Snowstorms and blizzards, blizzards and snowstorms. That’s the buzz pretty much everywhere on the eastern side of the country, not counting those hardy souls gutting it out in South Florida.
Winter weather raged up the East Coast as the final week of January kicked off, hitting New York City first before ripping into New England. Saratoga didn’t get its blast until late morning Tuesday and it continued well into the afternoon. Fortunately it largely stayed away over the weekend, when stallion farms from Maryland to New York hosted open house events. Breeding sheds across the country are gearing up for the season and people are talking.
Racing in the warmer spots went on largely uninterrupted, in South Florida with the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream and in Southern California with Cal-bred stakes. If you’re there you’re lucky. If you’re not, well, you’re not. Fill in your own blank.
“I can’t imagine why you’re calling.” – Judith Evans to TIHR’s Tom Law, calling her husband Ralph Evans to talk about his Holy Bull winner Upstart
“How a mare could be named No Class and do all that she did I’ll never know.” – Pin Oak Stud’s Clifford Barry, about star broodmare who produced Sky Classic, Regal Classic, Classy N Smart, Grey Classic and generations of Canadian-bred Thoroughbred stars
“He’s an easy keeper.” – Bill Rubin, husband of trainer Lizzie Merryman, showing off a photo of his buffalo at a Thoroughbred stallion show
“We do have an Eclipse Award winner here…” – Heritage Stallions’ Tom Bowman, who paused his stallion narration to introduce TIHR’s Joe Clancy
“You’ve got to stay positive because you get beat down enough in this business. Sunday I have a 30-1 shot that wins and then on Monday I have a 9/5 favorite that falls coming out of the gate and doesn’t even finish the race. Sunday you’re like, ‘man this is great,’ and Monday you want to shoot yourself.” – Owner Dean Reeves
“I am the queen of schmooze. I need to do two days (of stallion shows), just in case there’s a snowstorm.” – Saratoga Stud’s Suzie O’Cain
“It’s amazing how much our business has changed in the last 20 years.” – Joe McMahon of McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds
“We give them away at our Kentucky Derby party every year. People love those things.” – Thoroughbred Racing Calendar buyer “Tony Cazz,” who runs the Rattlesnake Bar in Boston
“What I’d like to say is, you’re interrupting my lunch.” – Maryland Racing Commission chairman Bruce Quade, after Tom Bowman introduced him with an “if he’d like to say a few words…” at the Heritage open house.
“He deserves all the recognition.” – Northview Stallion Station’s Francisco Torres, about 25-year-old stallion Not For Love
Conversation after Elizabeth Collins, wife of TIHR’s Tom Law, returned from a week at the University of Vermont taking a food-hub management course:
Elizabeth: “I’m kind of excited about my homework.”
Tom: “Sure sign of adulthood.”
Elizabeth: “Sure sign of interest.”
“He actually bred his first mare, on a practice session, the other day. I never thought they’d have to practice, but I guess that’s one of those things, they’ve got to have a little bit of training before the real deal starts. They called me from the farm the other day and said he was an absolute champ. He was strutting back to the barn. … They said he walked back to the stall like he owned the place.” – Reeves on 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man, who will stand his first season this year at Adena Springs in Kentucky
“The snow here is disappointing if you will, we didn’t get nearly as much as they claimed we would.” – Owner Ralph Evans, from his home in Greenwich, Conn.
Best of Twitter (Winter Storm Juno edition)
From Mark Hennig (@Hennigracing): “I know this sounds crazy, but I am kind of wishing I was home in NY for this historic storm.”
And a little while later …
From Hennig: “I’m gonna have a little nightcap of Bailey’s, just so I feel like I’m partaking in this storm, with all you folks up north.”
By the Numbers
3: Gray stallions (of six on the roster) at Heritage Stallions.
4: Times Not For Love was the leading sire by North American earnings (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006).
34: Issues of The Saratoga Special scheduled for 2015. Check out our ad brochure, which includes the Spa stakes schedule.
50: Individual horses nominated for New York-bred championship honors in 2014. The team from The Saratoga Special will again produce the NYTB’s commemorative awards program. Check out the details here.