June 19th is Father’s Day. It is the day when we Dads get to share our favorite activity with our family. So on Sunday at Monmouth Park you will see many families filing into the picnic area with coolers and grills, and Racing Forms tucked under arms – all to make sure that Dad has a great day.
My wife knows how much I love horse racing, but she first got a taste of how much several months before we were married. In the 1997 Breeders Cup Sprint, 16-1 Elmhurst was the key to a very successful betting day. As Elmhurst cut from the inside traffic to a clear outside path to make his big late run in the Sprint(watch the race), I pulled out every trick I have ever used to root home a winner. I think the windmilling arm motion may have been what impressed her the most.
So now my wife indulges my passion for racing by feigning interest and knowledge of our sport. She knows little bits and pieces about racing. If I say there’s Joe Bravo, then my wife says, “Jersey Joe.” Mention Secretariat and she will reference, “… the tremendous machine.” Bring up Linda Rice, “Oh, yes, Queen of the Turf.” Talk about Jockey CC Lopez and she sounds like his best friend, “Oh, that’s Chuckie.” Then trainer Patrick Biancone gets the ominous response, “Cobra Venom.”
As a good husband I do the same for her passion for the theatre. If she mentions an Oscar Wilde play we attended, I might say, “Is that the one that had all of the flowers?” Or I could remember, ”Didn’t The Iceman Cometh have the chairs hanging on the wall?” As a result, I can dazzle my colleagues by getting every answer in the playwright category when taking a Sporkle quiz.
But there are limits to her patience with horse racing. When the TVG boys get into their frat house-like banter, I know I have crossed the line. She does not like to share our Saturday morning car rides with Dave Johnson and Bill Finley during their satellite radio show, “Down the Stretch.” When they come on, out comes her iTouch and headphones.
But what is interesting is that horse racing shows up on her side of the family. Her grandfather bred thoroughbreds in Virginia and raced them mostly at Charlestown. Her office is decorated with winner’s circle photos of Urge to Surge and Shushan Palace. Her great Aunt Mary spent her life in Shushan, NY. At Mt. Holyoke College Aunt Mary was a classmate of Elizabeth Ham of Secretariat and Meadow Stable fame. At their 50th reunion, five years after the Triple Crown, Big Red was named an honorary member of the class of 1928 and everyone got this photo of Secretariat.
So whatever it takes, be it going to Monmouth Park or the theatre, take part in your family’s interests on Father’s Day or any other day of the year.
ABC’s of the Monmouth Hall of Champions -Today Ghostzapper –In 2004 Ghostzapper won the Breeders Cup Classic at Lone Star Park in track record time. He won Horse of the Year honors that same year. Ghostzapper ran 11 times, winning 9 of those starts while earning $3,446,120. In his first attempt at 9 furlongs he won the 2004 Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park. Ghostzapper ranks 254 in the Horse Racing Nation Top Horses of All-Time with an 8.18/10 rating.