Monday, December 29, 2008

Fat ones, fast ones, slow ones and boxers

I know, I know, I haven't posted in ... oh, forever. Got kind of busy with work and it's been beyond cold outside. By the time I get home, it takes me forever to thaw out.

Or I could also use the fact that I haven't really had much stamina to put together another post so far.

Lady has raced twice more since the last race post.

Turfway Park. Did pretty well the first time I took her- awful break from the gate- looking around in there like- oooooh, look at THAT horse over here!- and- Oooooooooh, look at the crowd over there!. Gates open and she is looking around.
"Oh shit, the gate is open!" Sits down like a bunny rabbit and jumps out, climbs for a little while before she finds her stride and settles in. Is about 20 lengths in back of the pack.
I'm going "Crap!" Her owner is glaring at me sideways.

Coming up on the turn, she starts running up on the field. She passes horses like they are standing still! She's going, going faster, runs up to fifth position and THE FRIGGIN RACE IS OVER ARRRRRRRGGGGHHHHHH. 6F. Too short for her. I knew this of course. But owner is convinced she can run short. Well, if she had broken better, she may have. Had that race been a mile, she would have won it BIG TIME.

Just took her back on Saturday. REALLY short race 5 1/2F.
Beat one horse. Still doesn't come out of that gate as fast as she possibly could and doesn't like being hustled. A good friend of mine has been riding her for these last two races and he told me everything I already saw watching the race.
She doesn't want to hustle to the front. She doesn't like the kickback from the track surface and backs up.
"I can win with this girl but you gotta send her long".

Entering tomorrow for Friday for a mile. This will be the 4th time I am trying to get her into a mile race, so far, either the race overfills or it doesn't go at all.

She's doing great today, went to the track and jogged 2.5 miles, all the while wanting to run off with Cowboy.

Lady has now also earned herself a World Heavy Weight Boxing Title. Before this last race, at the receiving barn, she gets herself hung up in her hay rack. Right in front of my eyes. I'm still baffled by how she did this. In any case, her foot is wrapped in the rack, she is going boinkers, beating herself up trying to get out of it before I can shake off the three helpful guys who are holding me back to keep me from running into her stall and freeing her. How gallant! Their idea of helping her is to yell "Whoaaaaa girl, Whoooooaaaa, calm down!"
Yea right! THAT worked really well!

I ran in and grabbed her, she immediately stopped fighting and waited for me to free her.

But she freaked herself out so bad, he adrenalin must have really thrown her for a loop. After this incident, her energy level ebbed and never came back up. After the race, she was actually walking quietly and was obviously tired.
She skinned her L shoulder at the point, her RR fetlock and a small place above her L eye.

The next morning, her leg was puffed up, her bump on the shoulder had gone down and she has a huge shiner- her eye is *pooooooof* big like a boxer's.
I sweated her leg that night and doctored the minor other scrapes.

Today, she is, feeling great, rested well, on her feed, with attitude. No swelling in the leg.
So off to the track I sent her.

Her and everyone else.

I have come to a conclusion: My horses are all nuts!

Every one of them tried to dump Cowboy. I wish I had had the camera with me to video it!

Especially Cindirelli. She has gained back the 500 lbs she lacked when she arrived and I can actually now see two round butt cheeks from her topline view! She actually looks FAT. Well, fat for a racehorse.

Which reminds me, I haven't told Cindirelli's story. Hmmm.
I think in the next few days, I'm going to have to put together a post just about this girl.

I'm going to have to bring the camera with me tomorrow. A post about Cindirelli warrants lots of video and photos.

In any case, everyone is doing great.

I'm entering Lady tomorrow for Friday. Did I already mention that?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Darcy has a new home!

Just wanted to quickly update everyone on the Loosey-Goosey...

Tom hauled her yesterday after lunch to.... (*insert drumroll*)

Friends of Ferdinand!

Yay! They have raised the funds for her sinus surgery and the little girl is going to be living in horse heaven as she was sponsored as one of Tony Stewart's ex-racers. How cool is that?

You guys can check out FFI's website for updates on Darcy:

What a relief. Ya'll wouldn't believe some of the shady characters who wanted to take this girl home.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The results are in

Now that I'm over my annoyance at my jockey's inability to listen to instructions, I feel it is safe for me to share the dismal race results from Wednesday without offending every ear not belonging to a sailor.

This is what pinhead (another name for jockey) was told:
Make sure she breaks well, let her run, keep her in contention up by the front. I want her to have a good race experience.

She breaks well. She gets bumped a little within the first furlong but straightens out nicely, no problem. They head towards the first turn, our girl is coming up on the cluster of horses along the outside with another filly on her outside. You can see she is really relishing this- running as fast as she wants....
He pulls her back. He actually stands up in the stirrups to pull on her head. Her head is going every which way because she HATES being pulled (does the same thing in training when you try to rate her).
Once she settles back, he tucks her in at the back of the pack and for the rest of the race, she merrily gallops along. Coming out of the second turn, the horse behind her moves up and I'm thinking, ok, she'll make a move now, right?

Wrong! She wouldn't budge. He asked her several times and she wouldn't budge. He used the whip on her and she furiously whipped her tail up and down, she wouldn't budge.

She came back and was pissy for 2 days.

This filly can't be rated. She either gets to run like all hell or she figures, oh, I'm just here to gallop.

So, her and Aldo were not a good match.

I'm really disappointed because she has the ability to hang in this company and so far she's had 2 starts, neither of which are representative of her talents.

Pinhead tells me what a nice filly, but he doesn't think she likes the turf.
I'm thinking, I don't think she likes him.

Owner, of course, is furious that she didn't get to really run this time, either. While I can't blame him for feeling the way he does, I have no power over what happens in a race and we just have to wait for the next one.

We're probably going to Turfway Park for a race on Dec. 7. It's a short race but at least now I know what the instructions need to be:
Get her out of the gate fast and let her run like all hell.

Frustrating. Shit happens. But dang it, this better be the last time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Here we go again!

Lady is in at Churchill tomorrow, and once again we got the longest odds.
She's feeling good, and I think she'll do just fine. I even think she'll come out of the gate ok this time and as long as Aldo can keep her settled and in contention, she's got as good a shot as any of those fillies.

Here are the entries with the odds:

Churchill Downs - November 19th, 2008 - Race 4
Estimated Local Post Time: 2:06 PM
Race Type: Maiden Special Weight
Breed: Thoroughbred
Age Restriction: Three Year Old and Upward
Sex: Fillies and Mares
Purse: $42,200
Distance: One And One Sixteenth Miles
Surface: Turf
Post Horse
Age Sex Weight
Five Gold Rings (KY)
Shaun Bridgmohan
Summer Wind Racing Stable (Frank and Jane Lyon)
3 Filly 120
William I. Mott
Summerwind Farm
Alley Theater (KY)
Jesus Lopez Castanon
Kim and John Glenney
3 Filly 120
John Glenney
Mark Dedomenico LLC
Happenstance (KY)
Jamie Theriot
Four D Stable (Donna Arnold)
3 Filly 120
Charles Lopresti
4-D Stables
Sadie's Day (KY)
William D. Troilo
Autumn Winds Farm, LLC (Richard and Peggy McBride)
3 Filly 120
James A. Dodgen
Cypress Creek, LLC &Equine Farm Management, Inc.
Empiress (KY)
Julien R. Leparoux
Rocinante Racing (James D. Squires)
3 Filly 120
Michelle Nihei
J. D. Squires
Here My Are (KY)
John Byrne
Phyllis Haller
3 Filly 120
John Good
Haller Stables, Ltd.
Cape Cod Bay (KY)
Kent J. Desormeaux
Overbrook Farm (William T. Young, Jr.)
3 Filly 120
Dallas Stewart
Overbrook Farm
One Lady's Vice (KY)
Aldo Canchano
William Stull
3 Filly 120
Tres J. Delaforce
Claude Felts
Meadow Saffron (KY)
Calvin H. Borel
Frederick J. Seitz
3 Filly 120
Fred Seitz
Bradyleigh Farms Inc.
Sealed Bid (KY)
Robby Albarado
G. Watts Humphrey, Jr.
3 Filly 120
George R. Arnold, II
G. Watts Humphrey Jr.

Post time is 2:09 pm. Please wish us the best racing luck!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Can you say COLD?

This isn't even enjoyably cool. Or enjoyably cold. It is frickin freezin out there and while the horses are loving it, I'm sure my toes are going to fall off from frostbite!

So Mr. Doodle was feeling particularly good today. Any rider other than Cowboy would have been dumped gua-ran-teeeed!

Did I mention snow flurries this afternoon? No? Did I forget? Jeeesh.

Oh, and Lady is in for Wednesday at Churchill, on the turf, no less. They didn't write the race I asked for at 1 mile. They wrote it for 1 mile and 16th. I figure the 16th won't kill her. Got a different jock- a really good one with maidens- Aldo Canchano. Turns out our bug boy quit. He apparently felt a bit intimidated at CD and decided he's heading up to Turfway Park and getting an agent up there. I'm a bit disappointed but the same agent represents Aldo and actually asked to make the entry for me- this is the first time an agent wanted to do this for one of my horses, which basically means he wanted to make sure his guy is named on my horse. He told me Aldo would love to ride her. Yea baby! They liked what they saw and what our bug told them about her.
More about the race later.

I have a series of photos and video of Doodle going to the track. I sorted them sequentially (sort of) so even if the videos won't come through, these will.

While he was out there trying to get rid off Cowboy, Anne and I were hooting and hollering for him.

On the way to the track, he was ok until.....

Once he got him behaving better, Doodle did a wonderful job jogging and galloping.

Now tell me that horse isn't reaching! It is amazing what will happen when you fix a horse's feet!
This boy has suspension when he had none in the last 3 years. Just watching him makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I actually stood out there, looked up at the sky and said "Thank You!" out loud.

After the warm up jog, we galloped, first nice and easy, then a bit faster, then easy again.
Ummm... that was the plan.

All went well, at first: First Round, nice and (sort of) easy:

Second round, a little bit faster. Right? Would have been great if Doodle had agreed. He didn't want just a little bit. He wanted a LOT bit faster:

"I'm going, I'm going, I'm going, I'm... HEY!!! I want to gogogogogo, stop that pulling!"

"Ok, here we go, I'm going, I'm going, I'm going, I'm going... don't you start that pulling thing again, you human!"

"I knew it! I knew you'd do it again! And you call me a common asshole, well, that's the pot calling the kettle black! STOOOOPPPPPP ITTTTTTT!!!!!"

"What is with this guy!!???? Let go of my mouth, you glorified poop picker!!!!!"

"Maybe I can duck out this way... ooop, nope, shit, he's taking all the fun out of this!"

And then the slow, boring round.....

And off the track we go!

This is where we turn around and look at the track, where did our "handiwork".

Turning back to the barn...

I know I'm handsome. You've never seen a better looking horse.

"Yea, umm, I don't know what you mean by "Cold". Get a grip. It's hot right now. I'm sweating a bit. Take that big ole coat off and get to work! Pick my stall! Wait, better yet, hotwalk me, yea, hotwalk me. That'll warm you right up."

Doodle is a happy boy these days. Not that he isn't happy other days... he's just a whole lot more spunky and misbehaved. I think Doodle is going to be running a race or two at Turfway Park.

Without those shoes!

Monday, November 10, 2008

That's a stakes horse. Is that a stakes horse???

I've been MIA since Lady's race, I'm sure you guys noticed. It's been a long week, add the physical exhaustion to the cold weather... well, you get the idea.

Last Wednesday, a friend of mine who trims my guys now (since I'm killing myself trying to do it all, I've decided there is nothing like delegating some of the chores that I don't absolutely have to do myself) came out to trim Doodle.

My intent was to put some glue on shoes on his front, that are specially adapted to heel problems and believe it or not, restoration. Ian McKinlay (the blacksmith who kept Big Brown running), has developed a way to adapt just about any shoe. If you guys are interested in finding out more, check out his website:

In any case, after a couple of calls back and forth between him and I, Doodle got trimmed to perfection so I could trace his hooves and send those measurements to Ian so he can make up 2 shoes for Doodle.

During said trim, we discover that big boy, who has been feeling particularly well for the last week and not been short-striding in the front, or stocking up in the rear (which he would sometimes do due to staying off his front feet and putting too much weight in back) blew out a huge ... something, originating from mid frog through the back of his frog with part of it actually falling off deep enough below the surface to not be able to tell during daily hoof care.

Lo and behold, this apparently was the source of all worries and discussion, changing training, soaking feet for hours on end, considering shoes (glue on only!) and last but not least, perhaps giving up on racing, in spite of the horse himself nodding his head vigorously when competition is mentioned.

How do you explain to a horse: "Honey, I know you want to outrun those guys over there and I know you really want to keep practicing, but you know, I think it's time to give up and well, retire." ??? Given every opportunity to do just that, the boy keeps coming back and being happier in training than he ever was just turned out.

So, while this explains his shenanigans with Cowboy atop, since Wednesday, I have been wondering, second guessing, those glue ons, I have just for the upteenth time decided to put on him; after all, if they don't work out, well, no harm done, we take them off and the hoof has not been compromised.

Then why is it, that every time I do make this decision, I must fortify myself with advice from friends who agree- yes, try them and you can always just take them back off- and in the back of my head, the little whiny voice is culminating to an alarming pitch while nagging away: "No! Don't you put shoes on that horse! It's not right! What if it ruins the last 4 years of restoring the mess? Ohhhh, this is bad bad bad bad news! "

Ian's shoe seemed to come along at the perfect time and what a God sent concept, not only will he adapt a shoe for Doodle, he actually suggested a - get this- shoe that moves WITH the hoof, and no, it ain't plastic. Wow! This I gotta see. (I know you guys wanna see, too, so here is their website:

I put everything in motion, accomplishing the goal of getting us to a race sooner (there is an age limit on horses eligible to race) rather than later- all I am waiting for is for Ian to call me and say: It's done, they're on their way.

And just then- just when, again, I am THAT close to ignoring the little naggy voice (no doubt this is not a normal occurence for any other trainers- little voices who scream at them about hoof care) - Doodle turns around and makes me wonder if I am, indeed, on the way to make the right decision or .....

Cold outside. It froze last night. The sun is out but the chill is still in the air.
When I get to the barn, Doodle is hiding in the back of his stall, tucked into his favorite blankie and NOT nickering at me like everyone else.
Hmmmm... wonder why he's pissy?

By the time I feed lunch (or should I call it brunch?) his head has joined the rest of the boobleheads in the shedrow.

After lunch, I go to work on his stall and for this, I move him into the "swing" stall (fancy name for an empty stall).
Well, Doodle insists on holding tight to his halter before I can get it on him.
You guys gotta understand, this boy is just NOT like other stallions. He's a sweet, gentle soul. Ok, so he's a sweet, gentle, lazy soul. Most days. The days when he wants to play "rough" with his halter before you get to put it on, I can probably count on less than 3 sets of hands over the last 4 years.
After I talk him out of grinding a permanent tooth mark into the leather, he decides the shank is just as much fun to play with. By the time I get him moved over and he is prancing like a Lippizaner (unheard of!), both my assistant trainers (Doggins and Tuppin) are of the opinion that this horse MUST be played with! Now I have 2 dogs and a horse jumping around the shedrow acting like the raisins in a heavy Jamaican Rum Cake.

At this point, Cowboy comes around the corner and asks me how long before I want to send someone to the track? (Gotta love a guy who will call a horse a "someone"! And did I mention the time I was running late because of car trouble and asked Cowboy to drive around to my shedrow, roll down his window and tell my guys that I WAS going to be there as soon as I could and they had NOT been forgotten- and he actually did that? All without telling me I was nuts?)

I tell him to give me a little time to at least finish his stall because, well, he's acting like he's really happy and I'd like to see how he goes from start to finish without interruptions.
Cowboy agrees to come back after he catches some other mounts and I slip in that he will probably call Doodle a Common Asshole again, which he laughs off.

By the time I get the Doodlebug ready- who is now so happy that he feels the need to play with the seat of my pants while I pick his feet, then play with the tack draped over his stall door, then play with the hood on my fleece sweater, I'm convinced that there is no way Cowboy will stay on this horse today.

Boy, was I wrong.

No pushing Doodle out of the barn today. No waiting for him to get ready to go up to the track. No prodding, no waving the stick. Doodle heads up there and looks around like he owns the track.

He puts himself into a nice frame and jogs his mile like it's nothing. He's actually got suspension back in his step, which I haven't seen in a long while. He's not flat. He's not short. He's striding out and he is having a great time.

My instruction were to start him off easy when galloping and let him have his speed when he wants it but to rate him back if he tries to go all out on a hell bent gallop.
While I run to the back to get my bath bucket filled with hot water to sponge him, Anne is hollering: "Oh, come back here, you gotta see this!"

I run back and what I see is a PERFECTLY sound horse- no ouch, no umpf, a super nice, very professional gallop with legs flying forward and covering ground like never before, ears forward, speed speed and coming into the turn, his rear end flies up and he semi-wheels in a half-hearted effort to dump his rider but then he continues like it never happened.

Anne: "Boy, he looks like a stakes horse!"
Me: "Well, he is a stakes horse."
Anne: "Doodle is? The one you got out of the killpen?"
Me: "Yup, ran allowance and a stakes, all with broke down feet."
Anne: "No kidding? Well, he is looking better than he ever has out there. He really looks like a stakes horse!"

And that he is.

My boy came back and I laughed at the smug look on both his and Cowboy's faces.
He looked proud. He looked down around him and that look said "I own this place".

He got sponged off and tried to play with my while I did that. I took him to graze and he wanted to play with the puppy (or kill her, with Doodle you never know), he wanted to roll in the grass, he wanted to jump around and act like a young colt and in the end, he actually refused to come back in the barn when I asked him to. Only the largest of promised flakes of alfalfa convinced him to finally come along.

All afternoon, he kept sticking his head out of his stall to grab me while walking past, nodding his head, nickering at the girls going to the track...

By the time I fed dinner, this boy was prancing in his stall, head high, neck arched, that trademark hoarse whinny of his ' hmmmmhmmmhmmmmhmmm' going nonstop and digging at the invisible "thing" half way in the air between the ground and his feed bin.

Which leads to me ask if perhaps I should just keep those shoes in the tackroom for now and see where Doodle leads us, barefoot as he is?

Cold day. And yet I returned all warm inside and feeling like we moved ahead in leaps and bounds.

That's a stakes horse I have in my barn. Did ya know?

Friday, October 31, 2008

What a day!

No, we didn't win the race. But we had a blast and Lady had a super first race experience!

She was great in the receiving barn all day. She settled down and relaxed well. It was an awful long wait for that last race. She was happy and excited going to the paddock, acted great all around.

In all the hustle, I was never able to see where she lay in the race. I kept asking, where is she?

She ran 9th. Not a great accomplishment BUT once I talked to the jockey, I was thrilled with her.

This is his report:

She got a bit nervous in the gate when one of the other horses was acting out. She broke a bit slow but really wanted to be involved. When field (moving very fast) started heading in towards the rail, she was in good contention UNTIL- sand hit her in the face. The kickback really made her shy away from the field ahead of her. I just watched the replay and you can see her head goes up and she back off. Well, this accomplished what she wished for- no more sand in her face but it also put her back far enough to be out of real contention.
But here is the good part. Once he got her settled, she really started coming on late.

I've been thinking this filly is a miler. Her owner was pretty convinced she is a short distance sprinter.
This is what Michael asked: She came on strong late, but the race was too short for her. Have you thought about trying her in, oh a mile race maybe?

I actually had to laugh because I initially wanted to put her in at Keeneland for a race on the Beard Course, which is all the way around the track from the shute and comes to roughly 7 furlongs and 183 yards. Lady's owner was worried that may be too much for her, so we waited for something shorter.

Well, I'm about to go dig around in the condition book for a 1 mile on the turf for fillies.

She came back great from the race, wasn't tired, breathing well, cooled out a good 15 minutes before the other horses in the receiving barn and dug right into her hay. She tried to be her usual impatient, wenchy self at bath time and actually tried to kick Jose (a friend of mine who I taught to gallop 2 summers ago and he comes and rides and helps out once in a while and he spent the day with us). She pranced all round the barn, wanted to play and once in her stall was acting like she wanted to go back to the track for more.

We beat 3 very nice horses by a really good margin (one of the favorites, actually) and I am mighty proud of my girl!

Wanted to post this before I get too tired. It's been a long, long day, we all had a wonderfully fun time (including the Ladybug) and we are ready to try again in a couple of weeks.

Her owner's brother video'd the race with his super nice, high tech camera and is going to send me a dvd of it. I can't wait. I will upload it and you guys can watch it. He had a much nicer angle and better zoom going than the tv cameras did, plus he focused on her, so it's a really nice video.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is he for real?

I know this is way off the subject, as far as all the excitement with Lady, but I had to share.

While at Churchill earlier this morning, I ran across this horse at the receiving barn and was completely taken aback by his color. I've seen photos of White Thoroughbreds before, but have never seen one in person.

Well, I, of course, took out my phone and asked permission to photograph this ham!

A 3 year old colt - 16.2 tall, well put together, by Pioneering out of a Hatchet Man mare. Apparently mama is a White TB, as well and has thrown 2 other White TB foals.

I looked at his race results and he didn't run well, which I was sorry to hear. This boy was so sweet and friendly and I was really rooting for him.

His name? Patchen Prince.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Competition

Friday is only a day away! Waaaaahhhh! I'm not ready! I need more time! *ruffling through hair*

Luckily, Lady is ready (this is where the huge emoticon with the big cheesy grin would go).

I need to share about our competition. The morning line odds have been published. We, along with another filly, are the longest shots. Little do they know we don't need to shoot...
Ok, ok, I'll stop. I'm giddy with excitement, can you tell?

Here is the line up:

Churchill Downs - October 31st, 2008 - Race 10
Estimated Local Post Time: 5:03 PM
Race Type: Maiden Special Weight
Breed: Thoroughbred
Age Restriction: Three Year Old and Upward
Sex: Fillies and Mares
Purse: $46,000
Distance: Six Furlongs
Surface: Dirt
Post Horse
Age Sex Weight
Dress in Dubai (KY)
Joe M. Johnson
Brian S. Dance
3 Filly 120
Michael T. Trivigno
B. S. Dance
Splash of Colour (KY)
Rene R. Douglas
Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor and Derrick Smith
3 Filly 120
Todd A. Pletcher
Iron County Farms, Inc.
Esther Got Even (KY)
Julien R. Leparoux
Tomisue Hilbert and John R. Menard
3 Filly 120
Nicholas P. Zito
Hilbert Thoroughbreds, Inc. &Menard Thoroughbreds, Inc.
Coy Cat (KY)
Kent J. Desormeaux
Jay Em Ess Stable (Mace and Samantha Siegel)
3 Filly 120
Paul J. McGee
Nick Cafarchia
Elusive Sparkle (KY)
Calvin H. Borel
James B. Tafel, LLC (James B. Tafel)
3 Filly 120
Carl A. Nafzger
James Tafel
Sapphiresndiamonds (KY)
Shaun Bridgmohan
Courtlandt Farms (Donald A. Adam)
3 Filly 120
Neil J. Howard
Kilroy Throughbred Partnership
Gold 'n Brush (KY)
Corey J. Lanerie
Purdedel, LLC (Mara and Edwin Edelberg)
3 Filly 120
Dale L. Romans
James A. Cater Family Trust A
Yes Im Woman (FL)
Robby Albarado
Gold Mark Farm, LLC (Theodore P. Bulmahn)
3 Filly 120
Dallas Stewart
Rick Sutherland
One Lady's Vice (KY)
Michael J. James
William Stull
3 Filly 110
Tres J. Delaforce
Claude Felts
Tithe (KY)
Miguel Mena
Claiborne Farm (Seth W. Hancock)
3 Filly 120
Albert M. Stall, Jr.
Claiborne Farm
Thendara's Passion (KY)
Jamie Theriot
Lisa and Tommy R. Mills
3 Filly 120
Tommy Ray Mills
Diane T. Webb & T & L Equine
Bozena (KY)
Tracy J. Hebert
Jody Guida
3 Filly 120
Jared Roberts
Anthony E. Guida
Haunted Hotel (KY)
Tracy J. Hebert
Donamire Farm (Don and Mira Ball)
4 Filly 122
Katherine G. Ball
Donamire Farm
Laca (KY)
Julien R. Leparoux
Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey
3 Filly 120
Michael J. Maker
Hokuyou Farm

Are you guys reading all those names? The trainers?
Pletcher, Romans, Zito, Nafzger- we're in a race with Carl Nafzger!!!!!
Mike Maker has an also eligible on the list. AE= Also Eligible. Those horses can draw into the race if some other horse scratches. If no one else scratches, the AEs will automatically be scratched from the line up.

How about some of those owners?

Mr. & Mrs. John Magnier- those folks own Coolmore Stud. Ya'll know what that is, right?
Claiborne Farm, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey.

This reads like a who's-who of racing.

Cept for lil' ol' us there.

Underdogs. Underdog owner. Underdog trainer. Underdog horse. Underdog jockey.

Wooof wooof woooof!!!

I'd say this is a heavenly alignment of deserving participants waiting to be rewarded by the Universe for their faith, hard work and good humor.

If Lady wins this race, I'm not even gonna die, I'm just going straight to heaven. So will her owner and our little bug boy. Lady? Well, I think she'll just take it all in stride and act like she never expected anything less. The racing news headlines will be off the charts. A barefoot horse??? No way!

If she doesn't win, well, she'll run a good race anyway, I know that much. And she'll gain a huge load of experience. And then she'll go out and win her next one. Either way, we can't lose.

Are those crosses toes I'm seeing beyond the monitor? Are they? I better! Fingers, too!

Wooof wooof wooof, watch out big dawgs, cause here we come!

Since ya asked....

Ok, ok, so I can tell you guys how to watch this race for free.
But there is a hitch.
You have to absolutely hoot and holler for Lady as loud as you can. Or I'm not sharing the secret.

One of two ways:

If you have Dishnetwork Satellite TV- (Direct TV won't work)
Channel 404 HRTV- The Horse Racing Network
They will transmit every race at Churchill Downs.
Around 4:40 pm, tune in, there should be discussion of the race coming up.
It is the 10th race, last one on the card. She'll be wearing the turquoise #9 saddle towel.
I'm dying to hear what the handicappers are going to say about her. They might not talk about her much at all. Then they'll wish they had after she runs well.
The race goes off at 5:03 pm.

If you don't have Dishnetwork, I do know you guys have a broadband internet connection, here is what you do:

Go to:
Create an account. It's free and you can opt out of any mailings if you so wish.
Once you create your account, log in.
Click on the link along the top tabs titled "Video"

There will be a list of races along the right. Make sure you have the right race date and select Race 10. It'll play for you right there, online.
I'm not sure if they play live race videos, but this is a way to watch the race once it's over.

Remember, you are honorbound to root Lady on loudly and in the most obnoxious manner possible. Race fans are the ones who coined the phrase: "Go Baby, Go!!!!"

I'm going to be praying real hard and envisioning us in the winner's circle for the next 48 hours.

I'll put up another post in a little while about our competition. Yikes!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We're playing with the BIG DAWGS now!!!!!!!


What a day!

Crack of dawn and all- and yes, I froze the rest of my rear off- Lady kicked some butt this morning.

Unfortunately, our jockey- a bug boy (a bug is an apprentice jockey who gets a 10 lbs. weight allowance. Because of this, they place a little asterisk, a bug, next to his name in the entries) didn't come to get on Lady. Apparently, he was dumped by a horse at 6:30 a.m. and his agent sent him home to get rest and recoup because he is riding tomorrow.

Soooooo.... you guys are gonna think I've lost my mind..... I ended up putting the drunk cologne guy on her. The way I figured, all I wanted was to blow her out. Lady is the kind of horse I could put a sack of potatoes on and you couldn't screw her up. She knows what she's doing and the rider is really more of a technicality.

I did, however, give him instructions. I also got really sneaky! When I was getting her ready and was about to pick her feet, I didn't want him to see she had no shoes, so I sent him off on an errand:
"Oh, hun, would you please do me a huge favor? Would you go find Tom for me? I don't know where he went off to, but I would really appreciate it!"

Off he went and I gave this evil mwahahahaha laugh out loud and picked out Lady's barenekkid feets.

Told the guy to warm her up nicely and gallop her out a bit after the work. No whip. I don't want a huge time on her. I've been giving her nice easy works and so far we have never asked her. Period. Most works she's been held. Some works more than I would ever have liked.

Lady is so ready to go she doesn't want to stand still for anything. Head nodding, pawing, more head nodding, ear pinning, head wigging back and forth, you get the idea.
So drunk cologne guy gets on and heads out.

The siren sounds as they approach the gap. Siren means a loose horse on the track. The longer the sound lasts, the more serious the mishap. This one lasted a good few seconds. Turned out to be a couple of horses ran into each other but no one was hurt.

None of this fazes Ladybug.

I run to catch up with Tom so we can head over to the clocker's stand.

Drunk cologne guy actually seems to be doing ok. He's got a choke hold on her- head is tucked big time, she's jogging sideways very slowly. I tell Tom he screws this one up, I'm jumping down there on the track and kicking his ass! Everyone laughs. I don't know why, I was dead serious.

He heads her out towards the turn. Starts off galloping. Lady's tail is swishing up and down back and forth- she's pissed and wants to run FAST. He tries to hold her enough to give her an easy work but half way between the quarter pole and the eight pole she starts running off.

Tom and I watch her tick off horses as she goes. I'm smiling because she has so so much speed and is absolutely amazing to watch. Tom is smiling because drunk cologne guy is basically screwing up, letting her run off and he knows I'm going to read him the riot act.

He did get a hold of her a few yards before the 3F mark.

Galloped her out to 6F- either that or couldn't pull her up until then. Kept at a canter another furlong and then turned her around and let her jog back a little.

I checked in with the clocker to get her time and was relieved it wasn't as "bad" as I thought it might have been:

Horse nameOne Lady's Vice
Activity typeWorkout
Activity date10-28-2008
TrackChurchill Downs
Distance3 Furlongs
Workout typeBreezing
Workout time0:36.80
Track conditionFast

She went in 36 and 4.

I head back to the receiving barn to meet her.

By the time I get there, Tom already caught her and is looking at me: "What'd she get?"
"36 and 4"
"No shit!? That's nice!"

I give him "the" look and reply loud enough for drunk cologne man to hear me:
"Yea, I really didn't want her going that fast."
Drunk cologne guy pops his head out of the stall and says:
"I swear, I NEVER asked her. She is really strong! Man, this filly can run. But I'm telling you, I NEVER asked her. Look what she did to my hands!"
And he holds out his hands, palm up. The skin is rubbed off where he held the reins.

I refrain from making a caustic comment relating to his being a sissy. Evil me.

While I walk Ladybug around, she cools out quickly, isn't breathing hard. Totally full of herself, of course. After walking for 10 minutes she decides she's had enough with walking and since I'm now on the phone with my left hand, calling the racing office to enter her for the race on Friday, she takes full advantage and drags me out of the barn to the wash rack area. I turn her back around into the barn, she turns us back around out of the barn. This tug goes on until I tell the entry clerk to hang on a second, please and use both hands to drag her back into the barn to walk. She doesn't like this at all.
Tom takes pity and jumps in to give her a few rounds so I can finish making the entry.

Since we're entered without shoes, I get to talk to the stewards to get approval. I never understood why I always have to get approved to run barefoot. It's not as if I'm declaring the use of equipment, or change of equipment, which is supposed to be why you have to get stewards' approval. I'm actually electing to NOT use a piece of equipment, which wasn't on my horse to begin with- in other words, I'm just leaving my horse "as is"- so why do I have to declare an equipment "change"? Silly, really.

Surprisingly, the entry clerk thinks I don't have to talk to the stewards. I make him transfer me anyway. I've always had to get approval a year ago, so I doubt this clerk knows what they are talking about.

Well, the steward I talk to asks what I need, I explain I just entered and running without shoes. He tells me pretty much he doesn't give a hoot. Is he for real? Is this the coolest steward on the face of the racing world???

There has been such controversy over shoes lately, toe grabs, no toe grabs, rins, no rims, injuries, etc. I'm told later that I could have entered her in high heels and they would have ok'ed me probably. Now there's a picture.

So after all the entering and giving info, we wait for Tattoo Charlie. That's not really his name but Lady needed her lip tattooed and today was the day.
Tattoo Charlie really likes Lady because she doesn't seem to think it's any sort of big deal at all. After he is done, she wipes her mouth on the stall wall. She then sticks her lip out, doing the "I smell you" gesture. Then she eats hay.

We head back to the training center after arguing with her about getting on the trailer (same routine as the out of the barn, into the barn thing, she starts walking on, then turns and goes left or right or in a circle. She doesn't do this coming to Churchill, she does it going home and I know like I know the back of my hand that she's really arguing with me:
"Nooooo, I like it HERE- I get to run fast HERE- matter of fact, let's go over to the big round track and do it again right NOW! Noooo, it's THIS way, not that way. Come on!!"

This afternoon, I find out we made it in. Huge company. Big names. We're the underdog. Underdog owner, underdog trainer, underdog horse. We drew post position 9, which gave me a weird shivery feeling of deja vu- somewhere I have seen that turquoise saddle towel on her. In a dream perhaps. The number just feels so right for her.

I have a feeling about this filly. Her owner believes she is his once in a lifetime horse. I tend to agree. We'll find out Friday in the last race at Churchill Downs.

Look out big dawgs, here we come! And we're gonna give you a huge run for your money!

Here is her entry:

Horse nameOne Lady's Vice
Activity typeEntry
Activity date10-31-2008
TrackChurchill Downs
Distance6 Furlongs
Race number10
Race typeMaiden Special Weight
Post position9
JockeyJames M J
Race entry

Monday, October 27, 2008

All horses go to heaven, right?

It's friggin cold!!!! I'm freezing! Who ordered this weather anyway?
The gang all loves this. Doodle was at his best today, only he didn't try to dump Cowboy. I suspect that is because Cowboy is sick with a really bad cold. Doodle knows what's on his back. He won't endanger a rider.

The wind was whipping around the barn at 20+ mph, the temps were in the low 40's and by the time I left, I actually put blankets on everyone.

Ladybug is gearing towards a big race on Friday. Entries are tomorrow. It's a 6F Maiden Special Weight at Churchill Downs. I realized while talking to her owner yesterday that I fully expect her to kick serious ass and it never occurred to me that she might not win.

Now, that's a little bizarre, since usually when you are entering a horse, you might have a pretty good feeling that the horse will probably do well for you, but just to take it off the top like that..?

We're going in to Churchill for a last work- a nice little 3F "blowout" - get some air in her. I won't work them at the training center, the track is horrid.

As cold as it is right now, and tonight it's supposed to freeze, tomorrow morning is going to be absolutely miserable. Get up at 4:30 a.m., get her ready and loaded at 6:30 a.m., haul over to CD, all of this when it's REALLY cold. YUCK!!! Reminds me of racing last winter at Turfway Park.

Anyway, this afternoon, Ladybug went out for an easy 2.5 miles. While heading out of the barn up to the track, she stops. Rick was out there a few moments before just stopping on a horse to head back up to their barn. Big dark bay gelding who belongs to an old guy up the hill at the top barn. Nice old man, nice horse.

Lady wouldn't budge. She turned her neck and head and was looking up the track to the left, her ears playing back and forth, just staring.

Well, Rick was no longer on the horse. Someone was leading the horse, who could not really walk on his right rear leg. Rick had unsaddled him and was toting the tack up the hill, while the other guy was very slowly walking the horse out of the shute off the track.

I thought, oh shit. This isn't good. The way he won't walk on that leg, I hope he didn't break it.
Cowboy says, naw, he seemed to walk sort of still, it's probably not broken.

Lady turned around and continued up the path to the track. As an afterthought, I hollered at Cowboy: " 2-2 and 1- but real nice and easy, ok?" He gave me the thumbs up.

Lady is quite a pro. She knows exactly what she's supposed to be doing out there and relishes every bit of it. She knows she's not supposed to go fast, so she tucks her head in, grabs the bit, leans against it, ears back and I swear all that's missing is the eyes closed. She REALLY wants to go. Just take off and gogogogo. I won't let her. A little speed is ok out there but anything approaching a work speed is bad business on that surface.

She comes back and isn't even breathing. I'm mighty proud of her. I do believe she is set up perfectly for this race on Friday. We work tomorrow, she gets Wednesday off, she repeats Thursday what she did today and Friday she can blow by the competition like they're nothing.

Since it's too cold to bathe anyone, and neither of them are sweating, I just sponged the saddle area and chest a little, threw over a blankie and cooled them out grazing.

We have a vet that comes out to the training center every Monday. He's a track vet. He was making his rounds and I noticed he was at the upper barn when the hurt gelding was coming off the track already. Since I needed to get a health certificate from him for the haul tomorrow, I was hoping to catch him soon without having to outwait everyone else's turn, so that way I could feed and get out on the road before too late.

Another trainer in my barn, Lisa, needed a health certificate for her horse, as well, so she trekked up to the upper barn and offered to pick mine up, as well.

After all the other chores and blanketing everyone (an adventure in itself with 2 horses who had never had blanket on before), I fed, water off, raked the shedrow and was just done putting catfood out for Leo, my blond boyfriend (ok, so he really isn't a boyfriend but a big, huge, long haired apricot cat who adopted me about 2 months ago. He weighs a minimum 20 lbs, easily), I was just about to gather my assistant trainer (Doggins, a 7 year old Rottie who still has his tail) and the little pest (a 7 week old red Aussie puppy Anne, the trainer in back of me, had picked up out of a ditch by the side of the road) when Doc comes walking around the corner.

"Hey, you leaving already? Need anything else?"
I'm usually there until at least 6 p.m. but have been scooting things up a little with winter starting in.
"No, I'm good. Thank you!"

As I walk off, I remember to ask him about the gelding.

"Hey Doc, that gelding who broke down, is he ok?"

Doc looks sad and shakes his head. "No, he's dead. I had to put him down. He shattered his pastern."

A quick, silent prayer that this boy is in a better place now. A guilt-filled thought that, thank God it wasn't one of my horses. My heart goes out to the old guy. He really cared about this horse.

Another quick round through the barn, kissing all my babies goodnight.

Sleep tight.

Don't let the track bugs bite.

Be safe.

See you in the morning.

I love all of you.

Looking for the right home

I've mentioned a filly in a previous post, Darcy, aka "Loosy Goosy".
I repo'ed her for a friend from a "buyer".

I've brought this girl's weight back up, rebroke her under saddle, started training her. She's had about a month on the track- jogging 1.5 miles and baby galloping about a half mile just to learn her balance.

Darcy needs to find a new home. Although she probably has the speed it would take to be a nice racehorse, her mind has been so warped by the "buyer", she has too many issues to go on training without hitches.

Her owner can't afford to take her back and asked that I find a good home for her.

Unfortunately, a training center is not set up for the kind of attention this little girl needs.

Ideally, she would find a person who would be willing to let her unwind and trust again. Darcy gets herself worked up into little episodes - when something worries her, it eventually gets to where it overpowers her "thinking process". She has a meltdown. When this happens, the only thing that calms her down is to be able to get back in her stall. What's missing is her yelling: "Let me back in my house!!!"

This is the kind of filly that really needs to know and trust her handler.
She does anything I ask of her, so long as I am the only one around.

She grooms, picks up her feet, lets me touch her anywhere, she bathes, she walks, leads, knows verbal commands. She rides, WTC, she knows all her ground commands, moves off pressure wonderfully. I've practiced the Parelli Seven Games with her and she knows exactly what is asked of her. She longes.

She even trust Cowboy, who rides her to the track and is very kind and patient with girls like her.

Bring in a new person and she unravels. She won't pick up her feet for the farrier. She sees a rasp and becomes absolutely terrified.

I don't know what was done to her during her month plus with the "buyer" but I do know it wasn't good.

Darcy also has a problem with nasal discharge from her left nostril. We've treated it with antibiotics, which cleared the color but not the discharge. She's had her guttural pouches flushed twice, they are completely clean. She's been scoped twice- her lungs are clean, her throat is fine, her nasal passages are fine, there is no indication of cysts, growths, abscesses or anything else of the sort.
The two vets who have examined her both believe the discharge is a result of needing to be vaccinated- they call it the baby snots. She has had one shot so far and needs to continue going through being vaccinated so that this discharge may clear up.
If it doesn't, she would probably need xrays of her head to see if there is something more serious going on that is causing this discharge.
It isn't contagious to other horses, or humans.

This sweet filly needs to find her person.
She has beautiful gaits, lots of suspension, a nice forward mover.

Her pedigree is very different:

SEA DAR (USA) dkb/br. F, 2005 DP = 3-3-8-0-0 (14) DI = 2.50 CD = 0.64

b. 1996
blk/br. 1981
b. 1970
br. 1958 [C]

TURN-TO (IRE) b. 1951 [BI]
b. 1962
TOM FOOL (USA) b. 1949 [IC]
BEBOP (FR) b. 1957
ch. 1971
dkb/br. 1963
ch. 1942 [B]
HIGH VOLTAGE (USA) gr. 1952 *
ch. 1961
JET PILOT (USA) ch. 1944
MISS BUSHER (USA) ch. 1949
dkb/br. 1985
b. 1979
b. 1968 [BI]
TOM ROLFE (USA) b. 1962 [CP]
WAVY NAVY (USA) b. 1954
b. 1968
CYANE (USA) b. 1959
dkb/br. 1973
br. 1962
BOLD RULER (USA) br. 1954 [BI]
CASCADE (GB) dkb/br. 1951
gr. 1961
ch. 1942 [B]
KITTEN (USA) gr. 1956
b. 1996
b. 1987
blk/br. 1969 [BC]
br. 1958 [C]

TURN-TO (IRE) b. 1951 [BI]
b. 1953
ALMAHMOUD (USA) ch. 1947 *
b. 1970
b. 1954
OWEN TUDOR (GB) br. 1938
ch. 1960
NATO (GB) ch. 1953
ch. 1990
ch. 1984
ch. 1975 [C]
RAISE A NATIVE (USA) ch. 1961 [B]
SWEET TOOTH (USA) b. 1965 *
dkb/br. 1976
RIVERMAN (USA) br. 1969 [IC]
FIRST BLOOM (GB) b. 1969
b. 1957 [I]
INDIAN HEMP (GB) ch. 1949
b. 1961
MBALE (GB) ch. 1945

She is an outcross, obviously- with her closest inbreeding to Hail to Reason several generations back.
She's a little long in her pasterns, which is not causing her any problems with soundness, has great feet (she is barefoot) and probably would have been better off had she been built a little less straight in her front, being a little bit back at the knees. Again, this has not been any problem for her soundness wise.

Her papers are in order and whoever would like to take this girl home must absolutely provide references and keep in touch with me about her progress.

She is free to the right person. If you or anyone you know is seriously interested in taking her on as a project, please contact me via email.