Flynn the Horse
Flynn.. was a racehorse, a pacer, who raced in western New York from 1981 through
1989, mainly at Buffalo Raceway and Batavia Downs. It wasn't until late in his
career that I noticed him in the newspaper's racing results, while I was
working for public radio in Rochester. I travelled to nearby Alden, NY, where
he was stabled, to talk to his owner and driver for a radio story (below). Although I
became downright obsessed with the horse and tried to win loads of money by betting
on him, Flynn was past his prime by the time I got my money down, and I ended up well in
red. Still, it was among my most enjoyable radio features- and hobbies, as far as
following his career and travelling to the track to watch him race.
Flynn was born in Cattaraugus, New York, on May 4, 1978- owned by horse breeder,
Terry Ortner. Flynn's father was Michael Lynn and his mother was Robin's Return.
Robin's Return's father was Flying Song. With lineage a major factor considered by
horse owners, Flynn's name came about by combining the "Fl" from Flying Song and the
"lynn" from his father's name, Michael Lynn. His official "number"- that is tattooed
on the underside of the lip of horses that race, was 3298W2. His distinguishing
characteristic was in having one blue eye (left) and one brown eye (right).
Flynn had a younger sister, Roblyn, who was sold as a buggy horse. (The Amish
population were frequent buyers, for their use on farms and/or transportation.)
Flynn had an older brother, Michael's Return, who, as a 1 year old reared up in
a stable and broke a leg and was destroyed. Flynn had a younger brother (name
unknown) who was presumed to be alive in the late 1980s, whereabouts unknown.
Michael Lynn, Flynn's father (or sire) lived a long life for a horse, passing
away at 29 years old in 1986. Flynn's mother (or dam) Robin's Return, was eventually,
unfortunately sold to a meat farm, according to Ortner. Altogether, Ortner guessed
that Michael Lynn sired about 30 horses during his life.
Flynn was owned originally by Terry Ortner. He was sold to Violet Derby of Randolph,
NY in 1980.. sold to James and Myra Dunn of Hamburg, NY in 1983.. then sold to
David (Amherst, NY) and Ann (Cheektowaga, NY) Knupfer in 1986 (a son and mother).
The ultimate fate of Flynn the Horse has not been determined. In 1989, winless in
his past 42 races, he raced in what is called a "qualifying race" at Batavia
Downs, finishing third, 18 lengths back of the winner. I was told later by
Flynn's owner then, Dave Knupfer, that he was purchased by someone in the Amish
community- whereabouts unknown. I've been told that that would be a great place
for Flynn to go in his later years (he would have been 11 at the time) as the
Amish were known for treating their animals very well- especially if Flynn
became a buggy horse and a needed source of Amish transportation.
Flynn's All-Time Stats / Facts
Years Raced- 7
First Official Race- March 25, 1982
First Win- May 5, 1982 (by a neck over Stallone Hanover) at Buffalo Raceway
First Win Driver- Dave Columbo
First Win, Winning Odds - 10.60-to-1
All-time Number of Races- 213
Thirds - 21
Flynn's Wins at Racetracks - Buffalo 13, Batavia 12, Angelica 1
Lifetime Money Earned - $40,507
Highest 1st Place Purse Won - $2600 (three times)
Most Wins in a Row - Three (twice), both times in 1983
Most Wins in a Season - 10 (in 37 starts) in 1983
Driver With Most Flynn Wins - Tim Crissman, 6
Fastest Time - 204.0, April 26, 1983 at Buffalo Raceway, 1st place
Narrowest Margin of Victory - By a nose (twice)
Narrowest Second Place Finish - By a head (three times)
Last Race - August 25, 1989
Photos of visits to Flynn's stable in Alden, NY ...
Dave Knupfer let me drive Flynn around the practice racetrack, with the only
advice "don't show him or hit him with the whip". (I carried it just for the
photos- and had no intention of using it). Flynn was so used to the training
that he gave me no trouble- but was going fast enough to bring up some dust
as the photo below reveals. [photos taken by TOM MICHAEL and DAVE KNUPFER ]
Happier times.. a boy and "his" horse
A wary Flynn shows off his brown eye
Piloting Flynn around the track- [ click pic for larger photo ]
...known as "a trying stallion with a lot of heart"
First place photo from Flynn win, Feb 3, 1988...
by a head over the hapless 2nd place horse, Heiland Jason
[ click pic for larger photo ] Knupfer far left, driver Pafk with helmet
(track announcer call heard on tail-end of Flynn audio feature, below-
in the audio feature, you can also hear Tom Michael, who had money on Flynn,
urging the stallion on toward the finish line)
Radio feature, Flynn the Horse: with Dave Knupfer, Gary Pafk and Flynn the Horse
Three of the usual, losing betting slips