By Jordan Gerrans
Hidden away at his Delaney’s Creek retirement paddock, champion pacer Blacks A Fake goes by a handful of names.
In his heyday, the legend standardbred was known as one of the greatest pacers we have ever seen – a four-time Inter Dominion champion, being the only pacer ever to do so, as well as countless other marquee honours.
Now, set to turn 21 this year, Blacks A Fake is known as Blackie, the Black Snake, or just Snake, and at times, the Carrot King.
These days, he is looked after by Victor and Cheryl Rasmussen – the parents of the famed driver and trainer of Blacks A Fake, Natalie Rasmussen.
The Snake, which he is at times called by Cheryl, comes from his attitude, she explains, as the gelding is cunning and conniving, in a cheeky way.
As for the name the Carrot King, Cheryl says he will knock you down for a carrot – such is his desperation to eat them.
All in all, the Queensland champion pacer is loving his post-racing life at Delaney’s Creek on a 20-acre paddock with his two friends, former pacer Major Cam, a 27-time career winner, and long-time companion Simon, ex-pacer Simons Left.
Simon is well known to the harness racing community, travelling with Blacks A Fake to many of his major wins and they are now joined in the same paddock in retirement.
Life is sweet for the retired pacers.
“He has a lovely, quiet, nice life,” Natalie said this month.
“He deserves it, he has been such a wonderful racehorse and I just think it is a great life to give him that now.
“He has no stress; he just eats and roams around his paddock.
“Mum and Dad were lucky enough to be part enough of him and Mum enjoys looking after him these days, all her barn of animals – I think she has 30-odd retired horses at the place, as well as a few rescue dogs – it is a lovely place.”
During her trip back to Queensland from New Zealand, Natalie spent some time with her former stable star, noting that he is still in great order for age, with healthy and strong legs still to this day.
Cheryl, who makes sure the great Blacks A Fake is rugged up every night, sees a happy retired pacer in her backyard.
“I think he is pretty content; he has his mates in his paddock, he has his feed every night, which is important,” Cheryl said.
“He is pretty happy, I think.
“It is a beautiful place for a horse, plenty of space to pick, they get their hay at night and their grains, they cannot ask for much else, even the older ones get their rug at night.”