Big Shoes

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As she leaned her back on a railing outside the office of trainer Joe Sharp’s barn on the Oklahoma Training Track Wednesday morning, Dede McGehee was tired from the trip to New York from her home in Lexington, even more so after a stop in Brooklyn to visit her daughter.

The owner/breeder was bright-eyed nonetheless, more so as her homebred colt Dolphus walked out of his stall and to the woodchip-walking ring a few yards away. McGehee, who bred the half-brother to 2016 Hall of Fame inductee and 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the name of her Heaven Trees Farm, came out to see the Lookin At Lucky colt train in preparation for his comeback in today’s $100,000 Curlin Stakes at Saratoga.

“He’s a handsome boy; he’s my prince,” McGehee said of the colt she named after Rachel Alexandra’s breeder and original owner, Dolphus Morrison.

Exercise rider Yeicuth Rivera got a leg up after Dolphus took a few turns and was then joined by one of Sharp’s assistants, Michelle Giangiulio, on the pony for the walk to the main track. Sharp, McGehee, her daughter Kelly and Hanna Salmon were close behind in a golf cart, weaving in and out of horse and human traffic, before crossing Union Avenue and stopping inside the gate.

Dolphus was as much of a prince as his older sister was a princess when he trained Wednesday morning. He arrived at the main track just before it re-opened from the break, stood calmly alongside the pony amidst a crush of horses just off the pavement and didn’t get rattled in the slightest when a loose horse made two laps to all but cease training. 

To read the rest of the Curlin preview, download Friday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by Keeneland.