Friday, May 30, 2008

Captain Dawn "The Captain"

When Cinderella pays you a visit. You will always be happy with the gift she leaves behind. After the tragic loss of Ontario Princess. The Wolfe barn was very down, but not out. It was very difficult emotionally and financially to recover from her loss.

Enter the D’Angelo brothers. Sam, Joey, and Mario had been school buddies to me, and my brother John. The D’Angelo family and the Wolfe family had a common denominator. We were horse racing crazy! I remember many happy times of going to the races with Sam, Joe, and Mario. The brothers became great friends and fans of my Dad. They were looking forward to the day when they starting working full time and were finished with school. So they could take a shot in the horse racing business, as horse owners. By 1979 the brothers were ready to invest in the Sport of Kings, and buy a racehorse. They had raised $5,000 to claim a horse from the races. They were all licensed. Beautiful yellow and orange silks were designed and made. The D’Angelo brothers were ready for action.

Enter Cinderella. The D’Angelo brothers had deposited there $5,000 into a horseman's account. Sam had selected the horse that they wanted to claim. The claim slip was filled out, and the claim put in for the horse. If more then one claim goes in for a horse. Then during the running of the race a random chance draw is made. The winner of the draw owns the horse. Sam lost the draw. So the brothers were still without a horse. The second claim was put in for a horse named "Snow Fence". Again we lost the draw on Snow Fence. So again the D’Angelo brothers were still not the owners of a racehorse. They would try again. Sam had a selected a filly this time. Her name was Idle Time. She was from the Carl Chapman stable. The gate opened and disaster struck. Idle Time had pulled up soon after the start of this race. She had suffered a serious injury! There were two claims in for Idle Time. Sam D’Angelo and Frank Passero. Lucky for us, Frank Passero had won the draw. We quickly learned that Idle Time had broken her leg, and had to be euthanized. Sam D’Angelo was very thankful to still have the $5,000 in hand. There were very close to having a disaster in the horse business, and not even having the chance to enjoy one race. To the D’Angelo brothers credit they never gave up. Remember the name of this blog. "Keep Turning Left". Sam went to my dad right after this close call. Sam said to my Dad. "I hired you to be our trainer. So you can pick out the horse to claim for us". My father agreed. In the Snow Fence race. A horse named Captain Dawn was making his first start of 1979. He was a handsome big chestnut 5 year old gelding by Gray Dawn II. He was running in a 6 furlong sprint race. He finished in the middle of the pack in this race. My dad thought that he looked like an honest racehorse. He was also bred for endurance and not sprint races. He thought that he could make a useful runner in our barn, if he was sound. Most claiming horses run in cheap claiming racing because they have suffered leg injuries in the past. And they never fully recover from these injuries. So when Captain Dawn ran back in another sprint race. A claim slip was made out in the name of Sam D’Angelo. There were no other claims put in for him. He again finished in the middle of the pack. The "Captain" came into the Wolfe Racing Stable. With great fortune we lost the draw all three times. On horses Sam had selected and put claims in for. All three of these horses never raced again. Thank you Cinderella!

This wonderful horse would soon become the pride and joy of our barn. He was racing sound when he came into the barn. However he had a badly deformed right front leg. He had suffered a serious injury as a 3 year old. He had fallen in a race on the Marshall Turf course while crossing the main track. Captain Dawn had fractured the split bone in his right front leg. When this injury occurs. It is very serious. The fractured bone has to surgically removed to give the horse any chance of every racing again. Also he had arrived in a depressed condition. A lot of claiming horses are disregarded in large racing stables. There care and training can be mediocre at best. Captain Dawn would now have an overhaul in the Wolfe Stable. He would now get the care and training program that this talented and courageous racehorse deserved. The Captain as he would soon be called by everyone made his Wolfe Stable debut 10 days after we claimed him. The date was June 23rd 1979. It would be a $6,250 claiming race going 1 mile & 1/16. Jockey Paul Souter (The Squirrel) would be in the saddle for his first race in the D'Angelo colors. I was his groom for his debut. When I went over to observe him, before the race that we claimed him. He acted mild mannered and quiet. However for his debut with us. There was now a complete transformation in this racehorse. I turned him into the saddling stall to be saddled. The Captain refused to stand to be saddled. It was like I was now holding a hungry lion, which couldn't wait to be let out of his cage. This horse was mad and angry, and could not wait for the race to begin. The decision was made to saddle the Captain on the move, while I was walking him in a circle in the saddling area. Even doing so, we were life and death to get the saddle on him. We finally did! My dad had no opportunity to give Paul Souter any instructions or information about this horse. He just wished Paul Souter good luck!

In the post parade and warm up. I am sure that Paul Souter knew that he wasn't on a cheap claiming horse with little chance to win this race. Paul was a very accomplished jockey at this point in his career. I'm sure he felt very confident when he was loaded in the gate on Captain Dawn. "There at the post, there off" Paul gathered Captain Dawn in hand after the start of the race. He rated well going into the clubhouse turn. In the run down the back stretch you could easily see that Captain Dawn was now the hungry lion that had been let out of his cage! He was now ready to feast on his pray! Past the 3/8's pole Paul was looking for an opening to let the Captain loose. Paul found it, and this race was over! Captain Dawn bounded to the lead with ease. He was home and cooled out by the time he reached the finish line. He glided to a five and 1/2 length victory with lots of speed to spare. Captain Dawn was ready to take the Wolfe and D’Angelo families on a very exciting ride!

After Captain Dawn exciting debut. You just could not help but get motivated by this classy racehorse. He came out of his Wolfe stable debut in very fine shape. Captain Dawn had been reborn. The Captain was now confident, and happy to be alive. He was starting to enjoy his training and looking forward to running in his next race. Captain was ready to show the Woodbine faithful that he was not a cheap claiming horse. Now he was ready to show the Toronto racing community that he was a very proud and talented athlete. Captain Dawn ran back a week later on June 30th 1979, Queen's Plate day in the second race. Sadly it rained heavily that morning. This created very muddy track conditions. It takes a very courageous racehorse to run in these conditions. The horses have to try and adjust there stride to the slippery and muddy conditions. Also there eyesight can be badly impaired by the mud thrown into there faces, running behind other horses. A lot of horses do not like it, and refuse to run well in these hazardous conditions. Captain Dawn didn't enjoy running in the mud and slop either. However he was a professional, and was set on proving a point to everyone that he was a serious racehorse. His second Wolfe start would see the Captain moved up in class to the $8,000 level. Again completing at the 1 mile 1/16 distance. The race began the same way as his first race. Paul Souter took the Captain back off the pace, and rated him with confidence. Down the back stretch. He began to make his move. He moved into serious contention along the inside. Approaching the 1/4 pole he was now lying in third position and ready again to take command of this race. Down the stretch drive Captain Dawn again outclassed his opponents with ease, scoring a handy 3 length win. In the winner circle picture. After the Captain's blinkers had begin removed. You could easily see. That Captain Dawn's vision had been badly impaired by the sloppy, and muddy racing conditions. He won this race. In his trust in his faithful and talented jockey Paul Souter, and in his own courage! I enjoyed nicknaming this great partnership; "Bread and Butter". Win number two was in the books. It was time for Wolfe and D'Angelo families to celebrate again!

Before Captain Dawn came into the Sheldon Wolfe racing stable. We had never enjoyed a racehorse to win 3 consecutive starts in a row. That was soon about to change. But first some more information about our new star performer. The Captain was a 5 year old racehorse when he came into the barn. He was a handsome chestnut gelding. He stood about 16.2 hands high. He had a slight white star that he wore on his face between his wonderful and very intelligent eyes. He also was born with a bad parrot mouth. A parrot mouth is a severe overbite. The Captain was actually a very friendly horse with a very pleasing personality. He had a bad temper. However he only lost it when he was in the races. All excellent athletes must have one, to be a winner. He father was Gray Dawn II, and his mother was Lady Hillsbourgh. His pedigree was endurance and stamina. Our Captain was bred to run to the moon and back, without ever getting tired.

His next race for the Wolfe Racing Stable was to take place at Woodbine on July 8th, 1979. He was moving up in class again. He would run in the “Slow Moe Starter Handicap”, at the distance of 1 mile and ¼. The condition of this race was any horse that had competed in an $8,000 claiming race or less in 1978-1979. The big advantage of these races are, that they are non claiming, and carry a higher purse. You can run your horse in this race without any risk of selling them. This was a perfect opportunity for our rising star. The track condition came up lighting fast. We were all confident and in a state of euphoria going into this race, including the Captain. We were all looking forward to give him the chance to stretch his legs and lungs to the 1 mile and ¼ distance, and the great possibility of him winning 3 races in a row. This would be one of my favorite races in the history of my father’s training career.

The Captain trained perfect for this race, and looked great in the saddling area and paddock. He had put on weight and now looked the part now of a stakes calibere horse, and not a cheap claimer. He was ready and so were the Wolfe and D’Angelo families. The call for riders up was given. My dad gave Paul Souter his leg up on the Captain. I had the pleasure of leading “Bread and Butter" to the racetrack. I wished Paul a safe trip, and gave the Captain a pat on his neck for good luck, and they were off to the races. Captain Dawn and Paul looked great in the post parade and warm up. I was full of emotion and optimism for this race. The horses were loaded in the gate, “There at the post, there off’. Was the opening call from Daryl Wells. Captain broke from the gate in fine style; he was off to a great start. Then Paul asked him to relax, and take back off of the front runners. Which he was happy to do. The Captain looked fantastic in the run to the finish line for the first time. The field for the Slow Moe Starter Handicap now had one mile to complete to see who the winner would be. It was apparent to me, right away, who the winner would be. It would be Captain Dawn! You could see that this classy racehorse was enjoying himself and having fun. He was just playing with this field of horses like a cat does with a mouse, right before he eats it. In the run down the back stretch Captain was tracking in fourth position and was laying about 4 lenghts from the leaders. The Captain and Paul had complete control of this race. Just past the 3/8 pole the rest of the competition was starting to get tired. Captain Dawn was starting to get stronger and was moving in for the kill! Before he had reached the ¼ pole Captain Dawn had already made the lead by 1 lenght without any serious urging from Paul Souter. This was a race to remember, and to enjoy! I started the salute to our gallant warrior. I started to scream his name, Captain Dawn! In the final ¼ mile all the way to the finish line. My adrenal glade was in full motion, and the adrenalin was pouring into my body. I was in another world. All the sadness that I was carrying with me, from the death of Ontario Princess had now tuned to complete joy. Captain Dawn performance was flawless. He easily won this race by 4 lengths, and his last quarter mile time was 24.3 seconds. He completed the 1 mile and ¼ in 2:04.3. He had won all three races we had run him. Improving with each race. It was pandemonium in the winner’s circle. It was like we had won the Kentucky Derby and Queens' Plate combined. It was a winning race I will never forget!

I will profile the last wining race we had with Captain Dawn. It took place on July 28th, 1980. We call it the miracle win. This race was also a starter handicap. This race was run at the marathon distance of 1 mile and ¾. Captain Dawn was a star performer in the Wolfe stable in 1979. He will always be remembered as one of the best thoroughbred racehorses that my father ever had the pleasure to train. The last win was also a race I will never forget. The Captain like any great performer, just had the special knack of entertaining his audience to the max.

Captain Dawn had won 5 races for us in 1979. In doing so it took its toll on his front legs. His right front leg was handicapped from the injury that occurred when he was a 3 year old. His left front leg had tried to take more of the stress, compensating for the weakness in his right leg. He required a well deserved rest to get ready for his 6 year old racing season. He came back to the races in 1980 in fine shape, and ran some excellent races for us. Yet he did not get back to the winners’ circle until we shipped to good old Ft. Erie for the summer meet. A perfect spot was in the condition book for the Captain. A starter $5,000 Handicap going 1 mile and ¾. The chance to run this marathon distance would be a great opportunity for him.

The bad luck was the weather conditions. It poured rain that morning which created very muddy track conditions. Captain Dawn didn’t really enjoy running in these conditions. However he always tried to win every race he ran in our barn! The Wolfe stable always tried our best to look after him. The Captain always did his best to look after us! We were hoping for a fast track because it was a very good possibility for the Captain to have a real shot of breaking the track record for 1 mile & ¾, at Ft. Erie. However the track conditions came up muddy slop. Now the challenge for the Captain was to just try and win this race.

The main competition in the race was a horse named Sainfield. He was owned by Vikki James. He was an honest racehorse. He was going to be the pacesetter in the race. Also Sainfield had the advantage of enjoying running in the muddy going. Michael (Killer) Quong was now the jockey riding Captain Dawn. Mike had replaced Paul Souter as our number one rider in 1980. Mike Quong is also a very talented jockey and won a lot of races for our stable. I nicknamed him the “Killer” the giant killer for his incredible ride on a Conn Smyth’s horse named Lucky Conn. In 1976 Lucky Conn defeated the Queen’s Plate winner Norcliffe in the prep race for the Prince of Wales Stakes. It was an incredible ride when Mike was an inexperienced apprentice rider. Mike Quong out finished Jeff Fell on Norcliffe to win this race. Beating Jeffery Fell in a close finish was never easy.

They say that the true test of Character is coping with adversity. Captain Dawn would be faced with a lot of adversity in this race. “There at the post, there off”! Saintfield sprung to the lead at the start. Jimmy Standring was riding Saintfield. Mike Quong took Captain Dawn off the pace to try and let him settle, and to let him try and get comfortable running on the off track. In this race Captain Dawn didn’t look conformable at all in the race. He was laboring in the mudding conditions. He was trying as hard as ever, but it was a struggle for him. The prospects of the Captain winning this race were not looking good. After the field had run 1 mile and ¼, and still had ½ mile to run. Captain Dawn was still in third position. Mike Quong was working hard on the Captain to get him into contention. Sainfield who had enjoyed a dream trip. Had opened up a commanding 9 length lead by the time he reached the ¼ mile pole. Captain Dawn had now moved into second. It looked like second place would be the best case scenario on this day. At the 1/8 pole Sainfield lead was down to 5 lengths he was beginning to get tired. Then the miracle occurred! I always watched the races on the close circuit T.V. To get the best view of the race. I was watching Captain Dawn. Mike Quong was still urging him on. Even though the possibility looked hopeless to win. Then I watched as Captain Dawn finally realized that Saintfield was in from of him. I’m sure that again the Captain’s eyesight had been impaired by the sloppy track conditions. At this point Captain Dawn reached inside himself for something extra. A big shot of adrenalin is always good. The Captain started his late surge at Saintfield. Was there time for him to catch Saintfield? There was now some hope. Saintfield lead started to dwindle. Four lengths, 2 lengths, 1 length. In the last 3 strides to the finish line Captain Dawn had completed this impossible comeback win. He soared by Saintfield to win this race by a neck. We were all astonished! That the Captain had won! Sadly it would be Captain Dawn last win in his career. It was a fitting way for him to go out. He was a remarkable horse. The Wolfe family, and the D’Angelo family were very fortunate to have this special horse touch our lives. We will never forget the happiness and joy that he gave to us. Watching him run was a special pleasure!

In the win picture for the miracle win!!! You can see that Captain Dawn was still well behind Sainfield when the photo was taken.

I recently acquired a copy of Captain Dawn's racing form. Prior to the Captain being claimed by the Wolfe Racing Stable. This wonderful racehorse was running very poorly before he came into our lives. Captain Dawn ran on his great courage for us! Winning six great races for the D'Angelo & Wolfe families. This exceptional racehorse will never be forgotten!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ontario Princess "O.P."

This posting on this blog will by far be the sadist part, in the history of the Sheldon Wolfe racing stable. Also it would prove to be the sadist experience in my experience working at the racetrack, and in my life. Ontario Princess has to be honored and remembered. She was a bright light in the lives of the Wolfe family. This light was snuffed out much too soon.

Ontario Princess was very well named. She was truly a Princess. Her nick name was "O.P." I remember that very well. Because I was the one who gave her this pet name. It was given to her with all the love and respect that this brave and talented race filly deserved. For everyone that had the chance to meet her, and work with her. Knew right away, that she had class and talent. Ontario Princess was fathered by a horse named Judgeable and was out of the mare, Wattle. O.P. was purchased by my parents and Al and Marge Schmidt from Buffalo for $3,000. From the two year old in training sale. That was held at Woodbine in the spring of 1978. Ontario Princess was considered a castoff. She came from the Bill Marko stable. When my father saw her for the first time. I believe it was love at first sight. O.P. was a looker and she had that long flowing stride. The stride of an athlete, of a racehorse. I remembered my dad was ecstatic when he won the bid on Ontario Princess for the cheap price of only $3,000.

There was a reason why she so cheap. Ontario Princess was not born with the best set of front legs. The conformation of a thoroughbred racehorses' front legs can mean everything to a long a successful career. Or a short a disappointing one. However my parent’s initial investment was cheap. So we had everything to gain and nothing to loose. Also my father was never one for putting pressure on young racehorses. He always felt. If they showed potential, they deserved the time to develop. This always worked well with all the talented horses that my dad developed into successful runners. Ontario Princess was not a small girl. She was had a muscular build, and stood about 16 hands tall. O.P. looked the part of a female athlete. Besides her beautiful looks. Was her beauty inside. She had all the class of a real princess. She was always very posed and confident. Being a racehorse never made her nervous or worry. She handled her role in this life, with style and flare. I remember her so well. Because I was her groom. 1979 was a transition year for me. I had graduated from high school in the spring of 1979 and had started my full time career as a horseman. Working for my father Sheldon Wolfe. A racehorse groom at the racetrack is usually assigned 4 horses to look after. That is a good day’s work. There is a lot involved in a racetrack groom's day. O.P. was one of my 4 horses assigned to me. She quickly became my favorite. I was learning my profession at this time. Ontario Princess was very easy to look after. She was not a high maintenance female. Which is a usual trait of most good looking and talented women. O.P was very kind, gentle and intelligent. She quickly became a teacher and an inspiration for me. Ontario Princess taught me how rewarding looking after an equine athlete can be. Also how exciting the racing business can be when you come up with a talented racehorse.

Ontario Princess made the races as a two year old. She showed lots of promise. But did not really have the chance to show her true talent as a two year old. However a winter rest on the farm would pay dividends. O.P. came back as a three year old ready to tackle the world. Her front legs had strengthened, and her training went very well. O.P. was starting to show all the signs that she was ready to become a star racehorse. Her 3 year old debut would take place on April 10th, 1979 at Greenwood. The distance for this maiden allowance 3 year old filly race would be at 4 1/2 furlongs. The races would run at the 4 1/2 furlong distance for the first 3 weeks of the Greenwood spring meet. "There at the post, there off" Ontario Princess broke alertly and was lying in 4th position. She had to be aggressive. She broke from the outside position in post 10. Any mistakes would cost her any chance of wining this race. Jockey Joey Belowus asked O.P. for a serious run to try and win this race. She responded like child's play. O.P. charged up on the outside and blew to the lead. This race was over! Ontario Princess cruised to a 3 1/2 win. Wow, what a great first race of the year. She came out of this race in great shape. O.P. was very proud of her first win. Like us, she was now dreaming about the future. This filly had talent, and she loved to run!

The Woodbine spring meet had now begun. O.P. was training great! My Dad was very ambitious by running her, in her very first stakes race, The Star Shoot. It is a 6 1/2 furlong event for 3 year old fillies. Ontario Princess lacked the experience racing at the top level. However O.P ran very very well finishing a good 3rd in this race. Becoming stakes place in her first try. She came out of this race in fine shape. She actually was showing improvement after every race. For Ontario Princess was becoming stronger, fitter, and gaining racing experience.

For Ontario Princess third start as a 3 year old. My father would run her back in a none winner of two race, allowance race. The distance for this race would be the middle distance, 7 furlongs. This distance can prove to be too long for sprinters, or too short for routers. Joey Belowus her regular rider would be on Ontario Princess for this race. By this time O.P. was starting to show a very rare trait for a racehorse. On the day of the race after the horses eat there breakfast. There drinking water is pulled. If a racehorse drinks too much water prior to running. It can cause them to run poorly. When the water is pulled. The horse knows right away. That it is a race day. A lot of horses just like people. Get nervous and fret. Before they have to perform in a serious event. But not our O.P., when the water was pulled out of her stall. This classy, laid back and intelligent filly. Decided it was time to prepare herself for her race. She curled up in the middle of her stall, and went for a serious beauty nap. O.P. never worried about the up coming battle. She was calm and cool, and looked very forward to it. It was a pleasure for her young and inexperience groom (me), to take her over for the race. The date of this race was May 21, 1979. "There at the post, there off", was the call from Daryl Wells. There was no question very early in this race who the winning horse would be. O.P. controlled the race from start to finish. She was very confidently ridden by Joey Belowus. Joey knew he was riding an up and coming star. O.P. staked in 3rd position down the back stretch. By the time they reached the 3/8 pole. Ontario Princess was ready to defeat all of her opponents. Joey asked her, and O.P. blew by the front pair. The only question was now. How far was she going to win by. Turning for home, O.P. was already two lengths in command of this race. Joey hit her with the whip ounce. O.P. responded was an easy 5 length victory. It was a very impressive win. The final time of this 7 furlong race was 1:24 2/5. O.P. final 1/8 time was 12 seconds flat. She was on the way!

Ontario Princess would make her next start in the Selene Stakes race. It was run in June, 1979. It is the major summer 3 year old filly stakes race, run at Woodbine. The distance of this race is 1 mile & 1/16. The Sheldon Wolfe stable was very confident going into this race. O.P. continued to train very well, and she was coming off her impressive win at 7 furlongs. There was no pre warning what fate would throw in our direction. The main problem that we had going into the race was that we lost the services of our regular rider for Ontario Princess, Joey Belowus. Stafford farms had entered a horse in the Selene. This horse would be ridden by Robin Platts. Joey Belowus was the contract rider for Stafford farms and could not ride against his employer. It is a problem that a small racing stable often encounter at the racetrack. The bigger and richer trainers and stables often get first call, on the best jockeys, veterinarians, blacksmiths, and stable help. To replace Joey Belowus. My father acquired the services of veteran rider David Clark. David has always been a very successful jockey on the Toronto circuit. In fact he is still doing well in 2008.

The instruction that were given to David Clark in the paddock was to rate Ontario Princess just off the pace, and to make her main run from the 3/8 pole, to try and win the race. O.P. looked her usual cool and confident self, prior to the call for riders up. She looked excellent in the post parade and warm up. There off! O.P. broke well and was taken in hand by David Clark. She was running easy and placed in forth position when the horses raced into the club house turn. Then the total unexpected happened without any warning. Ontario Princess had fallen! Disaster had struck. It is never good when a thoroughbred racehorse falls in a race. Especially when they fall for no apparent reason. I was in shock! I was reacting on instinct at this point, and ran to the track to be with O.P. When I reached the track O.P. had gotten to a standing position. However my worse nightmare had come true. Ontario Princess had fractured her left front leg. The fracture was a very bad one. O.P. left front leg had broken away, just below her left knee. I knew right away that we were in trouble. When I reached her. She was in shock! Dr. Greg Taylor the Ontario commission veterinarian had also arrived. He alerted me right away. That Ontario Princess injury was serious. That there was no hope of saving her life, and that she had to be euthanized right away! I sadly knew that Dr. Taylor was right, and it was the only option available to us. Was to terminate Ontario Princess’s life. To prevent her suffering any unnecessary excruciating pain. When a race horse is euthanized the vets use a drug called strychnine. It is a heart stimulate. In low doses it can beneficial to a patient. In excess doses it stops the heart from beating, almost immediately. I held O.P. for the shot of strychnine that would sadly end her life. It would sadly be the last time we would ever be together. Dr. Taylor administered the shot. Nothing happened; Ontario Princess was still standing the injection of strychnine had no effect on her. Dr. Taylor then gave her a second shot. Again the strychnine had no effect. Dr. Taylor had no choice but to give her a third shot. Finally her heart of gold could not take anymore abuse from the poison, and O.P.'s life ended in my arms on this horrible day. Why did this have to happen to such a special life? Ontario Princess was full of life, and full of ambition. She was looking forward to a highly successful racing career. Ontario Princess Life was unfairly taken away from her. Death is never a pleasant topic. It is tragic when it happens to the young. When they never have the chance to live there lives. I will never forget this beautiful animal. I am happy I had the chance to be part of her life. Even though it was so short! Ontario Princess won 2 races from only 7 career races. Jockey David Clark was not seriously injured in this accident.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Do Lishus "Dough Boy"

Do Lishus is the next Wolfe horse to be honored and remembered. This one is a very good story. Do Lishus or "Dough Boy" as he was affectionately know at our barn. Was a small colt by "One For All", who was by Northern Dancer. Small doesn't really matter if your an athlete anyway. You always measure and athlete by the size of there heart. If the horse has talent and heart. That is the necessary requirements. After all the famous Northern Dancer was not a big horse. Also "One For All" was not large horse either and he went on to win several graded stakes races on the grass. Dough Boy was the perfect nick name for our latest star. He was feisty, honest and brave. The perfect ingredients that would make a fighting soldier. He was owned by Dan Krever. Who had made a large investment into the horse racing industry. But had not achieved the success that he had been hopping for. One day my father received a call from Mr. Krever. He asked my Dad if he would train a two year old for him. My father said sure. He invited my Dad to his farm and showed him three 2 year olds. He said my father could select one of the three. My father selected the "One For All" colt named "Do Lishus" All the Krever horses were named Do for his wife Dorothy, or Dan for himself. Mr. Krever was surprised with my father's selection. My father asked him why he was surprised. Mr. Krever said that the One for All colt was small, and that he had gone lame when they had him in training in the spring. Also the veterinarian could not find the reason why Do Lishus had gone lame. He said he was happy to have my dad train the colt. But did not have much hope that he would ever amount to much. My father was happy to have the opportunity to train him.

Do Lishus came into our stable and was popular with all the barn staff right away. He had a lot of personality and was full of energy and was enthusiastic in his training. During the Ft. Erie summer meet of 1976 Do Lishus started to train like a very good horse and was showing promise. A big plus for the Wolfe Stable at this point in my father's training career. Was my Dad's association with Hall of Fame jockey Chris Rogers. I did get to know Chris Rogers. I was very lucky for doing so. He was an extremely talented man. Who was a serious professional. He had a lot of pride, and a lot of will to win. I will be profiling Chris Rogers in my favorite jockey section, during the course of this blog.

Do Lishus was nearing the races, and was set down for a 5 furlong workout out of the gate. I believe Gary Stahlbum was on him for this workout. Dough Boy broke very slow from the gate, and didn't have a good time for the 5 furlong workout. Mr. Krever was so disappointed with the workout. That he almost decided to send the colt back to the farm, and give up on his career. However my father talked to Mr. Krever and persuaded him to give his One For All colt another chance. My Dad believed in Do Lishus, and felt he had the potential to be a good racehorse. My father faith came to be. When Do Lishus made his first race at a mile on Woodbine's Marshall Course. It was a two year maiden allowance race. Chris Rogers would ride the "Dough Boy" in this race. The date was September 15, 1976. Chris Rogers at this point had been on Do Lishus and was starting to be in full agreement with my father. This colt had talent, and Chris Rogers was going to find out how much in this mile grass test. Out of the gate Chris had Do Lishus very much in hand for the first half a mile. Coming to the 3/8th pole Chris Rogers was starting to find out how much talent "The Dough Boy" had. For Do Lishus was starting to gain momentum, and from the grandstand. It was apparent that Do Lishus was now a major contender in the race. Past the quarter pole. Chris Rogers had a tone of horse underneath him, and was just waiting for an opening to let Dough Boy loose. In the pursuit of his first win. Crossing the main track. The opening that Chris was looking for opened. Chris pulled the trigger on Do Lishus and he uncoiled a tremendous run to win this race going away by 2 lengths. Chris came back to the winners circle with a smile from ear to ear. He told my dad and Mr. Krever. That this colt was quality, and he was on his way to a very good career. When it came to horses. Chris Rogers was never wrong!

Do Lishus would run right back in the Gray Stakes race on September 25th, 1976. This race is one of the major two year old races run in Ontario racing during the year. This test is 1 mile and 1/16 on the main track for two years olds. Could the lightly raced and inexperienced Do Lishus have a chance in his first stakes race. Also he would loose the advantage of running on the turf. Do Lishus came out of his impressive maiden win in very good shape. He continued to train very well, and was a confident performer going into the Gray. Also Chris Rogers was also very confident. He assured my father victory going into this race. "There at the post, there off". Dos Lishus broke slowly and was taken in hand, and was rated by Chris. It was his first test around two turns. Do Lishus was a natural racehorse, a true professional. He fell back off the leaders. Waiting for Chris Rogers to ask him for his big kick. To try and win his first stakes race. Coming to the half mile pole Do Lishus was staring to become a contender in the race. By the time the leaders had reached the 1/4 pole. The Dough Boy was now in fourth position about 4 lengths from the leaders. Chris was now getting serious on Do Lishus. It was time for action. It was now or never. By the 1/8 pole Do Lishus was in third position and still two lengths from the leader, a filly named "I'm promised Al". It didn't look like Do Lishus would win the Gray. It looked like we would have to settle for 3rd or second place at best. However Chris Rogers still had an ace up his sleeve. From this point in the race. Chris Rogers didn't look like a 51 year old jockey. That was doing well from his vast experience from days gone by. There would be a transformation. From the 1/8 pole home. It was now Chris Rogers in his prime. He looked like a 25 year old man at his physical best. Chris communicated this tremendous energy and will to win to Do Lishus. The Dough Boy responded, and gave Chris the finish he was looking for. The Dough Boy swept past the two horses in front of him. Do Lishus had won the Gray Stakes in dramatic racehorse style. We were all estastic!

This race would prove to be the most prestigious win for the Krevers at Woodbine. It would also prove to the last stakes race win for Chris Rogers. Nobody knew it. But Chris Rogers was a very sick man. He was being treated for sclerosis of the liver. Shortly after the win on Do Lishus in the Gray Stakes. Chris Rogers would break a leg in a racing accident on the Marshall Turf course. Crossing over the dirt strip. This injury would cause complications for Chris Rogers’s treatment for cancer. Chris Rogers would loose his life that fall. However I will never forget his great ride on Do Lishus in the Gray. He was the difference in us winning this race. Giving the Dough Boy the win. For me. Chris Rogers went out of his career a winner. He deserves to be remembered as the greatest Canadian jockey of all time.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Class Honours

The next horse I will profile from the Sheldon Wolfe racing stable is Class Honours. This handsome son of Outting Class was very well named. My father said that it was easy to devise the colt's name. When my father was in school. He was not a scholar. The fact was that he never once ever achieved Class Honours. Now he finally had! Like most of the talented Wolfe runners. They were all products of the fall Keeneland yearling sales. Class Honours was purchased in the fall of 1972. He was a handsome tall bay, with a very kind and gentleman like personality. But he was all race horse! He didn't make the races as a two year old. He was big and awkward, and suffered from legs problems during his 2 year old campaign. So the decision was made to castrate him and give him the rest of his two year old year off. This would give him the time to strengthen and mature for his 3 year old campaign. Class Honours became a gelding. Not because of bad attitude or poor personality. It was to try and reduce his body mass. Which in turn would take some pressure off his fragile legs? As a three year old he trained a lot better and his front legs were much improved compared to his two year old year season. Class Honours was starting to train like a good horse. If a horse has it. It doesn't take long for the good signs to come to the surface. These are; desire, intelligence, speed and courage. Class Honours had started to show all of these attributes. One special quality that I remember well from this talented racehorse was his stride. From an awkward, and gangly two year old. He had now developed this graceful stride when he was running that make owners and trainers dream of having a champion. May 1, 1974 was to be Class Honours debut. Would he prove to be the second high profile Wolfe runner. Or would he be just a morning glory. This is racetrack slang for a practice superstar. The horse that performs like a champ in the morning workouts. But is a total bust in the races in the afternoon. When the gate opened for Class Honours first race. We had our answer in a hurry. He broke a little slowly. This is a common mistake for a first time starter. Bill McMahon let him settle into his glorious stride. Then it was time to go! The race was only 6 1/2 furlongs and there was no time to waste. When Bill asked Class Honours to run. It was a beautiful site for the Wolfe family to behold. Class Honours in no time had already made the lead and was ready to improve his position. It was a most impressive debut as he glided home to an easy 5 1/2 length win. Bill McMahon did not have to work very hard for this win. He was able to enjoy the lovely scenery in the infield at the Ft. Erie racetrack. I have posted the picture of his first win. It was a very special moment.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The "Bull" Big Wins!

Hopenscope best racing year was his 3 year old year. He won 5 impressive races. With his final win coming in his only stakes win. Hopenscope won the Fairbanks stakes race. Run at Greenwood race track on November 17, 1973. I will now describe 4 of these wins in detail.

We are going to jump to June 22, 1973. Which is my Mothers birthday. It was the Wolfe Racing Stable first journey in the U.S.A., and not the last. We were at Rockingham Park located in Salem, New Hampshire. My father shipped us and the horses there. Because he was declined his stall request for the summer Woodbine meet, and was vanquished to be stabled at Greenwood. He was so disappointed that he never received stalls at the meet. After all Hopenscope was now a stakes placed 3 year old, and very promising. That he decided to leave. Our first venture in the U.S. was good. However it is very hot in the U.S. in the summer. Much warmer then average Toronto temperature, at that time. We were very well treated by the Americans. This would be a constant for all of our U.S. visits. This race would be our first U.S. win. It was a 3 year old allowance race. The purse was only $4,000. I guess that was average money for an allowance purse, from that time. Hopenscope was training well there. The race track at Rockingham was a good one. The "Bull" hooked a tough competitor in a horse named "Fun to Dance". There connections were quite confident that they blow the Canadian invader off the race track. The best laid plans at the track don't always, go to plan. Fun to Dance was being ridden by wily veteran rider Tommy Barrow. Our jockey was also an excellent veteran rider. His name Tommy Sisum. Both jockeys were very knowledgeable how to steer there mounts into the winners circle. There Off! This race was like a match race from the start. Fun to Dance made the lead. But Hopenscope and his evil temper was right off him. Keeping the pressure on him. Now the pair were reaching the top of the stretch. Time to put up, or shut up. T. Sisum asked the Bull for his big finish. No luck, he could not get pass Fun to Dance. Now the pair had reached the 1/8 pole and the Bull was still a neck behind Fun to Dance and he was running out of ground. Tommy Sisum and Hopenscope weren't beat yet. In the final strides and right before the finish line. The pair made one last attack on Fun to Dance. Finally Fun to Dance could take no more abuse from the Bull. He was beat, and our Hopenscope was the winner of this viscous street fight. Wow, what a classic race! The Wolfe family was thrilled! We looked at the timer that clocked off the race. It read; 1:09 3/5! Wow! What a fast time for 6 furlongs. Any time better then 1:11 is very good time for Thoroughbreds to run six furlongs. Any time they can break 1:10, it is extraordinary. This win was a great accomplishment, and an excellent birthday present to my Mother, Charlotte. It proved to be the second fastest 6 furlong time to be run at the meet. However there was a price. Hopenscope came out of this great race exhausted. When he ran back in the stakes race. Where he finished 4th. He came out of that race when a slight knee injury. He required a short lay off, and was prepared for the Woodbine fall meet.

Now to my all time favorite Hopenscope win. It took place back at Woodbine on October 8th, 1973. The Bull's career to this point had all been sprint races. Trying to take advantage of his natural speed. Now my Dad was going in a different direction with Hopenscope. He was entered in a mile allowance race on the inner grass course. The field was originally 5 horses. But had been reduced to 4, because of 1 late scratch. Enter Gary Melanson. Gary was an up and coming apprentice rider at Woodbine. He was originally from Moncton, New Brunswick. And was the contract apprentice rider for Conn Smythe. Gary Melanson was a great finesse rider. He had excellent communication skills with the horses he would ride. Also he had a pair of very soft hands on a horse. Meaning he had the ability to get horses to relax during the running of a race. If the horses won't relax and learn how to rate. They won't make very successful race horses. Gary Melanson style of riding suited horses that enjoyed running off the pace. Gary had been on Hopenscope in two previous races. He finished 3rd with the Bull in Stakes race at Ft. Erie during the spring meet. Also he finished 5th in a 7 furlong allowance race against older horses and only got beaten 4 lengths. That race took place on September 16th, and was a very good race for him. Gary Melanson suited Hopenscope like a glove on a hand. There's more good race track lingo. Gary loved Hopenscope and believed in this horse’s ability and was always very excited to have the chance to ride our Bull. I'm sure if you asked Gary Melanson today who his favorite two horses that he ever rode were. He would answer; Connie Pat, and Hopenscope. Now back to the race. A four horse field can be tricky to ride. My Dad's instruction in the paddock was; get Hopenscope to relax and save him for one big run, from the 3/8 pole. Gary and the Bull were both ready. There Off! The Bull broke right to the lead. Now Gary Melanson started right away to execute the strategy. He began to get Hopenscope to relax and get off the bit, and save him for serious business later on in this race. The communication between these two was excellent. Hopenscope was listening to Gary and fell back to second, and then to 3rd place. By the time this talented and small field reached the 3/8 pole. Hopenscope had dropped back to last place. He was about 8 lengths from the leader Lady Shooter. Now everyone in the crowd that day. Were probably sure that there prediction was right. That Hopenscope couldn't get the mile distance, and would finish 4th in last place. Everyone accept Gary and the Bull. Now here is some more good race track lingo. Gary Melanson was ready now to draw his gun from his holster, and pull the trigger. It was time to make that electrifying Hopenscope charge. Ounce the Bull made his move. It was clear that he would win this race. The rail was wide open, and Gary took full advantage of that. The 8 lengths disadvantage disappeared by the time they reached the 1/8 pole. Now it was just a matter how far the Bull was going to win by. Final margin of victory was 1 1/2 lengths going away. He paid off at 8 to 1, to his loyal backers, in a 4 horse field. Hopenscope proved to be a better racehorse on the grass. He proved in this race that distance was no problem for this versatile athlete. Hall of fame Trainer Lou Cavalaris said; "that Hopenscope was like having 5 good horses in your barn". "Because he would run on any surface, and any distance". That was a great complement. From an outstanding trainer.

The next Hopenscope win I will profile. Is his stakes win in the 1973 Fairbanks stakes race run at Greenwood. It sadly would be his only stakes win, and would be the biggest win of his career. After returning back from the summer campaign at Rockingham Park. Hopenscope had matured and come into his own. He proved beyond the shadow of any doubters. That he was a quality racehorse, and extremely versatile. The Bull was to be respected. His best performance in any given race could see him victorious. Defeating very difficult competition was always within his ability. In the prep race for the Fairbanks. My dad entered the Bull in a 7 furlong allowance race at Greenwood. The race ran with a 7 horse field. It was a strangely run race, because only 5 horses ended up finishing. Hopenscope finished second beaten ½ length by Hatchet Tiger. My Dad was very disappointed that Hopenscope did not win this race. He felt that the more experienced Doug Thomas who rode Hatchet Tiger. Had out finished Gary Melanson, on the Bull. Resulting in the second place finish. Hopenscope came out of the race in fine shape. So my father made the decision to run the Bull in the Fairbanks. It was a 1 mile and ¼ stakes event for 3 year olds. My father obtained the services of rider Bill McMahon. Bill had established himself on the Toronto circuit, after moving over from his native England, and was doing very well at the Greenwood meet. Entered in this race was the dynamic duo from the Jack Stafford stable. Royal Chocolate who had easily one the Queens Plate, and also Tara Road who was the Price of Wales winner. It was not going to be an easy race. The track conditions had come up muddy. Hopenscope had won in the mud. But could the Bull be effective at the 1 mile & ¼ distance, against this company. My father went right back to the original instructions. That worked well in winning the mile turf race. He told Bill McMahon, “let Hopenscope settle in to stride”, and save him for his big run from the 3/8’s pole, home. “There at the post, there off”. Was the opening call from Daryl Wells. The Bull broke very well from the gate. He was very well placed by Bill McMahon. He relaxed him beautifully in 3rd place. You could see that Bill had a ton of horse, when the field of 7 reached the 3/8the pole. Bill was now ready to ask Hopenscope for that huge run of his. When he asked. The Bull answered. Before you had the time to shout his name. Hopenscope had burst into the lead and had opened up a commanding 4 length advantage. Tara Road and Royal Chocolate were in hot pursuit. However there were now only competing for second and third money. This race was over! Our Hopenscope the pride of the Wolfe family had won the Fairbanks stakes! Giving my father and this brave and talented horse there first stake win! Hopenscope rewarded his loyal backers this day by paying $31. The winning exactor price was $84. Of note, we do have a rare 8mm film patrol movie of this race. When I learn how to do it. I will upload it, so it can be watched and enjoyed!

For the final Hopenscope win I will profile. We go back to the Ft. Erie racetrack. The date is April 16, 1975. The Bull is has now reached the age of maturity and is a fledged horse. He is coming off his four year old season where he failed to win a race. My father had taken Hopenscope to Santa Anita for the winter meet. It was a very ambitious move. Certainly Hopescope proved that he belonged at this prestigious race meet in California. The Bull did give an excellent account of himself. As he ran two terrific races during the 1974 Santa Anita meet. He finished 4th in an overnight handicap, only getting beat 1 length for the win, going a flat mile on the dirt. His jockey C.H. Marquez was forced to check the Bull turning for home. Or he would have had a California win on his record. He was 60 to one in that race. The other great race would see him again finish 4th in a 1 ¼ stakes race on the grass. The Bull only got beat 2 1/4 lenghts in that race. Also Hopenscope suffered an ankle injury during the meet. This did, with regret, created a setback in Hopenscope’s career. He spent most of 1974 recovering from injury. When he did get back to the races. He could not get back into the winner circle. Now the Bull is back training for his 1975 debut. Things are looking good. Hopenscope is back to his nasty and aggressive self. His injuries have heeled and he is traveling sound. His workouts are very good in preparation for his first 1975 race. The Bulls 1975 debut is an open allowance race going six furlongs. It is a very talented field. Which includes; Don’t Ask Me That, who was a top sprinter from the Sam Son Farm, and trained by Art Warner. He was wintered raced in Maryland and was enjoying good form. Also Dawes Road was entered. Dawes Road was a top local sprinter with a ton of speed. He had run impressively at the Greenwood spring meet. Hopenscope was totally disregarded by the betting public on this day. They were very worried that he had lost his Mojo. Because of his winless record from the 1974 campaign. Also he was meeting a salty group of sprinters who all had very good races already under there belts. However the public had forgotten that the Bull always ran very well when he was fresh. He seemed to always give his maximum performance. When making his first start of the year. Also they had forgotten. When the Bull ran his best race. He was liable to beat any horse. Gary Melanson was reunited with his favorite mount for this race. The odds on the tote board read 34 to one for our Hopenscope. The strategy remained the same. My Dad told Gary. "Let the Bull settle in to stride. Relax him for 3 furlongs. Then ask him for his big run, for the last 3 furlongs". “There at the post, there off!” This talented field was on there way. Dawes Road made the lead. The pace was hot. Our Hopenscope broke well. Gary as instructed, allowed him to relax. Lay off the lighting fast pace. Waiting for the 3/8’s pole. To ask the Bull the question. Did he still have it? To compete at this top level. When the leader Dawes Road reached the 3/8 pole. Hopenscope was laying about 7 lengths from him. However that was about to change. Gary Melanson had again pulled the trigger on Hopenscope. The results were excellent! The Bull’s lighting move was still there. He was now a serious contender in this race. When the field reached the 1/8 pole. Don’t Ask Me That, had made the lead. However there was a very mad Bull closing up to his outside. Don’t Ask Me That could not hold off Hopenscope. The Bull roared on to a ¾ of a length victory going away! The winning time for 6 furlongs was 1:10 3/5. Our Hopenscope was back! It was a very emotional win for the Wolfe family on this day and for the loyal supporters. That did not loose there faith in our star. Hopenscope paid $68 for a two dollar win ticket.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hopenscope "The Bull"

My Dad's training career began in 1972. The farm was sold. Also he sold his business as a general insurance agent, to pursue the love of his life. Having the chance to work with and train Thoroughbred race horses. In the spring of 1972 my father went to work at Woodbine for trainer and friend Glen Magnusson, at the Greenwood spring meet. My Dad thought that the experience working as a racing horse groom would serve him well. Also he wanted to scout out some horses to purchase to begin his training career. The story begins with a 3 furlong workout from the gate, of three of Glen Magnusson’s two years olds. One colt was owned by Tom Barker and his son Tom Jr. The colts name was "Two Toms". He was by Malicious out of a Saidam mare named "Gramps Girl" He was a liver chestnut and stood about 15.1 hands high. Which is boarder line small for a racehorse. Getting back to the workout. Two Toms got left leaving the gate and gave a big adventure to his competitors. But quickly that changed. For Two Toms was a natural racehorse and had talent. He won the workout easily by two lengths going away! My father quickly noticed something special in this son of Malicious. After watching that impressive performance he decided to try and purchase Two Toms from the Barkers. My Dad approached the Barkers and asked them. What were the plans for there 2 year old colt? They replied that they planed to ship him to the U.S. to race and would try and win a bet with him there. My Dad asked if they would consider to sell there colt because my Dad was interested to buy him. After some negotiations. Two Toms was purchased by my Dad for $9,500. My Dad's first equine athlete would prove to be a good one! First his name had to be changed. "Two Toms" held no meaning for my parents. My Dad came up with the name "Hopenscope". The colts father Malicious was by Helioscope. The hope came from. Hoping that his training career would get off the ground and be a success.

Nick names are very popular in the horse racing world. Both for the colorful and one of kind people who wind up working at the racetrack. Also for the horses themselves. If the horses are popular or unique. Chances are they will have a nick name or stable name. Hopenscope quickly was nick named "The Bull" by my father. Hopenscope was a man's man. He was tough with a capital "T", and also had a vicious mean streak running through him. This personality of his. Would work well for him during his racing career. Hopenscope was notorious for biting. This is typical behavior for a male horse. It's the way they show dominant, and earn respect. I think "The Bull" just enjoyed doing it. It was a test for my Dad to look after and groom him. If you were not careful you would be soon running for the first aid kit. In 1972 I was only 12 years old. I was just starting to gain an appreciation for the horses, and the Sport of Kings. As an enthusiastic young man I just loved Hopenscope. I was scared of him at that point in my life. And did not dare go near him. But thought that he was the next Man O' War for sure! Right from the start of my Dad's training career. It was in his opinion. Not to rush 2 year old's to the races. This is sadly true in racing. That a lot of young horses are damaged or ruined by inpatient owners and trainers in this very difficult business. Those who wait and give there horses the time, can be greatly rewarded down the strecth. The "Bull" made the first start of his career on July 27th, 1972 at Ft. Erie race track. My Dad acquired Sandy Hawley. Canada's premier jockey to ride him. I will do an entire post on my favorite jockeys. Later on this blog. Hopenscope trained very well for his, and my father's debut. The pressure was on my Dad. The starting gate still seemed to give the Bull some problems as he broke poorly from the gate. In doing so, he severely bruised a hip. Even in doing so, he still almost won the race. Finishing second, getting beat a neck as he drifted out badly, down the strength. I have included a rare photo of the finish of his first race. He returned to the races back at Woodbine on September 7th in a maiden allowance event. Again dandy Sandy Hawley rode the Bull. And again he broke very poorly from the gate. It took this very intelligent race horse awhile to figure out the starting gate. However he did circle and over power this field of thirteen 2 year olds, and win going away by 1 1/2 length. I have included the first win photo. It is a great picture of this talented race horse, and the young Wolfe Family. I'm (Donny W.) in the front, dressed in blue. Of note on the first win picture. R.J Rose is listed as the trainer. He was, an still remains a close family friend today. He saddled Hopenscope for my Dad in 1972. My father officially received his trainer licenced in 1973.

Woodglen Farm

My parents Charlotte and Sheldon W. Owned and operated Woodglen Farm back in the 1960's. I'm not sure how my Dad came up with that name. I will try and find out from him. The farm was located about 8 miles north of Major McKenzie Dr. on Jane St. in Maple, Ontario. If anybody asked me where my hometown is. My reply is Canada's wonderland, Maple, Ontario. I did have the pleasure of growing up on the farm. What better life can a person have then that. You do get very use to the peaceful and tranquil environment that country life provides. Also I was always surrounded by animals. We always had lots of dogs and cats, and horses running around. So I became very relaxed and familiar around animals. My parents started as breeders of thoroughbreds. The highlight of there breeding career was there first born. A colt by Clem, from there first broodmare. Her name was Esteemed. Her first son was called "Bow Shannon". He turned out to be a very good racehorse. He won many races. His biggest win, was winning the 1969 Jacques Cartier Stakes. Race horses have to be lucky during there careers. Any serious injury can have a very negative effect on the horses overall accomplishments. Because of an injury Bow Shannon never truly reached his true potential. But he was a very successful racehorse. Living on the farm was fantastic. However my parents couldn't really make the breeding part of the business in a profitable endeavor. So in 1971 Woodglen farm was sold, and we moved back to the city, to North York to be exact. And my father would start out on his journey as a Thoroughbred horse trainer. Which was the true love in life. My Dad named the farm Woodglen because of all the beautiful tress, that surrounded the very nice farm house that my parents had built. It was a very happy place to be!

There at the post! There Off!

As I young man I grew up very familiar with this phrase. It was the first words used by famous Woodbine race caller Daryl Wells, as a race began. I was born I believe with a hoof print on my heart. The love of all animals and the horse. I learned to love and respect these majestic and very proud animals very much. I was born into a horse racing family. My father Sheldon Wolfe had a 30 year career training Thoroughbred race horses, based at Woodbine in Toronto. I had the pleasure of working 13 years for my Dad. I was assistant trainer for 10 of those 13 years. I learned a lot. There was a lot of hard work. Lots of thrills, and some heartbreak. But the bottom line is that I had the chance to do something I enjoyed doing for 13 years out of my working life. And if you enjoy your work, it isn't work at all. During the course of this blog. I will share with the readers, the highlights of my time at the track. Also some sad memories that I did experience there. Also I will give praise and remembrance to my favorite horses I had the pleasure of working with. Also as a loyal horse racing fan. I will remember my all time favorite horses that I had the chance to watch race. The name of this blog "Keep Turning Left". Is racetrack jargon. When you walk the horses at the racetrack. You always walk them in a counter clockwise direction. That's why you always turning left. The meaning of this phrase is; nomatter what, you always keep going and never quit!

The writing or pictures from this blog can not be used without written permission, from the author of this blog.