The story of Seal Beach
started long before the Hunting Hard colt ever stepped foot on the track at Hoosier Park.
was bred by Tom Hickman. Tom is an old timer with an old school mentality. He’s
been around the sport nearly his entire life. He broke into horse racing at the
age of 16 working with and eventually training quarter horses. Tom parlayed his
success from quarter horse racing to thoroughbreds in 1980. The first
thoroughbred he trained was a little filly named Civil Sue. Sue broke a 13 year
standing track record at Ellis Park making Tom’s first career win as a
thoroughbred trainer one to remember. Tom has had his ups and downs in the
sport like everyone. He’s also had his struggles with his own health. He
eventually got out of training and into breeding which he continues to do to
Tom decided to breed his mare Moniker (Cryptoclearance) to
his stallion Hunting Hard (Seeking the Gold.)
This is where the Seal Beach
story really begins. Seal Beach
was a good looking foal from day one. Tom had no problems weaning him. Unlike
most young horses, Seal Beach loved to be around people, he had an extremely
kind and friendly nature which sometimes doesn’t translate to racing. Tom sold
a few horses to thoroughbred owner Deann Baer. In the group of horses sold was
a colt by Hunting Hard out of a Crpytoclearance mare.
Like her colt Seal
Beach, Deann Baer has an extremely friendly and kind
nature. She’s bubbly and passionate especially about her horses. She’s also had
quite the career so far in the sport. Deann along with Margaret Woodside and
Tim Glyshaw are the proud owners of Ready’s Rocket. Ready’s Rocket holds the
record for the most wins (11) at historic Churchill Downs. Deann has also owned
several other winning horses including Lion Tryst, First Gold, and Why Fly. Why
Fly was once entered in a race at Keeneland, the race had over 40 entrants so
the likelihood of the WhyWhyWhy gelding even making the race was slim to none.
Deann’s gelding not only made the race but jumped straight to the lead and
never looked back, winning by a ½ length. Deann has gone on to team up with her
husband Greg to start Full Throttle Racing. She’s also dived straight into the
breeding side of the sport.
In May of this year, Deann sent her Hunting Hard colt to
trainer Tim Glyshaw. Tim is the trainer of most of Deann’s horses including
Ready’s Rocket. Any of you that are familiar with my blog should be familiar
with Tim. His success in the “sport of kings” has been remarkable for someone his
age. Tim worked for trainer Robert Holthus before going out on his own. It was
with Holthus that Tim was given the chance to work with a great horse like
Lawyer Ron. If you know Tim, you know the type of person he is and the first
class care he gives all of his horses, from a $5,000 claimer all the way up to
a Derby hopeful
Tim treats them all with grade I care.
When Tim got Seal
Beach he wasn’t quite sure what he had. Beach had his issues at first. He was a
little nutty and rambunctious. He even let out the occasional “scream.” Once
Tim put the saddle on, the colt blossomed. The first few times he worked he
didn’t show a whole lot in the way of time, but Tim knew what he had. His maturity level was above most horses his
age. His mentality was strong and to be completely honest Beach probably knew
before all of us that he was going to be a good horse.
After a couple of Seal Beach’s workouts, Deann offered part
ownership of her colt to Matt Kwiatkowski, Jason Kaylor, and Roger Browning. Deann
met Matt and Jason through Tim. Matt and Jason were big fans of Tim. Tim
embraced them and the friendship grew from then on. Ever since that point, the
“boys” began following all of Tim’s horses. This led to meeting Deann. Of course
they all bonded due to their mutual passion. Roger became good friends with
Matt through one of those “track meetings” at Indiana Downs. Most people who go
to Indiana Racing become friends quickly, mainly because there’s only about
twenty of us. Roger and Matt became close so when the ownership was offered
Matt reached out to Roger and the rest is history.
With all these relationships and bonds formed with good
people and good friends the expectations had to be extremely high just due to
the passion they all share. It’s not likely that any horse could live up to
these owners and this trainer, but boy Seal
Beach sure did.
Tim entered Seal Beach in a 2 year old State Bred/Sired
Maiden Special Weight for colts and geldings at Hoosier Park going five
furlongs on August 2nd. Beach went off as the 2/1 co-favorite. I
stood there with Deann, Matt, Jason, and Roger with baited breath. The tension
of watching a first time starter break the gates is something that could crack
even the likes of “His Airness” Michael Jordan. When the gates opened it wasn’t
“Come Fly With Me” as Beach broke a step slow under the hands of jockey Leandro
Goncalves. Beach was bumped hard out of the gate by Don’t Want It. He found
himself second to last, some 8 lengths behind the leader. The hopes looked
bleak for a Seal Beach
victory after the break but that didn’t affect the Hunting Hard colt. He showed
signs of having serious run going into the turn quickly making up ground. It
seemed to be a nightmare as they went into the stretch. Beach was stuck behind a
wall of horses, which to a first time starter can be as intimidating as Patrick
Ewing guarding the lane, but like the aforementioned Air Jordan, Beach shook
off a few bumps to close strong late on the rail and put a Slam Dunk to this
field, winning by a controlled length and a half. 3rd place finisher Dread the Pirate
came out of his defeat by Seal Beach to break his maiden in his next start.
Trainer Tim Glyshaw said this of Seal Beach’s performance, “He ran an untypical
race for a two year old. He broke poorly, he was behind horses, and he had to
weave his way through traffic to win. Leandro only used the whip once on him
and he still won by 1 ½ lengths, the fact he is an Indiana Bred and Sired colt
gives him a lot of opportunities to win races. If he can break better next time
and be closer to the pace I believe he will be very hard to beat.” Tim also
compared Seal Beach’s mentality and attitude to Lawyer Ron. Tim said Lawyer Ron
was on a different level talent wise, but a horse with a great mindset and
attitude can win a lot of Indiana Bred races.
will most likely make his next start in the $84,000 Crown Ambassador Stakes
going six furlongs at Hoosier. I’ve
personally seen hundreds of two year old state bred debuts. Most of them are
won on the lead without facing much adversity. I can honestly say, it wasn’t
the time of the race, or the burst of speed he displayed, but the adversity that
Beach over came to win that makes his performance the most impressive I’ve ever
seen by an Indiana Bred two year old.
I’ve recently become a big believer in fate and destiny.
I’ve seen first hand how through one trainer, one owner, one breeder, one colt,
and one group of fans turned owners, that amazing things can happen and people’s
spirits can be lifted up. Will Seal
Beach be the next Kentucky Derby winner? Probably not, but he’ll continue to do what
he’s already done, race with a lot of heart and fearlessness, but first and
foremost feed the hunger and excite the passion that his “horse racing family”
has for him.