Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sagley "51 Wins"

Most working class people work hard there whole life. We survive but are never credited for our contribution or are worth. That is sadly the way our human society works.
The movie stars, the politicians, the music stars, star athletes and the business enterpriser's. Get all the credit and recognition for making our quality of life, rewarding.

Well just to let you know there was a small dark bay horse named "Sagely". Who didn't care he was just working class. For Sagley contribution to "The Sport Of Kings" was monumental!
Just by doing his job well. Also that fact that Sagley loved doing it. Contributed to him running in 124 races over his 15 year racing career.

This is copied from the Finger Lakes Racetrack "Hall Of Fame" page as Sagley was inducted into there "HOF" in 1996.

1970 Dk. b.c. by Sage and Sand - Four Crown
51 Wins in 124 Starts from ages 2 to 16
Career Earnings: $116,196

1983 - New Track Record at Finger Lakes - 1 mile 3/16 in 1:59:4

Racing the majority of his 15 year racing career against modest claiming competition, Sagely became one of the few thoroughbreds in racing history to post 50 career victories. At the tender age of 14, Sagely earned his 50th victory with an eight-length romp in the first race at Finger Lakes on November 10, 1984. He won 17 of 22 starts for trainer Bill Strange, who brought Sagely to Finger Lakes in 1975. From 1982 through his retirement in 1986, Sagely won 39 races at Finger Lakes - 26 times after turning 11 years old in 1981. From 1981 through 1984, he won at least six races each year. Sagely won all four starts in 1975, and was seven-for-seven in 1977. During a three-year stretch from 1975 through 1977, he finished no worse than second, while winning 12 of 14 starts. Sagely's longevity was matched by his courage and desire to compete.

I would enjoy to hear anybody who knew Sagley or was a fan of this classy and special Thoroughbred. I did enjoy the special privilege of attending Finger Lakes Racetrack and watch Sagley do what he enjoyed to do best. Win a horse race!

Secretariat "Big Red"

One of the treats of being a horse racing fan through the 1970s. That we were entertained with 3 triple crown winners. Secretariat who was affectionately know as "Big Red" was a very strong and handsome son of Bold Ruler out of the mare Somethingroyal by Princequillo. Was considered one of the most talented Thoroughbreds in Racing history. Yes and we got to enjoy his exciting career.

It was just fate that Big Reds' owner Penny Tweedy came up with Secretariat. As she won him in the flip of a coin deal with Owner Breeder Ogden Phipps. Secretariat who was honored with the same nickname as racing legend "Man o' War. Went to live up to that honor as Secretariat became the first U.S. Triple Crown Winner in 25 years, in 1973.

In winning the; Kentucky Derby, The Preakness, and the Belmont. Big Red completed the great accomplishment in amazing style as he set record times for winning the 3 races. The Kentucky Derby (1:59.4), The Preakness (1:53), and the Belmont (2:24). Which Secretariat won the Belmont by an unbelievable 31 lengths.

Secretariat was trained by Canadian Trainer Lucien Laurin. Big Reds' race record; 21 starts:16 wins-3 seconds- one third. Secretariat regular pilot was famous Canadian jockey Ron Turcotte.

Secretariat won 15 stake races;
Sanford Stakes (1972)
Hopeful Stakes (1972)
Futurity Stakes (1972)
Laurel Futurity (1972)
Garden State Futurity (1972)
Bay Shore Stakes (1973)
Gotham Stakes (1973)
Arlington Invitational (1973)
Marlboro Cup (1973)
Man o' War Stakes (1973)
Canadian International (1973)
American Classic Race wins:
Kentucky Derby (1973)
Preakness Stakes (1973)
Belmont Stakes (1973)

We Canadian Racing fans were given the chance of a lifetime. As Secretariat would make the final start of his illustrious career, at Woodbine. As Big Red would race and win the Canadian International Championship. I was at Woodbine for Secretariat final race. It was one of my special memories of being a horse racing fan!

Videos of Big Red
1973 Kentucky Derby
1973 Preakness
1973 Belmont
1973 Canadian International Championship

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Belle Geste

One of all time best Canadian Bred Thoroughbred runners of all time. Was great turf mare "Belle Geste". Truly a legend in Ontario Racing. And for good reason for Belle
Geste was a true grade one champion. It takes a rare and exceptional female to be able to compete on even terms with male horses. Especially in grade one company. Belle Geste was able to do and beat some very talented male horses. To win some very important races.

Belle Geste was owned by Beatrice and Bill Latimer of Toronto. Belle was trained by Carl Chapman and her regular jockey was Noel Turcotte. It was always a big deal when Belle Geste went to the starting gate for a race. Like any star performer. Belle Geste was exciting to watch race and seldom disappointed her fans.

One of Belle Geste greatest races was in the 1972 Canadian Championship. Back in the good old days. The Canadian Championship use to run at the distance of 1 5/8 miles on the turf, until 1986. As it now runs at the 1 1/2 distance on the turf. Belle Geste came very close to winning the most coveted race in Canada. Sure the Queens Plate is an important race. But the best horses always competed in the C.I.C. Droll Role with Hall Of Fame jockey Braulio Baeza were both all out to narrowly defeat Belle Geste to win the Canadian International Championship. The bleachers in the barn area were packed that fall day with fans. Elated with Belle Geste tremulous race. A race that great was a good as a win! What a tremendous athlete Belle Geste was!

Belle Geste was only an $11,000 yearling purchase. Belle Geste won 22 of her 41 races. With 8 victories coming in stake races. Belle Geste defeated Kennedy Road to win the Maturity States in 1972. Setting a track record in doing so. Stopping the clock in 2:01.2. Belle Geste was by "The Scoundrel-French Safari". Belle was a true champion racehorse.

Stiff Upper Lip

My dad's training career began in 1972. That is when my interest in professional sports and in horse racing. Started to hit it's best stride.

Two of my all time favorite racehorses. Were trained my Carl Chapman. Also ridden by Noel Turcotte. I have to start this section with "Stiff Upper Lip". Who made quite an impression on a young horse racing fan.

Claiming horses are an integral part of Thoroughbred Horse Racing. Without the working class race horses. There would be no sport at all. A lot of the claiming horses running on the Toronto circuit in the early 1970s. Were not running in the cheaper class races. Because of lack of ability to run. It was due to injuries that had demoted a lot of these talented racehorses into the claiming ranks.

There were a lot of claiming horses that I would become a fan of. During my fun time being and working around the racetrack. There was "Royal Data" owned and trained by Bobby Bruce. "Turk's Pet owned and trained by Alex Wick. "Strong And Able" one of the best racehorses Frank Paserro ever trained. Were all classy performers. Who contributed a lot to entertain us race fans in Toronto. And to keep us coming back for more!

Stiff Upper Lip was well named. This classy racehorse was sired by "Gallant Man" out of the mare "Cup Of Tea". He was a Maryland Bred. Raised by Legendary Horse Owner and Breeder Alfred Vanderbilt. On his famous "Sagamore Farm". It will be hard to determine how the "Garden City Stable" obtained "Stiff Upper Lip". Or my biggest question is. What was his racing record as a young racehorse? Was Stiff Upper Lip a stakes caliber horse? When he was a young racehorse.

By the time he was racing at Woodbine in 1972. Stiff Upper Lip was already a 6 year old. The first time I watch him race was June 28th 1972. He was entered in a $2500 claiming race which was reaching rock bottom. As far as the cheapest class a racehorse could compete on the Toronto Circuit. The rumor going around the barn area among the horseman was that Stiff Upper Lip was nursing serious tendon problems in his front legs. And that his racing career was nearing it's end.

There was a lot of interest for Stiff Upper Lip's race on June 28th. Would he be able to compete at all. Would he be able to finish the race. Without suffering a life threating injury. The starting gate opened after track announcer. The voice of Canadian Horse Racing shouted. "There At The Post, There Off". Stiff Upper Lip sprang out of the gate in fine style moving into a commanding lead. Jockey Noel Turcotte was just steering Stiff Upper Lip. As he lead all the way and cruised to an easy 7 & 1/2 length victory! It was evident that there was still some great races left in Stiff Upper Lips war torn legs.

Carl Chapman would run Stiff Upper Lip right back now moved up in class to compete in a $6000 claiming race. This race at 1 mile & 1/8. This race was a real race to remember as we got to see the true ability of this great and talented racehorse. For Stiff Upper Lip just toyed with his competitors in this race. Looking like the excellent racehorse he was. Increasing his lead running by ever pole. Running away from the field and winning by a stunning victory margin of 15 horse lengths! The old horse left a vapor trail running down the strength that day at Woodbine. Winning for fun and stopping the telemeter in an impressive 1:52. Wow! Watching this fine and courageous horse was a lot of fun. I was now a dedicated racing fan. Thanks to Stiff Upper Lip and all of his impressive front running wins! There were to be more wins to come that summer on the Ontario Racing Circuit.

I am trying to post a picture of Stiff Upper Lip. However it will be a challenge. I believed that Stiff Upper Lip was jockey Larry Attard first winner in his career. During the 1973 racing season. Owner trainer Jack Watson would be Stiff Upper Lip last trainer in his racing career. I did recently contact Larry. But in fact Stiff Upper Lip was Larry Attards' third victory in his career. Unfortunately Larry did not keep a win picture of Stiff Upper Lip for posting on this blog. I would like to thank friend and horse racing historian Don Burton for providing the Racing Form Past Performances of Stiff Upper Lip. Allowing me to bring all of these great memories from the past, back to life!

If anyone who reads this post and has a picture of Stiff Upper Lip. Please contact me. I would enjoy to post a picture of this very talented racehorse.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Part 2- My Favorite Racehorses

Now I will start part 2 of this blog. Where I will try and recount. From the perspective of a horse racing fan. Some of my all time favorite racehorses.

I was around the racetrack during a magical time in the history of the sport. The superstars, the charters and the one of kind equine stars. Which made the "Sport Of Kings". The most exciting spectator sport of them all. I was there. I lived it! I was witness and a fan of these great horses. Most of which will never be back again. It was a monumental time in the world of horse racing and of sports!

I will present these special equine racehorses in chronological order.

Who Jordan's Dad?

My last post in section one of my blog. Was a very happy memory for me. As it included one of my best days every gambling at the racetrack. It also represented the most money I ever won. Gambling on one of the horses racing from our barn.

Who Jordan's Dad was a very nice racehorse. That came into our barn. He was owned by one of our good American owners, Ingrid Parker from Florida.

Like a lot of horses that came into our barn. Who Jordan's Dad was tired, frustrated and unhappy living the life of a racehorse. It is not an easy life. The work is hard. Racing can be a very dangerous sport. To the competing equine athletes, and to there human counterparts. The stress level runs high on the horses and jockeys that compete at the track. Also the rewards can be minimal.

With some genuine tender loving care. This tall and lanky gelding started to train like a good horse. Who Jordan's Dad was ready to race and win again.

I remember that "Who Jordan's Dad" was touted as being a turf horse. However he had run some decent races on the main track as well.

We ran Who Jordan's Dad in an allowance race on the turf. Jockey Dave Penna rode Jordan in this race. The race came up tough. Who Jordan's Dad finished in the middle of the pack. But Jordan didn't get beat all that far. Also Dave Penna did not ride "Who Jordan Dad" all out as Dave was a smart rider.Dave never abused the horse. When Dave determined Who Jordan's Dad was not going to finish in the first 4.

Who Jordan's Dad would start back in a $25,000 claiming race at 1 mile & 1/16 on the main track. Ten days later. Oddly enough. Dave Penna did not ride Who Jordan's Dad in this much easier race. Dave instead decided to ride a horse named "Growing Empire". The replacement jockey would be are all time winiest rider, Irwin Driedger. I will be featuring Irwin Driedger. In my all time favorite rider section. To come!

The crowd in attendance that summer day at Woodbine totally ignored Who Jordan's Dad's chances of winning this race. As they sent Jordan off at odds of 22 to 1. I personally loved his chances. I was never a big gambler. But on this day. I made a huge wager for me. As I bet, $50 to win, and $50 to place on Jordan.

I wish I had the video of this race to post. Like always Irwin Driedger rode a very smart stalking race on "Who Jordan's Dad". Irwin hung to an inside trip. Made a huge move on Jordan when they reached the quarter pole. Made the lead which was kept in tact. Even a late determined bid by "Growing Empire" was turned away by Irwin and Who Jordan's Dad.

I was a very happy guy in the winner circle on this day. With those winning mutual tickets. Burning a hole in my pocket! Thanks to Irwin and Who's Jordan Dad for this great memory!

A great day at the track! Beats a good day anywhere else!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Princess On Ice

Part one of my horse racing blog is coming to it's end. I have two more horses to remember that were proud memories of the Sheldon Wolfe Racing Stable.

Hard trying, and run all day. Princess On Ice was the last good horse my father had in the Sheldon Wolfe Racing Stable, during his training career.

Princess On Ice was claimed by my dad for the Schmidt's. This very nice filly was the last good horse they also enjoyed in there horse racing career as owners. We enjoyed a lot of great times with the Schmidt's. They were excellent racehorse owners. Also they supported our stable quite a lot, and sent many other very good clients in our direction. Sadly all good things have to come to an end.

I can remember Princess On Ice being a very nice a well mannered filly. My dad contributed to Princess On Ice being a very successful racehorse. For the fact that she was not doing that well in sprint races, and struggling in the stable we claimed her from. My dad changed her running style and put her into route races. Which turned around her career. Princess On Ice won 4 races for the Sheldon Wolfe Stable. Two of the races were at 1 mile & 1/16. The other race was won at the 1 1/8 mile and at 1 mile & 1/4 distance.

I have included the wins Princess On Ice contributed to the fun we enjoyed. Competing in "The Sport Of Kings".

Saturday, July 28, 2012

"Hopenscope" Wins the Fairbank. That's No Bull!!!

Today I bring a special memory of the Sheldon Wolfe Family back to life. It will bring back so many great memories that were a part of our lives. That will live on!

Hopenscope was the first thoroughbred that my farther Sheldon Wolfe trained. In his 30 year horse training career. My dad purchased Hopenscope from Tom Barker senior and his son Tom in the spring of 1972. When Hopenscope was purchased. His racing name was "Two Toms". My farther just loved Hopenscope when he first laid his eyes on him. My dad was happy to give the Barker's a fair profit. To try and get his horse training career off to a good start.

My dad changed his two year old colt's name to Hopenscope from Two Toms. As my dad Hoped that the two year old son of "Malicious" out of the mare "Gramps Girl". Would create a Scope of great things to come in our future.

Hopenscope was not only a very talented racehorse. The "Bull" which was his nickname. Because of a very pugnacious and mean personality. Proved to be very versatile. As the Bull during his 3 year old campaign of 1973. Won 5 races from 13 starts. Hopenscope won an allowance race stopping the clock in a very fast 1:09.3 for six furlongs. Wining an allowance race at Rockingham Park. Located in Salem New Hampshire.

He went on to win two more allowance races at 1 mile and 1 1/16 miles on the turf courses at Woodbine. Not bad for a racehorse that was considered to be a speed horse only.

Going into the Fairbanks. Hopenscope had finished 2nd in a 7 furlong allowance race, at Greenwood. Beaten 1/2 a length by a talented nemesis named "Hatchet Tiger". For that reason. Hopenscope was considered a complete outsider. When my dad decided to run the Bull in the Fairbank. After all the 1973 Queen's Plate winner Royal Chocolate was running in the Fairbank. Also the powerful Stafford Farms would also start the "Price Of Wales" winner "Tara Road" in the Fairbanks Stakes Race. The Stafford Farms entry would be heavily favored to win the last big 3 year old race. Before the 1973 Toronto racing year came to an end.

My farther changed rider's for Hopenscope in the Fairbank. Veteran jockey Bill McMahon. Who had moved his career from England. To be a part of the Toronto Circuit. Would be Hopesncope's pilot in the Fairbank Stakes. Bill was enjoying a very successful Greenwood meet. My dad made the right call. To create this important and very exciting day. In his training career.

The track conditions came up muddy. Which was a big advantage for Royal Chocolate. Who just loved racing in wet and muddy conditions. My dad gave Bill McMahon his strategy for trying to win the Fairbank. Which were; just relax Hopenscope after the start of the race. Try and conserve the "Bull" the best that you can. Then ask him for a big run. In the last 3 furlongs of the race.

The 1973 Fairbabnk Stakes Race went to that exact plan. For Hopenscope was taken in hand and relaxed perfectly for Bill McMahon during the early parts of the Fairbank. The Bull laid in 3rd position for the first 7 furlongs of the race. Then when Hopsnscope reached the 3 furlong marker from the finish line. Bill asked Hopenscope to run. And run he did. The Bull exploded by the two pace setter "Fallen Tear" and "Fabiusand" and opened up a commanding 4 length lead.

I remembering watching as a young boy. As our Bull had spirited to the lead. Would he maintain that lead? To prevent Royal Chocolate and Tara Road from catching him. It was a special moment! As the two stars from the Stafford Farms Stable. Were no match for our "Bull". On that chilly Fall Day at old Greenwood Racetrack.

The officially margin of victory was 3 1/2 lengths. After the thrill of winning his first Stakes Race as a trainer. My dad obtained the film patrol 8mm movie of the race. Also my farther purchased the audio of Daryl Wells call of the 1973 Fairbank.
I just recently had both the film of this race and the audio cassette tape. Digitized and turned into a DVD. So this exciting moment in our lives will never be forgotten or lost.

YouTube Link of the 1973 Fairbank Stakes Race.

I would like to thank Frank who works at John's Video for his great efforts. To keep our memories of this momentous occasion alive and well. John's Video is located at 636 Pape Ave. Toronto Phone #416-463-2674.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Northern Fleet "Miss Courage"

Now were up to remember another fine female Thoroughbred. Who represented the Sheldon Wolfe Stable oh so well!

It was at the fall 1994 Timonium two year old in training sale. Where my dad purchased a beautiful liver chestnut filly by Afeet named "Northern Fleet". She was very well bread and looked the part of a very good horse. There was only one problem. Northern Fleet had not raced as a two year old. Because of concern of soundness of her front legs. The rear legs of the horse. Helps to produce the power and rhythm of there stride. When they run. The front legs act as the shock absorbers. If the there front legs can't take the stress and pounding of racing. Then there career won't be very good. Or there career won't last for very long.

But my dad and the owners Carl Kujawa and Bill Brennon from Buffalo. Were willing to gamble and take the chance on her. So they brought Northern Fleet home to Canada. To prepare for her 3 year old year. With hope and enthusiasm.

However things were going well for Northern Fleet. As she tried to race at Woodbine. This talented and courageous filly. Was trying to compete and to win. But chronic pain in her front legs was becoming an issue. For Northern Fleet could not break her maiden, and win her first race.

The fall came and the decision was made to take Northern Fleet to race at the Fall Keeneland. Racing in Kentucky Northern Fleet could legally race on anti-pain medication. Racing in Kentucky Northern Fleet would have a chance to run, pain free.

On October 19 at beautiful Keeneland Race Course. Northern Fleet started in a maiden allowance race. The distance was 7 furlongs and 184 feet. Northern Fleet would draw the outside post position in the field of 12, and would be piloted by top Kentucky based veteran rider Charlie Woods Jr.

The gate opened and Northern Fleet flew out of the gate full of run, and wanting to run, very badly.
Down the back stretch. Charlie and Northern Fleet were cruising on the lead, and in full control of the race. Yes a few of the fillies tried to match stride with Northern Fleet. But it was useless. Northern Fleet Kentucky Debut was an easy 2 1/2 length victory! Charlie came back to the winners circle and told my dad that Northern Fleet had won the race easily! And that she was a very talented racehorse. Kentucky to the rescue again!

Win number 2 would take place at Turfway Park on the night of December 8th. The distance was 6 1/2 furlongs and Northern Fleet was ridden by Cleveland champion jockey Jason Lumpkins.
Jason who was a very talented rider. Showed his true talent is guiding Northern Fleet to a powerful come behind 3 length victory. Jason and Northern Fleet broke from the difficult 1 post position. Jason Lumpkins just let Northern Fleet settle into her stride. When Northern Fleet found it. The race was all hers' and she ran by her opposition. Making them look inferior. Northern Fleet was starting to show her true talent. They she could really run, and had class!

Win number 3 would also take place on the night of December 28th. This time Northern Fleet's pilot would be veteran Kenny Bourque. Also my dad would send out Northern Fleet to run in a 1 mile & 1/16 allowance race.
Northern Fleet ran another huge race. Proving that the two turn mile distance and the tougher competition was no problem. Northern Feet ended her short career with a determined head victory.

Sadly Northern Fleet never made it back to the races for her 4 year old year. But the the 3 wins she had for the Wolfe Stable in the fall and early winter of 1995. Will always give her a special place in the memory of my dad's training career. Northern Fleet had a lot of talent and heart. She just wasn't born with sound legs.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Real Irish Hope "Mary Queen of Arkansas"

I just had to do a post on Real Irish Hope. Not only was she one of the best memories I had working with the horses. Real Irish Hope was also one of the best sprinting mares in the history of Toronto Racing.

I can remember a lot of great things about Real Irish Hope. Class, Intelligence, Strength, Speed and Courage. Was all her attributes that made "Mary" a class and prolific equine athlete. Real Irish Hope was also very friendly and easy to work with.

Real Irish Hope owner Gerald Meyers. Sent her to winter race. Before she would be retired to begin her next career as a broodmare. I would like to thank Mr. Meyers for giving us the chance to work with such a great thoroughbred. Even though Real Irish Hope was a six year old during the winter of 1993. Also considering all of the races and wins under her belt. Mary was as sound as a bell of brass. Mary's only physical problem was a bad hoof that was prone to quarter cracks. Sadly after the big win Mary won for us at Oaklawn. That bad hoof cracked again. Ending her excellent career.

Corinna who was working for the Sheldon Wolfe Stable that winter in Arkansas. Was responsible for giving Real Irish Hope her great barn nickname. Mary Queen of Arkansas. Which is also the title of a Bruce Springsteen song. Real Irish was very well like by everyone! For good reason. For Mary was the Queen of every racetrack that she raced!

video of Bruce Springteen singing "Mary Queen of Arkansas"

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Kentuckey Derby 1993

Now it is time to remember when "Truth Of It All" raced in the 1993 Kentucky Derby! I have to admit I had mixed emotions of Dennis competing in the Derby. Certainly our champion deserved to compete in the race. However Truth Of It All was nowhere near top condition. And really should of not run in the race. This is the story.

For most people who get involved in the thoroughbred horse racing business. They dream of being part of a great racehorse's career. Going along for the exciting ride. Sure the money your earn is great. But it is those special monuments that give you the rush of adrenalin. When your horse has fought the great fight and wins the big race for you. I was a part of some of those precious and meaningful moments. That will never be lost by time.

After "Truth All Of It All" had won the 1992 Gray Stakes Race. Dennis was then voted the best two year old in Canada by winning the Sovereign Award. Now the dream of a lifetime was now within the reach of a small racing barn from Toronto. A chance to compete for one of horse racing greatest prizes. A shot to win the Kentucky Derby.

However Truth Of It All was starting to show signs of physical problems after his big win in the Gray Stakes Race. My father tried to run Dennis in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. This important two year old race. Was suppose to be a stepping stone. For the big race run on the first Saturday in May in 1993. However shipping into the friendly confines of Churchill Downs didn't help to solve Dennis' problems. Things were starting to go wrong for Truth Of It All. Because of soundness problems. Dennis did not start in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and was retired for the year.
The decision was then made to give Dennis a breather, and head south to the state of Arkansas. To winter and prepare Dennis for his 3 year old campaign at Oaklawn Park Racetrack.

Sadly things keep going poorly for the Sheldon Wolfe Racing Stable. After we had arrived at Oaklawn. For one thing. We did not do our homework. As the racetrack at Oaklawn Park had a bad reputation for being very hard. There by making it difficult for keeping horses sound. Also the racetrack at Oaklawn Park was also very favoring for speed, front running horses.
Dennis never felt at home at Oaklawn. Dennis missed his friend Stanley Spencer. Also the hard track made it very difficult for Dennis to train well. If a horse doesn't train well. Then they will not race well. Simple as that.

Truth Of It All's sire Proud Truth. Was also a very talented horse. But who also had a reputation for having serious physical problems. Proud Truth only made 21 stats in his career. But won 10 of those races. Including the 1985 Breeders Cup Classic. Winning the race by making a gallant charge through the final 1/4 mile of the race to defeat Chief's Crown and Gate Dancer. Jorge Velásquez was the regular rider on Proud Truth.

Dennis' best race during the Oaklawn meet was a 2nd place finish in an allowance race. Making a big move in the final 1/8 of a mile. Under the urging of Calvin Borel. However Dennis did not start in the Arkansas Derby. We departed Okalawn Park with the bitter taste of defeat in our month. Only a great effort from "Real Irish Hope". Who the Wolfe Barn had the pleasure to take down south during the winter of 1993. Would give us are only win at the Oaklawn meet. Jorge Velásquez rode "Mary Queen of Arkansas" to a winning time of 1:10.1 for six furlongs.

After we shipped out of Arkansas. We retreated back to Churchill Downs. With Truth Of It All's 3 year old racing year in question. Dennis did start to train better, after arriving back in Kentucky. However Dennis' winter preparation had gone so wrong. For us to have any chance to do well in The Kentucky Derby. Dennis did start in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. "Truth Of It All" did finish a strong closing 3rd in the Lexington. Ridden by Jorge Velásquez. Dennis came out of the Lexington Sound. However I felt my father and the owners. The Schmidt's should have made the correct decision of not to run in the Kentucky Derby. After "All". My dad always went with the physiology. If you get a really nice racehorse. If you look after the horse. The horse will look after you! We did not do a very good job of looking after Dennis in his 3 year old year.

The decision was made to Run Dennis in the Derby. I have to admit it was a bitter, sweat experience. It was a proud moment. When I was in attendance at the draw for post position. Which was held at the Kentucky Derby Museum. It was like I was in a dream. But it wasn't a dream! It was also a lot of fun to experience all of the parties and actives prior to the Kentucky Derby. It was enjoyable to be treated like a celebrity. As the media converges on Louisville. Prior to the first Saturday in May. But I always believed in Sandy Hawley's ethic. Sandy never cared. If he was riding in a $2,500 claiming race or the Derby. Every race was important to him. Every race he rode in. He tried to win! That's what made Sandy a champion. We were just running to say that we ran in this important race. That really did mean much to me. Because I knew we were running Dennis with no chance to win the race.

Truth Of It All proved when he ran in the Kentucky Derby. What a great horse he was. We ran Dennis only at 60% of himself. Still he acted so well. So classy and intelligent a horse he was. When I had the privilege of leading "Truth Of It All" over to run in the Derby. He did feel confident and proud to be running in the the big race. I knew that he knew. That is the special bond people have and enjoy with other animals. The crowd for the race was huge! Dennis acted so well, and handed all the pressure of being in the race, with class!

It was a packed field of 20 horses that started in 1993 Kentucky Derby. Hall of fame jockey Jorge Velásquez rode Dennis in the Derby. Truth Of It All had a good trip. Dennis ran an even race. But could not muster a rally. To become a factor in the race. Dennis finished 10th, and was beaten about 14 lengths by the winner Sea Hero. Wild Gale who Dennis had soundly beaten in the Gray Stakes at Woodbine. Finished 3rd only beaten 2 lengths by Sea Hero.

I wish that we would of given Dennis a better chance of competing in the Kentucky Derby. Maybe if we would of taken "Truth Of It All" to the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Or just spent the winter in Kentucky. Dennis would have been in much better shape. Going into the "Run For The Roses". It could of been a better outcome. For I will always believe that Truth Of It All was a better racehorse then Sea Hero. But the racetrack is a very unforgiving place. When you make a bad mistake. It really costs you. By running Dennis in the Kentucky Derby. We almost wiped out his entire 3 year old year. The only race Dennis won was the prep for the Ohio Derby. The rest of Dennis' career was negatively effected by his Derby start.

The posted pictures are. A Derby Day street sign. I brought home as a souvenir. Dennis' Kentucky Derby Saddle Cloth and Webbing. Also a 1993 Derby Mint Julep Glass
The bottom 4 pictures are from Kentucky Derby Day, 1993.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Truth Of It All- "Dennis The Menace"

Now I have made it to this point into this blog. To review and remember. 1992 Sovereign award winning two old Canadian Champion "Truth Of It All".

I can easily say that "Truth Of It All". Was the best horse my father ever trained in his 30 year career. But I can't help but remember how talented and special "Ontario Princess and "Captain Sunburst" both were. These two classy and talented Thoroughbreds may have easily made the Sheldon Wolfe racing stable and institution in Canadian Racing. If both horses could have survived a 30 race career.

Truth Of It All was purchased by my dad at the Kentucky Keeneland yearling sales in 1991. This proud son of "Proud Truth" cost Alexander and his wife Marjorie Schmidt of Buffalo, N.Y. only $14,000. Truth Of It All was out of the mare "Cup Of Honey" and was bred by Hurstland Farms. My father gave "Truth Of It All" his very unique and fitting name.

After Truth of It All came north to Canada. To begin his racing career. Truth Of It All was send to winter and to be broken at Kinghaven Farm located in King City. Located just north of where Woodbine Racetrack is located. Shortly after the staff at Kinghaven started to break the chestnut son of Proud Truth to saddle. The farm manger called my dad. Complaining that the Proud Truth colt was too high spirited and difficult to manage. That they were worried about him injuring himself, and recommended that he be gelded right away. My dad agreed for Truth Of It All to be castrated. This was the only time my father allowed a yearling colt to be gelded.

The 1992 racing year was a year of transition and rebuilding for the Sheldon Wolfe Stable. Dance For Lucy and Bull Myson were retired and gone from our racing operation. Also very talented exercise rider Edie Tarves had now left racing to pursue her love of 3 day event competition full time. We were looking for a new star to try again to made a success of a struggling family business. In the very competitive and tough horse racing game.

Veteran jockey Stanley Spencer. Who had been trying hard to break into the Toronto circuit. Was also struggling himself. Stanley who had enjoyed a very reputable career riding in Chicago. Had started to do some exercise riding work for our stable. Stanley always had a reputation of being able to work with and ride. Horses with mental quirks. But had the ability to run!
I have to say that it was good luck for the Wolfe Barn that Stanley started to gallop "Truth Of It All" for us. Stanley liked our Proud Truth gelding right away. For the gelding didn't do much to slow down Truth Of It All's spirit and enthusiasm. It was Stanley Spencer that almost right away. Gave Truth Of It All his stable nickname of "Dennis The Menace". Or just Dennis. As almost everyone that came to be in contact with him. Would call "Truth Of It All".

Not before very long. Stanley had Dennis training like a good horse. Truth Of It All was now starting to show that he had the ability to race, and put together a exciting career.

Dennis workouts were good, and his debut would take place on a a sunny July 14th at Woodbine. Just like Bull Myson. Truth Of It All racing debut would take place in a maiden $40,000 claiming race. Stanley Spencer did ask my father if he could also have the chance to ride Dennis in the races. As Stanley Spencer had done such great work with in him. To prepare him to race. Even though it would of been a good decision to also let Stanley pilot Dennis in his races. Dave Penna would get the job. Dave Penna was one of the premiere jockeys at Woodbine during his racing career.

Dennis drew the 12 post position for his maiden debut. The distance was 5 1/2 furlongs. The race was now underway, and Truth Of It All had broke alertly. Dave Penna had allowed Dennis to find his best stride. And when he did. Dennis went about his business. Like a seasoned racehorse. That had already won 5 races. Down the backstretch. Dennis charged into contention. Put lots of pressure on the pace setters. Then when Dave Penna asked him to move. Truth Of It All flew by the rest of competitors with ease, and opened up that lead to a convincing 3 1/2 length official margin of victory. No claims were in for our new star. There was now a new sense of hope and optimism in the Wolfe barn, after this great debut.

Truth Of It All would make his second career start on August 15th at Woodbine. This time the distance of this allowance race would be 6 furlongs. No way Dennis was a speed horse. Or enjoyed racing in sprint races. As in this race. There would be a small field of quality speed horses for Dennis to take on. In the run down the backstretch. Dennis was struggling to keep pace. When the field of 7 reached the quarter mile marker. Dennis was still last. It looked like a hopeless proposition that Truth Of It All would win this race. In the final furlong of this race. Dennis would be in the center of the racetrack some 5 lengths still from the lead. Dave Penna would ask Dennis for a late rally. To the surprise of everyone in the stands at Woodbine that day. Dennis charged by all of his rivals to get up and win the race by a head. And remain undefeated! Dennis had shown he had the right stuff. That very good race horses possess. The ability of turning adversity into a exciting victory!

Truth Of It All's only defeat as a two year old would take place in a 7 furlong allowance race on August 29th at Woodbine. The race was originally scheduled for the turf. But was taken off the turf because of rain. Dave Penna would not ride Dennis in this race. Daniel David made a rare appearance riding a Sheldon Wolfe horse. The pace was extremely fast in this race. Dennis would rally to finish a good 3rd in this quickly contested race. Dennis came out of the race in good shape. Now it was time to let Truth Of It All run around two turns and over the distance of 1 mile.

His first start over the 1 mile distance would take place on September 27th at Woodbine. Dennis would train fantastic leading up to this race. Dave Penna would be reunited with our new rising star. I can remember that Dennis working 5 furlongs in 59.3. One week prior to this 1 mile & 70 yard race. Dennis was ready to Rock and Roll! The this race had began. Dennis was settled out of the gate, and relaxed perfectly going into the Club House turn. In the run down the backstretch Dennis loomed up on the outside, full of run and looking very confident. Just past the 3/8 pole. The field was bunching up. Dave Penna was sitting on lots of horse. And decided to make a convincing move. Dennis responded by soaring past this field with ease and opening up a convincing 4 1/2 length lead as they straightened away for the run to the finish line. Dennis actually got a little tried in the last 70 yards towards the end of the race. But still proved to be the best racehorse in the field of 9. Holding on to win by 3/4 of a length. This race was the prep for the upcoming Grey Stakes race. Dennis would now be considered one the major contenders for Canada's biggest and most prominent two year old race.

The Grey Stakes would be run on October 11, at Woodbine. The race would draw a field of 13 two years. Trying to prove who was the best two year old racing in Canada for 1992.
This race would prove to be a very exciting day in the history of the Sheldon Wolfe Racing Stable. Truth Of It All would be the second time we would start a two year in the Grey Stakes. We go back to 1976 and Do Lishus. When the "Do Boy and Champion Jockey Chris Rogers would team up. To win this race for us. In dramatic Style!

Dennis broke from the two post position with regular jockey Denna Penna in the irons. Truth Of It All would go off at odds of 4 to 1, as the second choice by the betting public. The race was now underway. Dennis broke well. However fell back from the start of the Grey and only had 1 horse beat going into the clubhouse turn. Down the backstretch the field of 13 went. The pace was quick and Dennis and Dave Penna were know picking up horses and speed as the race continued. When the front running reach the 3/8 of a mile marker. Dennis was still in 8th position on the inside and looking for a clear path. To contend and try and win the Grey. Dave Penna rode an exceptional race on Dennis. Dave was always at his best in the big money races. Coming to the 1/4 mile pole. Dave hand moved Dennis to the outside, and he now had a clear path and chance to win the Grey Stakes! Wild Gale had made the lead by the final furlong marker. But Truth Of It All had now found his best stride, and was full of run. I felt a feeling of total joy. As I watched Dennis run past Wild Gale, onto a 1 1/2 length victory!!!

What a great year it had been. My dad did a great job mapping out the training and the races for Truth Of It All. Also a lot of credit has to go to Stanley Spencer. Who did a brilliant job. In galloping Dennis and preparing him to be the very fine racehorse that he was. Dennis would also be voted best two year old in Canada in 1992, and win the Sovereign Award. Which was very well deserved. That is the Truth Of It All!!!

Here is the link on Youtube. Where you can enjoy watching Dennis' 4 wins. That earned him 1992 Two Year Old Champion of Canada.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Chis Rogers Last Stakes Win!

I wanted to include this excellent and rare picture of Do Lishus winning the Grey Stakes Race at Woodbine, September 25, 1976.
This exciting win was the second stakes race victory in my father's training career. Also sadly it was the last stakes win. In the great career of Chris Rogers. Chris lost his battle win cancer on October 29, 1976. At the age of 52.
It was a highlight of my horse racing career. To watch this exceptional jockey ply his trade. Chris Rogers will always be remembered as a great horseman, athlete and competitor.
For more information on this race. Review the post on Do Lishus. Also I will be doing a feature on Chris Rogers in my jockey section coming up on my blog.