As an exercise rider over 60 years ago, Art Sherman came to Gulfstream Park in a train with Swaps. The California Comet set a track and world record for the mile and 70 in the Broward Handicap. Now the 79 year old trainer is back at the same track, with a chance to see the finest horse he has trained, and one of the two best he has worked with, go out in style.
Arrogate may win by daylight. Keen Ice may pull off the impossible and do it again. I'd like to see the two favorites blazing down the stretch, nose to nose, with the elder winning by inches. It would be another Beholder moment for the sport, and earn the two time Horse of the Year a colossal win in his last race.
Most of all, I would like to see a victory for Art, who's biggest thrill as a jockey was when he beat his idol Eddie Arcaro. Alan Sherman, Raul Rodriguez and Dihigi Gladney have done nice work in keeping this six year old in good form. Hoping to see a safe trip for all, and a big smile from Victor Espinoza at the end.
Personal Ensign beat Winning Colors, a Lukas trained filly, in her Breeders Cup Distaff to go undefeated. Seven years later, her daughter My Flag won the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies. My Flag defeated two Lukas trained fillies, in the mud, passing them at the wire as Personal Ensign had done in that historic last race. Another seven years later, My Flag's daughter Storm Flag Flying looked beaten in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies with 100 yards to go. Storm Flag Flying surged ahead of Composure to make it three generations of Breeders Cup winning fillies, all trained by Shug McGaughey. At four, Storm Flag Flying had the distinction to win the Personal Ensign Stakes over Azeri.
Christmas Eve I passed by the house that Christopher Chenery grew up in. We were walking the neighborhoods to see the lights in Ashland, VA, a railroad town near the historic farm that was started in the 30's. The house is located on, of all names, Race Course Street. In 35+ years, Meadow Stud and Meadow Farm enjoyed great success with broodmares Hildene, Imperatrice, Iberia and Somethingroyal, Hill Prince, First Landing, Cicada, Sirgaylord (sp. to appease the mods), First Family, Syrian Sea, Riva Ridge, Secretariat and other stakes winners.
Too many of the famous thoroughbred farms have been lost over time. At Doswell you can still see the training barn, the yearling barn, the stallion barn, Riva's and Secretariat's foaling shed and a horse cemetery. Sun Beau is buried there next to Hill Prince. Leased from Willis Kilmer's wife, Sun Beau produced the farm's first stakes winner, Mangohick. An Images of America book was under the tree about the history of our county, Hanover. Cracking the book halfway through, the first picture I saw was of the Camptown Races held in the 1950's at Meadow Farm.
For a horse ranked fifth best in the twentieth century by Blood-Horse, Count Fleet seems to have few admirers. His sire Reigh Count was Horse of the Year in 1928, a title that Count Fleet himself earned in 1943. The Count's son Counterpoint was Horse of the Year in 1951. To add icing on the cake, son One Count was selected by DRF as the Horse of the Year in 1952, splitting honors with two year old Native Dancer. Three generations of thoroughbreds winning Horse of the Year is remarkable.
On Seattle Slew's page there was a discussion between Sullivan and Buckpasser 883 days ago mentioning Colin at a Virginia farm. I kept reading, saw Joseph Widener and Elmendorf, and Googled to get more details. If anyone knows how to find more about the Thoroughbred Record, it would be our resident historian Buckpasser.
The 1923 Thoroughbred Record has an ad from Faraway Farms, with Man o' War's stud fee at $2500. Nursery Farm has Fair Play's fee listed at $2000. Monietta Stud has Upset listed at $250, and Sir Barton is listed by Audley Farm at $1000. Joseph Widener's address for Elmendorf is simply Land Title Building, Philadelphia, PA. https://books.google.com/books?id=fkY5AQAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA262&lpg=RA1-PA262&dq=belray+horse+farm+va&source=bl&ots=4ib7eZkh8R&sig=vMlCxOXADFDM7XiX6ybsEViKlc4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi59bz6nbbQAhXl1IMKHe2_AckQ6AEIMjAD#v=onepage&q&f=false
Greatest of all time will be debated forever. Should a horse who lost 5 of 21 starts be declared the best ever? In the first race he was nearly knocked to his knees at the start by Quebec. The other four may have an excuse, but nothing as dramatic. The three races beginning with a W were certainly disappointing.
The Meadow Stables colt appeared on the covers of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated before the Derby, demonstrating his immense popularity at the time. Secretatiat is fondly remembered as the horse who won the Triple Crown after a 25 year drought, his Belmont performance, and for still holding the three speed records after 43 seasons.
Arrogate ran a great race in running down this years Horse of the Year. He obviously has a nice combination of speed and stamina. Three months ago this allowance horse was not on many fans radar, and now he's discussed as the definite 3 Year Old Colt and maybe even Horse of the Year. I'm looking for another blockbuster performance from these two in the Pegasus World Cup, with Chrome taking home the marbles. I'd like to see Art win more more big one in his career. Arrogate will have plenty of opportunities for glory later on.
It's fitting that Gary Stevens and Mike Smith, the two most experienced jockeys in racing, went down to the wire, nose to nose, in nearly a dead heat. These guys have more than 60 years between them in the saddle. Amazing.
On At The Races this morning, most guests were picking every horse but Beholder to win the Distaff. Part of what makes this last race so special. Older males, females and geldings still winning are exceptional.
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