Trainer Jack Fisher had not given up. “I kept the old silks, don’t worry.”
Fisher pulled out Edie Dixon’s blue and green silks from a bag of old colors in the barn loft and handed them to jockey Sean Flanagan to ride Dixon’s Schoodic in the Gladstone, Far Hills’ $25,000 3-year-old stakes Oct. 19.
The son of Tiznow obliged, rallying from well back to reel in Cry Vengeance, Class Cherokee and Run To Class at the last. A three-horse scrum turned into a one-horse strut as Schoodic drew off to win easily in his hurdle debut.
Through the 1990s and 2000s, Dixon campaigned Iroquois winner To Ridley, novice stakes winner Sharp Face, timber champion Charlie’s Dewan, stakes winner Indispensable and other successful jumpers. Deeper in the past, her late husband Fitz was a steeplechase fixture as a former NSA president and campaigned such standouts as China Run in the 1960s. Schoodic became Dixon’s first jumper since Honolua Storm in 2009.
Named after the Maine peninsula where Dixon lives, Schoodic made five starts on the flat for trainer Michael Matz. The bay gelding managed a third in an off-the-turf maiden at Delaware Park last fall but failed to land a blow in three turf tries, concluding that career with a seventh for a $75,000 maiden claiming tag at Gulfstream in March. Dixon decided to send the son of her graded stakes winner Aunt Henny to Fisher and change codes. Fisher turned him out until June, taught him to jump and aimed at Far Hills.
“He’s obviously well bred, he ran on the flat, not particularly well, that’s why he’s a 3-year-old running over fences,” Fisher said. “He doesn’t have a clue. He doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing.”
With or without a clue, Schoodic showed enough talent to bridge the gap between the clatterers in the back to the leaders in the front.
“He jumped the first three or four fences like a timber horse, which is what he does at home, he jumps way up and over them,” Fisher said. “How far is it from the second-to-last to the last? That helped, he got running, flew the last and just galloped. I think he’ll improve.”
The silks will stay out of the loft.