Stride Magazine - Inaugural Issue
This is the inaugural issue of Stride Magazine. This publication aims to give readers insight into the people, the venues and the events of thoroughbred horse racing.
Stride march 3, 2010 issue no. 1 magazine No One Said It Would Be Easy Uptowncharlybrown on the Kentucky Derby Trail Rachel vs. Zenyatta Horses, Hurricanes & Gumbo Spa City. Racin Gaming City. Hot Springs is famous for natural thermal spas and historic Bathhouse Row � but with America's best racing, the South's newest gaming center, five amazing lakes and more � you can call us whatever you like. Visit hotsprings.org or call 1-888-SPA-CITY to plan your trip now. ng City. America's First Resort SMA/10 IssUe No. 1 MaRch 3, 2010 Contents Main attractions 24 COVER STORY no One Said it Would Be easy Fantasy Lane's Bob Hutt finds success with Uptowncharlybrown. By scott serio a city for Your Senses Digging deeper to find the true New Orleans. By PiPer hewson horses, hurricanes & gumbo A tribute to the history of the Fair Grounds and the culinary delights of its hometown. By Gary McMillen randy romero's amazing ride Beset by one tragedy after another, this remarkable jockey overcame them all. By Bill heller 24 4 10 28 10 other Features 18 20 On the Tarmac New Orleans travel tips. The Finish Line Photo: Blind Luck captures the Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA. Kentucky Derby Power rankings a match for the ages Anticipation builds for the showdown between Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta. Tale of the Tape Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta by the numbers. characters Trainer Steve Margolis has two Kentucky Derby hopefuls in his charge. 32 38 22 32 Lineage 38 Irresistably drawn to her racing heritage, Lacey Gaudet lives her dream (Part One of Two). 36 34 36 On The cOver: Uptowncharlybrown in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs. PhOTO : chriS ODOm/ecLiPSe SPOrTSWire Stride magazine A subsidiary of eSW Media P.O. Box 4 Colora, Md A bi-weekly publication cOnTacT inFOrmaTiOn email: email@example.com Phone: 443.693.3454 eDiTOriaL STaFF Publisher: Henry Hill Production editor: John Frizzera Design editor: dave Zeiler Photo editor: Scott Serio 4 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 Win Your Way to May! Daily Satellites Now May 7-19, 2010 For Information on WSOP Events please call 504-533-6578 or visit www.harrahsneworleans.com Be Our Friend On Follow Us On GAMBLING PROBLEM? CALL 1-800-522-4700. Daily satellites run January 18, 2010 - April 25, 2010. Winners of the daily single satellites must play in the super satellite within the month they win their single seat to qualify for further advancement. The runner up in the single table satellite will receive a free seat into the next single satellite of their choice. Advancement entries must be used before April 25, 2010. Entries are non-transferable and have no cash value. Visit the poker room for more details. Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc. Twitter is a registered trademark of Twitter, Inc. Must be 21 or older to gamble and to enter casino. Know When To Stop Before You Start.� Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-522-4700. �2010, Harrah's License Company, LLC. PhOTOS BY ecLiPSe SPOrTSWire A band plays Mardi Gras jazz on Bourbon Street. A sense of Satisfaction N By Piper Hewson ew Orleans is a city of senses. When I reflect on my visits to the Crescent City, the first thing I remember is the intoxicating aroma of the sweet olive blossoming in the spring, a fragrance so potent and delicious, the mere hint of it blankets the soul. The scent follows you down the streets of the Garden District like a perfumed shadow, and though you have to search to find its source -- a white pinwheel flower blossoming in star-shaped bursts from green, waxy bushes, its aroma hangs everywhere in spring, a promise of a sweet beginning to the new year. Though I visit New Orleans for many reasons, the smell in spring is enough so that I never think of coming any other time of year. To the uninitiated, New Orleans is hardly more than a big party city, a place where nobody blinks when you order cocktails or high balls at 8 in the morning; and though the city does nothing to refute this common belief, Fat Tuesday and all it encompasses is hardly an example of why the You can almost always find someone playing jazz in New Orleans' legendary Jackson Square. 6 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 city is worth visiting. Yes, New Orleans is the epicenter for bar crawlers, souvenir-happy tourists, and gamblers, but it is also a cornerstone for foodies, artists, musicians, soulsearchers, and people who enjoy celebrating their hardearned dollars. The location of the city lends itself to being a perfect spot for any number of crustaceans and ocean dwellers, from oysters (Or, "ersters" in Nawlins-speak) to googly-eyed jumbo shrimp and succulent catfish; and each one of the aforementioned examples can be found in a combination of grits, Po' Boys, soup, gumbo, and of course, alongside the ever-present red beans and rice. Restaurants serving these signature dishes are as overflowing as corpses in the city's creepy above-ground cemeteries. If you're visiting New Orleans for the first time, it's a good idea to research ahead so you don't waste your money at the bland wannabes and instead spend your valuable time with the folks who cook up a mean dish of traditional Cajun or Creole fare. Here's a tip: eat with the locals. Second tip: eat outside of the French Quarter. Now, I'm not saying that there's nothing of value to find in the French Quarter. Certainly, if you go to New Orleans, a breakfast of sugar-mounded beignets at caf� Du Monde across from Jackson Square is a must, and I encourage you to do so plenty before 10 a.m. on most days, as a ridiculous line wrapping around the building will have you assuming they are serving their famous caf� au laits out of goldrimmed coffee mugs. If you're not impressed by the chicory coffee at the overcrowded Du Monde (as few coffee aficionados are), try some better brews at Rue de la course on Magazine Street, or the little coffee shop that serves a great chai in the locallyowned mini-mall, The Rink, in the Garden District. The Garden District Book shop across the hall is a great place to pick up some locally-writ novels, guides, and otherwise essentials for casual coffee shop loitering. Skirting the parameters of New Orleans rewards the adventurous with more amazing food, landscape, and a different variety of people. Right across the street from The visually breathtaking Oak Alley Plantation has served as the setting for several movies and TV shows. STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 7 the historic Fair Grounds Racecourse is the neighborhood hangout, Liuzza's at the Track, where I discovered a bowl of gumbo so tasty I have trouble sleeping some nights just fantasizing about its blend of tantalizing spices, shrimp, and mysterious lumps of vegetables. The hired help is extremely sociable and helpful; our waitress told us of a live bluesman performing on a Friday while we were in town, and we were treated to some great tunes by Water "Wolfman" Washington on a perfect spring night. During one trip, on the way to visiting one of several historic plantations open to the public, I came upon the roadside hymel Restaurant in Convent that gave me one more argument why New Orleans must've been forged by the culinary gods. Here was more amazing homemade gumbo, Po' Boys, and hushpuppies that put to shame all that fancy expensive food you'll find on every corner in the French Quarter. Another tip: if the place looks worn with age, has free public parking, and a gob of cars and rusty pick-ups parked outside, it probably serves amazing food. I won't be visiting the same plantation ever again, but you can bet I will be making a special road trip out to the fly-blown town of Convent to have another helping of homemade hush puppies. Driving through the country near New Orleans is as rewarding as hanging around the happenin' parts of the city; there's nothing like taking in the rows of Live Oaks, with their seemingly prehistoric-sized limbs thick with Spanish moss, conjuring images of old wealth, beauty, and romanticism. I do, however, highly recommend bringing along a soundtrack to these excursions: Creedence Clearwater Revival is especially effective when driving down winding roads with the windows rolled down, letting that coastal Ornate above-ground tombs like these in St. Louis No. 2 cemetery are among the distinctive things to see in New Orleans. breeze blow away your cloudy city cares. Of the many plantations open to tourists, oak alley Plantation is probably the most famous and opulent for its row of 20 giant oak trees weaving a green canopy above a pink gothic-revival mansion. The plantation has been used as the setting for several movies and TVs shows, and holds the distinction of being the backdrop for where my then-boyfriend proposed to me. Fellas, if you want your girl to say "yes," you can't do much better than popping the question in the middle of one of the most picturesque stretches of land between two oceans. Among scents, sights, sounds, and savory meals, New Orleans is a destination that soothes the mind and excites the spirit. There's so much more to discover than I've mentioned, from exploring the bayou and the cities of the dead to partaking in elegance at commander's Palace. New Orleans is more than just a party town on the bayou; it is an establishment of soul, and to visit is to draw a breath of that soul to carry forever. h E OM E L OM WELCMION! WEYC ION! M END Y END Z I UZ A'S L RESTAURANT AND BAR THE ORIGINAL Best Onion Rings Soup and Salads Jambalaya Red Beans and Rice Fresh Cut French Fries Italian Dishes � Seafood OPEN LUN D GRA S! I Jumbo Soft Shell Crab Home of the Frenchuletta 3636 BIENVILLE ST. � 482-9120 � www.liuzzas.com 2 Blocks off Canal in Mid-City New Orleans � Tues-Sat 11am-10pm Over $400 New Customer Bonus! 1-877-308-4319 *Requires qualifying commitment and a valid major credit card. Satisfactory credit score required. Call for full details and disclaimer or visit us @ http://www.4digitaltv.com/disclaimers.html 8 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 9 Gumbo, Ghosts & Horse Racing PhOTO: aLex BarKOFF 10 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 New Orleans' Fair Grounds shrouded in fog. H By Gary McMillen ot, dark and spicy - look into a bowl of gumbo and you can see the reflection of New Orleans. Throw the recipe out the window and empty the freezer. The key to a good pot of gumbo is different ingredients. Chicken, crabs, okra, cayenne pepper, oysters, smoked sausage and shrimp: stir it all up and serve over rice. People call New Orleans "Big Easy." Maybe it's because nobody really takes themselves too seriously. Maybe it's because the pace of life is slow and close to the simple things of life, like drinking a cold beer or dancing in a street parade. From an original swamp settlement of French, African and Spanish bloodlines, the "city that care forgot" is now a bubbling mixture of Irish, Italian, Vietnamese, Palestinians, Chinese, Cajuns, Chinese, Creoles, Mexicans and Cubans who, if they hear a brass band, will start waving their handkerchiefs and throwing Mardi Gras beads. STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 11 Ingrained in the mixed up crawfish DNA of New Orleans is the Fair Grounds race track. The race track is such a vital part of the city's pulse that an unconscious reference to Thanksgiving often comes out as "Opening Day." Call it tradition. Forget the turkey and cranberry sauce, the real deal is "Who do you like in the Daily Double?" After a brief prayer with family at the dinner table followed by some thinly disguised excuses, the hard core Fair Grounds regular makes post time for the first race with corn bread dressing still on his chin. Returning to Yesteryear The history of Fair Grounds is as deep as the Gulf of Mexico. Only two other tracks (Saratoga and Pimlico) in the United States have older birth certificates. April 13, 1872 was the inaugu- ral day of racing at Fair Grounds. The programs were printed on silk cloth and General George Armstrong Custer's Frogtown ran second in the feature heat., At Fair Grounds Custer operated a stable of 40 thoroughbreds confiscated from the Confederate cavalry before he shipped out to the Little Big Horn in South Dakota. Over the decades, good and great horses have come galloping down the long Fair Grounds stretch. Black Gold (winner of the 1924 Kentucky Derby) and Pan Zareta (legendary mare and winner of 78 races) are buried in the infield. Triple Crown winners Citation and Whirlaway were under silks at Fair Grounds. Kentucky Derby winners Lil E Tee and War Emblem spent their entire winter at the Gentilly oval. John Henry made nine un-remarkable starts at Fair Grounds, while earning $2,663. The courageous gelding would capture Horse of the Year honors in 1981 and 1984. Horse of the Year in 2009, the filly Rachel Alexandra is currently in training at Fair Grounds for her upcoming stakes tour. What doesn't kill you... On the night of December 17, 1993, a seven-alarm fire destroyed the Fair Grounds grandstand. With the fire trucks still in the parking lot, owner Bryan Krantz met with his executive staff, sketching out the strategy of recovery on a piece of poster board illuminated by hand-held flashlights. "We felt some loyalty to the employees and to the horsemen that we re-constitute a live meet as immediate as possible," Krants recalled. After a round-the-clock effort to erect temporary facilities in tents, racing resumed in 19 days. PhOTO: anThOnY zOccaLi Neither fire nor hurricane has managed to halt racing at the Fair Grounds. 12 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 13 One unforgettable regular was an impeccable, light-skinned Creole called the "Man in Red," who wore red socks, red patent leather shoes, red slacks, red vest and bright red suspenders. "Big Time Crip" was a black bookie with a goatee. An amputee with no legs, Crip held court outside on the concrete steps of the lower grandstand. For the unfortunate students that were spiraling down in a losing streak, Crip extended betting credit for periods of one week. If accounts were not Macho Again, ridden by Robby Albarado, wins the grade 2 New Orleans Handicap on Louisiana Derby day at the settled by pay day, Fair Grounds last March. Crip's associates The next sucker punch to put the Fair tithe of the winning purse from Louie collected the debt using baseball bats. Grounds down for a mandatory eight Roussel III, the obedient nuns did noveThe "peanut man" was a vendor who count was Hurricane Katrina. With the nas in the clubhouse before Risen Star's could drop a bag of roasted peanuts barns and property under flood waters victory in the 1988 Louisiana Derby. down your shirt pocket from ten grandfor two weeks and the roof blown off the Never politically correct, there was stand rows away. Reverend Bethune grandstand/clubhouse, the meet was the legendary and superstitious "Black (the "Gangster Priest") held services in moved to Louisiana Downs in Shreve- Cat" Lacombe, who was the Fair a 7th Ward bar-room and concealed his port, LA. Grounds publicity director. "Black Cat" betting money from his wife in a tobacco wore one brown shoe and one black can buried in the tomato garden. A Gallery of Characters shoe on days that he had a "sure thing." On days like the Louisiana Derby or The current corporate owned and There was the seductive "Toong" (a New Orleans Handicap, there were prooperated Fair Grounds facility is new, Korean girl that shucked oysters in the fessional pickpockets, with names like modern and clean. Too bad, because the clubhouse). If Toong liked you then she "Rooster the Booster" and "Mike the antiseptic atmosphere of the building is kept opening them until you told her to Spike" that glided through the crowd out of sync with the culture of down stop. With a smile and wink, it was all like sharks at high tide. and dirty misfits that once roamed the at the same low price. "Miss Dorothy" Retired boxer "Red Huss" had the iron grandstand. In honor of that gallery of worked at "The Grill" on the rickety will and patience of Job. With a memoghosts that gave Fair Grounds a special third floor of the wooden grandstand. rized list of mud sires, Huss only played character, what follows is a roll call of Miss Dorothy's special customers got the ponies on rainy days. Let the record renegades. extra gravy and hot mustard on their show that Red Huss went out a winner. There was Q-Ball, the pool hustler corn beef sandwich along with a "Good There were cab drivers, school teachfrom the Irish Channel that brought his luck, Sweetie," send off. ers, and dock workers that altered their stick with him to the track kitchen daily schedule so that they could so he could run the table on unbet the Daily Double. The mail suspecting trainers from Chicago, man had a season pass and was who thought they had a game. not bashful about altering his route There was "Rabbit," the quiet and and standing in the $2 betting line polite press-box custodian that (as with his leather mail pouch strung a groom) had ridden in a box car over his shoulder. with Seabiscuit. There was the Maybe the strangest character of convent of nuns from The Little all was "The Captain." An ex (high Sisters of the Poor. For a promised ranking) cop that long ago gave if accounts were not settled by pay day, crip's associates collected the debt using baseball bats. 14 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 PhOTO: BOB maYBerger/ecLiPSe SPOrTSWire up on betting anything with four legs, "Cap" still showed up in the Racing Secretary Office every day and handicapped the entire card. In New Orleans there are no apologies for superstition or voodoo. Fair Grounds' horse players invented the "Holy Ghost" betting system. The abiding principle behind the "Holy Ghost" betting system is that events happen in sequence of "threes." For example � if the program #4 horse would win the sixth and seventh races then word of the "Holy Ghost" would flash through the Fair Grounds betting galleys like an electrical current. "Bet the #4 horse," people would remind each other. "It's the Holy Ghost." The old characters have passed away, but thanks to a long list of restaurants, the link between Fair Grounds and New Orleans remains strong. The connection may have started with the Broadway figure "Diamond Jim" Brady, who opened a restaurant on Bourbon Street in 1906. Brady was a horse owner and a high stakes gambler. Brady had a habit of dropping a small diamond in every hundredth plate of spaghetti and meatballs. His restaurant catered to big money players like "Pittsburgh Phil" and "Bet A Million" Gates that passed through New Orleans every winter. Today, the lineage of race-tracker friendly restaurants continues. A catfish po-boy before the races or dinner and drinks afterwards is standard procedure for many New Orleans racing fans and horsemen. There is no shortage of good restaurants to appease a losing day at the tracks or to celebrate a winning one. When it comes to throwing a party, drinking, gambling or eating out � New Orleans folks know the drill. Mosca's Located on the West Bank of the Mississippi River, the mysterious Mosca's is near the top of every horseman's list of "go to" restaurants. Talk about unpretentious. You pull into a gravel parking lot on the edge of a cypress swamp and find your reserved table identified with a sheet of yellow legal paper. A latenight hot spot for gamblers and underworld figures back in the day, Mosca's is now a quietly understated hideaway. "Nothing stays the same," said owner Johnny Mosca, who used to own and breed thoroughbreds. Family recipes dating back to 1946 are still in vogue at Mosca's. Don't go there if you are in a hurry. Every piping hot dish is an old school, classic Italian masterpiece. Take heed. A sizzling pan of Oysters Mosca under cheese and bread crumbs or the homemade Italian sausage can be addictive. Mandina's Loud, friendly and fun, Mandina's is the ultimate New Orleans "neighborhood restaurant." Cherished by droves of regulars (politicians, judges, newspaper journalists and a cadre of race horse trainers), the origins of Mandina's trace back to the late 1800s, when a Sicilian immigrant named Palermo Mandina Stride FIN d u S ONlI N E StridemagOnline.com Stride on Facebook Stride on Twitter No One Said It Would Be Easy Uptowncharlybrown on the Kentucky Derby Trail march 3, 2010 issue no. 1 magazine Stride magazine Rachel vs. Zenyatta Horses, Hurricanes & Gumbo STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 15 opened a grocery store on Canal Street. Today, the mandatory restaurant appetizer is a steaming cup of turtle soup, spiked with a splash of sherry. Take your pick between the trout almandine or red beans and rice with Italian sausage as house favorites. The wash-and-rinse cycle of Hurricane Katrina left Mandina's with six feet of water in the building for over two weeks. Waiter Steve Storey has worked at Mandina's for over 30 years. "I evacuated to Dallas after the storm and thought about working in the hotel business," Storey said. "But I guess this funky old place pulled me back to the city." Brigsten's Set in a small, comfortable home, Brigtsen's is where fine food and hospitality often finish in a dead heat The owner, Frank Brigtsen, is a box seat holder at Fair Grounds and enjoys the challenge of handicapping. Jockeys Robby Albarado, Shaun Bridgmohan and Jamie Theriot are frequent guests. Another satisfied regular is trainer N e i l Pessin, who usually chooses between the paneed rabbit or the saut�ed red snapper. "If you are a horseman and don't have reservations, Frank (the owner) can get you in off the also-eligible list," Pessin declares with a grin. "Frank is knowledgeable about the game and it makes the whole experience a real pleasure." Manale's Restraint is a requirement when eating at Manale's on Napoleon Avenue. After a serving of barbeque shrimp, the impulse is to drop the bib and lick the plate. Founded in 1913, the quiet, vintage style Italian-Creole restaurant is not a well-kept secret. The waiting area can get crowded. Visitors browse the dimly lit exhibition of photos of Hollywood celebrities, NFL quarterbacks, boxers, singers, and jockeys that have been customers. New Orleans' favorite son Archie Manning and his family drop in at random. Finish up your meal with a rum-soaked Creole bread pudding and you can consider yourself a dues paying member of the "Who Dat Nation." Bozo's If you are looking for a low-sodium, strip-mall bran and yogurt franchise, then the ancient and innocuous Bozo's is not for you. Bozo's is a family-tavern atmosphere with the best cornmeal-battered fried oysters in the Western Hemisphere. Without any attempt at marketing or advertising, the old hole-in-the-wall is usually packed with race-trackers. After a bowl of Bozo's andouille gumbo and a cold beer, you are ready to change leads and head off to the races. A hop, skip and a jump from the race track, Liuzza's is a weathered neighborhood restaurant and bar that has served soft shell crabs and beer in a frosted mug since 1947. Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Vince Vance and The Valiants and Bob Marley are on the juke box. Dat's all folks. Just remember when you go to the Fair Grounds � if some jockey wins two races in a row then go to the closest betting window and get down on the "Holy Ghost." h PhOTO: jYTYL 16 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 17 Ont the Tarmac t ;t s d ravel iPs hinGs to ee and o NEW ORlEANS LOuiS armSTrOng inTernaTiOnaL airPOrT, The main airport serving new Orleans � Located 16 miles west of the French Quarter in Kenner. the facility has four concourses and is serviced by AeroMexico, Airtran, American Airlines, Continental, delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United and US Airways. Airport shuttles are available to downtown hotels for $13. the airport also hosts dollar, thrifty, enterprise, Budget and Hertz rental car companies. place to sit down and eat in the French Quarter and you can even have them ship some home for you, if you like. PreServaTiOn haLL jazz, 726 St. Peter St. � You can try to catch another jazz venture, but for the best jazz Nawlins' has to offer, this is the place. maiSOn ST charLeS QuaLiTY inn anD SuiTeS, 1319 St. charles ave. � this 130 room hidden gem is midway between the Garden district and the French Quarter. the rooms are very affordable and clean. the location gives you easy access to all parts of the city without dealing with the crowds. cemeTerieS � there are so many you can visit and all of them have their own charm. in NOLA the bodies are buried above ground. Some will tell you it's because of the water table and others will insist it is tradition. No matter, places like Saint Louis #1 and Lafayette provide wonderful windows into the past and great photographic opportunities. creScenT ciTY BreWerY, 527 Decatur St. � the Pasta jambalaya with one of their red Stallion homebrews is a great combination. they have fantastic entrees, but for many patrons the joy of Crescent City lies in having a few cold ones on the balcony, people watching and devouring a bowl of crawfish and a plate of raw oysters. Yummy. jacKSOn SQuare � this is the crossroads for many elements of the NOLA experience. You will find simple hucksters, kids grinding out jazz beats with bottle caps attached to their shoes, live musicians, buggy rides and the like. it is very much like an outdoor circus Nawlins' style. A must-see. caF� Du mOnDe, French market � On the face, it is just coffee and a donut, but Caf� Au Lait and Beignets at this must-visit are so much more. it is an excellent way to take in the sights and sounds near Jackson Square and to people watch. Be warned � don't wear anything you prefer to keep clean. they are not bashful when doling out portions of powdered sugar. The cOurT OF The TWO SiSTerS, 613 royal St. � Live jazz brunch, eggs benedict and mimosas. Perfect. You want to add in decadence, get the Bananas Foster. miKe SeriO'S PO-BOYS, 133 St. charles ave. � excellent po-boys just off Canal Street. Also featured on throwdown with Bobby Flay for their muffalettas. marDi graS WOrLD, 1380 Port of new Orleans Place � if you want a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to put together Mardi Gras parades, look no further than the eccentricity of Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World. Here you will find beads, costumes and Mardi Gras supplies to augment your current NOLA trip or to stock a party back home. TiPiTina'S, 501 napoleon ave. � the bands, the experience and the music are always much larger than the venue. Always plays host to outstanding acts during Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest. (see below) The raDiaTOrS � Still rocking it. the Cajun fusion rock jazz is a party best expeinced up close. they are all over NOLA (http://theradiators.org/ calendar.php) in March and April and even hit tipitina's. For a musical experience that will grab you by the ears and take you with it, see the rads � you will not be disappointed. gumBO ShOP, 630 St. Peter St. � it is quite excellent at making its namesake, but they are pretty darn good at producing fantastic crawfish etoufee and shrimp creole as well. A wonderful neW OrLeanS haunTeD TOurS � there are many options in this arena, but some of the best a New Orleans Spirit tours (www.neworleans.net), Haunted History tours (www.hauntedhistorytours. com) and Haunted New Orleans tours (www. hauntedneworleanstours.com). harrah'S neW OrLeanS � the AAA Four diamond Award-Winning Harrah's Hotel is located in the heart of the world's most exhilarating city. this 26-story marvel has 450 oversized luxurious rooms and suites. For races fans who want to keep the good times rolling, Harrah's has more than 115,000 square feet of gaming space. CLiCK Here FOr eXCLUSiVe deALS FOr Stride MAGAZiNe reAderS. 18 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 19 PhOTO: charLeS PravaTa/ecLiPSe SPOrTSWire 20 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 f u ll stri d e Nose to Nose Blind Luck and Rafael Bejarano(outside) surge to a nose victory to capture the Las Virgenes Stakes(GI) at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA. March 3, 2010 STriDe magazine 21 22 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 cOver STOrY uptowncharlybr By Scott Serio Photos by Chris Odom/ Eclipse Sportswire or thoroughbred horse owners, nothing is more contagious than Kentucky Derby fever. They even apply terms like "Derby chase" to the often elusive frenzy that culminates in dashed dreams for so many on the first Saturday in May. Even racings' greatest investor, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Sheikh Mo for short, has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars in pursuit of the dream, only to come up short. After Uptowncharlybrown ripped though his first three-furlong workout in 34 seconds and change, Fantasy Lane managing partner Bob Hutt was hooked, despite a severe moment of doubt. Hutt accompanied a panicked Alan Seewald, the horses trainer, to intercept the horse on his return. "Did you get what I got?" Seewald asked a clocker on the phone as they raced to the colt. Seewald told Hutt that either the horse was ruined forever or they had something very special on their hands. The colt was fine and the chase had begun. Such is the ride for many horse ownership cooperatives. They band together and put up amounts that allow them a chance of catching that fever. They are not Godolphin, Shadwell or Claiborne Farms. They are public servants, construction workers and teachers. Groups like the one that forms Fantasy Lane Stables are becoming more common. But before Hutt, a financial planner by trade, ever imagined giving those who couldn't afford horses a chance at the dream, there was a more personal reason for owning horses. Hutt's father was everything you would expect from a master sergeant who served in World War II. He survived F 24 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 Fantasy Lane Managing Partner Bob Hutt. rown catching Derby Fever with an uptown mount The Fantasy Lane crew watches their Kentucky Derby hopeful in the paddock before the Sam F. Davis. STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 25 the Depression, worked three jobs, supported his family and retired to Florida. There wasn't much of a bond between father and son until a 35-year-old Hutt paid a visit to the Sunshine State. Bob Hutt had been visiting the track for close to 20 years, but when he saw his father looking at a Daily Racing Form, it was then he realized they shared a common bond. The following year Hutt formed a relationship with the trainer he still has today, Alan Seewald, and formed Calhutt Stables. Until his father died 13 years later, horse racing and the stable solidified the bond Hutt shared with his father. "He was a $2 bettor until the day he died," says Hutt, "but he loved coming out in the mornings." After Hutt's father died, it was Uptowncharlybrown as a foal. trainer Seewald who suggested starting a racing group for the comsolid campaigners. mon man as a way to honor him. In Fast forward to 2010 and Fantasy 1999, Fantasy Lane Stables was born. The stable hit the ground running after claim- Lane has a horse on the Kentucky Derby ing Lisa's Step for $12,000 and having her Trail, the aforementioned Uptowncharlybrown. The chestnut colt went through win in her first start. Since then, the focus has changed. the same scrutiny as all the horses reFantasy Lanes has given up the claim- viewed by Seewald and Hutt. He passed ing game and now works to purchase the test for Gates Aris. It wasn't until pinseveral two-year-olds every spring and hooker Norman Casse wandered in that take every shareholder on the wild ride Hutt thought that, maybe, just maybe, the $57,000 price tag was a bargain. of racehorse ownership. Casse went on to explain that he had Hutt and his trainer, Seewald, are selective to say the least. They rely on the purchased the horse at a sale in Keenelkeen eye of clocker Gates Aris to weed and and had named him Uptowncharout the pretenders at the two-year-old lybrown. Casse then asked Hutt if he sales in late spring. After Aris thins might consider keeping the name he the sales books and passes along only had given him and added, "If you go those horses that move best, Seewald slow, I think he could be special." Hutt and Hutt embark on a horse-to-horse and Seewald took the advice. They inspection to find the ones with the best turned out the young horse and let him develop. As "Charly" continued to maconfirmation. When Hutt and Seewald are finished, ture, he was so impressive he prompted they are left with a short list of sound Seewald to let Hutt know, "This could horses who have great action. Their be the best horse we've ever had." Two-for-two and with a win in the goal is to get these prospects for less than $100,000; they usually land in the Pasco Stakes already in his resume, Hutt $50,000-$60,000 range. Are they success- caught Derby Fever early and started to ful? In the last four years, they have had believe Seewald and Casse. To prove four stakes winners. R Betty Graybull his mettle, Uptowncharlybrown would won Fantasy Lane shareholders their next face graded stakes winner Rule in first stakes win in the $200,000 NATC the Sam F. Davis Stakes. More than 100 Futurity. They have also owned horses Fantasy Lane shareholders showed up like Siftaway and Cobra Strike, a pair of in Oldsmar, FL, at Tampa Bay Downs to watch "Charly" try to shore up plans to appear in the Kentucky Derby. This is where reality sets in. Fantasy Lane has enjoyed a great deal of success since its formation, but this is the Kentucky Derby. Again, we are reminded of Sheikh Mo and the hundreds of millions spent in chasing those roses in May. Uptowncharlybrown gave a good account of himself in the Grade 3 event, but the running line tells the story. He broke awkwardly, lost ground, had a ton of sand kicked in his face, raced a little greenly entering the stretch when taken wide, went off the bit, lost focus and then gained his composure and flew down the lane for a fast closing third. The most pressing issue for Hutt wasn't the break, but the lollygagging in the lane. On a speed-favoring track, with a dream trip, no one was going to catch Rule. Going wide into the stretch was a learning experience for the colt though, according to Hutt, "He likes running in company, he likes to rough it up from the inside." Hutt says the next start for Uptowncharlybrown is the Tampa Bay Derby. Seewald is putting blinkers on to help "Charly" focus and jockey Daniel Centeno keeps the mount. They hope to go to the Illinois Derby after that. As for the $1,000,000 question of what to do if Uptowncharlybrown continues to improve and ridiculous amounts of money are offered to purchase Fantasy Lane's Derby contender, Hutt takes the high road. He says they will consider the wishes of all the interested shareholders, but they would like to take some money off the table by possibly taking on a minority partner. Fantasy Lane might take the pragmatic approach on one level, but don't be confused, the Derby dream is not for sale. They all want to be in Louisville, especially Bob Hutt. His final reflection on the journey to be there with a Kentucky Derby contender on May 1, 2010 has a much deeper connection. "I wish to god my father was here for this. Who knows? He just might be." h PhOTO cOurTeSY FanTaSY Lane STaBLe 26 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 Fantasy Lane Unleashes Its Newest Star DO YOU THINK OUR PARTNERS ARE HAPPY? UPTOWNCHARLYBROWN Triple Crown Bound! Won by nine in December 26th debut. For as little as $875, you, too, can experience all the privileges of ownership including FREE season passes, parking, and unlimited visits to the barn. FLS has developed FOUR stake horses in FOUR consecutive years. 732-241-6606 FantasyLaneStable.com 2010 Two-Year-Old Limited Partnership NOW FORMING! SIGN UP TODAY! PhOTO: jOnaThan Bachman Retired jockey Randy Romero is the subject of Bill Heller's upcoming book, "Randy Romero's Remarkable Ride." Incredible By Bill Heller Randy J Romero's Ride ockey Randy Romero's incredible life will be celebrated on March 27 ten minutes from his home in suburban New Orleans, when The Fair Grounds unveils his biography, "Randy Romero's Remarkable Ride" with two book signings on Louisiana Derby Day. "I'm excited, and I'm excited it's there," Randy said Feb. 17. "Louisiana is my home." There's no more fitting site. The Fair Grounds is where young Randy first showed his major league potential after dominating Louisiana's bush tracks and smaller tracks. It's where Randy returned to prominence after a sweatbox explosion in the spring of 1983 nearly burned him alive. Given a 40% chance of surviving, he set a still-standing record 181 victories at The Fair Grounds the next spring. Whether it was more of a testimony to his immense talent or to his indomitable will is tough to gauge. He won 25 28 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 riding titles at 10 different racetracks, than Randy Romero." million All-American Futurity at Ruidoincluding six at prestigious Keeneland, The unwavering support of his wife, so Downs in New Mexico. In the movie, and more than 4,000 races despite en- Cricket, has made all the difference in which featured Walter Matthau playing during 25 surgeries. the world to Randy, though they brief- Randy's dad, Rocket's Magic won the A racing accident at Evangeline ly divorced and were remarried. But big stakes. Downs when he was 15 � he'd put Randy also has a kindred spirit, Gerald. Randy didn't need fictional stakes down his age as 16 on his jockey license Both were physically abused by their fa- victories. He had 342 of them as his application � left him unconscious for ther, and they remain best friends and mounts earned just under $75 million in two days. Surgeons spent four hours re- neighbors, living in the same apartment his career despite losing some six years moving his spleen and mending punc- complex in Metairie. of riding to injuries and recovery. tures to his lung, liver and kid"My body is like a road map," ney. He was back riding in three Randy said. "I have scars all months. over the place." "Ninety percent of people He has more pleasant memowould have quit after that acries at tracks around the country. cident," Randy's older brother One of the best was at the Fair Gerald, who is still training Grounds, where Randy teamed horses at The Fair Grounds, said. � Gerald Romero, Randy's older brother up with Gerald to capture the "Not a lot of riders can handle 1993 Louisiana Derby with thenthose kind of spills and come undefeated Dixieland Heat. back. They lose their nerve. He While Randy's greatest ride never did. He was the same rider from Randy began riding horses at Loui- was unquestionably the 1988 Breedthe day he started until the day he re- siana's bush tracks at the age of nine ers' Cup Distaff on Personal Ensign at tired." and frequently rode Gerald's horses. Churchill Downs, allowing her to retire Larry "Doc" Danner, one of Randy's The Romero brothers were featured in as the first undefeated major American more than 20 jockey agents before he a movie, "Casey's Shadow," which was thoroughbred in 80 years, his signature retired in 1999, said, "Randy put it all loosely based on their family and their ride was on Dixieland Heat in the Louion the line. There's never been a jockey Quarter Horse Rocket's Magic, who fin- siana Derby when he squeezed through with more desire or love of the game ished third in the 1975 running of the $1 a narrow opening on the rail most riders ninety percent of people would have quit after that accident. ` ' Go For Wand and Randy Romero lead in The 1990 Alabama Stakes. PhOTO: BuD mOrTOn STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 29 never would have attempted. When he got back to the winner's circle that day, his boot was split in half and covered in white from brushing with the rail. He told Gerald, "If you weren't my brother, I would have never did that." Gerald said, "If it wasn't for Randy, he (Dixieland Heat) wouldn't have won." Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey feels the same way about Randy's ride on Personal Ensign in the 1988 Breeders' Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs, which last year was voted by fans as the best race in Breeders' Cup history. Personal Ensign looked hopelessly beaten that day as Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors coasted on the lead. "Randy never gave up on her," Shug said. "When it was time to ask her and she went evenly, he stayed with her. He didn't hit the panic button and use the whip. He kept her in stride and that was probably the reason she won. She gutted it out." By a nose. She completed her 13-for-13 career by inches. "She ran the best race of her life and I rode the best race of my life," Randy said. Dixieland Heat, though, took the Romero brothers to the Kentucky Derby, the first jockey-trainer brothers to have a horse in the Run for the Roses since 1964, when Mr. Moonlight, ridden by Jimmie Combest and trained by his brother Nick, finished seventh. Dixieland Heat finished 12th in the field of 19 to Sea Hero. A victory in the Triple Crown eluded Randy in his career, but he won a Breeders' Cup three consecutive years on Sacahuista in the Distaff in 1987, the 1988 Distaff on Personal Ensign, and the 1989 Juvenile Filly on Go for Wand. Randy was an eighth of a mile away from winning the 1990 Distaff on Go for Wand, who was nursing a narrow lead against the super mare Bayakoa when she snapped her leg, hurtling Randy to the track and fatally injuring herself. She actually tried to get to the winner's circle before she was humanely euthanized. Randy had suffered hairline fractures of eight ribs and a shoulder, but came back to ride Izvestia in the Breed- my body is like a road map. i have scars all over the place. ` of the Hepatitis, he could have a dual kidney and liver transplant, but an experimental drug failed. Instead, Randy began three fourhour dialysis treatments a week, a regimen he will continue through the rest of his life. But with the help of a Himalayan berry juice, a better diet and regular exercise, he remains a walking miracle. When doctors were forced to remove a kidney � which was so enlarged they had to remove a rib to get to it � Randy resolutely recovered again. By the summer of 2008, at the age of 50, and despite undergoing dialysis three times a week, he was exercising as many as eight horses a morning for trainer Dallas Stewart, his former valet at the Fair ers' Cup Classic, finishing sixth. Grounds. When Randy came back from that inRandy intermittently worked as a jury the following winter in Florida, he jockey's agent, and had tremendous suffered a badly broken elbow in a spill success with young Fernando Jara, at Gulfstream. Doctors misdiagnosed whose horses earned $6 million in the his injury and it took him 18 months to year Randy represented him, before Jara return to racing. It should have taken inexplicably fired him. More recently, four. Randy had a brief run with troubled But he came back. He always came Pat Valenzuela at the Fair Grounds beback. Even with his life on the line. fore Randy got fed up with Valenzuela Randy had spent his entire career not showing up for scheduled workouts flipping � jockey slang for self-induced and not paying Randy regularly. vomiting � and it wreacked havoc on So Randy turned his attention in 2009 to his only child, Randy II, who had been working as a jockey agent in Chicago for several years. Randy II took a course to become an equine dentist and has flourished in his new profession. Using his many contacts, his � Randy Romero Randy has accompaniedtheyson all over the country and are closer than ever. Randy is crazy his insides until he finally stopped two over his granddaughter, Mia, who could years after retiring. When his kidneys never imagine how her grandpa overbegan malfunctioning in 2002, doctors came as many obstacles as he did. prepped Randy for a kidney transplant Randy II knows: "Let's face it, with that his brother Eddie had sanctioned. some of these accidents, how is he not However, a full day of testing before dead? We've all asked ourselves that. the transplant revealed that Randy's To me, he's a medical mystery. He's liver had been functioning at only 25% got a heart the size of the world. He's a capacity. He had Hepatitis C, a virus fighter. He's a soldier. He won't give up. which causes chronic liver disease, and He still gets up every morning with the he had unknowingly carried it for nearly same attitude: `Go get it.'" h 20 years. Doctors believed he received a "Randy Romero's Remarkable Ride" is transfusion of infected blood when he Eclipse Award-winning author Bill Heller's was treated for his extensive burns. Doc- 21st book. It is published by Pelican Publitors told Randy that if he could get rid cation Company in Gretna, LA. ' 30 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 31 O a K L a W n P a r a maTch PhOTO: ecLiPSe SPOrTSWire Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta prepare for battle on April 9 A commentary by Stride Magazine Jubilant jockey Calvin Borel hugs assistant trainer Scott Blasi after Rachel Alexandra's win in the 2009 Preakness. T PhOTO: ecLiPSe SPOrTSWire he planned matchup between thoroughbred racing divas Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta is likely to become the most attended sporting event in Arkansas racing history. Tickets sold so fast you would think U2 was coming to Hot Springs, AR. Hotel rooms sold out. Flights into nearby Little Rock are scarce. The hype is off the charts. The record attendance for Oaklawn Park is 72,484. The record for any sporting event was set at a Razorback football game with 76,728. The population for Fort Smith, AR is 81,985. All of these numbers might be eclipsed. It is quite possible that the grandstand at Oaklawn Park will be the second most populous city in Arkansas on April 9, 2010. And in the lead up to what some are billing as the greatest horse race of our time, two themes have surfaced. Many are anticipating a showdown on the scale of Seabiscuit and War Admiral, while others are hoping for a rivalry that might carry on throughout the racing season. In either case, the synthesis of these two themes is rare. It is usually reserved for the most epic of circumstances. Sports are built on rivalries: Army-Navy, McEnroe-Connors, Arnie Palmer-Jack Nicklaus, Red Sox-Yankees and Ali-Frazier. Yes, horse racing had Affirmed and Alydar, but the 21st Century and the Internet have moved Rachel versus Zenyatta beyond that 1978 racing campaign. Fans of both horses have already erected their own Internet monuments via Facebook pages. While Rachel and Z continue to train, oblivious to 32 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 Rachel Alexandra cruises home for a victory in the Haskell Invitational. K h O T S P r i n g S , a r h FOr The ageS Zenyatta and jockey Mike Smith grind out a win against the boys in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic. PhOTO: charLeS PravaTa the hype, the fans, in the spirit of boxing mega-promoter Don King, are doing the trash talking. As expressed by one Zenyatta fan on Facebook, "Zen master is saying to Rachel, `Even on my worst day I can beat you on your best day!!!'" This was countered on Rachel's own fan page with, "Rachel is gonna destroy Zenyatta. It won't even be a race." For racing purists, banter is inglorious and degrades the talents and gifts that each horse possesses. Most agree, especially now that they are set to meet, that comparisons are pointless. Sometimes, though, comparisons can be interesting. In the spirit of some of those vaunted prizefight matchups, Stride Magazine has prepared our own "Tale of the Tape" for these ladies. (See following page.) No matter what the comparisons show, the debate is scheduled to be settled on a Friday afternoon in Hot Springs in front of a record crowd. Let's just hope when race caller Terry Wallace watches the gates open he doesn't channel a little bit of renowned fight announcer Michael Buffer and utter, "Let's get ready to rumble." The standard, "And they're off," will suffice. h PhOTO: charLeS PravaTa Trainer John Shirreff's walks shed row at Churchill Downs with the undefeated Zenyatta. STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 33 Tale of th rachel alexandra age: 4 heighT: 16.2 hands (66 inches) WeighT: Never ask a filly her weight cOLOr: Brown recOrD: 14-11-2-0 FaceBOOK FanS: 7,242 gOOgLe hiTS: 2.4 Million Win STreaK: 9 2009 hOrSe OF The Year vOTeS: 130 higheST WeighT carrieD: 121 average Winning margin: 7 lengths higheST BeYer: 116 FaSTeST 1 1/8 miLeS: 1:46.33 PhOTO: Sarah K. anDreW 34 STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 he TAPE Zenyatta age: 6 heighT: 17.1 hands (69 inches) WeighT: More than Rachel cOLOr: Dark bay or brown recOrD: 14-14-0-0 FaceBOOK FanS: 10, 573 gOOgLe hiTS: 1.3 Million Win STreaK: 14 2009 hOrSe OF The Year vOTeS: 99 higheST WeighT carrieD: 129 average Winning margin: 1 � lengths higheST BeYer: 112 FaSTeST 1 1/8 miLeS: 1:46.85 PhOTO: ecLiPSe SPOrTSWire STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 35 cha ra ct e r s PhOTO : aLex BarKOFF "I wasn't too keen on college and I thought it was intriguing to work with horses," says trainer Steve Margolis. CAJuN BEAT trainer Steve Margolis has made the most of his opportunities H 36 By Scott Serio e doesn't exactly have a thoroughbred racing pedigree, but trainer Steve Margolis finds himself as one of the hottest conditioners in the country and on the Kentucky Derby trail. The Long Island native grew up in the shadows of Belmont Park and hotwalked horses in high school. When he graduated and looked at his future, Margolis says, "I wasn't too keen on college and I thought it was intriguing to work with horses. So I decided to work my way up the ladder and eventually train." Margolis learned the ropes from March 3, 2010 Pat Byrne and remains friends with him today. It was Byrne who first helped him get his Assistant Trainers license. Margolis then refined his skills under the tutelage of Howie Tesher and Stanley Hough. Margolis reflects on the process, "I took my time. I wasn't in a hurry. I picked up a little bit from everybody, but I knew I wanted to train on my own." As with many things in life, skill is vital, but opportunity might be even more important. Through a series of twists and turns, opportunity presented itself for Margolis in 2000 in the likes of Robert & Bea Roberts. "I owe a lot to them for giving me a chance," says Margolis. "They started me off with a few horses." Margolis kept trying to make the best of each opportunity. By 2002, he had his hands on a Kentucky Derby prospect named Request for Parole who managed a fifth place finish at odds of 30-1. In 2003, one more door opened for Margolis. He had been training lesser horses for Joe and John Iracane. When trainer Cam Gambolati relocated to Florida, Margolis was given the training duties for Cajun Beat by owners Satish Sanan and STriDe magazine ch ara c ters the Iracanes. manageable and I want to Under Margolis, Castay loyal to my core group jun Beat improved with of owners." each race and scored an For Margolis, the real unexpected victory in the thrill is in delivering for $1,000,000 Breeders' Cup his owners. Each of his Sprint, triggering a $47 Derby prospects has a win mutual. story. Cool Bullet is a surIt is only fitting that prise considering he was, Margolis is in Cajun Counat one point, a $4,000 auctry having the best year of tion purchase. his training career. As if And then there is Stay Whirlie Bertie with jockey Larry Melancon and finishing 2009 with 51 wins Put. He is the home bred trainer Steve Margolis after winning the 28th running of The Gardenia Stakes (gr.III) at Ellis Park and a 19% win rate for for Louisville natives Berlast August. his stable of 30-40 horses tram and Elaine Klein, and wasn't enough, Margolis is their son Richard. "Anyon what gamblers call a "heater." have been to plenty other cities. time the owner is the breeder, and Margolis is stabled at The Fair This place is unique. It has charac- they can make it into graded stakes Grounds for the winter. He has ter, it has culture, it has arts." Marg- races, it is even more gratifying," been rolling with a 29% win rate olis adds, "It is not too big to where say Margolis. and has Kentucky Derby hope- you get lost in it, and it was great to While Stay Put and Cool Bullet fuls Stay Put and Cool Bullet in his be here for the Super Bowl." did not win their most recent preps charge. Success breeds even more suc- they performed well and stayed on This winter, he is renting a place cess if you do things properly. Even the Derby Trail. Margolis is happy with his wife and enjoying not only though the calls are coming in from with his progress as a trainer. He the racing, but the location. Of New owners for Margolis to train their said, "You have to get the opportuOrleans, Margolis says, "I have horses, he has chosen to stand pat. nity, but right now, I think were sitbeen from New York to Miami. I "I have a nice group of horses. It is ting on a pretty good hand." h FREE PhOTO: eD van meTer Home Security System! at NO COST to you for parts and activation with only a $99 Installation Fee and the purchase of alarm monitoring services. 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Our first contributor is trainer Lacey Gaudet. Part One of Two members him without me on his shoulders at the races. My mother, Linda, is like every strong woman in this Sport of Kings, and is the backbone of our family operation. I guess we're like one of those families where multiple generations of doctors and lawyers have sons or daughters who carry on the successful name to honor their parents. Besides, that's why my parents had another daughter. She is the one who received straight A's in school and will continue on to college for six to eight years, earn a degree and get a 38 STriDe magazine I can't really say when I knew I wanted to follow in my parents' footsteps and become a thoroughbred trainer. My father, Edmond Gaudet, was my idol and best friend. I'm not sure anyone reMarch 3, 2010 lin eage "real job". Life on the racetrack is far from a "real job" to many people. However, from the time I watched my father clocking horses at the racetrack or my mother keeping order in our shedrow in the early mornings, I couldn't imagine doing anything else. When I was a little girl, waking up early to jump in the truck and head to the track with my dad felt like Christmas morning. As I grew older this became a daily routine. Even in the dead of winter when the sun never seems to shine, with winds whipping and temperatures in the teens, I just bundle up, head to the barn and work. Growing up, my parents always provided a pony with riding lessons and new show clothes and encouraged me to become interested in show jumping or dressage. After some time, the instructors got upset I wasn't learning how to keep my toes in or master my diagonals and my ponies never seemed to behave like the other girls'. Soon, I was sneaking away to gallop as fast as I could through the large fields on our old farm and jumping fences in the woods. With this rebellious attitude, my parents knew it wouldn't be long before I traded my velveteen helmet and beige britches for a helmet emblazoned with our racing colors. That grumpy little pony would be substituted for a thoroughbred racehorse with a powerful stride and a mind all his own. I was 15 when my father went before the Maryland Racing Commission to change a law stating that you had to be 16 to obtain an exercise license on the racetrack, but could become a jockey at the same age. He suggested the law be changed to grant an exercise license to anyone who was 15 and had a parent or legal guardian who was a licensed trainer in Maryland. This legal victory helped my dream of working at a racetrack become real and I began galloping horses for my parents at Bowie Training Center. I continued my duties in the shedrow and helped my mother run the barn, but galloping was my passion. I soon became good enough to breeze horses and prep them for real races. It became a goal to challenge myself and control tougher and more unruly horses. Over the years of galloping for my parents, we were fortunate enough to have several very talented horses make a stop at our barn before going on to become successful local racehorses. One winter, I remember looking down the aisle of our shedrow and counting five stakes horses. Being a small-time trainer in Maryland, and only having one major owner, that winter holds a high place as one of our best years of training horses. Like most businesses, there are always high and low points and that year was the last good one we'd see for a while. Some people may not understand how we wake at four or five in the morning to clean and care for animals that give no guarantee of earnings or success. Most people look at horse racing as an outdated sport they watch once or twice a year when it shows up on a major network. Those people will never know how it feels to work with that animal, gain companionship with that animal and see the trust he grants you and the way his attitude changes when that trust is instilled. They never know PhOTO: cOurTeSY LaceY gauDeT From the time she was a little girl, Lacey knew she was destined for a life on the racetrack. how it feels to stand in front of the grandstand and see something you worked so hard for, crush the competition and cross the finish line first. Then, there are those like me who dream of breaking free of that show ring and instructors telling you what to do. To be given the chance to care for an athletic beast and feel that power underneath you as you gallop around the racing oval. Those who chase that dream and fulfill it, will have a lifetime of great stories to tell and memories that can't be matched. h Read Part Two in the March 17 edition of Stride Magazine. STriDe magazine March 3, 2010 39