Photo: NYRA / Adam Coglianese
Legacy is a word all athlete’s face at one point in their
career. How does one want to be
remembered? What will one’s legacy be? Will you be remembered for one shining
moment or will you be remembered for a career full of highlights? Will you be
remembered for the way you played the game, or how you handled yourself outside
of the sport?
When thinking of legacy in terms of horse racing very few equine stars impact the sport off the track. There are the select few that transcend the sport, such as Zenyatta, Secretariat, and Seabiscuit. As Saratoga kicked off opening weekend I couldn't help but remember one of those stars, the beloved New York bred superstar Saginaw.
Saginaw lacked the royal pedigree of most champions, he didn't appear to be an intimidating gelding, but he showed something that intrigued trainer
David Jacobson and Drawing Away Stable. He showed the will to win. On March 8th, 2012 at Aqueduct Race Track, Jacobson and Drawing Away Stable dropped the claim on Saginaw for a bargain price of $30,000. Saginaw would go on to win the race by 13 ¼ lengths, but his legacy was just beginning.
Saginaw went on to win 14 out of 18 starts for Drawing Away
and Jacobson, including wins in back to back years in the John Morrissey
stakes at historic Saratoga Race Course. Saginaw tied for most wins in the
United States in 2012. He even made a start in the 2012, grade 1 Met Mile. All
of Saginaw’s accomplishments on the track speak for themselves, but it’s the
relationships and love for this horse that transcends success. Drawing Away
Stable embraced their star and the personalities and passion for the sport by the
people in Drawing Away resonated with the fans. The blue collar claiming stable, that turned a solid claimer into the 2012 New York Bred Older Male Champion, was something that everyone in the sport could appreciate.
As we know, not all stories end in “happily ever after.” On August 30th, 2013 the dream turned into a nightmare for Jacobson and Drawing Away Stable, when their champion gelding broke down in a Starter Handicap at Saratoga Race Course. With broken hearts and tear filled eyes Drawing Away Stable mourned the death of the barn’s star, but they vowed to make sure that even in tragedy, Saginaw would show his heart and impact the sport forever.
Through the fall and winter of 2013, Jacobson and Drawing
Away were in talks with Old Friends' founder Michael Blowen on how the two
could partner together in bettering the sport and ensure sure the safe
retirement for Drawing Away horses, and all horses in the sport. In February 2014, Drawing Away and David
Jacobson donated $25,000 to build a paddock that would give the appropriate
retirement for the horses that gave so much to Drawing Away and Jacobson. The “Saginaw Paddock” was
Drawing Away and Jacobson didn’t stop at just the initial
donation they vowed to donate $200.00 to Old Friends for every win by Drawing
Away Stable’s horses. Managing Partners for Drawing Away Stable, Robert
Hachemeister Jr. and Sandy Levine said “It’s a unique idea for horse racing, we
love all the horses in our barn and we want to ensure the safe care and
well-being of the horse after their racing careers are over. In essence these
horses run for each other and themselves.”
On May 23rd, 2014 a group from Drawing Away
Stables that included managing partner’s Ed Boden, Robert Hachemeister, Robert
Markus,and Sandy Levine, along with Drawing Away member and photographer Eddie
Robins made the trip to Lexington, Kentucky to visit the Saginaw Paddock and
spend the morning with Old Friend’s owner Michael Blowen. The day was filled
with wonderful memories and meeting legends. The team of Drawing Away and Old
Friends grew stronger as did the future of many of our equine stars.
(Photo Courtesy of Eddie Robins)
Saginaw’s legacy will be remembered by some for his talent
and achievements on the racetrack. His star shined bright and his heart
radiated to all who came in contact with him, but his real legacy will be for what he did for the sport and what his ownership and trainer ensured
would live on, even through death, with the Saginaw Paddock at Old Friends
Saginaw, Forever a Legend!