‘Hefner’ hot to trot
ONE DAY after Hugh Hefner reached the finish line, so did his namesake horse.
Hugh Hefner N, a 9-year-old pacer that shares the late Playboy founder’s name, finished first in an unlikely Yonkers Raceway mingling of life and death Thursday night.
Hefner, 91, passed away Wednesday of natural causes at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills.
The New Zealand-bred won by a neck the next evening after a late charge in the 1-mile race, much to the delight of railbirds who made Hefner the horse a 6-5 favorite. The pacer paid $4.60 to win.
“Some people came down to the winner’s circle, saying how ironic it was,” said winning driver Jason Bartlett,“I’ve won some pretty big races, but just the way this came about — it was meant to be. “Some things you can’t control. It was meant to be.”
Bartlett, 36, said the horse was actually entered five days before Hefner died. A finish-line photo showed a beaming Bartlett, winner of more than 7,000 career races, smiling up at the stands.
The one bit of bad news in the quirky track tale: This Hugh Hefner won’t retire as a stud — the son of Falcon Seelster is a gelding. “Somehow doesn’t seem right,” cracked Yonkers publicity director Frank Drucker.