It was another wild week in Thoroughbred racing. Horse of the Year Wise Dan returned energetically and victoriously, Todd Pletcher bolstered his Derby roster, Ken McPeek created his, Maya Charli upset the Atlanta feature and Moonsox upset the Manor. Here's your Here & There for Monday, April 15. Pay your taxes because you have to, read this because you want to...
"Sorry, I was on the tractor." - Trainer Charlie Lopresti, three days after Horse of the Year Wise Dan won his 2013 debut, apologizing for not answering his phone
"He'd never tell you if he won or lost. I don't think he ever won at the horses." - Brooklyn Dodgers' pitcher Don Newcombe, when asked to name Jackie Robinson's worst trait on Bob Costas' Studio 42
"Freak." - Eyewitness description of Orb's breeze at Payson Park April 14
"Just getting in the car and listening to the radio the other day felt like normal." - Trainer Graham Motion, on what life has been like since Animal Kingdom won the Dubai World Cup
"Remarkable." - Jockey Mario Pino when asked to describe - in one word - his trip to California to accept the George Woolf Award
"El Padrino was a big, solid horse and there are a lot of similarities in their personalities and physiques. I think, mentally, he gets a lot from More Than Ready, his laid-back nature, pretty intelligent horse, he's a curious horse, always taking everything in around him and keeping his eye on things." - Trainer Todd Pletcher, about probable Derby favorite Verrazano, a half-brother to El Padrino
"No one was going to stay on him that day, it's a testament to the horse how he kept his feet after going on his head and staggering sideways." - Trainer Ian Wilkes, about Fort Larned stumbling in the Gulfstream Park Handicap
"I bet it gets dark out here." - New Yorker Paul Wasserman, while visiting a Middleburg farm
"I was never in this much demand when I got paid to ride." - Jump jockey Jody Petty, now an amateur, whose Saturday plans may include a helicopter to ride to two places
"I kicked Johnny." - Steeplechase fan Dolly Fisher, on how she injured her knee; in reality, her husband Johnny drew no such response from his wife. The injury happened on a ski slope.
"All we do is work on horses all day - hosing, waiting on the blacksmith, waiting on the acupuncture. Like Wayne Lukas says, 'They can have faster horses, better-bred horses, whatever, but don't let anyone outwork you.' " - Jump trainer Bruce Fenwick
"There's the stud fee, four years of her life so far . . . I don't know. She just paid last year's tax bill." - Breeder/owner/trainer Susan Cooney, on whether Embarr (earner of $224,484) is a moneymaker
"At this stage, pedigree is out the window." - Trainer Neil Morris, on 3-mile maiden timber winner Old Timer (a son of Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Orientate)
"Why do you keep acting like you're busy." - Jonathan Thomas, leaving a message on TIHR's Sean Clancy's mobile
"The man has to stand on a feed tub to give me a leg up, because the horse is afraid of the stepladder." - Exercise rider John Mitchell, aboard a particularly tall horse at Fair Hill Saturday
"Do you believe in miracles?" - Announcer Dave Rodman, as Spicer Cub and jockey Xavier Perez bolted between the gate and the outside rail at Pimlico
"I had ridden him three times before and he never did anything like that before. He is a nice, kind horse." - Perez, describing Spicer Cub, in a press release from Maryland Jockey Club
"I have found it is the best way to keep an indentured servant indentured." - Trainer Jack Fisher, after telling a reporter that new jockey Sean Flanagan doesn't have access to phone, car or the Internet (Fisher eventually gave us the number)
"Physically, he looks like Skip Away. I only hope he's half as good one day." - Trainer Ken McPeek about Arkansas Derby runner-up Frac Daddy
"Even as a little girl, when everyone else was saying they wanted to be a fairy princess, I said I wanted to train horses." - Trainer Abby Adsit, who is doing just that at age 26
"I think there's probably more ponies here than horses." - NYRA security guard to TIHR's Tom Law, on the lookout for racehorses at the Oklahoma training track last weekend
Names of the Month
Nelson and Traveller: The former was George Washington's horse, the latter Robert E. Lee's. Together, they make up Nelson and Traveller Stable - owner of My Lady's Manor winner Moonsox - and the one-horse operation of Michelle and Harry St. John. They met at Washington and Lee University. She's the daughter of trainer Kevin Boniface and an associate producer at 60 Minutes.
By The Numbers
5: Wins in nine starts by horses trained by Jonathan Sheppard Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The victories came at Keeneland (two), Atlanta Steeplechase (two) and Tampa Bay Downs.