Five races. One track. One meet.
That was the career of Melair, and it all transpired at Hollywood Park during the spring and summer of 1986. Equipped with sublime speed, she became a star in the Southland as she added win after win to her collection.
Although her career was quite brief, she made the most of the time she had on the track.
A California-bred daughter of Debonair Roger and Melrose Nugget, Melair was owned and bred by Marianne Millard and Bea Rous, both of whom were in the education field, and trained by John Sadler. She gained attention on the circuit while local stars Snow Chief and Ferdinand were competing back East in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Her career began in late April of 1986, where she won against maiden special weight company. On the day after the Preakness Stakes (which featured a one-two finish by Snow Chief and Ferdinand), Melair succeeded in her first try against winners, taking an allowance contest at the Track of the Lakes and Flowers.
Start number three actually marked the roan filly's graded stakes debut, which came in the Grade III Railbird Stakes. Melair simply dominated the event. She captured the race by daylight, coming to the wire more than seven lengths clear of the runner up. Another Grade III followed more than two weeks later in the Princess Stakes. Again, no one could defeat her as she moved to victory well ahead of her closest pursuer.
After making it four consecutive victories, the question was where Melair would go next. The answer was the Silver Screen Handicap, whih also featured fellow Cal-bred and recent Preakness Stakes winner Snow Chief. The matchup featured plenty of intrigue. It was two state bred horses, both imbued with talent, meeting each other at one of the nation's greatest tracks. The speedy and dynamic filly and the champion colt who loved to win and did not back down from the oppostion. Their combined presence in the race made for an abundance of star power at the Track of the Lakes and Flowers on July 5th.
The Silver Screen drew a full field, but Melair and Snow Chief were the attractions. Given how they both hailed from the Golden State, supporting them was easy for the local fans. The two gave it their all in the race, but the day belonged to Melair. She charged to the front early and never relinquished the lead, taking her opponents all the way to win the Grade II event. Snow Chief was gallant, coming in third place, but Melair was better that afternoon. She scored what turned out to be her biggest victory, finishing the race in 1:32 4/5. That time not only set a new standard for a filly or mare on dirt, it was also the fourth quickest time ever recorded for the distance. It also garnered her the Breeders' Cup Horse of the Month honor for July 1986.
The Silver Screen also proved to be the zenith of Melair's career. She never raced again after coming down with colic, but survived that bout with the disease. She went on to be a big winner at the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Awards for 1986, however, winning top sprinting and three year old female honors.
Melair lived to the age of sixteen, sadly passing away in 1999 due to another encounter with colic.
In her honor, the Melair Stakes fittingly became part of Hollywood Park's annual spring/summer program beginning in 1996. Following the closure of the Inglewood racetrack in 2013, the race was moved to Santa Anita, where it has been run since.
Though her time on the racetrack was brief, Melair dazzled fans with her gift of running and ability to compete. A truly unique and memorable filly, she made a rightful place for herself in California racing history.
Source: "Melair, who ran the fastest mile ever by a..." https://www.upi.com/Archives/1986/08/08/Melair-who-ran-the-fastest-mile-ever-by-a/1853523857600/ Accessed November 15, 2019.