Monday, May 4, 2009

Day 110

The 2 year olds are doing really well at CDT. The little Theatrical colt at Keeneland is a pain in the ass though. He will soon go to the farm for a little breather since he is his sires son and wont be ready till the fall at the earliest. While we haven't officially worked anyone, they are very well mannered, gallop well, have done some gate work and are a nice group overall. Cant wait to see the ones that have been in Ocala.

Day 109

Spent the morning at CDT and the afternoon at BEC. The weather is really nice and Keeneland had a huge crowd. Trying to get the landscaping and grass ready at BEC for the Grand Opening next week. Not my speciality but it needs to get done.

Day 108

Looks like I wont have anything else running at Keeneland as my horse didn't get in and there are no other races for her here. There is a race on Oaks day that she may fit well into. Nothing has gone right at Keeneland for us this year. At least the meet is short!

Day 107

Well at least what ails yesterdays runner can be cured. One of the most disheartening things is a promising horse that comes up with an injury that probably can't be fixed. There are so many things that can go wrong with a horse and so few that can go right. 

The cool and rainy weather continues though the training over the polytrack at Keeneland is hardly affected. Synthetics are nice in rainy weather, that's for sure.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 106

Sometimes a trainer can be made to look like a fool by his horses. Today was one of those occasions for me. I really expected my horse at Keeneland to run well though maybe not win, to show up and finish the race strong. Needless to say he didn't and even came out of the race with a throat infection which we somehow had missed. You really need to relish the wins because of days like these.

Day 105

While I feel a whole lot better than I did yesterday, I am still pretty tired and sore. Went to the farm and checked on those horses and the progress of the farm. Honestly I am pretty worthless today in my current physical state and relieved that I have great assistants and managers.

Day 104

Woke up around 1 am with pain in my lower back. Soon was off to the emergency room with an attack of kidney stones. Needless to say I didn't do much all day but writhe around in pain till the stones passed later that afternoon. That was not a good experience to say the least. Supposedly the turf fillies worked really well though I was not particularly interested in them right around that time. Many liken the pain with kidney stones with childbirth. The only thing I have to say about that is that I think if that analogy were accurate there would be a whole lot more single child families.

Day 103

Took it easy today as I wasn't feeling great and have been burning both ends of the candle for quite awhile between the two stables and the farm. 

Day 102

Keeneland must have some influence with Mother nature as the weather for Saturdays seems ideal as opposed to the rest of the week. The two year olds are all progressing nicely and doing everything they are asked. One of them is a little behind physically and we have slowed down on his training significantly. 

Day 101

The weather has taken a turn for the worse as it is cold, windy and rainy. Spent some time with Teresa Genaro of Brooklyn Backstretch and her friend at Keeneland and the farm. Teresa is a high school classmate of mine who I hadn't seen in at least 20 years who writes a terrific blog, the aforementioned Brooklyn Backstretch

Our filly won the finale at The Big A with a big stretch run under Mike Luzzi. Mike rode the horse great and hopefully she can handle the step up to NYB filly allowance company on the turf this summer.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day 100

It is hard to believe that 100 days has already passed this year. Today was a beautiful Spring day and training went fine. The farm is getting a lot of new customers and calls which is making me very happy. We have a filly in at the Big A in the last race tomorrow that looks like she is in a nice spot. Hopefully the race stays on the turf and we aren't running her back a little too quick. The two year olds in Ocala are scheduled to come up on the 25th which means that when the final two at the Rea's come in we will have all the two year olds at the track before may which is a first! We may even have more than a handful of runners this summer which is also unusual for our stable.

Day 99

Sent some of the young horses to the gate and all did well. A lot nicer today than yesterday though still a little chilly. Spent some time at Keeneland treating some of the horses stabled there. We are in barn 8 which is a great location. Gondorf, the two year old Theatrical colt, has a very high opinion of himself and thinks the opposite sex should also. He gets very upset when the girls ignore him. Posse Valley is coming along very nicely for a horse that was supposedly very unlikely to make it back to the races. She is scheduled to have her first work on Friday. Even my old nemesis Ship's Cabin is looking good.

Day 98

Good day of training. Learned that I know very little about landscaping. Actually I knew that I was clueless but today just reinforced it. Some of the babies are getting a little ornery. Now that anabolic steroids are banned, you have to think twice before you decide to geld one. Some horses have an adverse reaction to being gelded and draw up, losing a lot of weight and having a hard time gaining it back. We used to be able to help those kinds out a little with some Winstrol or just some testosterone but now we cant. It is almost unfair that an intact male horse can have an unlimited amount of testosterone in his system but a gelding can only have a small amount present. Surely the public understands the inability of gelding to produce testosterone and supplementation is a far cry from steroid abuse? 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Day 97

It is really cold today compared to the recent mild temperatures. We had a big storm blow through Central Kentucky last night and the track at CDT is very muddy which means limited training. 

There have been several disturbing incidents and news stories that have come to light this week concerning major figures in the horse racing world. The disgraceful news that large scale New York owner Ernie Paragallo has been sending severely malnutritioned and abused horses to slaughter was  troublesome. Then the word that Jeff Mullins was found to be illegally treating his runner in the Bay Shore at the Big A while in the detention barn is almost mind boggling. I say almost because nothing either of these two does is really that big of a shock since they have shown the inability to keep themselves out of trouble in the past. 

It is my hope that the New York authorities get both these cases right though I have my doubts that the punishments will be satisfactory. Paragallo needs to be brought up on charges of animal cruelty at the very least. His license to race (though he isn't actually licensed as the owner but is the "stable agent" for his daughter who is listed as the actual owner) should be suspended and the NYTB should consider refusing to register his homebreds from here on in. Having a big ego isn't a crime but failing to properly care for animals that you own and in many cases were responsible for their entry into this world is. While I am not sure about the possibilities of criminal prosecution, holding a racing license in any capacity is not a right and his should be suspended until this case is resolved.

The Mullins story is such a huge problem on so many levels. First of all the guy has an unusually high number of incidents and violations already and this can hardly be excused as ignorance of the rules by a first time offender. The rules concerning what you can and cant do in the detention barn in New York are very clear. There is a reason that the equipment is searched upon arrival at the barn. The fact that he knowingly would violate these rules and be brazen enough to actually do it himself is bad enough. That he did it only hours before he runs possibly the Derby favorite in his final prep race is telling. The substance that he was attempting, Air Power, to give is not a drug, nor is it really performance enhancing. But that is not the point here. It is that Mullins disregards the rules of the sport and is rather blatant about it. He needs to get an unusually harsh suspension. There is a certain responsibility that everyone in the sport needs to accept for the good of the game. The higher profile trainers and owners need to be aware that their actions can negatively effect the entire sport and that if they want to be on that stage they better get their acts cleaned up. Make an example out of him New York. If you are one of his owners you need to pull your horses or you are just as guilty as he is. There is no excuse for outright cheating, especially considering the circumstances and location of the act. Mullins needs to go. Everyone needs to start taking responsibility. Start here, start now.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day 96

Training was going so well this morning till a little after 9 am. While galloping out after a very nice work, Carl S. took a bad step and was pulled up right away by his rider. Unfortunately he sustained a condular fracture of the cannon bone that will require surgery. He is the first horse that we have had injured in that manner or that severity in a long time. 

The poor luck continued to haunt us at the races as Richwood Silver broke slowly and quit running soon after to finish last.

Day 95

A picture perfect day. Training goes well at all locations and I get out to Keeneland midday to see a huge crowd still filing in. Despite all the problems of the sport of horseracing and country in general, a beautiful spring day at Keeneland makes everything seem ok. Watched all the Derby preps and came away really impressed like everyone else with I Want Revenge. Dont think much of the Illinois or Santa Anita Derbies.

Day 94

Opening day at Keeneland! While it is far from a nice day as the wind is blowing and it is a bit cool, a bad day at Keeneland beats a good day most anywhere else. Have a couple of meetings at the track and everything goes well. Albin works really nice over the wet track at Keeneland. Scheduling the works for CDT for Sunday morning based on the current forecast. Get some business for the farm right away.

Day 93

Opening day at BEC...finally! While there isn't much fanfare as it is a 'soft' opening (the official grand opening and open house are scheduled for April 27th) the milestone is important. As expected the track at CD is too heavy to do much with the horses though some of the babies return to the gate. We ran two at Turfway on their closing day and wound up with a win and a third. Not a bad way to end a really long, depressing meet. 

Day 92

Not a nice day as it is raining and nasty. Not much training as the track is a mess and we cant do anything outside at the farm either. Tomorrow looks a little better though the track at CDT wont be very good. The horses at Keeneland are all doing fine and haven't missed a beat in as the wet weather doesn't stop training on polytrack.

Day 91

Two days to opening. The babies went to the gate and all did pretty well considering they haven't had much schooling there. Went to an auction house and bought a bunch of flower planters, a ladder, etc. Not exactly Keeneland but it served its purpose.

Day 90

Not much time left before the farm is officially open and we are working feverishly on a bunch of projects. The front gate was set today and the sign will soon be up also. The fences still need painting and there is a lot of it! Comeback is no longer a manly man.

Day 89

A really nice spring  day. Worked a bunch and they all went well. Finally had the last draw for Turfway and the next stop is Keeneland.

Day 88

Another disappointing race from Comeback. Not sure why but he doesn't seem to be interested in trying very hard. I believe he is going to get the ultimate equipment change very soon. Last night we won one and had a tough trip in the other.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Day 87

Not a bad day but still too wet to work horses. The filly in the first at Turfway ran well and won quite easily. Even cheap ones feel good right now. The other filly had a nightmare of a trip and just missed. That is more frustrating than if she simply were outrun. 

The plumbing wars at the farm appear to be diminishing in size and ferocity. The one positive about the recent wet weather is the grass is now green and starting to grow. It wont be long till we are mowing.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 86

More rain, less training. The track was really muddy and we did little more than jog though some of the young horses schooled in the gate. The weekend looks pretty good and we will squeeze a bunch of workouts in and may even ship some to Keeneland on Sunday if the track at CDT doesn't dry out sufficiently. I understand the trials and tribulations of artificial surfaces but they make a trainers life much easier when the weather gets wet.

We have a couple of fillies in tomorrow night at Turfway. I can't wait for the meet to end. The end of Turfway means that Keeneland and spring are officially here. I doubt that we can spend another winter based in Kentucky unless some purse relief is coming. It is simply too hard to convince owners and even yourself to believe that it makes sense to run $40000 and $50000 horses for $10000 purses. Not to mention the missed training time, inclement weather and lack of a turf course for a stable with lots of grass pedigrees. While we had almost all unraced maidens going into this winter and really had to stay around here, next year I believe we will have a large presence somewhere south.

Indiana Downs condition book has come out and while the purse levels don't knock your socks off there are definitely some options that we will look to pursue. They have a new starter series on the turf with a total of $175000 in purses with each leg being worth $25000. We have an Indiana bred maiden filly who will find lots of available spots for better money than the competition probably deserves. They have also added a $100000 turf stake for three year old fillies and a $200000 grass stake for the colts and geldings.

It will be interesting to see where Arlington's purses are when their book is released considering that there is supposed to be some of the casino money included. Though I haven't heard whether or not the Supreme Court will refuse to hear the casino's appeal (which is very likely to happen according to legal experts), supposedly that is the only impediment between the money remaining in escrow and being released to the tracks. 

Day 85

Woke up to rain which means mud at the track and farm. Jogged everything at the track and work was pretty spotty at BEC. The rest of the week doesn't look that great either.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 84

Maybe the last nice day of the week as rain is expected. Spent a good portion of the day at the farm, seeding and fertilizing the grass course, painting, filling in holes in the paddocks, supervising the front gate installation, etc. Training is easy compared to farm work!

Day 83

Slow day. Heard that Del Mar is thinking of eliminating Monday racing. That is an idea that has been a long time coming. For a track that can only fill eight races a day and is dealing with a limited pool of horses, six days of racing is just too much. Saratoga is the only track in the country that has the horseflesh, fan interest and setting to run six days a week. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day 82

Another day, another injured horse. Young horses are prone to issues but they are able to bounce back quicker than older ones. However it is still frustrating especially when they are training so well. Both horses ran well, the filly at Turfway just missed and the big gelding at FG had an eventful trip including jumping over a bare spot on the turf course and ran a good 4th. Good races are nice but we still need wins!

Day 81

Beautiful day in Kentucky. Cool and clear in the morning, heating up to 60 in the afternoon. Everyone seemed to come out of their works this week in good shape and we have two runners in tomorrow. Albin worked at Keeneland and went well. More condition books coming out this week which allows us to plan the next 6-7 weeks which is a rare opportunity since we mostly deal with 2 or 3 week time frames with condition books.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Day 80

Nice morning to train, sunny yet cool. The works went well though one of the nicer horses in the barn has a little swelling below the ankle that worries me some. Got a call from a major tv network producer that is interested in featuring the farm in a program they are doing. Sounds very interesting. Noticed how green central Kentucky is becoming driving home this afternoon. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day 79

Well we got some rain last night but it was a little more than expected and the track was too muddy to work over. The rest of the day turned out nice. We have horses entered for Sunday at different locations and they are scheduled to go off 8 minutes apart which is nice. Both look live and we could certainly use the purse money, its been a rough winter. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 78

Ran third at Turfway in a race that I thought that we would win. A little disappointed and doing some second guessing of my training of the horse. Things really moving at the farm. Weather is great. Spent time seeding the grass course this afternoon. Supposed to get some light rain tonight which would be perfect. Really looking forward to having full use of the farm later this spring. Kind of like having a toy that you aren't allowed to play with. Funny being at Keeneland before most outfits have shipped in, very quiet.

Day 77

Had a horse that went to the clinic yesterday get released with no ill-effects. Moved four horses and TC to Keeneland barn 8. That barn was the first barn I was in when originally moved to Kentucky to train my own string. Sharing the barn with Michelle Niehi and Darrin Miller who are both very nice. The farm is coming along, working at a fevered pitch to get ready to open on April 2nd. Still a million things to do and it wont be 100% finished but the list is getting whittled down and the important tasks are getting done.

Day 76

Another slow day. Cherie is back from vacation and TC is getting set to head over to Keeneland and then on to Chicago for the Summer. First mare bred this year is in foal! One down, 7 to go. Jacques Sparrow gets a clean bill of health from Dr. Johnson. The mini on the farm finally foals a healthy baby.

Day 75

Not much happening. Really nice spring day. Noticed at the farm the grass is starting to get a little greener. 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day 74

Got to spend a rainy day at Turfway Park Our filly ran last, never picked up her feet. Have no idea why. Had to scratch Colonel Klink out of his race at the Fair Grounds due to the race being moved from the turf to the slop. Just a bad day all around. 

Day 73

We won a race at Turfway with a new horse in a bizarre mile an a half starter allowance race yesterday. Brought him back to the farm today to give him a reward of a few days in the grass. The local and state plumbing inspectors are still harassing me and being obstructionist in their desire to cause me trouble in opening the farm. I am not sure what I ever did wrong to these people but they are a disgrace to local and state government. During these troubled economic times it would behooved morons like this to work WITH people making significant contributions to the community in both tax revenues, jobs and residual effects. Instead they want to rule their fiefdoms like the insecure little men that they are. 

Day 72

It is always great when a horse exceeds your expectations, however minor the success may be. Trainers are always defensive in our thinking with horses mostly because we have all been so disappointed by horses who failed to live up to what we thought they should be. That being said I shouldn't get so excited about a work in 49 seconds for a low priced and relatively obscurely bred filly but I can't help it. I don't know why but I have always thought that Operetta Italiano was going to be a late blooming turf filly and she probably is. However her recent works have been very good and she has come to hand much quicker than I believed she would. Keeping my fingers crossed that it isn't a mirage.

Day 71

We were supposed to work some horses today but overnight rains turned the track into mud. The weather looks better for the rest of the week and it is windy which will help dry out the track. Went to the farm in the late morning and stopped by the Rea's to see how the two year olds were progressing. The reports are all good and three of the babies will be ready to come to the track next week. Of course we have no stalls at CDT for them to occupy and with two others ready to come in and some at the farm also close to ready to return we will have to send a division to Keeneland next week until Arlington opens. I don't mind having horses at Keeneland during the meet as it is easier to run from your own barn and nice to be able to train over the polytrack with certain horses. Plus it is always a fun meet and I am all Turfway'ed out.

Day 70

Cherie left yesterday for a weeks vacation in South Florida and everybody is pitching in to cover her many responsibilities.  Ryan Smith who doubles as a student at the University of Louisville as well as her job as an exercise rider for me is doing a good job in organizing the sets and checking legs as well as riding her horses . Ashley Gibson is handling the paper work and riding the pony. TC is doing his usual little bit of everything. Things are going well so far but I will be happy when Cherie returns.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Day 69

Early training can be challenging on the eyes. Because Louisville is so far West in the Eastern time zone, the sun doesnt come up at this time of the year until 7:45. That means that much of our training in now done in the dark because CDT doesn't have lights. I dont think the horses mind as much as the people! I cant see much until 7 when it is light enough to see the far side of the track.

Because our training schedules has been moved we have had to adjust our feeding schedule which always throws a couple horses off for a few days.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Day 68

Turfway cancelled today as there was a broken water main. They also announced purse cuts there this week though the purses are already so low the missing 5% wont amount to much. Thank God the Keeneland condition book came in the mail this week!

Today is the last day of afternoon training as we go back to early training on Monday morning. This probably fits my schedule a little better but the first hour and a half of training will be done in the dark which is tough. Since Louisville is about as far west in the eastern time zone as you can be, our morning light starts later and our days last longer than most places.

Day 67

Windy but warm. Watching some of the races around the country this afternoon I was surprised at how few horses I was really that familiar with. One of the side effects of this business becoming more of a business is that horses simply don't run as much as they used to. I am not talking about the regular run of the mill horse but the good horses who you follow as they campaign. The Santa Anita Handicap which has lost much of its luster because of the timing of the Dubai World Cup was really Einstein and a bunch of middling turf horses. This used to be the top handicap race in the first half of the year, filled with the best of the west and occasionally an eastern shipper like Broad Brush. If you go to youtube and watch some of the Big Caps from the 80's and early 90's you will see a lot of really good horses. Now if you don't have the form in front of you you may not know 1/2 the field.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Day 66

Really windy but warm. Everyone comes out of the works in good shape. Accountant tells me that we need money because all our seconds and thirds at Turfway don't amount to much because the purses suck. Tell me something I don't know! Major stud farm gets "confused" about a deal for a foal share. We will move on to a different farm that thinks a bit more clearly for that mare. Was looking over the sales results of the Fasig-Tipton two year old sale earlier in the week and can't help but think that this years yearling sales will be a buyers paradise. Pinhookers and commercial breeders are getting killed and either wont have massive bankrolls to buy horses or have any incentive to set unrealistic reserves. 

One of our owners claimed a horse via another trainer at an out of town track. We had been tracking this horse for awhile and I am looking forward to working with her. 

Day 65

Nice day to train horses for a change. We work a bunch and everything goes well. Really happy with the three two year olds that are already at the track. Rea Quarterhorses of Shelbyville does a great job at breaking our yearlings. Some of the more mature ones are sent to Ocala for training and the ones who need to mature are turned out after going to Rea's. The three that came in this week were a bit slow to come around but have done great since coming to CDT.

Day 64

Turfway today with Comeback. Not a very successful trip as he breaks poorly, ducks in on the first turn, moves wide on the second and hangs in the stretch.  Afterwards he acts as though he has never seen a van before and causes me to use much more energy to load him than I even knew I had. I did have a nice, quiet lunch of split pea soup and the winner, winner chicken dinner special in the sparsely populated Turfway clubhouse so all wasn't lost.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day 63

The weather is still cold but sunny and the forecast for the rest of the week is encouraging. We arent doing much special today as the track is very dry and dusty but it looks like we will be able to get our works in on Thursday. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Day 62

It is sunny but very cold today. The track is quite lumpy and is really only good for jogging. The weather looks like it will be much nicer towards the end of the week when temps are supposed to hit the 60's.

I haven't talked much about my assistants, Cherie Devaux and Thomas "TC" Stuckey, in the blog except for a passing mention. Both are not only valuable, hard working employees but friends as well. TC and I worked together for Allen Jerkens in the 90's in New York and when I had the chance to hire him in 2000 at Churchill, I didn't hesitate. He has taken strings of horses for me to Turfway, Tampa Bay, Fair Grounds, Keeneland and Arlington Park and always done well.  TC is an extremely hard worker who does a great job but also truly cares about the horses. He isn't afraid to do anything himself, often jumping in and putting on bandages or tacking up horses along with his regular assistant duties. He is willing to go without complaint wherever I need him and always tries his hardest.

Cherie Devaux is the daughter of one of the first trainers I worked for when I was a teenager in Saratoga. She has worked for me since I hired her as an exercise rider in Saratoga in the summer of 2004. Cherie has a great work ethic and natural instincts for horses and I more or less forced her to become an assistant. She is avery good rider which is an asset but also has a great feel for where the horses are fitness and soundness wise. She also brings to the barn organizational skills that I definitely lack. Like TC, Cherie also cares a great deal about the horses and her approach to her job is based on that. She handles much of the paperwork which I detest and is in charge of the employees which is a thankless job.

I wouldn't trade my assistants for anyones. Both will give me their honest opinions on issues even if it isn't what I want to hear. I have complete trust in both of them and know that I can rely on them to take care of things in my absence just as I would want it done. If my assistants weren't as good as they are it would be impossible for me to expand into other area's such as the bloodstock business and the launch of Bluegrass Equine Center. Being an assistant trainer is a tough job that demands long hours and dedication. I consider myself  blessed to have two of the best.

Day 61

MARCH!!!! It is still pretty cold but just the fact we are out of February is enough to celebrate. Our first group of two year olds hit the track for the first time. They all do well though none were really impressed by the resident goose colony that lives in the infield. Forgot to mention that Saturday was TC's birthday. The winner of today's 6th race at Aqueduct is trained by a former assistant of mine, Mike Tannuzzo. That was his first winner after a few months of trying and it was nice to see him break his maiden. 

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day 60

It's cold today! The injured horse is improving and nothing has shown itself as of yet. Cherie is grouchy, Turfway Friday nights seem to cause that on Saturdays. Comeback gets in on Wednesday after 4 days of his race not even getting close to filling. Turfway had to scrap Mondays card due to lack of entries. Times are tough in Kentucky and getting tougher.

Day 59

Despite the some rain showers overnight the track is in great shape this afternoon. Richwood Silver runs a good 2nd tonight at Turfway in an allowance race. 

Day 58

Horses get hurt. That is a fact of life in the horseracing game. It is the hardest part of the sport for me because they are flesh and blood just like us. We as trainers are responsible for their care and well being and as such must make decisions all the time about how far we can push them. If we don't push them to some degree they will never get fit enough to be competitive at the races. If we push them too far we injure them. There is a fine line between too much and not enough. The reason that I am talking about this is that I have a horse that came out of his work pretty lame today. The puzzling thing is that while I can tell what limb is bothering him, it isn't apparent what the problem is. His feet are cold and don't react to hoof testers. His knees and ankles are also cold, have no signs of swelling and flex fine. His suspensory ligaments and tendons all appear to be normal. His shoulder also seems to stretch out and flex well. There isn't much else other than that. We took X rays and found nothing. The quandary is that the horse is not a really valuable horse and the owners probably don't want to spend the $3000 or so to send him to the clinic especially since there is no guarantee that they will find anymore than we have, which is nothing. And if he remains lame we eventually will figure out what is wrong. The problem lies in his recovery. If he is to improve with rest and goes back to being sound, that unknown lameness will always be in the back of my mind and I will wonder if what ever was wrong is fully healed.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 57

Finally get a good track to train on. Work a bunch and gallop and jog the rest. For the most part the horses all train well though one bled pretty good after his work and a few others are coughing. Most of not all of the coughing is weather related minor sickness. One of my favorites from last year arrived from Ocala and and looks good, has really grown.  The good weather is not expected to last long. Cant get a 3 year old maiden special weight going 1 mile to go at Turfway. If you dont have a $5k claimer you have no idea when you are going to get a chance to run there.

Day 56

Spent the entire day at the farm since I cant stand watching horses jog in the shedrow anymore. Cherie and Ashley came down to ride some of the horses at BEC. We can at least water treadmill horses and ride them around the fields on the farm.

Government is so screwed up. The laws concerning plumbing in the state of Kentucky are so screwed up that pretty much no one knows what they are anymore. You are absolutely at the mercy of the inspectors who seem to be evil little men. We are trying our best to finish this farm and stay within the rules and regulations while being fiscally responsible. However the county officials just never stop with red tape and incessant new rules. We are building freakin barns not housing projects! How complicated can this be? No one will give you a straight answer, no one seems to answer to anyone and this is a small county in a medium sized state dealing with a small agribusiness. I have no idea how complicated projects get done. A lot of stupid stuff happens in horseracing but it is totally organized and makes complete sense compared to state govt. 

Day 55

Barn training once again. Hearing less than optimistic things about the KY slots legislation. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 54

Very slow day. February sucks.

Day 53

Spring can't get here soon enough. We lost another day of training to a frozen track though we did resume our in barn jogging routine. As my assistant Cherie said,"We had a good run". When a few weeks of uninterrupted training is a huge victory, you know it has been a tough winter. We did get in an allowance race with Richwood Silver for Fridays night card at Turfway. Naturally we are in the 11th race so it looks like another late night but I am relieved that she is actually in a race after several races did not fill.

March looks like a busy month as the condition books for Hawthorne and Turfway are out and there are lots of spots for our horses. Hopefully some of the horses who are probably a bit under trained and running 2nd and 3rd will be able to get over the hump and get in the winners circle.

A friend passed on a mention of this blog in someone elses blog. I appreciate the fact that someone is reading!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 52

Off to Turfway for the 12th race nightcap with Graphite Halo. She runs a pretty good third despite a wide trip which is far better than she had done in her previous two races. I get home about 1:30am. I hate night racing.

Day 51

Not much interesting happening at the barn today. Went to Spendthrift Farm in the afternoon to look at their new stallions, Tiz Wonderful, Notional and Into Mischief. They inform me that Tiz Wonderful is booked solid at 150 mares which is not surprising considering he is a very good looking horse who was precocious and is by one of the hottest stallions out there in Tiznow. I am very interested in Notional and will probably breed one of the mares to him. Always been a fan of In Excess and the only other son of In Excess in KY that I would consider is Indian Charlie who is a bit out of my price range. He is a beautiful, well put together, balanced horse.

Day 50

We were able to work most of our horses after an overnight rain tightened up the track and made it safe for works. Everyone of them worked well and knock on wood came out in good shape.

The economy is starting to dig a little deeper in the thoroughbred business. I have an owner who has been devastated by the current conditions and he pretty much has had to liquidate his stock at far less than they are probably worth. I feel bad because he is a really good guy.

Day 49

A bit of sad news as a filly that we were trying to bring back injured herself and will have to be retired. I really thought she was going to make some noise, albeit at the lower levels, and her injury though slight could turn into something much worse had we tried to train through it. She has a really interesting pedigree though and will become a broodmare.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 48

Checked the track before departing to Turfway with Carl S. and to speak at the meeting with the politicians. It is turning into a dust bowl because they for some reason arent putting any water on the surface. We decide to just jog everything.

The meeting with the pols is a mixed bag in my view. While there were some impashioned speeches and pointed comments directed at the legislators, I get the feeling that they were here for the press as much as anything. Speaking of press I am quoted in a few pieces.

Day 47

The track was in pretty good shape though it is starting to get a little dry later in the day. After one o'clock there are virtually no horses on the track except for mine which makes it a good time to bring out the less experienced horses like the Quiet American filly that came in yesterday.

Day 46

Not much on the schedule today except moving horses around in the afternoon after training. That turned into a bit of a debacle as the two year olds raised hell in the van and one loaded backwards and had very little desire to unload himself.

Day 45

Another late night at Turfway with Rolled Up, a new horse we got in a few weeks ago. He ran a credible third in his first polytrack experience at a less than optimal distance for him.

Was asked by Bob Elliston, the president of Turfway, to speak at a meeting with legislators on Monday morning concering the slots issue and HB bill number 158. Think I will miss a chance to blast some politicians in public?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 44

The sun is back and we are feeling good again! One horse is a little under the weather though and he is scheduled to run on Friday night. Comeback left some of his feed on Wednesday morning but all other signs were normal. However this morning he left his feed again and was running a very slight temperature which will keep him from running tomorrow. While it is unfortunate that we must scratch it is fortunate that we caught it before the race rather than afterwards.

Day 43

Rain. Lots of rain means little training. Good thing we worked everyone yesterday.

Day 42

Got to work over the CDT surface today for the first time in weeks. Though it was muddy the track was safe and in good condition. Maybe being covered by snow and ice for a few weeks helps?

Looks like the weather will be rainy for a few days so i'm glad we got the works in. Planning on running a couple on Friday night at Turfway. My horse trailer needs repair again and it is like pulling teeth to get an appointment to get it fixed. They look so sturdy and industructable until you own one. However I am still happy that we bought one as it saves a great deal of money on shipping costs which can be passed on to the owners who need all the financial relief they can get.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 41

Sent in my stall applications for the Spring and Summer tracks, Keeneland, Churchill and Arlington. Interestingly enough the applications are all due on the same day (Feb 26). Kind of hard to believe this isn't a coincidence though I have no idea whay or what it would mean, just kind of interesting. When a trainer sends in an application for a Summer track like CD or AP it is funny that they want you to enlcose past performances for the horses listed since very few will have current form that will be relevant in July. If you ever get a chance to get your hands on a stall application read the back and get ready to have your eyes opened. Basically it says that by signing that form we sign away an awful lot of rights that should have nothing to do with a stall application.

Still havent got my bills done for January and my accountant is probably livid (rightly so).

Picked up Sumwonlovesyou at the farm yesterday and brought her back to the track for the first time in over 16 months. I really hope she can make it back to the races and come close to repeating her old form. Horses become like numbers at times and as a trainer you cant get too attached simply because they get claimed and sometimes they simply need to run at a lower level track. But some horses you have to admire because of their toughness and determination. Sumwonlovesyou is as tough as they come.

It is still early but we are planning on working a bunch of horses today. Nice to be able to walk them to the track and get that done instead of having to pick and choose which ones to van to Turfway.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Day 40

We actually got on the track this afternoon though it was a muddy bog. The horses appreciated getting to stretch their legs a bit and I noticed a few of them had put on some weight so maybe the lack of training lately isn't such a bad thing. Colonel Klink ran well in his first start at the FG.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 39

A beautiful day yet Churchill Downs still doesn't have the racetrack open.

Day 37

Nothing racing and still no on track training so I went to the farm. Very muddy out there but the snow and ice are mostly gone. Still a lot of work to do there but if the weather holds we can get finished by April. Appoint ran at Oaklawn, making her first start, hoping to gain experience. Naturally she broke to the outside, knocking the jockey off the horse next to her. That horse proceeded to extract her revenge by bothering Appoint throughout the turn causing us to lose a ton of ground. Well at least she got some experience.

Day 36

Another cold day at Turfway. This time we were in the last race so I went to the restaurant on the lower level, sat with a few agents and ate a cheeseburger. The glamorous life of a trainer. On a sidenote the food at Turfways restaurants is pretty good by racetrack standards. Makutus typically faded to an embarrassing off the board but was claimed. That ended the saga of Makutus for me. A talented horse who simply never really figured out how the game is played. Sometimes we blame ourselves for the failures of our horses, sometimes we try everything and it still doesn't work. I wish the people who bought him well.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 35

While driving the horse trailer up I-75 about 10 miles from Turfway, TC and I witnessed a SUV wipe out into the median. A few miles up the highway we saw another on the opposite side of the road. Between that and the temperatures hovering around 9 degrees we seriously were expecting a cancellation. After Rampillions race I was wishing they had.

Day 34

Went back to Turfway with four different horses to train. Horses seemed to go very well despite TP's confusion over whether or not the track was closing early due to the light snow that was falling. Driving back the roads were getting a little tricky and I was wondering if the next days races were going to actually run. Winter sucks.

Day 33

Shipped four horses to Turfway early in the morning to work. It was very cold but since we have missed so much work lately we needed to get some milage in. Found out running lights on truck are not working to go along with the broken jack while driving through the dark. 

Day 32

Still too cold to do much training as the track is still covered with snow. Went to the farm to check on things and see the horses. Watched Super Bowl. Easy day for a change.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 31

The cold weather continues to screw up my life (training-wise anyway). We were scheduled to ship horses to Turfway today and Sunday to work but have postponed once again due to poor track conditions which led to the track to cancel it's racing card once again. It has been so cold and there is so much ice on the track it just hasn't melted and running over chunks of ice as well as polytrack is not a good idea. This afternoon the temperatures were in the lower 40's which will melt some of the ice but since Turfway is running with an early post time tomorrow due to the Super Bowl the training hours are limited. So Monday and Tuesday it is.

Been scanning the entries around the country looking for a mid-level claiming prospect but haven't come up with much. It is amazing how prevelant condition claimers have become. It used to be that only the lower level tracks had conditioned claimers but they are a staple of cards nationwide. Not that it is good or bad just an observation.

Apparently Silent Name is going to stand in Canada which screws up breeding plans for one of my mares. Talk about last minute change. Always thought it strange that we haven't seen a Sunday Silence stallion make any noise in the US.

Watched the Holy Bull from Gulfstream and was encouraged by the results. If the top two finishers are considered top notch this year Colonel Klink and Comeback may be in good shape this Spring.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Day 30

Ever get the idea I am consumed by weather? It snowed again last night cancelling my trip to Turfway to work the fillies. The situation at the farm has gone from bad to worse as Mercer county has no water service meaning the 22 horses at BEC have no water. We melted snow yesterday to give them water but need a better solution to that problem. There is no training at CDT naturally and we will be doing more in-barn jogging. If they decide to run races inside barns in the near future we will have a powerhouse stable. Hopefully I can get some works in at Turfway tomorrow morning and hopefully Rampillion gets in the race I entered her in unlike Carl S. and Inki Blandford who remain on the sidelines. Thats a lot of hopefullys.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day 29

The Winter continues... Turfway cancelled meaning Makutus won't be getting a chance to run today. On one hand I wasn't looking forward to spending much time at Turfway today but the race looked like it was very winnable. We are doing some in-barn training since the area surrounding the barn remains a sheet of ice. The farm also remains pretty much shut down without power and too cold to do much other than walk the horses. Very frustrating to say the least.

There is an industry-wide debate brewing as a result of Andy Beyer's recent article concerning dramatic form reversals and the role of the "supertrainer". One side is is firmly entrenched in the Beyer camp feeling that "supertrainers" are almost certainly doing illegal things to win at unusually high rates and getting amazing results from seemingly ordinary horses. The opposing view is that the game has changed and that these guys are playing the new version better than everyone else is. I have to say that I can see why people would be on board with Beyer not only because of his points which are solid but because the lack of historical precedent for these feats. I can also see where the dissenting view is that there isn't a whole lot of evidence that isn't circumstantial to point the finger at these guys. The truth is that both sides have valid points and virtually no one has a real grasp on the situation including those who are supposedly in charge of policing the sport.

I believe that most if not all of the guys with ridiculous win percentages and a history of form reversals are not on the level. The sport is littered with examples of trainers (and jockeys) gaining an advantage by illegal means and there is no reason to believe that this is any different now. If you were able to use lasix in the early 70's without detection don't you think that as a trainer you would have a huge advantage? Well that happened didn't it? What is the lasix of today? It doesn't have to be some exotic, nefarious drug made by some evil doctor. It might be a medication that has been around for a while that is delivered via feed supplement and fed orally. It may be an experimental drug that has not even been released yet. It may be an undetectable steroid. It may be any number of things. But I guarantee that there is something. 

Naturally these substances will never be found unless the authorities get extremely lucky and banning of all drugs like foreign jurisdictions will have no effect on these. As a matter of fact some of the best performance enhancers come from overseas. A very successful trainer of recent years on the NY, FL, KY circuit has been boosted from a pretty ordinary guy to a supertrainer at the top of the sport via Australian "hop" that was delivered orally (without the need for a vet). A huge owner/trainer claiming operation that had tremendous nationwide success was using Celebrex on its runners the morning of the race without detection. This was at the same time said drug was being advertised widely on television, hardly a designer drug. One of the trainers under suspicion spends lots of time in body building gyms which are hotbeds of performance enhancing drugs. Another came out firing at unusually high percentages yet worked for an outfit for years that had never hit more than 15%. Another recent phenom regularly uses shockwave therapy (which in itself is not illegal) but doesn't bother paying attention to the guidelines which say that you cant race within 7 or 10 days of treatment.

The idea that these guys "read the condition book better" than the other trainers or are somehow superior poker players is ludicrous. First off the condition books of today's racing secretaries are fairly simple and widely available. The claim and drop method that is used by some high percentage trainers is much more effective due to the fact that the other trainers will rarely claim off these guys because the horses they touch often turn from gold to wood when they leave their barn. The use of this defense is mitigated by the fact that it is actually an implication as well. How do they explain the sudden form reversals both coming into the supertrainers barns and even more importantly leaving them? 

Our society is one with a win at all costs regardless of the collatoral damage that occurs attitude. That perfectly explains the "supertrainer' and those which support them , including and probably especially the owners who feed them horses. I know many of these guys personally, know those which have worked for them and watched their methods. There just isn't that much difference between what they do and what many other competent trainers do. In every walk of life there are people who are exceptional at their profession, those who are merely good and those who aren't very good. "Supertrainers" ARE too good to be true, just like hitting 73 home runs at the age of 37 was.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 28

Worst weather day of the year. Ice covers everything and trees and branches fell on the house all night leaving a very tired horse trainer for Wednesday. We lost power at the farm and things are pretty much at a stand still at the barn. Did a little pedigree work and finalized up breeding plans while stranded at the house. Also had time to run some reports for bloodstock clients on some consulting work and catch up on sleep.

Will Spring please come early this year?

Day 27

A miserable, rainy/sleet/snow day. Had meetings with business partners concerning the farm but little else was accomplished.

Day 26

Another cold day without on track training. Sent two more to year olds to FL for training. Weather really looks ominous for the rest of the week. Ran a filly at the FG that had a good trip but no kick in the stretch. We gave her a chance to be a good horse but now she goes to the claiming ranks.

Day 25

Left Louisville at 6:30 am to bring Amethyst Rose to race and Rampillion to work. The proverbial good news and bad news situation. The good news? Rampillion worked great getting four furlongs in 47.60 under Diego Rodriguez. We were intending on getting a strong work in her because of the missed training time the previous week but she exceeded expectations. The bad news? Amethyst caught a really tough field for Turfway in the Winter and got trounced.

Day 24

Got home at 1 am after spending a good portion of the afternoon and night at Turfway Park where we had a first time starter running in the 12th and final race. The horse, named Comeback, ran really well at a distance shorter than his best and finished 2nd by a neck. When your horses run well it is always a good feeling. When horses that you bought for a song at the yearling sales run really well it is even better for you are justified in your initial decision about purchasing him as well as being happy about the placing.

I checked my email quickly when I warmed up after getting home (it was COLD!!) and found out my mare Mujado had a Thunder Gulch filly right around the same time that Comeback was running. She is in PA at Fox Tale stud and the early reports are we have a big, healthy baby. Not a bad day afterall.

Day 23

The track was STILL frozen at the base despite 2 days of very mild weather. We did not want to work over that track though we did gallop everyone and give them a nice warm bath for the first time in a while.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 22

The weather is really nice today for a change. CDT's track surface is still not yet ready for works though tomorrow should be perfect. Still trying to determine who the mares will be bred to this Spring. For the 1st time in a long time (ever?) the stallion farms are offering great terms and discount prices to even popular studs. This has created a slight dilemma in that I can get great terms on some stallions whose foals sell well at the sales yet I am not a huge fan of. The issue is that I may wind up keeping and racing horses I probably would have passed on at a sale. Do I go the commercial route and try to get potentially higher priced baby or the more conservative way and breed something I wouldn't mind racing? In the past I simply didn't have the funds or ability to get to some of the higher priced stallions and my decisions were fairly limited. I will probably stay the course I have been taking but the options are nice to have.

Day 21

Though some days being a horsetrainer is a seemingly 'no-win' job, it is still better than working in the white collar world of endless contracts and paperwork.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 20

Shipped four horses to Turfway this morning to work over the polytrack. It was cold when we left Louisville at 6am and even colder at the track. The horses all went well which made for a productive trip. Planning another trip there for the weekend unless the weather warms enough to make the track at CDT work worthy.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 19

Made plans to ship four horses to Turfway tomorrow morning to work them over the track. I don't think that it is a huge deal to work over the polytrack before running on it but the track at CDT isn't ready for works and it can't hurt to let them get on a van and run before doing it for real. Can't wait for Spring.

Day 18

Not only is it cold in Louisville, it is snowing! I have some horses at BEC that are ready to come in that are still there simply because training them on the aquatred is better than the alternatives at the track right now. Watched football this afternoon while going through the upcoming Fasig Tipton Winter sales book.

Day 17

Sent Appoint to Oaklawn so that she can get steady training and some racing experience under her belt. Sending Colonel Klink to FG on Sunday for the same. Jogged everything, still very cold.

Day 16

No training again as it is VERY cold. Spent the day getting outbid at high prices for average horses. At least the lunch specials are good at Keeneland because that looks like all I am going to get.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 15

When you get up and see the temperature is 6 you know Winter is in full effect. Obviously we didn't train today though some brave souls (fools is more like it) were training at Keeneland and Turfway. If the temperature is below 20 there isn't much value in training. you just cant accomplish very much positive in extreme cold and I would rather protect the horse and give them a day off then force the issue. Especially when the meet running is Turfway where the purses are so low anyway.

The sale wasn't much fun either though I did get a decent price on the yearling I sold. (Hip 1320- Grand Reward PA bred for $14000 to Penn Ridge Farm) The quality of this sale is really poor compared to previous years and most of the horses I was interested in were either scratched or sold above their values. But I suppose there is always tomorrow...that is the thing that keeps you in this game, the idea that the next big thing is right around the corner, even if for some it never does show up.

Day 14

Probably the last day of training for us this week with the cold front approaching. Made the decision to send a few of the newly turned three year olds to warmer climes where they can get a more stable training schedule in. Colonel Klink is leaving on Sunday for the Fair Grounds where Richie Scherrer will get him ready and Appoint will go to Oaklawn where Kenny Wirth will have her. We are entering the filly (Appoint) for a race on Sunday so she may get right into action down there. The sale was a bust once again today. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day 13

Pretty quiet day. Went to sale but did not get close to buying anything.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 12

The weather held off and we were able to train regularly today though the forecast for tomorrow is really poor. I went to the Keeneland sale this afternoon but was unable to buy anything. One client is looking for some ready made racehorse action but this years sale doesn't have quite as good a selection as in prior years. Hopefully we have more luck tomorrow.

Day 11

We wound up working quite a few horses today despite the muddy track. I am not a big fan of training hard over off tracks, it just seems like more things crop up on off tracks. It is especially tough considering a lot of horses aren't shod with toe grabs because of the change in rules recently. fortunately all seemed to go well and come back fine.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 10

Lots of rain and mud. Not much going on.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 9

It is still very cold which means limited training once again today so I decided to rant a bit on some current topics concerning horseracing in general. Obviously being a horseman I may have a different take on some things which I suppose is the objective of this blog in the first place. However I was not born into the game and spent my younger years as a fan, graduated from the University of Arizona's Racetrack Industry Program, spent several years working in track management as an assistant racing secretary and worked my way up the training ladder from hotwalker. Therefore I suppose I may have a more well-rounded view of the racing world than most horsemen.

We will start on an old topic made new again, jockey fees! This is a link from the latest issue of the Louisville Courier-Journal about a proposed "work" stoppage. Are these guys kidding? First of all, half of the jockeys in the room at Turfway aren't members of the Jockeys Guild and are under no obligation to do anything. Secondly the vast majority of riders at Turfway leave after the meet ends to ride elsewhere so why would they want to draw a line in the sand here? Thirdly Guild management has picked the worst possible time to fight over money as Turfway has been giving away less money in purses lately than anytime in recent memory, not to mention the entire world economy is in flux. Handle is shrinking, owners and trainers are leaving the sport for economic reasons yet jockeys deserve a raise? I happen to agree that an increase in mount fee is probably warranted. $60 which would be a 25% raise is a number that has been thrown around as a solution. Yet we have heard that the jockeys would only accept that number as a "temporary" increase until further negotiations are conducted. So a 25% increase isn't enough? Try selling that one to the masses guys. It always humors me when the guild mentions any negotiations whereby the horseman get more purse money as a justification to raise mount fees as though ONLY horseman benefit with a raise. I suppose the fact that the jockeys winning share also increases with a raise in purses also seems to be beyond them.

Another topic that has gotten a lot of play recently is track surfaces in both Kentucky and California. While there is no doubt that the industry should be working to make track surfaces, dirt, synthetic and grass, as safe as humanly possible these public disputes will make things worse, not better. Counting breakdowns and using them as the sole determination if a tracks is okay or not is foolhardy. Breakdowns are usually caused by a number of factors combining with a horrible result. Track surface is only one factor and in many cases has to nothing to do with a horse breaking down. I find it interesting that we have banned steroids and toe grabs with much fanfare yet the breakdown rates are either the same or have increased which has led to the finger pointing at the surfaces. I have been of the opinion that toe grabs are hardly a cause of breakdowns and in some cases are beneficial especially on sloppy tracks. The study that the industry types have pinned their hopes on as the "smoking gun" of evidence that toe grabs are evil was severely flawed and within the study itself the Doctors at Cal-Davis even stated that they were making no recommendations with the study and that much more research was needed. The group of horses included in that study was made up of 90% of horses that wore toe grabs and 10% that did not. They also did not take into consideration any other factors such as surface (ironic) or racing class. At the time of the study almost every horse in training in California was wearing toe grabs which makes it really hard to get an accurate sample size for both sides. Perhaps the vast majority of horses without toe grabs in the study were slow horses that consistently went off at long odds and didn't race very long before they were taken out of training? Is that a far fetched assumption? As for steroids, the vast majority of horses were treated in accordance with the suggested usage levels and as such weren't a significant factor in breakdowns. The people in charge of the sport want you to believe that they are making all these positive steps in the area of safety. Yet they fail to realize that unfortunately horses will always breakdown in some number as they are flesh and blood and the more you allow the focus to be on track surfaces and have racing commissions "demanding" answers that don't exist, the sport will fail in its PR fight.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 8

Really cold and the track surface was frozen enough to cancel training. We improvised a bit by doing some light jogging in the shedrow. Kind of a lost day. Got a good report on my promising three year old training in Ocala which was nice to hear. The agent for Diego Rodriguez brought by McDonalds for the barn employees this afternoon and brought Cherie a special treat (a nice bottle of rum for her Coke). It is a tradition of sorts that the winning agent will bring donuts for the barn the morning after a win, McDonalds is a step up from the usual fare. The little things in life...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 7

Winning is always great for the human connections. Sometimes however you feel a little better about a win when a particular horse has overcome some difficulties or troubles. That was how I felt today when Richwood Silver crossed the wire at snowy Turfway Park this afternoon. She was a horse that I picked up off the "scrap heap" at the Keeneland November sale last year for $17000. She had three awful running lines but I liked her pedigree and shape and thought that a few changes may do her some good. Richwood broke her maiden in her first start for us (and the first winner under the banner of Bluegrass Equine Center also) and looked like a promising prospect. A sale to West Coast interests for a nice profit fell through and I wound up selling 50% of her to friend and client Bob Gary. We entered her in an allowance race at Oaklawn Park and she looked like a winner every step of the way until the jockey suddenly pulled her up. I thought for a brief second that she had broke down. That was until I saw the rest of the field pulling up too. The tractor that pulls the gate had malfunctioned and the starting gate was sitting in the same place that it was when the field broke. Needless to say it obviously had a psychological effect on Richwood as she simply never ran well afterwards. She didn't even show the speed that she had always flashed in the past. We gave her a short break and brought her back this fall with little change in performance. Finally we dropped her in class and today she showed that old speed and fight and took the 8th race wire to wire for an easy win. Though I think we overanalyze horses thoughts and feelings I couldn't help but think that maybe she felt good about winning again also.

It was also great fun to win a race for Bob who is a great owner trying to build a racing stable the right way. The start up of our program has been a little slow but hopefully this can be a sign of our patience paying off in the long run.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 6

Rain and cold. Not much fun training.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day 5

Well Graphite Halo didn't handle the off track today but that wasn't much of a surprise. But as long as she comes out ok we will live to fight again (preferrably on a turf battlefield). Cherie DeVaux, my Kentucky assistant, and I decided to gallop quite a few of the horses strong today with a Winter storm warning looming over the state of Kentucky. Everyone went pretty well and appear to have bounced back from works or races in good shape. Saw a trainer friend who has been training a former filly of mine with a pretty nice pedigree that was in poor form and he said that she was going to get bred which was nice to hear. Though you can't save every horse that is falling down the class ladder it was nice to hear someone was caring for her.

I have got to get my bills done and sent out so I can start off the New Year getting paid. My organizational skills concerning paperwork are lacking but we are improving much to the relief of my accountant.

A little concerned that Turfway's race card for Wednesday may be cancelled with the freezing rain/snow in the forecast. Weather dominates my life. And that is not an enjoyable situation in January in central Kentucky!

Still have to name a few recently turned two year olds, register some out of state mares, apply for registration papers for three of the yearlings, figure out who the mares will be bred to this spring, get pictures of the new horses.....

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 4

For January 4, the temperature was pretty moderate this afternoon, in the upper 50's which made for a nice change from the recent frigid days. Looks like it wont last though as the midweek looks wet and cold which means adjusted training schedules again. Got word from Richie Scherrer that my horse which I sent to him to run tomorrow at the Fair Grounds (5th race-Graphite Halo) arrived in good shape but would probably be running on the dirt with more rain looming for New Orleans. We decided to go ahead and run which was fine with all the partners and though I am not that excited by her chances on a dirt track, running in an off the turf event gets you a special preference date for the next start on the grass.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day 3

Rampillion who ran well when finishing second last night at Turfway Park seemed to be in good shape this morning. We only had 4 horses to go to the track this morning so it was an easy morning/afternoon (we train from 11 am to 2 pm at Churchill Downs training center in the Winter). I have been working with an exercise physiolgist in trying to determine more efficent ways of training horses utilizing modern technology such as heart rate monitors and other equipment. This morning we came to an agreement and starting tomorrow he will officially begin collecting data for my horses. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

I brought a few horses that we recently picked up from another trainer out to the farm (Bluegrass Equine Center)  and brought a two that were getting some R & R back to the track. Having a place to send horses out for even a short break is such an advantage we are finding. People underestimate the mental aspect of the effects of training at the track on horses. A brief freshening of just 10 days can be so important.

Not much going on tomorrow since it rained this afternoon and the track wont be in great shape. Weather plays an important factor in the life of a trainer. Rain, while it can occasionally be a friend when you have a mudder in a turf race, is usually a real downer if you are training on a regular dirt track. Synthetic tracks may not be the answer but they are a hell of a lot better to train on in wet weather.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Day 2

One of the biggest hassles in a trainers life is licensing. Many states have differing dates when licenses are valid which is a real pain in the ass especially when making sure that owners are properly accounted for. For instance in KY a one year license is valid from January 1st to December 31st of the same year. However in FL and LA the licenses run from July to June. The real kicker is NY which starts on the day after your birthday and goes to your next years birthday. Though it seems like a simple enough process the timing of needing a new license on January 1st right in the middle of the holiday season when many owners are on vacation and not thinking of mundane things like getting licensed is tricky. The worst issue by far is the sham cast upon us by the states that require fingerprints every 5 years. Try getting an overseas owner properly fingerprinted! And the every 5 years because the FBI clears its database excuse is ridiclous. It is a moneygrab plain and simple. I believed that the industry actually had come up with a good idea when they came up with a single registry body where an owner (not us trainers because of that tricky workmans comp. deal) could be licensed in multiple states at the same time. However more owners have issues with the National Racing Compact than they do with getting licensed in individual states. Not that this is a big surprise or anything. Anyway KY now takes credit cards for its licenses which is nice but naturally they have raised the cost of the licenses and added a $7 surcharge for using the card.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Day 1, January 1st

Happy Birthday horses! We have a runner tomorrow night at Turfway Park (Rampillion in the 11th), our first of the year. The turning of the calendar also means that a trainers "all important" stats are back to zero. Since the primary measure of a trainers worth in many peoples eyes is their win percentage most trainers obsess over this statistic, often to the detriment of the people that they work for. But that is a topic for another day. Today is about new beginnings, looking to the future and hoping that those babies that you have been waiting on will develop as you were hoping.