Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Columnist Gene McLean sticks up for stewards' suspension of jockey Luis Saez.
Posted Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Gene McLean on why he returned Game Winner to No. 1 in his Derby rankings.
Posted Wednesday, April 17, 2019
The Pressbox's Gene McLean is sticking with Roadster atop his rankings.
Posted Wednesday, April 03, 2019
Updating his rankings, Gene McLean lists four horses he's already tossing.
Posted Monday, April 01, 2019
After a bleeding episode, Serengeti Empress resumed training Monday. Oaks-bound?
Posted Thursday, March 28, 2019
The 2-year-olds "are what make you get up in the morning with a smile on your face."
Posted Wednesday, March 27, 2019
It applies to the Derby trail, too. But Gene McLean sees a clear No. 1.
Posted Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Gene McLean saw what he needed in the Rebel to leave Game Winner at No. 1.
Posted Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Gene McLean shares his Top 20 and comments ahead of the Rebel Stakes.
Posted Monday, March 11, 2019

What a day Saturday turned out to be.

What a day.

Went to watch our own Seek N Justice in the 6th race at the beautiful, warm and jam-packed Fair Grounds in jazzed-up New Orleans with a great degree of enthusiasm and interest.

After all, Seek N Justice — our 3-year-old son of Caleb’s Posse — was coming off a rather impressive outing in his last race here. Got off to a horrid start. Fell all the way to next-to-last in the 12-horse field. So far out of view that the cameras could not even find him. But as they went into and out of the one-turn sprint, rider James Graham seemingly found a gear that we didn’t even know the colt had.

He zoomed through the stretch, bobbing and weaving like Muhammad Ali in a Joe Frazier fight. Got up to be fourth. Got our spirits up, too.

Then, just the other day, Seek had his best workout.

Thought he was in for a big day.

Instead, we were in for big surprises.

Seek N Justice didn’t run very well. Disappointing, in fact.

But he was claimed out of the race by trainer Tom Amoss, a talented horseman in his own right. Shocking, in fact.

What a bittersweet moment. Or is it sweet bitter?

I owned this colt’s mom, Diamond Seeker. She could really run, but she busted up a knee in her second career start and never got a chance to show her running talent.

So, I bred the Sightseeing filly to the stallion Caleb’s Posse. And, I got a colt. Raised him from birth. And, watched him go from seedling to a racehorse.

So, there was and is attachment. Always was. Always will be. Heartstrings tugged.

Yet, I do know and realize that this is a business. Or, at the least, should be to some degree. And, I knew going in that the horse was “for sale.”

Yet, it never truly dawned on me that the chance of Seek being claimed would become a fact that he would be claimed.

(Seek N Justice in the paddock on Saturday / Photos by Gene McLean)

After the race, I stumbled down to the track, along with trainer Buff Bradley, in search of both the colt and his rider, Ty Kennedy. Seems as if Seek thought he would do most of his running after the wire. He galloped long and hard deep into the backstretch.

As we waited for the duo to reappear, here came Buff back toward me and not toward the horse.

He had news.

“He was bought,” Buff said.

I know he must have thought I was crazy, as I fumbled for words. Any words.

“What?” I muttered.

“He got claimed,” Buff said.

“What? He was claimed?”

I know. Hard concept to grasp. Right? Especially for a guy that graduated from college with honors, right?

“Yep. Someone took him.”

“Who,” I asked.

“Let’s go find out,” Buff said.

So, we hoofed it toward the paddock. Sure enough, it was Tom Amoss’ assistant waiting in the stall.

We spoke. Exchanged some handshakes and well-wishes. Gave a little report. And, then and there, bade farewell.

It was not a long goodbye. It was just goodbye.

The claiming price was both fair and just. And the colt is now going to a good home.

Heart strings tugged. Purse strings lifted.

A few minutes later, I chatted with Tom Amoss, Seek’s new trainer, over text message. Tom didn’t realize the horse was mine. Seek ran under my full name of “Warren Gene McLean.”

Tom was quick to apologize.

I reassured Tom that there were no ill feelings. He is a class act. Has some of the best horses in the world under his care and watch.

Horses like Serengeti Empress — who may be the best 3-year-old filly in the land.

Horses like Roiland — who may be a sleeper for this year’s Louisiana Derby.

Horses like Lone Sailor, and others.

I told Tom good luck. And, since I still own two half-sisters to Seek, I sure hope that the two of them go on to win a stakes race or more.

So, Seek is headed to a new home.

So, I am headed home to Kentucky.

Paid off a few bills. Now the stable is a horse lighter.

Not the day I imagined. But that is exactly the kind of day you can expect in the horse business.


Moving on.

Headed to Lexington on Monday. Better go check out Seek’s half-sister — Miss Jacqueline. She is by Jack Milton. And, she is now the theme of our next storyline.

(See you down the road, good and faithful friend / Photo by Gene McLean)

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Meet Gene McLean

The Pressbox is your source for news, handicapping and interviews with the industry's biggest stars. Gene McLean is the Founder of The Pressbox and The Louisville Thoroughbred Society. No one in this industry has more talent in reviewing, forecasting and handicapping.

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