Monday, December 26, 2011

Bull Myson- Speed and Class!



Next on my list to honor and remember is "Bull Myson". This classy speed horse. Was one of my all time favorite Wolfe runners! It was also very disappointing to me. That we did not win at least one stakes race with this quality racehorse. For Bull Myson was just a shade away from being a Grade 1 champion.
Bull Myson was owned by a syndicate. Which included; Mel and Garry Bennett, the Schmidt's from Buffalo, my mom and dad owned and piece. Also yours truly also owned a share of this quality racehorse.

My dad named Bull Myson. His name was derived from heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson. As my dad has always been a huge fight fan. Bull Myson was sired by European speed horse "Peterhof". Like most of the best horse that competed out of the Wolfe Barn. Bull Myson was very promising as a two year old. But was unraced at two. Bull Myson had a very laid back and stoic personality. Bull Myson was an intelligent gentleman. Who was a serious athlete, and was great to work with.

Bull Myson was wintered in Florida. And made his 3 year old lifetime debut at the Greenwood spring meet April 2, 1989. Bull Myson competed in a maiden $50,000 claiming race, at 4 1/2 furlongs. The Wolfe barn was taking lots of edge over the competition in this race.

When track announcer Dan Loiselle said "There Off" and the starting gate opened. Bull Myson hesitated slightly leaving the starting gate. However made the lead easily shortly after the start of this race. Irwin Driedger was riding Bull Myson. In the run down the backstretch Bull Myson had settled into his full stride. And was pulling away from the field without any urging from Irwin. Down the strength Bull Myson was running away to win his first start by 8 lengths. Gliding over the finish line in a quick :52 seconds flat! There were no claims in for our new star. What a fantastic debut!

That summer Bull Myson scored allowance wins at Woodbine on May 21 and on June 8. Also our speed star would finish 2nd in 4 graded stakes races. Making the lead in all of these races easily. Also in several of his races. He would dominate the pace breaking :44 seconds for the first 1/2 mile on 2 occasions. Only to falter in the final strides of the race to narrowly loose. That was very frustrating indeed.

The grind on a racehorse is severe. They have to work hard to achieve success in the racing business. Lots of gallops and lots of workouts. To prepare for the races. After Bull Myson 3 year old year. The great races he had run in 1990 had taken there toll. His front legs were now showing strain. Bull Myson would not win in his 4 year old campaign, and would be laid up after suffering an injury.

Bull Myson would make a successful comeback to the races in 1991. However when we had taken Bull Myson to compete at the summer Churchill Downs meet, 1991. The beginning of navicular disease was diagnosed. After a sub-par performance on the opening day of the Churchill Downs summer meet. Navicular disease is an inflammation or degeneration of the navicular bone and it surrounding tissues. It can cause pain or lameness in the front feet of the horse.
Lucky for us. We were now racing in Kentucky. Where anti-inflammatory medications is legal and widely used. Our veterinarian had started Bull Myson on medication. Sure enough. Our speedy star was back to training like the Bull Myson of old. I can remember sending Bull Myson out for a 1/2 workout. About 10 after he had been training on the anti-inflamitory drugs. Canjun star jockey Larry Melancon was riding Bull Myson in the workout. I watched Bull Myson glide by me and racetrack clocker with ease. His quick smooth stride looked perfect and he was full of run. Smoke was coming off of the racetarck. It wasn't dust. Bull Myson had breezed the 1/2 mile in 46.3 and galloped out the 5 furlongs in 59 seconds flat. The Bull was back! He was up to racing again, at his best! I was delighted!!!

Bull Myson made his second start at Churchill Downs on June 6, 1991. In a 6 furlong allowance race. With Larry Melancon as his pilot. Now the Kentucky race fans were
going to get a good look at the talent of a fine racehorse named "Bull Myson". The gate opened and the race was underway. As always Bull Myson sprang to the lead with a lighting quick start. Bull Myson controlled the pace in the run down the backstretch. With an opening quarter mile in 22 seconds, and the 1/2 in 45.4. Larry was just steering the Bull as the field turned for home. Bull Myson had a commanding 3 length lead with one furlong left to race. No stopping in this race as Bull Myson held on to win the 6 furlong dash in 1:10.4, by two lengths. Bull Myson had won this race on his great class and talent that he possessed.

Bull Myson was sold before the Churchill Downs summer meet had ended. It was sad to have him leave our barn. Talented and classy racehorses are very hard to find!

Now you can enjoy watching Bull Myson race.
His maiden win at Greenwood in 1989; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW53FThytyo
Bull Myson Wins at Churchill Downs; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CER_BLvqQU

The Mint Julep




Dance For Lucy went into 1990 in good shape. Before the 1990 racing season. The Schmidt's would purchase the 50% share of Dance For Lucy from the Argyrides Brothers. Even though Lucy had won the big race at Keeneland beating Darby Shuffle. Did not improve there confidence in the Sheldon Wolfe Racing Stable. The year 1990 would see Dance For Lucy win the first division of the Cardinal Stakes race. Run a Churchill Downs on November 18th, 1990. You can check out the post titled "Just By A Nose". Which goes into detail of that great memory.

The year 1991 would see Dance For Lucy win her second stakes race at Churchill Downs. Lucy would win the "The Mint Julep" stakes race on May 18, 1991.

At this point in Dance For Lucy's career. Lucy had developed into a very confident and talented racehorse. Lucy and I had grow and learned from each other. Just like a any successful relationship. We were had become united, and depended on each other.

During the winter of 1990. Again the decision was made to winter in the sunny American south. My father had made arrangements for stable space at Classic Mile Training Center located in Ocala, Florida.

Dance For Lucy trained brilliantly during her time at Classic Mile. Almost every night. I was me dreaming about all the big races Lucy was going to win during the 1991 season. Dance For Lucy made her 1991 debut at Gulfstream Park located in south Florida. We made the 4 hour ship down to run Dance For Lucy in an allowance race the following day. Everything went well. Dance For Lucy shipped well and looked great in the paddock prior to the race. Dave Penna was riding Dance For Lucy in this race. I was very confident Lucy would run a great race. The race started. Lucy broke very alerted and was pressing the pace in this 1 mile & 1/16 (on the main track) race. Dance For Lucy was still in a striking position 1/4 mile from finish line. However to my shock. Lucy tired badly in the run down the strength to finish out of the money. The good news was that Dance For Lucy came out of that race in excellent shape.

As the end of March came. It was time for us to ship north. That was fine for me and Dance For Lucy. I can remember Lucy and I impatiently waiting for her shipping van. To take Lucy back to the friendly confines of Keeneland Racecourse. Lucy and I could not get away fast enough form the building heat, humidity and flies. That is a normal part of Spring weather in north Florida.

After arriving at Keeneland. Again Dance For Lucy trained outstanding and looked fantastic. Lucy next start would be the "Jenny Wiley" stakes race. Run at 1 mile 1/16 on the Keeneland turf course. For this race. Lucy would be partnered with very talented jockey Larry Melanson. Like a long list of very talented U.S. jockeys Larry was originally from Lousianna, and had great track record of being a fierce competitor. Who was always at his best. In the big money races. I had become a huge fan of Larry. Enjoying to watch him ride and win!!! The betting crowd at Keeneland on this day. Had decided that Lucy had no chance competing in the Jenny Wiley. The odds on favorite to win was a mare named Foresta. This very talented race mare who had shipped into Keeneland from her home base in New York City. Was the best turf mare in New York in 1990. Foresta would be ridden by her regular jockey Angel Cordero Jr. One of the all time best jockeys of all time.

Dance For Lucy I remember was acting very high strung in the paddock prior to the
race. So when the gate opened and the race began. I just took a deep breath and hoped for a good race. Lucy was sent off at 30 to 1 odds for the Jenny Wiley. Again Dance For Lucy made the lead very easily. Larry Melanson got Lucy to relax beautifully racing on the lead. Coming to the 1/4 pole. When Foresta and other competitors made there move. Lucy was game on the lead and looked confident. It looked like another huge win for the Wolfe barn in the making. Foresta and Angel Cordero made there move to try and win the race. Again Dance For Lucy was doing everything she could to hold off the fast charging Foresta. Another close photo finish between Lucy and Foresta. The results came in. Foresta had beaten us by a very slim nose. But what an incredible effort by Dance For Lucy and Larry Melanson.

Dance for Lucy would run back in the "Bewitch" Stakes Race. Run at 1 1/8 on the Keeneland turf, 2 weeks later. Dance for Lucy would again break alertly and make the lead. However she would finish a faltering 5th in this race. Going off as second favorite. Lucy came out of the race well. So it was back to the drawing board. To get ready for the next race.

Now we had shipped to Churchill Downs for there summer meet. Dance For Lucy next race would be the 1 1/16 mile "Mint Julep" stakes race on the turf. Again Lucy would be piloted by Larry Melanson for this race. My dad was never a huge fan of giving the jockeys complex instructions. My dad's opinion was always. "Good jockeys don't need instructions, and bad jockeys can't follow them". My dad's opinion is correct! True story. Larry Melanson prior to this race asked my dad if he could have permission to try and rate Dance For Lucy, and bring her off the pace. Larry said he felt he could rate Lucy. To try and avoid getting her involved in a speed duel. Larry Melanson felt if he could get Lucy to relax off the pace. Dance For Lucy would win the Mint Julep! My dad gave Larry the green light!

The race began. Lucy broke alertly as always. This time Larry as planed tucked her in to 3rd place around the clubhouse turn. In the run down the back strength. Lucy was running very composed and listening to Larry's great strategy! Around the far turn Lucy had moved up into second position. At the 1/8 pole. It was time to put the final steps of Larry's plan into action. Larry Meleanson asked Lucy for her all. In no time. Lucy had surged to the lead, and was pulling away. When she cruised across the finish line 2 lengths in front. I was ecstatic!!! Our second stakes race win at Chruchill Downs. Also it was Lucy's 3rd stakes win her career. This was also a special moment that I will never forget!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dance For Lucy



To start this post I have to say "I Loved Lucy". Dance for Lucy will always be one of my favorite Wolfe runners!!!
It didn't start out that way. Here is my story.

When Dance For Lucy came into my horse racing life. Lucy was a large filly with lots of potential. But was also a very high strung, and unsure of herself. I did not look after Dance For Lucy. During her two year old year. That responsibility went to Charmaine W. Who is a very talented horse woman in her own right. That worked out well. Because Lucy and I did not enjoy good first impressions of each other.

Dance for Lucy was purchased by my father for Al and Marge Schmidt of Buffalo N.Y. and the Argyrides Brothers(Klitoes, Mike and Phil). Who operated the Racetrack Kitchen(Cafeteria) at Woodbine for years. Dance For Lucy received her name from Klitoes Argyrides' daughter Lucy.

My father Sheldon Wolfe purchased "Dance For Lucy" from the Keenland Fall Sales for $32,000 in 1988. Dance For Lucy was out of the excellent mare Fleet Courage . The only reason my dad was able to purchase Dance For Lucy for $32,000. Was the fact that she was sired by "Dance Bid". Who was not very popular in the horse racing community. Fleet Courage was an excellent race mare in her own right. Also all of the females from her side of the family were all successful producers of talented racehorses. Dance for Lucy had a highly successful 1/2 brother named "Iron Courage" who was the best turf horse racing in Chicago. When my Dad purchased Dance For Lucy in the fall of 1987.

Like always my father was very patient with Lucy. Dance For Lucy did not make her debut until October 1, 1988. It was an impressive debut! Lucy won her first race in professional style going to win by 1 & 1/2 lengths!

Dance For Lucy would come back for her second career start 18 days later and again score an impressive victory winning easily by 4 lengths. With Dave Penna in the saddle.

Lucy's final race as a two year old would take place at Greenwood on November 12, 1988. It would be her debut running in a stakes race. Again Dance For Lucy would complete the natural hat trick and remain undefeated. Winning the "Glorious Song" stakes race handily by 4 lengths. It now looked like the Sheldon Wolfe Racing Stable. Had found the world beater we had been dreaming about. The dream began when my Dad first attended horse racing at Dufferin Park back in the 1930's.

My father took Dance For Lucy to winter in Florida in 1988 to prepare Lucy for her promising 3 year old year racing season. However Lucy did not winter that well in Florida. Dance For Lucy made her 3 year old debut at Keeneland Race Course located in Lexington, Kentucky. It was disappointing race as Lucy not only suffered her first career loss. But Lucy also finished out of the money. Something wasn't right.

It was discovered when Dance For Lucy returned back to Woodbine. That she had developed a respiratory bleeding problem. This is a common problem in racehorses. When a racehorse is diagnosed with this problem. Medication can become the only solution. To allow the afflicted horses to race up to there potential. The diuretic drug Lasix is the treatment of choice. However at that time. Lasix was on the prohibited medication list for use at racetracks in Ontario.

Dance For Lucy races at Woodbine continued to be poor. The Argyrides brothers who owned 1/2 of Dance For Lucy. Had run out of patience with the Sheldon Wolfe racing Stable. The coach always has to take the blame when the athlete is not performing up to expectations. Also loyally on the racetrack, or in life in general can be non existent when things are not going well.

It was panic time to try anything. To try and get Lucy back to her talented form. We approached another Veterinarian working at Woodbine to treat Dance For Lucy with a drug called "Robinul" before her race in late September at Woodbine. The drug Robinul was used during human heart operations to prevent hemorrhage by the patient. It was not a diuretic. So the side effects were minimal. The vet agreed and treated Lucy with the Robinul. Dance For Lucy and our fortunes were going to reverse form. For Dance For Lucy ran a great race on the Robinul and just got beaten by a nose.

Our resident veterinary found out what had transpired, and complained to the stewards that we had treated Dance For Lucy with a prohibitive drug. There were not punitive actions taken against us or the Vet who had helped us. Since the racing comission were not testing for Robinul in the collected urine samples. The stewards just warned all of the veterinarians working at Woodbine not to treat anymore horses with Robinul prior to racing. It was now time for us to ship Dance For Lucy to a racetrack where she could legally run on anti bleeding medication. Back to Keeneland we would go.

The date was October 18, 1989. Dance For Lucy was back at Keeneland without winning a single race as a 3 year old. Lucy was coming off of a good second place finish in a 6 furlong race at Woodbine. Dance For Lucy was now running in a 1 mile & 1/16 allowance race at Keeneland on the turf. D. Wayne Lucas had one of his best 3 year old fillies in the race named Darby Shuffle. Who had finished 3rd in the Breeders Cup two year old filly race the previous year. Darby Shuffle was being ridden by hall of fame championship jockey Pat Day. My father had acquired the services of hall of fame jockey Jorge Velasquez to pilot Lucy. Who was also riding the fall Keeneland meet.

It was a very damp and cold fall day in Lexington, Kentucky. But I was now ready to enjoy one of my favorite moments in the horse racing game. Dance For Lucy broke alertly and was rated just off the pace, in the run down the backstretch. Lucy was running great and Jorge Velasquez had made the decisive decision to take away the inside from Darby Shuffle and Pat Day. Past the 3/8 pole from home. This 6 horse field had developed in a match race. Between our Lucy and Darby Shuffle. At this point magic was starting to happen before my eyes. Reaching the 1/4 pole. Pat Day tried to get Darby Shuffle to run by Dance For Lucy. Lucy had repelled the attack! At this point in the race. I knew Dance For Lucy had Darby Shuffle beat!!! And Lucy was going to win a huge race for us, at old Keeneland. Down the home stretch they went! A huge battle raged! Lucy was refusing to yield the lead! In the final 70 yards to the finish. Darby Shuffle and Pat Day made one final attempt to pass Lucy. Dance For Lucy was victorious by a head! The racing fans standing by me on that day. Must of thought I had completely lost my mind! My cheering for Lucy was so intense!!! That feeling of being in the winner's circle to cerebrate that great victory will never be lost!!!!!

From the Sheldon Wolfe Racing archives. You now have the chance to enjoy watching Dance For Lucy's fantastic race on You Tube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ytzfe8OMvso&feature=youtu.be

A special photo from Keeneland Racecourse in 1989. One of our best racehorses "Dance For Lucy" being led by her trainer. My dad Sheldon Wolfe. Being ridden by jockey Mary Doser.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Dave Borden Expereince


Here is your chance now. To watch one of my all time favorite moments. Working in the Thoroughbred Racing Business!
Jockey Dave Borden who was a former champion jockey at Thistledown Racetrack in Cleveland, Ohio. Who was competing on the tough New York City circuit. When my dad and the owners of Myrthful Mynx, Les and Dianne Lee. Flew Dave in to pilot there talented filly in this tough 6 furlong race. Dave Borden was the difference in guiding Mynx to victory in this race.
This was the best race Myrthful Mynx raced on the main track in her career. Sadly Dave Borden never got the chance to ride her on the turf. Where she was very prolific!

The date of the race was September 16, 1981. The link for the video is below;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZX4XDAR2nSw

For more details of how this race came to be. Please read the post of "Myrthful Mynx".

Monday, May 2, 2011

Burgandy Dancer



It is time to remember our classy and talented filly "Burgandy Dancer". It was the year 1987 and Burgandy Dancer would enjoy one of the best years. A Sheldon Wolfe runner would ever turn in. Like a lot of the successful horses my dad trained. Burgandy Dancer did not race as a two year old.
Veteran Woodbine jockey Lloyd Duffy would pilot Burgundy Dancer to win 6 out of her first 7 lifetime races, as a 3 year old. The fifth win would be her only state race win. As Burgandy won the Duchess States Race wearing down her opposition that day. In a very determined effort.

I can remember Burgandy Dancer being a very gentle and intelligent lady. Who was serious about becoming a successful racehorse. Burgundy was easy to take care of, and was pretty easy to train. A lot of the success of of the Sheldon Wolfe horses. Had to go to Edie Tarves. Who is in fact a very talented 3 day event rider. Who competed for Canada in the 1984 Summer Olympic games, held in Los Angles. Edie worked as our main excerise rider for 7 enjoyable years. I know Burgandy Dancer was one of Edie's favorite Wolfe runner's.

The two pictures I have posted of Burgandy Dancer. The top picture is her second win of her career in her second race. Lloyd Duffy sent Burgandy right to the lead. Burgandy Dance would lead and control the pace for the entire race. Ain't That Wicked would prevent a serious challenge with a 1/16 of a mile to the finish line. However Burgandy Dancer would rebuff that challenge and pull away to earn her second career win, and remain undefeated!

Picture number 2 represents Burgandy States Race in the "Duchess Stakes". The date was August 3rd, 1987. Burgandy Dancer would not have the best of racing luck in this race. As Burgandy Dancer would have to overcome and inside post position, and also Lloyd Duffy couldn't find the best position around the far turn. So Burgandy Dancer was forced to outrun her opposition from the outside. Burgandy won this race on her class, and desire. That of a Thoroughbred!

Burgandy sadly was injured in a turf stakes race. Later that year. As she was badly bumped during the running of that race. Burgandy was retired and sold to interest in Australia. To start a new successful career as a broodmare. Burgandy Dancer will always be fondly remembered as one of our best!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just By A Nose!!!




This post is dedicated to one of our most exiting days spent. Competing in the "Sport Of Kings". It took place at historic Churchill Downs on November 18th, 1990. After "Dance For Lucy" enjoyed a successful meet at Keeneland Recourse located in Lexington, Kentucky. The decision was made to try to win the Cardinal Stakes run a Churchill Downs.
Dance For Lucy continued to train and prepare well for the race. I was looking after Lucy as her groom and was also assistant trainer for my dad Sheldon Wolfe. I did my jobs and gave Dance For Lucy her chance to shine in the big league.
This race would be our first start at the historic Churchill Downs Racetrack. Dance for Lucy had drawn the outside post. The 10 position. So her start would be very important.
Dave Penna did his usual great job. Also "Dance For Lucy" gave an extraordinary effort to win the first division of the Cardinal Stakes Race. By a very slim nose!!! But that is all that was needed to produce this great victory. That will always be a lasting very fond memory.

You can watch the video of the race. Here is the link;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DYXiLyp1GI
Stay tuned for a full post on our gallant and very talented race mare "Dance For Lucy"
The first picture presented on this post. Was the original photo finish picture. That was purchased and framed by me, as a souvenir of this great victory. But sadly the picture had become damaged being exposed to direct sunlight, over time.
This rare picture was restored with expert work by "Harry Miller Images". They can be reached by phone; 416-300-5764 or by e-mail; harrymiller@ rogers.com

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Racing "Hall of Fame" Puzzle






This post is a story of pure nostalgia. Of course it concerns my life and my family. Being a part of a horse racing mad family. Also meant being a fan of the "Sport of Kings". This included being very interested in the history of the great equine stars of the past.

In 1970 my Dad purchased and brought home a "Springbok" jigsaw puzzle in the round. Featuring some of the great Thoroughbred Race Horses of all time. That have been inducted into the "Racing Hall of Fame". The artwork was done by artist Sam Savitt. Who selected his favorite 13 horses from the 55 racehorses that were in the "Hall of Fame" as of 1969.

When my dad brought the puzzle home. The family was excited and eager to put the jigsaw puzzle together. I can remember that it took awhile. But with help from all the family members. Plus my good friend Howard. We were successful in putting the puzzle together. It was a real team effort.

Sadly this nice piece of horse racing art was never framed or displayed. And over time and after a few moves. Our Horse Racing "Hall of Fame" puzzle was lost.

Being forever a hopeless romantic. I formed a desire to locate this puzzle. To finish it. And to keep it as a keepsake.

During the Summer of 2009 I found and purchased the puzzle on Ebay. It sat in my closet in my bedroom until last Saturday, March 5th. When I finally started to finalize a dream. The reconstruction went well. Saying that. On Sunday I was ready to give up. Thinking that there must be some pieces missing. That getting this puzzle mounted and frame wasn't going to happen!

Happily I was wrong. Last night I stayed up to 11 pm. As I started to find pieces. That I thought were missing for sure. Then when I got home from work today. The final pieces where inserted into place. With the final piece being into place at 3:50 PM.

Honored and featured on this puzzle are; Sysonby, Colin, Old Rosebud, Exterminator, Man O' War, Equipoise, Count Fleet, Citation, Tom Fool, Native Dancer, Swaps, Nashua, Kelso.

My dream come true is going to the framing shop on Friday.

The top picture is of the final part of the story. The 1969 Horse Racing "Hall of Fame" puzzle beautifully framed and hanging on a wall in our home.