The attraction to Smarty Jones was nearly unavoidable in 2004. Even if you tried it was next to impossible not to root for the Pennsylvania-bred colt with the catchy name, humble connections and powerful running style.
Lacey Gaudet, who saddled Marabea to victory in last weekend’s $125,000 Claiming Crown Tiara at Gulfstream Park, grew up in a racing family in Maryland and was very much caught up in the craze for Smarty Jones.
Paddy Young walked that familiar walk, from Cathie Jackson’s clipboard at the scales in front of the Springdale Racecourse grandstand, through the narrow passage along the side, winding through the pine trees and back to the cold confines of the Camden jocks’ room.
The five-time champion has won titles here, he’s lost titles here.
On Nov. 19, Young had clawed his way back to even with Kieran Norris with a score in the Raymond G. Woolfe. Norris, 0-for-2 on a day when he needed it most, was already back in the jocks’ room after finishing seventh aboard second-time starter Etched In Time.
The signs of the pending winter season are everywhere. Leaves are gone from the trees, Christmas trees are being toted around town on the roofs of cars and in the beds of pickups, holiday lights are up or going up, Black Friday is in the books and public tree lighting events going on from coast to coast.
So long, Grinding Speed. After 36 starts, 10 wins, seven seconds, and two thirds, the Maryland-bred son of Grindstone out of the Cozzene mare Cozelia retires to a life of leisure with owner Michael Wharton, who bought the eventual timber champion for the paltry sum of $2,000.
Evidence of the love and enthusiasm for off-the-track Thoroughbreds was easy to see during the last week of October in Central Kentucky. In Lexington, hundreds of such OTTBs, their owners and admirers gathered to celebrate the second careers of former racehorses at the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover.
The end of the jump racing season is closing fast with the Colonial Cup on tap for Saturday, two weeks removed from the conclusion (for the most part) of the North American flat season. Training in Saratoga comes to an end Tuesday and things are slowing down a bit in Fair Hill, too. Sure signs of winter for sure.
In honor of the final edition of The Special for 2016, we bring you the “Little Guy” Stable Tour. We scoured the grounds, searching Horse Haven, Oklahoma, the main track, the stakes barn, Clark’s Cottages, Gridley Street and even discovered barns inside the training track on the harness side to bring you the trainers and horses who might not have made headlines this summer, but plied their trade and earned respect. (Editor's note: Originally published in Sept. 4 issue of The Saratoga Special.)
As the final horses were led from their stalls to the walking ring the crew from Hurstland Farm gathered around the stall of Hip 248, waiting for the call over the public address system.
ST Publishing, publishers of the daily newspaper The Saratoga Special and the racing website This Is Horse Racing, will team for the third consecutive year with the New York Thoroughbred Breeders to produce a commemorative program for the organization’s Annual Awards Banquet this spring.
Lacey Gaudet is rolling. The 28-year-old Maryland-based trainer is in the midst of a career year nearly four times over, she’s locked in a battle for leading trainer honors at Laurel Park and she’s preparing to run three horses in Saturday’s Claiming Crown at Gulfstream Park.
Like a good book, the National Steeplechase Association season comes to a conclusion, and the authors put the final chapter to bed at the Colonial Cup Races in Camden, S.C. Nov. 19. No more jump racing in the United States until March.