Here & There – January 20

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Twenty days into the New Year and our notepads are starting to fill up, voice recorders in need of being emptied out. Sad to say this is the first edition of Here & There for 2016 and the first since the Breeders’ Cup wrap-up edition a few days after the big weekend in Lexington. Happy to say it’s back and we’re hoping (promising?) to slide it into a regular spot in the rotation.

Our team’s been busy on various tasks, from a midweek trip to Northern Kentucky last week for a race at Turfway Park to stallion shows in Maryland and New York and in front of the computer on a Saturday night (aghast) to catch most of the Eclipse Awards webcast.

We’re catching up on some reading, too, and offer an excerpt from one of the best about one of the best, along with some big news and sad news, a tweet and By the Numbers. Enjoy.

Worth Repeating

“He was a gift from God.” – Trainer Bob Baffert on Horse of the Year American Pharoah

“As you can see I did not win Powerball.” – Eclipse Awards host Jeannine Edwards

“The Westin has said no flaming shots or blue flamers when you get back to the room tonight.” – Breeders’ Cup President Craig Fravel to Ahmed Zayat

“If I’m bragging, I’m bragging. We’ve earned it. … Yes, American Pharoah is the jewel of the crown but we are not a one-horse stable.” – Ahmed Zayat accepting his first outstanding owner title

“You guys were looking real strong, had a good year, until June 6. Sorry guys.” – Baffert to rivals Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown in race for outstanding trainer

“The only reason Fox Hill Farm and Hollendorfer teams are on the stage tonight is because of a special group of people and a horse named Songbird.” – Rick Porter after accepting for the 2-year-old filly champion

“Unfortunately my brother Dennis couldn’t be here tonight but he did write my speech tonight … it says, ‘just thank Dennis.’ ” – Doug O’Neill, trainer of champion 2-year-old male Nyquist

“She’s a love story… she’s one of a kind. She’s pretty miraculous.” – Sheila Rosenblum about champion female sprinter La Verdad

“Everybody should have a horse like her.” – Linda Rice on La Verdad

“He makes everybody better every day.” – James McIngvale on champion male sprinter Runhappy

“I don’t want to forget the assistant trainers, the grooms and everyone behind the scenes.” – Javier Castellano, accepting his third straight outstanding jockey Eclipse Award

“Really glad to be here, this means the world to me.” – John Sadler, trainer of champion 3-year-old filly Stellar Wind

“Do we need to open this or does everybody have the same idea?” – Bill Mudd, presenting champion 3-year-old male honors to unanimous choice American Pharoah

“Somewhere there’s a cheesehead-pinhead joke to be made.” – Broadcaster Randy Moss after retired Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, diehard Green Bay Packers fan, came on stage with a cheesehead

“Just a couple studs looking at studs.” – Man on the phone during stallion show at Dutchess Views Farm last weekend

“He does it all the time, it’s part of the show.” – Sunrise Stallions’ Eric Bishop explaining Big Brown’s rearing up while being shown during Dutchess Views’ open house

“We got hammered with fans.” – Taylor Made’s Travis White on California Chrome fan events at the farm this fall

“I don’t remember her as a yearling, I may not have seen her or not written anything down. When she walked out of the stall there at Laurel she was an Adonis. Great body. Very correct, great bone, nice head. You can’t really knock her for too much.” – Bloodstock agent David Ingordo on champion 3-year-old filly Stellar Wind, who he bought on behalf of Hronis Racing

“You travel long-distance for those guys? That’s dedication.” – New York Thoroughbred Breeders’ President Tom Gallo after hearing about Tom Law’s 5-hour trek to the ST Publishing office for 2016 planning meetings last week

“It looks like we took the path of least resistance when you drop her down to run in the Torrey Pines, a Group 3, but it’s what’s available to us out here.” – Sadler on Eclipse Award finalist Stellar Wind’s preps for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in the Grade 2 Summertime Oaks and Grade 3 Torrey Pines

“Never in doubt.” – HRRN’s Mike Penna, after the Steelers eked out a dramatic win over the Bengals in the NFL Playoffs

“Not our year.” – Penna, after the Steelers lost to the Denver Broncos in the next round of playoffs

“You’re better than milk.” – Saratoga Special reader Mike Grigely, when talking about the shelf life of The Special (Grigely was reading the August 21 edition in January)

“You going to lead him in?” – Price Bell, to TIHR’s Sean “I’m not Ken Ramsey” Clancy, after Motivational won an allowance race at Turfway Park

“Some good horses have run here.”  – Trainer Charlie LoPresti while standing in the paddock at Turfway Park

“You used to do good.” – Valet Mike Mitchell when seeing retired jump jockey Sean Clancy at Turfway Park

“What, are you lost?” – Claiborne Farm’s Bernie Sams as he saw Sean Clancy walking down Ridgeway Road in Lexington last week

“What inaccuracies are you going to publish this time?” – Heritage Stallions’ Dr. Tom Bowman, to TIHR’s Joe Clancy about this editorial feature (the veracity of which we stand behind)

“I said what I said. I just didn’t know I was being quoted.” – Heritage Stallions’ Louis Merryman, to TIHR’s Joe Clancy about this editorial feature

“He was so far behind in the backstretch you thought he was in the next race.” – Bowman, about Bourbon Courage’s run in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Sprint

“His second dam could take up four catalogue pages.” – Heritage Stallions’ Dr. Brooke Bowman, about Imagining’s pedigree

“Oh, I’m in the weeds.” – Bloodstock agent Jamie LaMonica, on life as the parent of a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old

“The food’s all gone.” – Pennsylvania breeder Betsy Houghton, disappointing would-be diners (there was plenty of food…) at the Heritage Stallions stallion show

Exchange between jockey Victor Espinoza and Longines World’s Best Racehorse host Liz Price:
Espinoza: “It’s just amazing to be here in Paris.”
Price: “London.”
Espinoza: “Right, London.”


Book Club

An excerpt from Sunny Jim, The Life of America’s Most Beloved Horseman, by Jimmy Breslin:

The days, then, all were bad and one seemed like the next because the horses all were a little slow and the money always was short and the food skimpy. And the days kept turning into years. But through all this, one thing about the man kept standing out. He was being taken by larceny, he knew what it was and there could have been chances for him to try it himself. This doesn’t mean he could have gotten out of the hole by doing some stealing with horses. But he could have made it a lot easier on himself every step of the way. Yet he never gave it a try. His reason is simple. Back when he was six or seven, or maybe even eight, you see, he had learned what he thought was the difference between right and wrong. Nobody had ever bothered to tell him what was the good way to do things and what was the bad way. He had watched other people and made up his mind how he was going to act. He was not going to steal, for one thing. Nor was he going to complain. Nor were you going to find him putting the finger on anybody else. He had made up his mind he was going to take everything as it came and never look left or right.


Big News of the Week

The Maryland Hunt Cup, North America’s oldest steeplechase race, increased its purse to $100,000. First run in 1894, the Hunt Cup is a 4-mile timber race over 22 fences some on the verge of 5 feet tall. The Hunt Cup has been run over the same course in the Worthington Valley north of Baltimore since 1922. The race had no purse for most of its early history, and went to $6,000 in 1972. The value had been $75,000 for the past nine years. As always, the purse is raised without wagering or commercial sponsorship. The Hunt Cup, run on the last Saturday in April, will also remain restricted to amateur jockeys. For more, see the Maryland Hunt Cup website.


Sad News of the Week

The death of Gulch, oldest Breeders’ Cup winner, at 32. Retired at Old Friends Farm in Georgetown, Ky., the champion sprinter of 1988 was euthanized Sunday, Jan. 17 due to complications from cancer. The son of Mr. Prospector and Rambunctious mare Jameela, Gulch has been a resident at Old Friends since 2009 and was one of the farm’s flagship stallions. On the racetrack, Gulch won the Hopeful as a 2-year-old, the Wood Memorial at 3, two editions of the Metropolitan Handicap, the Carter and the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He won 13 times in 32 starts and earned $3,095,521. As a sire, he produced 1995 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Thunder Gulch among others and is represented by 71 stakes winners. In retirement, he earned his place, as Old Friends founder Michael Blowen put it, “He was confident, self-possessed and regal. He didn’t demand respect – he earned it. He is irreplaceable.”


By the Numbers

1: Qatar flag in the winner’s circle at Gulfstream Park Saturday.

1: Philadelphia Flyers jersey on West High Street in Lexington Thursday morning.

1: Snowball made by a child during Dr. Tom Bowman’s speech at the Heritage Stallions stallion show Sunday (she didn’t throw it at him).

2: Job offers for TIHR’s Jack Clancy (a Salisbury University conflict analysis and dispute resolution major) at the Heritage Stallions stallion show – one as a marriage counselor and one as a family ombudsman.

2: Youth basketball games coached by bloodstock agent Jamie LaMonica Saturday before driving to Maryland in time for Sunday’s stallion show at Heritage.

61.60: Seconds slow to standard time for Chepstow’s Welsh National. The weather conditions, overcast, intermittent heavy rain after race 1.

17: Votes steeplechase horse Demonstrative lost by in the 2012 Eclipse Award balloting. There were 36 abstentions.

19: Consecutive Grade 1 starts made by Demonstrative from August 2012 through November 2015 (he won seven and placed in four).

15,000: Dollars per mile the Maryland Hunt Cup winner receives in 2016.

2,727.27: Dollars (and cents) per fence – there are 22 – of the Maryland Hunt Cup.


Name of the Week: Jay Gatsby. Joe Allen’s homebred is out of Starry Dreamer.

Sad Chart of the Week: The chart from Aqueduct’s fourth race Jan. 10. “Uncle Duncan claim voided. Reason: Deceased.”

Tweet of the Week: From Saratoga pub @Henrysttaproom, “Having trouble getting a spot on the elliptical at the gym? Come get some nachos instead…”

Ride of the Week: Ruby Walsh aboard Killultagh Vic. Watch it: