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.