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Racing At The Jersey Shore

Father’s Day Should Be a Family Day

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.




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Older Comments about Father’s Day Should Be a Family Day...

Hope you all had a great Father's Day!
I agree Matt. My wife couldn't tell a T'bred from a mule until we met, yet she has given me the nod on several big racing trips w/out her. She'll go an entire day at Lone Star without even making a bet, but now that we have a 2YO filly loves visiting her at the farm. Happy Fathers Day, sir!
My son had his first pony ride at Monmouth on a Family Fun Day! He goes riding once a week with his school. That's on the big horses!
As a relatively new father, this one especially resonates with me ... I will never tire of bringing my family to the races. By the way, Kendra (turning 3 in a few weeks) rode her first pony ever on Sunday. :)

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In the 70’s I was another one of those kids that went to the track with their fathers, and I immediately became enthralled with the excitement and challenges of handicapping.  And then the charisma and dominance of Secretariat gave me a hero to follow. To this day, I still get emotional when I hear Chic Anderson’s call of the 1973 Belmont, “Secretariat is moving like a tremendous machine”.

There have been many great horses run at the shore. In 1976 I watched Majestic Light win the Monmouth Invitational, now the Haskell, in track record time, defeating Honest Pleasure, the big favorite who was in from New York.  This was one of my first big wins at the track.
In the 80’s, as a disciple of Andy Beyer, I made my own speed figures because they were not available to the public. Needless to say I visited Monmouth frequently to test out the “figs”.
The 90’s allowed me to learn about the backstretch as a part owner of a few claimers that were stabled at Philadelphia Park.  Not a typical owner, I mucked stalls, cooled out the horses, and watched morning works.  Also, I met my wife and discovered that her grandfather bred, owned, and raced thoroughbreds on the West Virginia, Maryland circuit.  Today our office is decorated with winner’s circle pictures and a vast collection of Kentucky Derby glasses.
Today’s electronic age makes it so easy to gather information about racing.  I hope you use this blog to learn about Racing at the Jersey Shore.


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