Race of the Week 2017
HRN Original Blog:
Hoosier State of Mind

We Are Family

When I think back on the 27 years of my life and all the events, changes, and tragedies I’ve seen in a relatively short time on this earth, I simply just shake my head. In the past 15 years we’ve seen the worst this world has to offer. 


I think back to April 20th, 1999. I was merely 13 years old and in my last year of junior high school when two senior students at Columbine High School went on a shooting rampage, killing 12 of their peers and 1 teacher while injuring 21 in total. At the time I didn’t think such evil was possible, I was a naive child, and a preacher’s son, who only thought such evil affected other countries and other people.


I mostly remember my sophomore year of high school for being a year filled with shock, fear, and heart break. On September 11th, 2001 the world as we knew it changed when terrorists used our own planes as bombs to attack the very core of freedom that is America.


Even now, some 13 years removed from Columbine, and 11 years since 9/11, we are killing our own children. In the past year we weren’t attacked by an enemy, a foreign country, or an economic disaster, but by our own people. We’ve seen a madman in Colorado shoot up a movie theater, and a week ago we saw what I think is the worst act of pure evil this country has ever seen, when a disturbed psychotic stormed into a grade school and massacred an entire class of OUR children. Now we find ourselves dissecting the situations, analyzing the problems; we hear that it’s gun control or lack of treatment for mental illness. Where am I going with this? Well, I believe it starts with family.


What does this have to do with horse racing? Since I’ve become a fan and a part of this “Family”, I’ve often heard the negatives about horse racing from the outside. People that don’t know this sport and don’t live this sport every day, tell us about how cruel it is or how wrong it is. After the horrific break down of Eight Belles in the Kentucky Derby, Larry Jones had to defend himself to some of the outside media about his training of the filly. Little did they know that this was more than a filly, this was part of his family, our family.


I use the word family often in this piece because that’s what we are. I’ve personally been touched by this family when I lost my best friend a little over a year ago. The outpouring of support was so strong that they literally lifted me on their shoulders and got me through the worst time in my life. And it’s not just me and it’s not just humans, we take care of everyone and everything in our sport including our horses. Though we lost Barbaro on January 27th, 2007, the support his owners, his trainer, his doctor, and even the horse himself received was mind blowing. There were the countless letters, the get well soon cards, and the 1st grade class that drew pictures for the son of Dynaformer. This is what family is about, and in the worst of times we are there for each other.


We are an eclectic group of wealthy and not so wealthy. We are young and we are old, we are white and we are black, American and European, we are us. We can be found in the turf clubs and in the track kitchens, and in the backstretch, where maybe, to some the least important people, give the most important care to our superstars. We are trainers, we are owners, turf writers, and fans. Most importantly we are family. 


We might only see each other a few times a year, maybe at the Breeders’ Cup or the Kentucky Derby but even still we greet each other with a hug, offer a drink and talk about not only our sport but our family. We know each other's kids by first name, we know about Quinn’s soccer team, and Gabriel’s Ju-jitsu. We know Nina’s birthday and we take pride in Saginaw’s successes. We stand in awe of Zenyatta’s spectacular talent and personality. We do not glory in our opponents defeat. I saw this first hand when Zenyatta lost the only race of her career to Claiborne Farm's Blame. The son of Arch beat the mighty “Queen” by a dirty nose but there were no boos or heckles;  the crowd at Churchill Downs cheered the winner, and when Zenyatta walked by, we stood and applauded the effort of a great champion. 


We do have our own families within families, our little groups that meet at each event, but we are all a big family and we all support each other. We all prayed for Paynter  before his surgery on October 3rd when they removed a 15-inch external growth of his  intestines, and we prayed again for his recovery, and now that he will return to Bob Baffert’s barn we will cheer him once again like we did when he was victorious in the Haskell.


There are many things wrong with this sport but one thing we have right is family, so maybe these people that so unfairly judge us should stake a cue from this much maligned sport. Maybe it’s not gun control, maybe it’s not all mental illness, maybe it’s time America woke up and get back to the one thing Horse Racing makes FIRST PRIORITY, and that is FAMILY.


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Older Comments about We Are Family...

well said again ahb god bless
well said! yes we are!
I live in a world where science suggests conclusions. The enlightened person uses that same solid fact based yarstick to view what come down the pike, warts and all.
Painting a situation and bypassing reality cause people to get erroneous conclusions.
So because people are not robots and prefer a little sugar in there life it makes them less than others? Emotion and caring are two human traits that people with a heart have...
tv, I really hope that I am not understanding you correctly
After dealing with the surrogate substitions of fantasy for fact in explaining medical conditions to patients over the last years I have learned what Eddie Felson calls his being a "student of human moves." Rather than accept reality for what it is REAL, people will make up a glossy sugar coated narrative from ignorance and overlay over the factual status of what they are altering. Same here.
Thank you, footlick. I appreciate the "obviously very passionate", it is worded very well. :)
And thanks, cocoa2. It was a pleasure to discuss this with you. You are very knowledgeable on the subject, and obviously very passionate.
I will second that, love for the horse is apparent from the Irish people, at least the old ones.
Well said Mike in SB.
Sorry again, the Bogside is a green area of Derry, there was big overpass with Sorry About The Horses written on the wall. I hope the people of Northern Ireland find pease and prosperity, they deserve it.
Sorry wrong button... The Bogside is a
It seems strange at first to see a discussion about Northern Ireland on a horse racing site but I have been to Northern Ireland many times including during the Troubles, and one thing I am sure of is that all Irish people, green or orange love the horse. I remember being in Derry shortly after a bomb in London killed some of the Queens Horse Guard and several horses. There is an overpass in the Bogside area
No, I don't believe that tv is senile or a liar. He does take a bit of getting used to, but he makes many valid points. Do I agree with all of them? No. Have I gotten over the lack of sugar-coating? Yes.
@TimSmith great call re: Grumpy Grampa. Me thinks he is either hitting 9 out of 10 on the senile scale or is just a bitter pathological liar.
I am sorry, cocoa2, that tragedy has touched your family in Northern Ireland. And you may be right, a simple treaty may not be enough. I always feel like it is a timebomb there just waiting to detonate again. The problems that I have experienced due to intolerance are nothing in comparison. But I have known people who have lost their lives because of intolerance. I do not support any form of intolerance. Anyway, I wish the best to you and all your relatives. I hope things do not escalate again.
there are good people no matter which organization they are affiliated. Could a compromise have been made during the hunger strike? Compromise can always be made. But since I do not know enough about the information that both sides had in their possession, and how England might have thought giving in to any demand of Sands might weaken their position in Northern Ireland, I can't make that judgement. Compromise can be difficult because it makes one side usually look weak and in an environment as hostile as the Troubles, or now in the Middle East, looking weak is not something that either side can afford. I remember (not actually of course. I am old, but not quite that old) Elizabeth Regina agonizing over the decision of whether she needed to kill her relative Mary Queen of Scots. It really came down to the fact that she could not give any impression of weakness, and not putting her to death when she had the proof of Mary's treason certainly would have painted her weak to the world. I truly believe in tolerance and the ability to live together. Cordoba in Muslim Spain proved that. Muslims, Christians and Jews lived in Cordoba when it was the center of learning under Muslim rule.
I understand either side but it should be recognized that the Protestants are not the enemy, but rather any man who stands between full rights for Irish citizens. I don't care if the counties are part of the UK, I care the Catholics and Protestants stop being beat up for what started peaceful and has and will escalate into something worse than a simple treaty can handle. Yorkshire and Ireland still have some kids hanging around who remember how it was with Thatcher and the Falklands are becoming more and more hostile.

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Meet Scott Dick 















My journey into the sport of kings has been different than most. I do not boast a royal pedigree, and in fact, before my interest in horse racing, my family thought the Kentucky Derby was the only race of the year! I'm the son of a minor league baseball player and a homemaker, which doesn't exactly scream grade I winner.

My passion for the sport started about 8 years ago.I was watching as Funny Cide was making his triple crown run. The “Gutsy Gelding” had my eyes glued to the television with each of his triple crown races. After watching Funny Cide on TV. I decided to make a trip down to our local track, Indiana Downs.This would be an experience that would change my life.

I looked over the program, while having no idea what I was doing,I decided to put my 5 dollars on a horse named Apollonea. As the gates broke and the announcer began his race call, I heard the words Apollonea to the lead. My excitement grew as I watched my horse lead all the way around the track, eventually drawing to win by an easy five lengths. Apollonea paid 58.00 to win, I was hooked from that point on.

For the past 8 years my life has been horse racing.  I've tried to educate myself on every aspect of the sport and learn about it's past. The incredible run of the Super Filly Rachel Alexandra would also change my life. It was my intense passion and love for Rachel that would bring me to meet some of the greatest  people in the world. I owe a lot to Rachel and this sport for introducing me to such wonderful people.

I want this blog to show that Indiana Racing stacks up with any track, anywhere! It will also show what great value can be found in Indiana for the bettors, and not to mention, the incredible purses for the owners and trainers.

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