Maggie’s Dream is a name not quickly forgotten in Indiana. Owned by Herb and Darlene Likens, the speedy compact mare was one of the first multi-year stakes winners at Hoosier Park, and she tough every time she stepped out on the track. In addition to her stakes wins, she scored nearly $200,000 in purse earnings in the early 2000’s when purse money wasn’t as abundant. Now, 21 years old, her legacy is living on through the success of her offspring, including her latest winner First Lady Maggie.
First Lady Maggie, ridden by Santo Sanjur, made her second start at Indiana Grand this season Friday, April 26 and at first glance, was reminiscent of her mother, Maggie’s Dream. The three-year-old daughter of Sangaree busted out of the gate and was on top in the blink of an eye, scooting out to the lead, holding that position through the turn of the four and one-half furlong event on the dirt. At the top of the stretch, Sparkling Justice and Fernando De La Cruz moved up alongside of First Lady Maggie and had intentions of moving on by, but she dug in. She gamely fended off her challenger all the way to the wire for the win by a nose. Pretty Assets and DeShawn Parker finished third.
It was the first win in four starts for First Lady Maggie. Owned by longtime owners Herb and Darlene Likens of Anderson, Ind., First Lady Maggie becomes their latest winner from their small breeding operation in western Madison County.
“We have 20 horses right now and except for the racehorses (that are here at Indiana Grand) they are all at the farm,” said Herb, who has been a successful farmer all his life. “We had five babies this year and we are on our third generation of breeding racehorses. We have had a lot of fun with the business and had a lot of fun with Maggie’s Dream. This is her last foal and all of them, which there are seven or eight, have raced and won.”
Herb referred to a scary moment for the Likens Farm last spring when Maggie’s Dream was in foal and in the wee hours of the morning, was in labor but was having major issues.
“Unfortunately, we lost the foal, but if it had not been for the Centaur Equine (Specialty) Hospital, we would have lost Maggie too,” said Herb. “We called down here about 2 o’clock in the morning and Dr. (Timm) Gudehus said there wasn’t anyone at the clinic, but if we would get her loaded and head down, he’d have his staff there. Sure enough, when we pulled in, they were all there waiting on us. They couldn’t save the foal but they saved Maggie.”
Herb and Darlene did not breed Maggie back this year, so First Lady Maggie may be her last foal, ending a sentimental era for them. They will have her checked out before they make the final decision, but they noted how good she still looks.
“She (Maggie’s Dream) looks like she could still race,” noted Herb. “She has had all boys with the exception of this filly and one other one. This filly (First Lady Maggie) can be a little mean, just like Maggie was. She’s feisty just like her mom.”
Herb and Darlene now rely on Michelle Elliott to train all of their racehorses. They also own a stallion, Taprize, a son of Tapit, who stands at R Star Stallions in Anderson, Ind. They still have a lot to look forward to in coming years as racehorse owners and breeders.
“Taprize’s babies will run next year, so we are excited about that,” added Herb.
Both Herb and Darlene will have a little more time on their hands now to be excited about the hobby they have poured so much passion into for more than two decades. Darlene served for decades in public office in Madison County and retired at the end of 2018 as the Madison County Clerk. She had served two terms and could not run again, and decided it was time to enjoy a slower pace in life.
“Not working anymore gives us more time to come to the track,” said Darlene. “There were a lot of races I missed, especially during election time, so I’m enjoying the fact we can see our horses race more.”
Herb has also slowed down from farm work but admits that although he still does some farming, he doesn’t do as much as he used to. At one time, they were the main suppliers of hay on the backstretch at Hoosier Park, which is how they were introduced to the racing industry. This side arm of their farming business kept them both covered up in work from dawn to dusk for many years.
“We will enjoy coming down more to see our horses race,” added Herb. “And, we don’t have to drive quite as fast now to get here.”
Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing continues through Wednesday, Nov. 6. Racing is held Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 2:15 p.m. with Saturdays beginning at 6:15 p.m. For more information, visit the website at www.indianagrand.com.