Here and There – March 25

- -

Monday can be good, bad, indifferent, busy, sleepy, slow to begin, snowy (even in spring). Mostly, Monday is here and There, and so is This Is Horse Racing. And Here and There means Worth Repeating, Numbers, a Photo of the Week and other bits and pieces from the world of racing.

WORTH REPEATING

“Most people wouldn’t consider me because it might look like my best days are behind me.”
Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, on getting horses from new client Bill Backer

“Almost. He never could quite get it all together. Not that he’s a disappointment, he had a good race record.”
Sheppard, on Ever So Lucky

“At some point I thought I might just train my own horses. It’s prohibitively expensive these days, but if I can do it on a limited basis, I like to do it.”
Sheppard, on racing his homebreds

“Nothing. I’ve talked to him so much. We watched videos of Animal Kingdom’s races, and of the previous runnings of the World Cup at Meydan. (Riding him once), even if it wasn’t the greatest experience, it’s still a huge learning opportunity to have been on him.”
Trainer Graham Motion, on what he’ll tell Animal Kingdom’s jockey Joel Rosario before the Dubai World Cup

“Going to 10:30 mass.”
Trainer Lisa Lewis, after a visitor couldn’t find her on Palm Sunday

“I’m ready.”
Trainer Shug McGaughey, on leaving Florida

“Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”
Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens, about life on the racetrack (name the movie)

Trainer Liz Gray, about Jerkens: “He likes to argue.”
Jerkens:  “We should name a horse Don’t Disagree With Liz.”

“You should have been here 10 minutes ago.”
Seasoned sunrise watcher to a novice, as the sun moved above the horizon on Hollywood Beach Sunday morning

“Forty-five minute surgery, five-month rehab.”
Jockey Alex Solis, on the way to the track to breeze a horse Sunday morning (the veteran returns Wednesday)

“I’ve got an extra helmet and boots . . .”
Exercise rider Eric Messiah, when seeing Sean Clancy standing on the rail at Gulfstream Park Sunday morning

“It’s been awhile.”
Irish Thoroughbred Marketing’s Daithi Harvey, when seeing the Florida sun

“Any time Tommy Walsh would hear about a good young rider, he’d say, ‘Yeah, but he hasn’t seen the thunder and the lightning yet.’ “
Trainer Peter Pugh, paraphrasing the Hall of Fame steeplechase jockey

“There is something beautiful about that and something sad about that all at the same time.”
Owner Rick Carroll, upon learning there was no live video and no betting on the Aiken Steeplechase

“I got a text saying that our horse would have beaten Secretariat by 8 lengths in the Belmont.”
West Point Thoroughbreds’ Terry Finley after Twilight Eclipse set a world record for 1 ½ miles Saturday

“I am going next year. I keep saying that, but next year I am definitely going.”
Steeplechase jockey Xavier Aizpuru, about missing Cheltenham this year

“Good to be here. Not be working and just enjoying horse racing.”
Former Turfway Park President and current Breeders’ Cup Ltd. Chief Operating Officer Robert Elliston, leaving the paddock before Saturday’s Spiral Stakes

Railbird 1, watching Crop Report in the Rushaway Stakes: “He’s not handling the Polytrack at all.”

Railbird 2, who turned out to be right:  “I don’t know about that. Keep watching. He’ll be in front by the time they get to the sixteenth pole.”

“Is Dr. Hansen here?”
Keeneland’s G.D. Hieronymus, guessing that the owner of 2011 juvenile champion Hansen would appreciate the Vegas-style showgirls at Turfway Park Saturday.

BY THE NUMBERS

5: Winners picked on top by Saratoga Special graduate Gabby Gaudet during her audition at Laurel Park Saturday. Gaudet and three others (former jockey Ryan Fogelsonger, Dylan Smith and Jackie Savoye) competed to replace longtime Laurel linemaker Frank Carulli.

596,635.05: Dollars 11-year-old Nolan Clancy leads the thisishorseracing.com league in the My Fantasy Stable fantasy racing game. 

 

A SHORT STORY – VISITING STORM CAT

Trainer Jonathan Sheppard is known for his distance-loving steeplechasers and turf horses, maybe a filly or two. But don’t forget Storm Cat. Way back when, the Hall of Famer trained the leading sire for owner W.T. Young.

Storm Cat raced eight times at 2 and 3, winning half including a victory in the Grade 1 Young America Stakes as a juvenile. The son of Storm Bird and champion Terlingua lost the 1985 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile by a nose, or might have joined steeplechase great Flatterer as a champion for Sheppard that year. Retired after just two starts in the fall of his 3-year-old year, Storm Cat of course went on to stardom as a stallion – standing for $500,000 live foal at one point. Pensioned from stud duty in 2008, he lives in retirement at Overbrook. Sheppard and his wife Cathy visited the 30-year-old last month, and enjoyed the reunion.

“Give Cathy the credit for that trip,” Sheppard said. “She’s into birthdays and anniversaries. He was an important part of our lives. We’d been to visit him quite a few times but it was nice to go back.”

Sheppard made several stops in the Lexington area during the trip – stopping in at Old Friends, looking at stallions at Ashford, Lane’s End, WinStar and others. In addition, Sheppard caught up with former steeplechase jockey Brian Crowley, now a stud groom at WinStar. After a lengthy career in England and Ireland, Crowley rode for three seasons in the U.S., mainly for Sheppard, before retiring at the end of 2012 due to a worsening of a neck injury.

“Hopefully things work out for him,” Sheppard said. “To be part of probably the most vibrant, active stud farm in Kentucky is good opportunity. I know he’ll work hard at it.”