan Am Games last month. In 2010, he also won the FITS 100 miler with a time of 7:58. Heraldic's astonishing comeback is a major reason the MHIB selected to honor him and his trainer.
The MHIB's "Touch of Class" Award, named after the Maryland-bred Olympic Gold-medal winning horse, is presented to horses and people who represent the highest standards of excellence in Maryland's equine community. This is the third "Touch of Class" award presented by the MHIB.