Saturday, July 28, 2012

Second race, Try #4

Marcus is go for second race today...hopefully no storms!  Race #9, post 14...30-1....ACK! :0 No word yet from Colonial about protest/whine fest.

Now, excuse me, I have to go figure out how Marcus' sister, Prepare the Way a.k.a. Glory, ended up in a field that was closed off to her by a locked gate and a five foot fence.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Between Heaven and Hell

So, after the drama that ensued that last week at Colonial (and the public meltdown I personally led that I am waiting for someone to post on You Tube), Marq Your Bible is doing OK.  The vet has looked him over and X-rayed his front legs.  He only has some minor swelling and is doing so well, that he has been entered for this Saturday! (Race 9).

Furthermore, even after all the antics Marcus pulled, his name did not land on the stewards' national list of misbehaving horses.   If it did, he would have had to prove to the stewards that he will behave in the future and thus delay any return to active racing.  Nonetheless, I have filled an official protest (OK, more like a whine fest) with Colonial Downs.  I will let you know what they say.   

To say this is a miracle straight from Heaven would be understatement.  There was a strong possibility that Marcus' racing career was over.  Instead, he gets another chance.Horse racing is a sport where there are no spiritual fence sitters.  You either accept and believe in God's message of salvation and accept His help or you hit the bottle and/or start abusing drugs. 

Horse racing is among the most spiritually challenging sport around.  One does not have teammates to fall back upon, there are no guaranteed contracts, and are thousands of variables that are out one's control.     Fortunately, many in the industry have accepted Christ and are very open about their Faith.   I reject the notion that horse racing is somehow the ultimate sin and I will explore that topic in more detail later.  It is a sport like any other and one that will make you learn real quick how little control you have over Life.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Members of the Sports Media, Listen...For Once

Is it any wonder that horsemen get mad at the likes of Joe Drape of the New York Times, Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, or Barry at (whose second post on horse racing in two months simply read "Three Dead Horses at Saratoga) when people like them write insulting, slanderous, and seriously misguided articles about horse racing.  What happened tonight at Colonial is an example of why I personally get mad.

After several months of training and waiting, Marcus was being prepared for his second race ever at Colonial.  There were some very serious storms in the area, similar to the ones that happened a few weeks ago.  He flipped out in the saddling area, kicked the assistant trainer to the ground and took off. .
He is caught 5 mintues later and then somebody did the one thing they shouldn't have done...they brought him back to the saddling area.  With only half of a lead line, the assistant trainer  (who is an experienced steeplechase rider) had no chance with  Marcus.  Marcus broke loose again and through the middle of the post parade.

Needless to say, he was taken out of the race. Though the blessings of God, despite all the acting up, Marcus came through with only two minor bumps.  He was fit and ready to go.  Our trainer had him ready and a fluke storm made the horse act up.
That is why I get mad at you Barry, Sally, and Joe.  You have no idea how much we put into this sport and how much we have to put up with.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Short Tribute to Sham and Pancho Martin

Word has come out that Frank "Pancho" Martin, long time trainer on the New York Racing circuit has died at the age of 86.    I did not know Mr. Martin or his most famous client, Sham, the horse that went toe-to-toe with Secretariat in 1973.  Chances are most people's incorrect opinion of Mr. Martin and Sham come via the train wreck of a movie Secretariat.  In the movie, Sham, Mr. Martin, Sham's owner, and Sham's jockey, Laffit Picay, jr., were all portrayed as arrogant jerks.  Sham in particular was portrayed as a horse straight from the pit of Hell.  To say the movie was "Disneyfied," (i.e. watered down plot that removes complex issues from the script and not necessarily because the movie was released by Walt Disney Pictures, Inc.) would be an understatement.

Thus I present a picture of my wife with the evil that is...SHAM!

Yep...real evil.  My wife said that when she met him, Sham was about to fall asleep in her arms.   It is my understanding that Sham's owner was also a kind hearted person as well as Mr. Martin and well, Laffit Picay has been one of the great ambassadors of the sport.

Equally short Marcus update:  We are go for launch on his second race.  Race #6, post position 1.  Stretching him out to one mile.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Great Race Name Change Place

In another MX missile shot to tradition, Santa Antia Park has renamed several of its graded stakes races. The Park's PR Machine stated “This has been an important process for all of us involved with live racing here at Santa Anita,” said Rick Hammerle, Santa Anita Vice President of Racing. “We did a lot of research and tried hard to make sure each name had a tangible meaning, either geographically, historically or culturally." The real reason of course is that Magna...what are they called nowadays since they declared bankruptcy? Magna International Developments? I think? Anyway, Magna Whoever conquered Santa Anita's Fall meet from the Oak Tree Racing Association. Since Oak Tree technically owns the names of the graded stakes races, Magna wasn't about to pay for the rights. So...CHANGE THEM!

Eddie D. Stakes (Gr. III)-- Morvich Friday, Sept. 28
FrontRunner Stakes (Gr. I)-- Norfolk Saturday, Sept. 29
 Awesome Again Stakes (Gr. I)-- Goodwood Saturday, Sept. 29
 Rodeo Drive Stakes (Gr. I)-- Yellow Ribbon Saturday, Sept. 29
Zenyatta Stakes (Gr. I)-- Lady’s Secret Saturday, Sept. 29
Chandelier Stakes (Gr. I)-- Oak Leaf Saturday, Sept. 29
John Henry Turf Champ. (Gr.II)-- Clement Hirsch Sunday,Sept. 30 Arroyo
Seco Mile (Gr. II)-- Oak Tree Mile Saturday, Oct. 6
Santa Anita Sprint Champ. (Gr. I)-- Ancient Title Saturday, Oct. 6

Naming a race the Awesome Again Stakes has nothing to do with his stud duty. Right? Right!  As much as I loved Zenyatta, Lady Secert was a pretty good race horse in her own right.  I know...too much to pony (hah! I said "pony") up $75,000 to create a new race.  The FrontRunner? Who? What? Really? For those who don't know, Norfolk was the name of a very good race Virginia-bred horse in the way back days.  I find this to be a personal insult because the horse was named after the City of Norfolk, a place I have called home for the last 18 years.

The only one I can possibly understand changing was the Clement Hirsch.  Mr. Hirsch founded the Oak Tree meet when no one else would fill in the gap in the Southern California racing schedule.  So, Santa Antia couldn't have that ink blot could they?  Of course I am surprised they didn't name it the Frank Stronach Stakes. 

Whats next? Selling the naming rights to a whole race course? Oh...never mind....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Marq Your Bible First Race-Take 2

Marq Your Bible (a.k.a. Marcus) got to race very late on Saturday, July 7, with Ryan Fogelsonger as his jockey. Marcus entered the gate well. He left the gate well. He finished six of eight. Being that this his first start ever, I was nervous that he would refuse to get in the gate and give the assistant starters a hard time. Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Even with one horse flipping out, Marcus stay perfectly calm the whole time.

The race was 5f on the turf and this is clearly not his distance. Given that he was only starting his run at the top of the stretch and that Ryan said that Marcus wanted to keep racing after the finish line, he needs at least a mile.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Marq Your Bible-Countdown on Hold...

So...everything was going great yesterday...
That's my daughter's stuff horse "Cute" at the near the finish line at Colonial...
Colonial's pony horses and their riders were as gracious as ever...
Checking out the competition....
Then, 10 minutes to post time....this arrived. A tornado touched down nearby along with some of the most surreal weather I have ever seen. There were lighting strikes across the sky about every 10 seconds. Needless to say, management cancelled the rest of the card. So...we wait until later in the week.