Two years ago, trainer Ron
Herrell brought his horse Hoosier Kingdom
– who he co-owns along with partners Dr. Keith Wexler and Brian Reed – to Arlington
for the Grade I Secretariat Stakes. The Indiana-bred made the pace, still
had the lead at the quarter pole but then quickly dropped out of contention to
finish last in the 10-horse field.
“I liked the way Dr. Wexler
described the way he felt about the way our horse ran right after the race,” Herrell
said shortly after the 2009 Secretariat. “He said: ‘We just enjoyed 140
seconds of heaven and 25 seconds of hell.’
“However, I’ve said all along
that the whole idea of running this horse was a way for all of our families to
enjoy themselves at the races,” Herrell concluded at the time, “and let me tell
you, spending the day with your family at the races on Arlington Million Day is
This Saturday, Herrell, his
partners, their families and Hoosier Kingdom
will be back at Arlington
to run in the 77th renewal of the Grade III Washington Park Handicap.
“We’re all still back home in Indiana,”
Herrell said Thursday morning, speaking by phone from Hoosier
Park. “We’ll all be
coming down along with the horse tomorrow (Friday) morning. We’re ready
“He’s never run on Polytrack
before,” said Herrell, “but they tell me it’s a lot like turf so we’re hoping
that’s the way it plays for us.”
Kingdom does have one race over
synthetic going on his record when he finished sixth in the $75,000 OBS Sprint
at the Ocala Training
Center in February of
2009, but Herrell discounted that run.
“I’d forgotten all about
that,” the trainer admitted, “but I don’t think that one should count. He
was green as a gourd back then.”
In his most recent trip to the
post, Hoosier Kingdom
finished ninth in an allowance race at Hoosier
Park on Aug. 4, but
Herrell said his horse has never run well over that surface. “He ran
right through his rundown bandages that day,” the trainer explained.
However, in his start before
that in the $84,000 A. J. Foyt Stakes at Indiana Downs, Hoosier Kingdom was
always well placed and got through along the inside to win the 1 1/16-mile
grass test by a half length.
“That was a good race for him,” said Herrell
of the A. J. Foyt. “He’s going to have to step it up a little to win this
race on Saturday, but we feel he’s capable of doing that.”
NINE ‘LIVE’ MOUNTS FOR TRAINER CHARLIE LIVESAY THIS
It’s time to give a “shout
out” to trainer Charlie Livesay, who is in the midst of a very successful
season at Arlington
Park this summer.
Last Saturday, the
Livesay-trained Striver, owned by Flying I Ranch and Millard Seidin Revocable Trust, found running room in
the late stages of the seventh race of the afternoon and drew off late for a 2
1/2-length tally under jockey Julio Felix.
The homebred sophomore lit up
the tote board with a $129 win mutuel – registering the third highest straight
price of Arlington’s
It also put a garnish on
Livesay’s Arlington season, giving him nine
wins already through an Arlington
session that still has 19 racing days remaining before bringing down the
curtain for 2011 on Sept. 25.
Last year, Livesay posed in
the winner’s circle locally only once, and that was when Millard R. Seldin
Revocable Trust and the Estate of Hoss Inman’s Cherokee Lord broke his maiden
on April 30, 2010.
Cherokee Lord went on to run a
very creditable fourth in the 2010 Grade I Secretariat Stakes, finished fourth
again in the Grade III Hawthorne Derby last fall and has accounted for two of
Livesay’s nine wins this season.
Like Hall of Fame trainers D.
Wayne Lukas and Bob Baffert, Livesay, 77, who was born in southwest Kansas
but raised in Colorado,
began his career as a horseman with Quarter Horses.
However, before he began his
career as a horseman, Livesay was a jockey, beginning that career as a
7-year-old and concluding it at the ripe old age of 14.
“I got to be 140 pounds at 14
so I had to quit,” Livesay explained. “Still, I did win my last race
riding a Quarter Horse going 220 yards.”