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Hall of Fame baseball manager Tony La Russa was once quoted as saying,"One of the most complex tasks in sports is the challenge of managing an aging superstar."  


LaRussa's difficulties with fellow HOFer, St Louis Cardinal shortstop Ozzie Smith (whom he managed at the end of The Wizard's spectacular career) are well chronicled. He says, "The player doesn't look at themselves in the mirror and see a 40 something year old who's slowed a few steps and lost some bat reaction time at the plate. They see the many time all star who is now much wiser from his vast experience. Usually, the truth lies closer to former."


Bottom line. In sports, FATHER TIME IS UNDEFEATED.

Unfortunately, it’s not much different when it comes to the management of great racehorses as they grow older. Of course, there are a few outliers, horses who have gone on to great success at advanced ages.  Some of the most notable are the legendary John Henry, Kelso, Forego, and more recently Wise Dan and our very own Awesome Gem. But these warriors who won Grade ones later in their careers are, without a doubt, exceptions to the rule.  

Every year when a new racing season begins in the spring, all racing fans anxiously await the return of their favorites back to the track after a winter respite.  With the premature retirement of many prominent 3-year-olds from the previous year's Derby trail (either from an injury or a new career at stud,) we look forward to the familiar names of our old titans of the turf.  Last week’s New York-Bred Showcase Day at Belmont Park was a great example.  In the turf stake, we saw three horses who have run at high levels for most of their careers in NY: Lubash, King Kreesa,  and Kharafa, the three of them running in a combined 132 races.

Usually, most veterans need a race or two to shake off the winter rust and find the form that has made them household names.  But what happens when that "winter rust" doesn't disappear?  


I know first hand there is one thing that every owner, trainer, gambler, and racing fan can do.....


RATIONALIZE.  


We all yearn to see a sign that the old form is returning and that we'll have one more shot at greatness, followed by a trip to the winner’s circle.

We all want to do right by the horse and give them the dignified retirement they so richly deserve when that time comes. But there is always that fear. Did we not give him enough time to regain the form which made them successful?  We all know how hard it is to find these type horses, and the last thing you want to do is wonder "What If?"

Three of WPT's top performers, 8-year-old Twilight Eclipse and 6-year-olds Ring Weekend & Empire Dreams all fall into this category, and are at a crossroad late in their individual, accomplished careers. The thrills and memories they each have provided their Partners and everyone on the WPT team are the stuff they make movies about.

Hopefully, each will tell us, in their own way, when the time comes, so they go out on their terms.

2
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JHHaines
Jun 5 2017 - 12:24am
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118604
/news-and-blog/blog/2017/06/02/managing-an-aging-superstar
1 pm on June 02, 2017

Hall of Fame baseball manager Tony La Russa was once quoted as saying,"One of the most complex tasks in sports is the challenge of managing an aging superstar."  


LaRussa's difficulties with fellow HOFer, St Louis Cardinal shortstop Ozzie Smith (whom he managed at the end of The Wizard's spectacular career) are well chronicled. He says, "The player doesn't look at themselves in the mirror and see a 40 something year old who's slowed a few steps and lost some bat reaction time at the plate. They see the many time all star who is now much wiser from his vast experience. Usually, the truth lies closer to former."

TBellhouse
TBellhouse's picture
72

“Racing needs to find a younger fanbase if the game is ever going to survive.” God, I am growing tired of hearing that line that is so coarsely slung around your local grandstand by the same curmudgeon who first uttered the phrase 40 years ago. Easily said but rarely ever in company with a solution. Maybe I could stomach it better if those same folks actually made an effort or a push for change. Well, I am young, and I’ve been a fan my whole life, but most of all I am in a position to at least try to make a change.


When Lindsey, Teal and I were given the green light to push forward with the Young Professionals Initiative, there was a palpable excitement in our conversation. All of us had put forth some great ideas on how we could make it work; now it was time to actually put it in motion. The idea was simple, a lower buy in and multiple horses. Something much more manageable for those just starting out in their professional careers.


I can confidently say as we sit here just two weeks from its launch that the response we have gotten has been above and beyond any of our expectations. As it turns out there is a younger fanbase, and they aren’t just content going to the track, they want to be a part of the big show as well. The investors we have found have all been uncovered at the events we’ve hosted. There’s still a large segment of potential YPI investors out there.


We know our Partners have family members who join them at the races and love what we do but may not be able to afford a normal stake in one of our horses. This is a call to those Partners with sons, daughters, nieces, nephews or family friends that love attending the summer meets and creating lifelong memories at the races. Let’s get them in the winners circle with the great group we have already tapped into. Not only is it an affordable chance at ownership but a new found experience we hope will become a staple of the West Point Thoroughbreds partnership model for years to come.

Contact me at [email protected] if you’d like to attend our next young professionals event, held Tuesday, May 2 in New York City.

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JMigliore
Apr 28 2017 - 10:48am
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117812
/news-and-blog/blog/2017/04/28/calling-all-young-professionals-interested-in-racing
10 am on April 28, 2017

“Racing needs to find a younger fanbase if the game is ever going to survive.” God, I am growing tired of hearing that line that is so coarsely slung around your local grandstand by the same curmudgeon who first uttered the phrase 40 years ago. Easily said but rarely ever in company with a solution. Maybe I could stomach it better if those same folks actually made an effort or a push for change. Well, I am young, and I’ve been a fan my whole life, but most of all I am in a position to at least try to make a change.

JMigliore
JMigliore's picture
10012

The horse racing journey of West Point Thoroughbreds Partner Dana Fitzsimmons has spanned decades and taken him from the Derby infield to the owner's box. Dana shares what it means to be a passionate fan turned Kentucky Derby horse owner in this blog.

Dreams Do Come True With Always Dreaming

I attended my first Kentucky Derby in 1975. My University of Toledo college roommate, Mike Hirt, and I joined some buddies and headed to Louisville in the back of a pickup truck. That year we camped in tents on the University of Louisville campus within walking distance of Churchill Downs. I watched my first Derby from the Infield. The Infield is quite a place with plenty of distractions all day but we pushed and pressed our way to the fence to watch when the colorful blur of the Derby field raced past. The horses were fast, powerful, and beautiful. We enjoyed it all so much that we made a commitment to attend again the following year. It’s now forty-three years later, and we haven’t missed a Derby!

As I learned more about horse racing, my interest grew stronger. I have visited the Kentucky Derby Museum, toured Kentucky horse farms, and became a student of the Derby. I have learned the history and traditions surrounding this wonderful event and have gained an appreciation for the reverence that Kentuckians and others hold for the Derby and thoroughbreds. I’ve memorized the Triple Crown winners and many of the other Derby winners from my Kentucky Derby glass collection dating back to the 1950s.

Some things have changed along the way while others haven’t changed at all. Mike and I have both gotten married, and we have watched our families grow up. At Churchill Downs we longed for the day when we would have seats in the grandstand and that happened. And then we hoped for better seats under cover and closer to the Finish Line. One year another friend, Lou Phillips, secured a box of seats near the Finish Line, and we’ve been guests of hers ever since. Some things haven’t changed. We still enjoy mint juleps every year and we always tear up during the playing of My Old Kentucky Home.

Seeking greater involvement in horse racing itself, I began to dabble a little bit with horse racing partnerships. It’s a way to get involved with limited resources but still enjoy the thrill of racing. Most recently I have been involved with West Point Thoroughbreds under the care and tutelage of Terry Finley, Joe Migliore, and the rest of the West Point staff. West Point’s strong horse buying process, their creative partnering opportunities, their excellent communications and educational events, and the opportunities for involvement with horses of different ages have been great. The chance to be part of Always Dreaming just happened recently. My husband, Phil Layton, and I jumped at the opportunity and then quickly made arrangements to travel to South Florida to see Always Dreaming run in the Florida Derby. We were so excited when he won, and we could barely catch our breath as we began to think of a trip to Louisville and the Kentucky Derby.

And now my 43-year-old fantasy is becoming reality. To be a partner in the ownership of a horse entering the Kentucky Derby is beyond my wildest dreams. To be at Churchill Downs on Derby Day with a horse in the Derby is hard for me to comprehend. To do the owners’ “walk over” from the barns at Churchill to the paddock will be exhilarating. To be in the paddock watching Always Dreaming and visiting with the jockey will be breathtaking. To see Always Dreaming head onto the track at the bugler's “call to the post” will be thrilling. And competing in the Kentucky Derby will make us part of a small select group of horse owners that have had the opportunity to experience the excitement of this moment.

Dreams do come true.
 

9
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DLenert
Aug 2 2017 - 8:09am
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/news-and-blog/blog/2017/04/28/my-kentucky-derby-journey-from-the-infield-to-the-owners-box
9 am on April 28, 2017

The horse racing journey of West Point Thoroughbreds Partner Dana Fitzsimmons has spanned decades and taken him from the Derby infield to the owner's box. Dana shares what it means to be a passionate fan turned Kentucky Derby horse owner in this blog.

DLenert
DLenert's picture
415

Great article by our friend Steve Haskin about his preparation for the Kentucky Derby as the "big cheese turf writer.” He's the best in the business.


There’s "18 and a butt" days till the Kentucky Derby. Here's where the "butt" comes from:


As a plebe at West Point one always had to know the exact number of days until the Army/Navy game. If it was after 12 noon, you'd subtract one day and add a "butt" to the response.


Each day closer increases the fascination with the Derby and the horses in the Run for the Roses. The solid effort by Champion Classic Empire in the Arkansas Derby changed things at the top of the heap. Always Dreaming will most likely go post ward as the solid second choice.


Always Dreaming will have one more work at Palm Beach Downs before flying to Kentucky about 12 or 13 days before the the first Saturday in May. His final work before the race will be over the Churchill surface about seven days prior.


Johnny Velazquez flew down to Florida Friday night after riding at Keeneland all day. Saturday morning he worked Always Dreaming at 7 am and by 9:30 am was on the way back to Kentucky for an afternoon of riding.  No one works his "big horse" before the race!


Interesting story about West Point and Johnny V.  In 1993, we claimed a gelding at Saratoga named Out of the Realm. The following year Johnny rode the horse six times for us. I remember seeing him come out of the jocks room one day at Belmont. He spoke very little English but looked hungry and talented. We did not win that day, but I do remember saying to myself, this kid might be alright some day.


That some day came soon enough - he's now in the Hall of Fame. I’d love to see him win the Derby with his main supporter over the years, Todd Pletcher.


It’s gonna be a great next few weeks. Send me your questions relating to the Derby preparation.

2
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kate (not verified)
Apr 20 2017 - 3:15pm
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117608
/news-and-blog/blog/2017/04/17/terrys-blog-18-and-a-butt
12 pm on April 17, 2017

Great article by our friend Steve Haskin about his preparation for the Kentucky Derby as the "big cheese turf writer.” He's the best in the business.


There’s "18 and a butt" days till the Kentucky Derby. Here's where the "butt" comes from:


As a plebe at West Point one always had to know the exact number of days until the Army/Navy game. If it was after 12 noon, you'd subtract one day and add a "butt" to the response.

tfinley
tfinley's picture
43

This is a story about a great man and one of the best trainers ever, Allen Jerkens, aka "The Chief".


He died two years ago (March 18, 2015). I did not know him very well, but he was universally admired on the backside and frontside. This article about his unforgettable legacy is what lead me to put pen to paper.


In the early 90s, I was just starting out and had a few horses at Philadelphia Park but wanted to make a mark in New York. Somehow I tracked down The Chief's barn number. I called him late one afternoon and asked him if he was interested in training a two horse stable for a new partnership and maybe even claiming a few horses on the New York circuit.


He was kind and genuine during the entire call but...


Suggested I find a younger trainer on the New York circuit for my horses!


Over the next two decades, I was frustrated by the fact that I never had a chance to chat with him again. That changed in early 2014.


After training one morning, I was sitting in the Gulfstream Park viewing standing with one other person -- Allen Jerkens. I had about 20 minutes of just him and I and I’ll never forget it.


We talked about his dad, who was a military officer, and also about a polo match Jerkens played in in the 1940's at the Bronx Armory. He knew every player on his team, the horses’ names, the scores, and the fouls in that match. It was incredible to see the gleam in his eye as he recounted every aspect of that day 60 years in the past.

 

As I walked off the viewing stand, I saw Dale Romans. Dale was a huge fan of The Chiefs, and they were stabled right next to each other at Gulfstream.


Dale was smiling from ear to ear.


He had just set up a dinner with himself as the “moderator,” The Chief, and Hall of Famer Leroy Jolley. Both Jerkens and Jolley had agreed to let the dinner be filmed by a filmmaker friend of Dale's -- John Hennegan. The dinner was set for two weeks later at one of the fancy Italian restaurants on the beach.


Sadly, The Chief passed three days before that dinner. What we all would give to have the video made that night...

1
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EVerduchi
Apr 2 2017 - 5:30pm
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117101
/news-and-blog/blog/2017/03/21/terrys-blog-the-chief
1 pm on March 21, 2017

This is a story about a great man and one of the best trainers ever, Allen Jerkens, aka "The Chief".


He died two years ago (March 18, 2015). I did not know him very well, but he was universally admired on the backside and frontside. This article about his unforgettable legacy is what lead me to put pen to paper.

tfinley
tfinley's picture
43

I spent the morning with Dale Romans earlier this week, and we got to talking about exercise riders (people who ride our horses in the mornings) and their importance to the industry. Dale has a very solid group of riders, most of them have been with him over a decade.


Tammy Fox (Dale’s life partner) is one of the barn’s primary breeze riders -- she weighs about 120 pounds and is a former jockey. Tammy is a great asset to the team because she knows the horses well and provides candid feedback after workouts -- the good, the bad, the ugly. As they say, it’s not about how fast a horse goes; it’s about how they go fast.


Most riders are up before dawn and get on six to eight to horses a morning. They are often employed by a trainer but can be freelancers as well. Being an exercise rider is certainly a physically demanding and dangerous job!


Some riders can be too big and leggy to breeze horses but are strong and balanced, making them best suited to galloping. The stronger riders are often assigned to the more headstrong horses.


A horse in full training typically breezes once a week, plus or minus a few days. It takes trial and error to match the right exercise rider with a horse. Some horses benefit from having the same person on their back day in and day out, while others are best having different people on them. Some horses (especially veterans) are the same no matter who rides them.


Riders must be able to adapt to different types of horses. Some horses gallop around like old ponies, some try different stunts as an excuse not to go forward, and others are apt to try and run off.


What do I look for in a good exercise rider? First, they have to have a good attitude and outlook. There’s no question a rider communicates their mindset to the horse -- good or bad. Morning training is about rhythm, repetition, and fitness and good riders are balanced with soft hands.


They must also have a good clock in their head. If the trainer says go an easy half in 50, a rider’s gonna be in trouble if they whiz around there in 47 and change. Open communication between a trainer and his or her riders is key.


People often ask about why jockeys aren’t on horses more often in the mornings. A lot of it comes down to supply and demand -- most jocks aren’t going to get on a bunch of horses in the mornings when they have a full day’s work ahead. Veteran riders may only come out in the mornings to ride for the trainers who give them the most mounts and/or have stakes horses. Others, especially young riders, are more apt to hustle and get on a lot of horses in hopes of securing mounts in the afternoon.


The existing relationship between a trainer and jockey is paramount. A jock may not work a horse if he’s not going to be named on that horse in the afternoon. Some top riders have leverage on their side, gaining mounts despite working less in the mornings. Towards the end of his career, Jerry Bailey was seldom seen working a horse. I will say that I tend to see more jockeys in the early hours during the summer meets!


We’ve found that jockeys are the best people to breeze horses from the gate -- it’s something they do day in and day out. It’s a dangerous part of the job (especially with young horses), and you can’t minimize what it means to have an experienced pair of hands when they spring the latch. Many trainers like to have a jock come out to breeze a horse when they are getting close to a race -- the new perspective can help in the decision-making process.


I don’t buy too much into the notion of jocks working horses to “get to know them better”. There’s a time and place for a jock in the mornings.  But, let’s face it, they can ride 10+ a day and many have ridden thousands of races. Chances are getting on the horse isn’t going to affect how they ride come race day.


Some trainers also feel that jockeys are more apt to “overdo” it and go too fast in the mornings since they are used to going full speed.  

 

Exercise riders tend to know the horses much better -- they’re around the barn and know how their mounts move, what their idiosyncrasies are, the amount of energy they bring to a routine day of training, fitness levels, etc. Often they can pick up on subtle lamenesses, and issues can be addressed before they turn into serious problems.


Exercise riders are an important part of any racing operation. The next time you’re out for morning training, stop and think about them. They work hard to position your horse for success and have a dangerous job!

1
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KNekton
Mar 7 2017 - 6:47pm
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/news-and-blog/blog/2017/03/07/terrys-blog-the-role-of-exercise-riders
9 am on March 07, 2017

I spent the morning with Dale Romans earlier this week, and we got to talking about exercise riders (people who ride our horses in the mornings) and their importance to the industry. Dale has a very solid group of riders, most of them have been with him over a decade.

tfinley
tfinley's picture
43

Following our blog post about the role of jockey agents, West Point’s Tom Bellhouse recently interviewed NY-based agent Jason Beides.


Beides started on the racetrack walking hots for Richard Schosberg in 1995 and worked his way through the ranks with trainers Shug McGaughey, H. Allen Jerkens, and Chuck Simon. Although Jason’s background is different from most other jockey agents, he credits his years of horsemanship with providing a keen insight in plying his craft.


Beides spent the first 12 years of his career as an agent representing Jose Lezcano and has recently joined forces with top journeyman, Kendrick Carmouche. Jason has represented jockeys who have won Breeders’ Cup races and competed in multiple Triple Crown races, as well as the Dubai World Cup.


Bellhouse: What are things important to the success of a jockey agent?


Beides: First it’s the product. The jock you work for has to have talent. The jock and agent must also be able to develop long standing relationships with trainers and be good handicappers. Another thing that’s important is honoring calls.


Bellhouse: What do you look for in a jockey?


Beides: The best jockeys in the world are hard working and professional and communicate well with their agents and trainers. I appreciate a jock who respects my opinion and views me as a coach who is trying to get maximum results since we share a common goal of winning races. There’s also an important trust factor. If I tell a trainer my jock will be at the barn at 7 am to work a horse, he better be there, on time, with a positive attitude.


Bellhouse: Is it important for jocks to be “students of the game”?


Beides: Yes, I demand that of the jockeys I work with. They are expected to study tape, identify racetrack biases, and provide me meaningful feedback on the horses they ride. As an agent, I must learn to capitalize on their strengths and assist in areas of weakness. Kendrick is super outgoing and shares a lot of details with owners and trainers, whereas as Jose is more of an introvert who doesn’t say much. Both are very talented riders; they just have different personalities.


Bellhouse: What are the standard protocols you have with your jockey?


Beides: We speak every night to review the races we rode in and review the following morning’s obligations and our mounts for the next race day. We also discuss strategy on future mounts and travel calendar, especially for big races.


Bellhouse: Are you an employee of the track or your jockey(s)?


Besides: Agents are employees of the jockeys. Most jocks do not operate with written contracts -- there are a lot of handshake deals. The racetrack pays the jockey their purse earnings, and then the jock pays the agent. If a jockey is injured or suspended, the agent makes no money. This is the truest “commission only” job ever.


Bellhouse: What does a normal day look like for you?


Besides: I get to the track around 6 am and visit and call trainers who planned to enter that day to make sure their plans haven’t changed. I also talk to trainers and inquire about horses I’ve identified and would like to ride. Before leaving the track, I sit down and finalize all the calls I have for the coming week. It’s important always to be studying the condition book for opportunities.

 

Thank you to Jason for taking the time to answer questions. Our next blog will talk about common scenarios jockeys and their agents are faced with.

2
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DLenert
Feb 23 2017 - 6:37pm
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116677
/news-and-blog/blog/2017/02/22/part-2-interview-with-ny-jockey-agent
12 pm on February 22, 2017

Following our blog post about the role of jockey agents, West Point’s Tom Bellhouse recently interviewed NY-based agent Jason Beides.


Beides started on the racetrack walking hots for Richard Schosberg in 1995 and worked his way through the ranks with trainers Shug McGaughey, H. Allen Jerkens, and Chuck Simon. Although Jason’s background is different from most other jockey agents, he credits his years of horsemanship with providing a keen insight in plying his craft.

EFinley
EFinley's picture
3618

This is the first of a four-part series about jockeys and jockey agents.


Let’s tackle the jockey/jockey agent/trainer relationship, one of the most complex interactions in the Sport of Kings. There are a lot of politics involved, but we all know jockeys and the guys who manage their riding assignments are vital to the success of a racing operation.


Most jockeys in the United States are represented by an agent whose main responsibility is to book mounts and put the rider in a position to win races. Other agent responsibilities include maintaining relationships with trainers, making travel arrangements, and managing media relations. The agents must be savvy handicappers and communicators to compete at the highest levels of the sport.


If you’ve been on the backside during the summer meets (Saratoga and Del Mar), you’ll most definitely see jockeys and their agents going from barn to barn forging relationships, working horses, and trying to get as many quality mounts as possible.


Jockey agents must maintain good relationships with trainers on their jockey’s circuit to win races. There is a balance between being loyal and being on the very best horse possible. It’s not always black and white. We’ll dive deeper into this concept in the coming posts.


Some tracks allow an agent to represent two journeyman riders as well as one apprentice rider “bug boy”. Many of the top agents in the country represent more than one rider.


Most agents have programs that keep track of the horses their jockey(s) has ridden, the speed figures of all the horses competing on the circuit, and the commitments made by other jockeys in upcoming races.


Communication between trainers and jockey agents is paramount. When a condition book comes out, trainers mark the horses they have who fit in certain races. At that point, they begin communicating with the jockey agents until they find a suitable jockey who agrees to ride the horse.

 

Next up is an interview with NY-based jockey agent Jason Beides.

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NReagan
Feb 18 2017 - 7:17pm
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116602
/news-and-blog/blog/2017/02/15/part-1-the-role-of-jockey-agents
10 am on February 15, 2017

This is the first of a four-part series about jockeys and jockey agents.


Let’s tackle the jockey/jockey agent/trainer relationship, one of the most complex interactions in the Sport of Kings. There are a lot of politics involved, but we all know jockeys and the guys who manage their riding assignments are vital to the success of a racing operation.

EFinley
EFinley's picture
3618

What a weekend! The Pegasus was one for the ages and Arrogate stamped himself as a consummate superstar.


We had a big group of West Point Partners at the races to witness the inaugural running of the Pegasus. The electricity grew to a crescendo leading up to the richest race in the world.


People were paying attention to racing at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. Total handle for the Pegasus was $15.68 million, and NBC’s 90-minute coverage of the race garnered strong ratings.


Breaking Lucky broke with the pack but got hung out wide into the first turn, as did Horse of the Year California Chrome. Our horse never seemed to get into his rhythm down the backside and simply did not fire. There are a lot of really cool races in the older handicap division, and he will make some noise this year.


Our ole’ man Twilight Eclipse put in a strong effort in his seasonal bow. He checked in fourth, beaten just over a length for everything and would have hit the board with a little cleaner trip. He ain’t done yet!


We’ve hit the ground running on the racing side of things, with five winners in January. Thursday afternoon General Downs knocked out the first level allowance with a win at the Fair Grounds for Dallas Stewart. A hind ankle injury cost this dude valuable time away from the races, but he’s healthy now and has grit and talent.


A few hours before the Pegasus we had a sharp looking maiden winner at Laurel named Sound the Horns. This son of Include took a while to get to the races, but he could be special. He wants to go a route of ground yet was handy enough to win going away sprinting. I just love his reach and smooth stride -- that’s how a good one moves over the racetrack.


With the first Pegasus in the books, our attention now shifts to the upcoming 2-year-old in training sales. Things kick off here at Gulfstream on March 1.

 

The racing journey is a long one and not for the weak of heart -- it’s a route, not a sprint. Consistency and a good temperament are two keys for success.

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EFinley
Jan 31 2017 - 10:52am
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/news-and-blog/blog/2017/01/31/terrys-blog-post-pegasus-looking-ahead-to-the-sales
10 am on January 31, 2017

What a weekend! The Pegasus was one for the ages and Arrogate stamped himself as a consummate superstar.


We had a big group of West Point Partners at the races to witness the inaugural running of the Pegasus. The electricity grew to a crescendo leading up to the richest race in the world.

tfinley
tfinley's picture
43

It’s starting to sink in that on Saturday afternoon a horse carrying the black and gold silks competes in a $12 million dollar race.


Pegasus week is finally here. We are super live with Breaking Lucky -- there’s a lot of buzz around here about him, and he looks and acts like he’s sitting on a big one. I’m biased, but if this were a beauty contest, we’d get the money. He really does shine like a copper penny.


It’s cool to be involved with the Pegasus -- the entire racing world is focused on it. Hats off to the Stronach team for being visionaries and innovators in our sport.


California Chrome and Arrogate drew poorly in the post position draw, but they will both be tough to beat if they bring anywhere close to their “A” game.


I saw the Chrome crew at the Pegasus draw dinner on Monday night -- they are a fun group of people. I know they don’t love their post position and I don’t blame them. California Chrome is an absolute superstar if he wins this race from the far outside going nine furlongs at Gulfstream.


Chrome is heading to the breeding shed following the Pegasus after a wonderful career. One of our mares (Fitz Just Right) is booked to him, and we look forward to having a Chrome baby in the barn in a few years.


He showed the world that a good horse really can come from anywhere and attracted so many new fans to the sport. I’m grateful for the opportunity to see him still competing over two and a half years after his Kentucky Derby win. The 2014 Derby will forever be ingrained in my memory --  a few more jumps and Commanding Curve might’ve got there.


We’ll have a number of Partners, including our dear friend Tom Durkin, in town on Saturday to see Twilight Eclipse and Breaking Lucky run. Several members of the team are down in South Florida as well. I’m not sure anything could have wiped the smile off Tommy Bellhouse’s face at the draw!


Let’s not forgot about our man Twilight Eclipse, who tries for his third McKnight win less than an hour before the Pegasus. I’ve been out at Palm Meadows a few times since my wife and I arrived in Florida, and I just can’t believe he’s really 8-years-old. He walks around there with the spunk of a 3-year-old colt. It’s bittersweet that we are much closer to the end of his career than the beginning, but I think the ‘ole boy’s still got some good races left.


I’d ask everyone in the West Point family to bet a few bucks on the Pegasus on Saturday. Betting handle really drives the industry that we all love so much.


I know it’s cliche, but this race will surely be one for the ages!

10
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DLenert
Jan 30 2017 - 9:22am
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116358
/news-and-blog/blog/2017/01/25/terrys-blog-pegasus-week
3 pm on January 25, 2017

It’s starting to sink in that on Saturday afternoon a horse carrying the black and gold silks competes in a $12 million dollar race.


Pegasus week is finally here. We are super live with Breaking Lucky -- there’s a lot of buzz around here about him, and he looks and acts like he’s sitting on a big one. I’m biased, but if this were a beauty contest, we’d get the money. He really does shine like a copper penny.

tfinley
tfinley's picture
43
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