There are moments in everyone’s life that leave a mark, a life tattoo even.
Some good, some bad but they change you.
Kentucky Derby weekend, 2010 was one of those moments for me.
I had just gotten into the horse racing social media scene,
due to the excitement surrounding my favorite horse Rachel Alexandra.
Instantly, I became close Facebook friends with a man that would change my life
and the sport of horse racing forever, Tim “Tiznow” Reynolds. Tim lived in Kentucky in a nice little house
he picked out not because of the floor plan, the color of the bricks, or the
yard. The main reason Tim decided to purchase the house was because it was on
Sunday Silence drive. Sunday Silence was his favorite horse at the time this
had to be divine intervention talking, so Tim listened.
Tim’s wife was working in Indianapolis during Derby weekend
2010. He decided to make the drive with her and meet up with me at my home
track, Indiana Downs. The friendship took off from there. Tim was a mainstay on
Facebook. In fact, he was becoming quite
the legend in the social media circuit. His passion and love for the sport
poured out and transcended through simple comments to the lives of the people
in the industry. He always talked positively about horses whether he was a fan
of them or not. There wasn’t a mean bone in the man’s body and his heart and
soul and pure kindness connected to all of us.
Tim brought us together, all of us. Because of Tim we formed a very close horse
racing family. It started with just a few of us. Ernie Munick, Jennifer and
Kyle Cook, Charlie Orrison, Brian Zipse, and Joe DePaolo. Seven people soon turned
into hundreds. These people are spread out all over the country, different
ethnicities, political views, genders who were brought together because of that
passion for the sport and that passion that radiated off Tim.
Tim had one of those “Life Tattoo moments” last year at
Arlington Park. We all met up in Chicago
to experience the Arlington Million for the first time. Tim simply fell in love with the atmosphere.
Yes, Arlington is filled with great ambiance. The scenery is something Picasso
should have painted. But it was the people Tim fell in love with. He had the opportunity to sit in the press
box lounge after the million had ended. He had been texting Ernie all day long
discussing what horse ran well, who he liked in the next race and so
forth. Ernie’s last few messages were
questions about how well Gio Ponti ran (
one of Tim’s favorite horses) Tim was so
excited about the great free food in the lounge all he could muster up to
message back was “This place is unreal, these sub sandwiches are out of this
world, and the brownies oh my God the brownies are incredible, there’s only two
left but this lady took six of them on her plate, just ate two and left.” This story became epic, there’s not an event
that goes by that the “Bogartation Of The Brownies Story” doesn’t come up.
As some of you know, on September 26, 2011 Tim passed
away. It left all of us lost, hurting,
and alone. But the reaction from the horse racing community lifted us up. Like
a group of guardian angel’s they opened their arms to us and got us through the
worse time in our lives.
After hearing of Tim’s passing, Dave Zenner from Arlington
Park contacted me wanting to name a race in Tim’s honor during the Friday
before the Arlington Million 2012. Dave
had only met Tim briefly, but you could tell they made an instant
connection. Over the next 6 to 8 months
Dave and Joe Kristufek worked hard to make sure everything was planned out
Everything about yesterday was perfect. The weather even
cooperated to give us a perfectly comfortable day. Arlington Park pulled out all stops even down
to the littlest of details. Dave Zenner even made sure brownies were on the
Arlington park press box menu.
Joe Kristufek brought us all to the paddock prior to Tim’s
race where he went on the live track feed to explain the reason for the In
Loving Memory Of Tim “Tiznow” Reynolds race.
Joe spoke with such passion and love that it affected all of us. He
ended it with a line I’ll never forget, “Tim We Will Remember You Always.” This
hit me hard because the first horse I cashed a ticket on after Tim’s death was
a little filly named, “Remembermealways.”
Joe didn’t plan this line so I guess divine intervention was at work
We were brought to the winner’s circle where Tim’s parents
gave out the race trophy. The track photographer took a couple pictures of our
group. Wayne (Tim’s Father) sported Tim’s favorite hat, a Black Daily Racing Form
hat that has become a symbol of Tim’s spirit.
Even the stars of Arlington Park and horse racing in general
reached out to us yesterday. A good friend of mine is super-star jockey, Chris
Emigh. Chris wanted to meet Tim’s parents so after riding a few races on the
card he came to the paddock and greeted them. He showed them love and kindness
that seemed to be everywhere yesterday.
Chris took Tim’s parents to meet Tim’s
favorite jockey, Calvin Borel. Calvin took pictures with them and smiled like
only Calvin can. Tim and Chris also
signed a t-shirt that we all signed to commemorate this day.
We ended the night having dinner at a place Tim would have
loved, Lou Malnoti’s. It wasn’t the atmosphere, the food, or the drinks that
made it special. It was all of us being together, don’t get me wrong, I did do
a little Tiznow Reynolds impersonation nailing down 3 slices, but what made it
special was all of us being there, even Joe Kristufek and Dave Zenner who are
in the middle of the busiest weeks of the year made the time to spend the
evening with us.
Tattoo’s On This Town was Tim’s favorite song. Arlington
Park, Dave Zenner, Joe Kristufek, and Chris Emigh you left us with one of those
life changing moments. We might have left Tattoo’s On This Town. But you people
left Tattoo’s On Our Heart. My deepest
and heartfelt thank you for showing the love Tim showed all of us. I will
REMEMBER YOU ALL ALWAYS.