Kentucky Derby Trail: It's Miller Time, Too

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Jennifer

That's interesting, Steve,  I had seen Miller's name mentioned but it always seemed like more of a formality.  I certainly didn't know what an active role he played with General Quarters.  Thank you for adding him to the story, as it seems really needed to be done.  And as is so often the case, I have learned something new from your column.   All the best to you, and enjoy the TC!

13 Apr 2009 11:50 AM
For Big Red

TO STEVE: I appreciate your thoughtfulness in giving Mark Miller the credit he deserves for his work with General Quarters. :)

13 Apr 2009 11:56 AM
Joe from Jersey

Will you be publishing daily updates on the training activities of the Derby coontenders?

13 Apr 2009 12:00 PM
Pat

Had wondered what the situation was with the change from Mark Miller. Seems like Mark did a lot of the grunt work and is now being treated as an afterthought. Maybe McCarthy should have been told to sleep in his car.

As has been said before; don't make the racing gods or even worse the Derby gods mad. Or don't tempt karma  

13 Apr 2009 12:08 PM
da3hoss

I'm glad you "retold" Miller's story...I remember him talking about McCarthy being the "best groom he's ever had"...I agree, just a mention of Mr. Miller's part would not have diminished Mr. McCarthy at all...it would enhance the story.

13 Apr 2009 12:09 PM
Jim Pettyjohn

Another piece of quality reporting from Steve "Now For The Rest of The Story" Haskins!!!

13 Apr 2009 12:34 PM
Justine

Tragic that Miller's been overlooked. I remember reading the joint story leading up to GQ's breakout performance in the Sam Davis. Really broke my heart reading about how much Miller loved him.

It still blows my mind how the rankings change with each prep week. I was so sure Mr. Hot Stuff wouldn't get in...apparently the cutoff's much lower than expected. It's quite a surprise.

13 Apr 2009 12:42 PM
Tim

It's called greed. Once McCarthy saw he had a Derby contender he kicked Miller to the curb. He won't win the Derby anyways so Miller should just try to move on. McCarthy will be the after thought after May 2.

13 Apr 2009 12:56 PM
Karen in Texas

Another thoughtful background story. That you share these personal glimpses gives us all more insight into the lives of the horses and their human connections, Steve.

13 Apr 2009 1:04 PM
mickey

miller should have been left as g q trainer, if the horse had any hope to run at top form in the derby ,mcCarhty will not have this horse in tpo form on derby day ....I suspect the bluegrass win was in part mostly from millers training.....the hosre will not hit the board.....and that will be millers fought.....don,t upset those derby GODS.

13 Apr 2009 1:20 PM
Barbara

Steve, great story on Miller.  Good for you for noting his contribution!

On Ark Derby horses going on, you left out Flying Private but you mention elsewhere he is on bubble?  I think Lukas will go and he should have enough earnings now.

Massone is not TC nominated?  So his earnings won't count in his favor if he is a late supplement? That would be a rather expensive Derby box.

13 Apr 2009 1:21 PM
LanceS

Question: How are ties in graded stakes earnings broken?  Currently Dunkirk and Charitable Man are tied for 18th & 19th, but it's at least conceivable that the Lexington, or the addition of some horse no one has heard of, could knock them down to 20th & 21st.  If so, who gets in (assuming both want to run)?

13 Apr 2009 1:21 PM
Karen2

Jim... I love your name for Steve.

Steve "Now for the rest of the story" Haskins.  How fitting!

13 Apr 2009 1:40 PM
Marc W

A feel story--win or lose-wish him well

Hope on the Derby coverage they don't make it too sugary.

On a another note-GQ- nice initials? Although, I don't really think he will win he is one of those horses that really belongs in the Derby. He and his connections deserves and earned a shot at greatness, unlike a number of others who should pass the entry box even though they have the earnings to get in.

13 Apr 2009 1:49 PM
slewed'em

I really hope McCarthy makes a point to publicy set the record straight and give Miller the accolades he deserves. If not, he has lost my sentiment for this fairy tale story. These are the stories that the ordinary public, who don't care for horse racing except for the derby, thrive off of. The media eats this up, so we don't need any negative drama on NBC come derby day. I can understand taking the horse back under his name, but give the guy the credit he deserves. Without Miller, the horse probably would still be an allowance horse. I'm a hometown Louisvillian and want to pull for the hometown guy and horse, but if he doesn't make a statement about Miller's work with the horse, go Quality Road!

13 Apr 2009 2:02 PM
Majella from Ireland

I love your articles. They are so thoughtful! It's sad that Miller was ignored by the media nad McCarthy himself.

13 Apr 2009 2:44 PM
lobieb

I will not blame it on alzheimer for McCarthy but should we call it the excitement of the Derby that he forgot the most important person in Miller.  I think he had better settle down to earth and give the credit where the credit is due on top of the best thank you for your help friend.  Wake up McCarthy and realize who got you there.

PS.  Steve have you heard any more about Pappi Chullo, it is like he has gone off the face of the earth since he was claimed.

13 Apr 2009 2:47 PM
Racetrack Rik

Great "Haaskin" story on Mark Miller's significant contribution to "GENERAL QUARTER'S" development [getting him to relax on the track] and excellent care drying out that "thrush" in his hooves.  McCarthy should have mentioned him when he won the "Blue Grass."  I saw the 58.2 work at Churchill Downs, but am kicking myself for not betting him.  I'll cover him in the Derby for sure!  He could upset.

13 Apr 2009 3:06 PM
Kat

lobieb - Papi Chullo has been sold to Jamaica to stand at stud.  Let's hope he is able to live a good life and die in peace. .  .

SweetNorthernSaint has also sifted down the ranks. . . .

13 Apr 2009 3:34 PM
Karen in Texas

lobieb---About a month ago there was a comment on Steve's blog (by Kat, I think) saying that Papi Chullo was standing at stud in Jamaica.

13 Apr 2009 3:34 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, everyone. I'm glad I was able to show the other side of the story. But I have to say, I just skimmed the surface. There's a lot more to it that I didn't feel comfortable writing about at this point. I wanted this to be just about Miller.

Joe, I will be doing daily updates, but I'm not going to start my columns until the Monday before the Derby. I wont be going as early as I used.

13 Apr 2009 3:39 PM
DONNA

Why is it that when people make it to the top they seem to forget how they got there? McCarthy, give Mark Miller the credit he so rightly deserves. Hopefully someday Mark will get a horse of him own better than G.Q. Beware the racing gods Mr. McCarthy you may have evoked their wrath and that does not bode well for winning a Derby.

13 Apr 2009 3:55 PM
Lesty

Steve, great article!

One note: I believe Massone is not triple crown nominated, so his graded earnings are irrelevent to derby discussion.

13 Apr 2009 4:03 PM
TerriV

Wonderful background info, Steve.  It just makes everything more personal to know who all has had a part in the formation of a Derby contender.  What do you think will happen with Mafaaz?  If they decide not to run him there should be a better chance for Dunkirk, Right?

13 Apr 2009 4:32 PM
Karen in Indiana

Glad to hear about Papi Chullo. I have him in my virtual stable and was worried because there were no workout reports.

General Quarters and Terrain - 2 Sky mesa's in the Derby! You know, General Quarters may actually have an advantage on some of the other high priced horses because he's had to earn respect the hard way and he's had a lot of experience getting where he is that the other horses haven't had.

13 Apr 2009 4:42 PM
Ray

Well, we have numerous story lines such as this one, but the one I am interested in figuring out is, Who will take the lead in the Derby.  This Derby is lacking the usual speed ball who doesn't belong, thus could someone steal it ala Winning Colors, War Emblem. I know at some point this topic will get addressed, until then I look forward to your future updates.

13 Apr 2009 5:15 PM
MikeG

What's the big uproar over McCarthy taking the horse back???  Horses get moved from one trainer to another all the time,  jockey's get replaced.  It's part of the game.   Steve - If there's more to the story as you indicated above "There's a lot more to it that I didn't feel comfortable writing about at this point." don't leave us hanging.  Can't wait for your Derby Week coverage of the workouts!

13 Apr 2009 5:46 PM
Caroline

As Mark's sister, I can attest to his inherent love of horses and work ethic. The horses in his care are treated as if they were his own. No one can take away the role he played in preparing General Quarters for these recent successes. It's a shame Tom's vision has been clouded. How sweet a story it could have been having two Louisvillians, and small horsemen at that, working towards a Derby winner. I'm glad you told the part of the story you could tell. At least the people who matter will now know that there is more to the story...

13 Apr 2009 5:47 PM
sophiekea

I remember when he won the and Mark got credit. I thought this teacher training him seemed a little off as I didnt remember that from before. I was going to cheer for the underdog in the Derby but now that I've read what really has gone on Its going to be hard to cheer for a man that has gotten egotistical and forgotten who helped train his horse to where he is. If I ever had a derby horse I would be thanking everyone from the first person who took me to the track to his grooms. This guy hasnt heard of Karma and its coming soon. Sad that a horse is in the middle of it as I'd love to see GQ win the big one. I hope for Mr. McCarthy's sake he wakes up and shares the spotlight with all that deserve it. Horses may go from trainer to trainer but never forget who got you where you are in life. Period!

13 Apr 2009 6:10 PM
MikeM

Let's see,thrush,unmanagable on the track ang god only knows what else... Sounds like McCarthy was doing a good job.

13 Apr 2009 6:41 PM
GunBow

Steve:

I assume from the article that McCarthy and Miller are at odds? Was it just that McCarthy forgot to acknowledge Miller to the media right after the Blue Grass, or has their relationship fallen off? If it was the former, perhaps it was just a temporary lapse. If it's the latter, that would be unfortunate.

13 Apr 2009 6:58 PM
pete

great article on general quarters. glad to see miller get some credit. while i realize it was mccarthys horse it was a no class move to do what he did and when he did it. he would never have made it where he is without mr. miller.as much as i would like a horse from tampa to win the derby i cant make myself root for this one.

13 Apr 2009 7:29 PM
David, Louisville KY.

Mark Miller was the best man  at my wedding. He is the best horseman I've ever known. He is a true horse whisperer if there ever was one. Hell, he sleeps with his damn horses sometimes if they're not right, never leaves the barn. He's a Louisville boy too and he deserves the credit.  David  Louisville  KY.

13 Apr 2009 7:44 PM
Bob S

The story on the Miller-McCarthy situation clearly shows why Steve is the best in-depth story teller on the Triple Crown Trail.  You'll see more pertinent information in his stories than you will from any of the other writers.  Can't wait to read his observations from Churchill Downs.

13 Apr 2009 7:53 PM
GunBow

Beyers for the Weekend Races:

General Quarters- 95

Papa Clem- 99

I cam away from this weekend impressed by General Quarters, Hold Me Back, and Papa Clem, although I have all of them rated below I Want Revenge, Quality Road, Pioneer of the Nile, Friesan Fire, and Dunkirk. Also, I give alot of respect to Old Fashioned, fighting bravely in the stretch when he likely already had a fracture to his right knee. Clearly, Old Fashioned was set to run a much better race than in the Rebel.

It's interesting that the two  horses to have been knocked off the Derby trail by injury, Old Fashioned and The Pamplemousse, were two of the most talented frontrunners of this crop. Without them, the Derby pace should be more tepid, something which should benefit a horse like Quality Road. Of course, Quality Road has a quarter crack of his own to deal with. Imagine the Derby pace if Quality Road was forced to miss the race?

I think General Quarters is a solid Derby contender. I like his versatility, tactical speed, and his ability to accelerate. His speed figures are below what it typically takes to win the Derby (107/108 Beyer), but his 102 Beyer for the Sam Davis is in the ballpark of the figures run by all of the other contenders except Quality Road, I Want Revenge, and Dunkirk. Additionally, the 95 Beyer he earned in winning the Blue Grass appears better if one acknowledges that synthetic Beyers run lower than dirt Beyers, per class level.

Hold me Back deserves alot of credit for running 2nd with such a slow pace. HMB has a ton of natural talent, and was making only his second start following a 4 month break. The Blue Grass was an ideal performance to have HMB ready to fire big on Derby day. The pace on May 2nd may not be as fast as in most Derbys, but it will be much better for his late run than was the Blue Grass. This is a big, long, gifted young horse with a huge future. However, his best might come in a few months, not in 3 weeks.

Papa Clem validated the talent of Pioneer of the Nile and, to a lesser extent, Firesan Fire (Papa Clem didnt run as well as capable in the Louisiana Derby, being disadvantaged by the wet tack and being on the lead. Additionally, he was shipped in to the Fair Grounds right before the race and never got to train over the surface).

The pace for the Arkansas Derby was odd, very fast early (46 first half), very slow middle (50 and 3  second half), and then average in the stretch, with a 12 and 2 final eighth. Similar to GQ, Papa Clem is a versatile horse with excellent tactical speed. However, Papa Clem has yet to demonstrate the quick acceleration and finishing kick that General Quarters has. If the Derby pace is, in fact, slow, Papa Clem will be a serious factor, as he should be one of the horses up front with Quality Road. The 99 Beyer for the Arkansas Derby is moderate, particularly for a dirt race; unlike I Want Revenge who is MUCH better on dirt than synthetics, Papa Clem appears about equal on both, with his top synthetic Beyer of 94 being about equal to his top dirt Beyer of 99 (When comparing synth and dirt Beyers, I typically add 5+ points to the synth Beyer). I believe Papa Clem will need to improve about 4 lengths if he is to win the Derby.

Did anyone else notice that Flying private lost 3-4 lengths on the second turn when the rapidly retreating Ziegfeld ran right back into him? I don't believe FP would have won the race, but the trouble likely cost him a chance for 3rd or 4th, and the lost earnings will likely keep him out of the Derby field.

Correctly, Steve wrote that Jojo' and Patena were negatively affected by the slow pace in the Blue Grass, as they were uncharacteristically placed near the front early and taken from their "comfort zone". However, the failures of Jojo' and Patena to adapt to different pace scenarios highlight just how special Pioneer of the Nile has been in his last two starts. In the Bob Lewis, with a solid early pace, Pioneer put in a brilliant stretch run to win the race. However, in the San Felipe and Santa Anita Derby, the pace was slow, causing Pioneer to drag Garret Gomez early, while taking himself out of his comfort zone. In both of the races, Pioneer was forced to adapt to a pace not to his liking, and ended up on the lead far earlier than planned. Still, Pioneer won both races without being fully challenged. Only very good horses can win 4 straight grade 1 and 2 races, and only very good horses can win stakes races when being asked to do something new or unusual. The failures of jojo' and Patena demonstrate just how special Pioneer has been. Chocolate Candy also deserves some props for his El Camino Real win, as he was forced to move much earlier than expected.

The same is true for I Want Revenge. If any other horse had lost while suffering the trouble IWR did in the Wood, that horse's backers would have been screaming from mountain top to mountain top about how the horse should be forgiven or excused. Look at Jojo' in the Flordia Derby(forced to check), Flying Private in the Arkansas Derby(checked), Giant Oak in the Risen Star, all of the also-rans in the Louisiana Derby(mud), Old Fashioned in the Rebel(pace), General Quarters in the Tampa Bay Derby(impeeded), etc.. Even good horses are unlikely to overcome trouble and win graded stakes races. I Want Revenge had more trouble in the Wood than any of the horses just listed, yet he still won, and did so under a hand ride while beating a proven graded stakes runner, West Side Bernie. WSB ran fast enough in the Wood (Beyer 101) to have won either the Illinois Derby or Arkansas Derby, yet was unable to defeat a horse that was as disadvantaged as IWR. Only outstanding horses can do what IWR did.  

13 Apr 2009 8:06 PM
Emily

I'm confused about what the severe offense is in this case.  That McCarty is not giving Miller proper credit?  The fact he took over training of the horse (which it appears he only relinquished because he could not relocate to FL due to illness) does not seem to be a reprehensible move in and of itself.

13 Apr 2009 8:31 PM
wendell

Thank you for your derby dozen  steve they along with Daily Racing form Bris Net helped me win a contest for two thousand dollars.You seem to be closer than most on your picks.

13 Apr 2009 8:49 PM
personalensign79

Me too Emily.  I realize maybe Mr. McCarthy in all of his excitement (and perhaps, age?) didn't mention Mark Miller in his post race interviews but it can't possibly be just that, people forget their wives and husbands when winning oscars for god's sake.  It isn't a big huge deal.  Now, if they had a disagreement or something and are not on the best of terms then well, that is their business.  

13 Apr 2009 9:24 PM
Karen2

Nice post Gunbow. I enjoyed it very much. I agree with your assessment of IWR. He had faced many adversity's and seems to over come them. He will be well prepared for whatever the Derby throws him. I like QR but feel he hasn't been battle tested. He may protest like BB did. He may simply want the easy road although that is pure speculation. As long as these horses stay healthy (quarter crack already with QR) we should see a good race with some good competition.

Steve, I posted this on another blog but thought I would ask you. Is this the first time TWO of your derby dozen horses are out with possible career ending injuries before they even hit the starting gate at churchhill downs? I just happen to be studying your derby dozen in the Bloodhorse magazine and it dawned on me #7 and #8 are both out. I just don't recall that happening in the past.

13 Apr 2009 9:24 PM
tjmars

Good for old Mack to get in that dig about the horse having thrush while under McCarthy's care - that's embarrassing as it is a preventable symptom of "Bad Grooming". Lets hope for General Quarters to have a "better trainer than a groom", as he runs for the roses.

13 Apr 2009 9:28 PM
The Swede of Norfolk

Steve: Interesting piece but noticeably absent is any comment from McCarthy. Did he decline to speak to you, or did you choose note call him?

13 Apr 2009 9:48 PM
Paula Higgins

Mr. Haskins, wonderful column. Mark Miller sounds like a wonderful human being, besides being a first rate horse man. Some people forget the people that got them to the top. It's not too late Mr. McCarthy, to set the record straight. I am begining to wonder who the class people in horse racing are. Any candidates anyone?

13 Apr 2009 10:06 PM
Matthew W

Steve sounds like the basketball equavilant of Pat Riley! But that horse is for real--DON'T underestimate him--The "Big Four" have not beaten such a strong field at two turns as Gen Quarters has! He was wide both turns and keen early--DON'T sell that guy short! Hold Me Back as well! I will include him as a contender--this is the kind of horse Kent LOVES to ride! The big Derby closer!

13 Apr 2009 10:23 PM
Coldfacts

Steve I posted some information about Summer Bird in your previous blog. I indicated that I would be including him in my exotic bets. The tri paid $500 plus dollars. It is my opinion that he ran the most impressive race over the week end. I know the debate will be on Papa Clem and General Quarter but I think this colt is better than both.

He entered a G2 race in his third start with only a maiden victory to his credit. He was 15-16 lengths last on a speed favoring. He caught up with the field at the top of the stretch and at that point the leader quickened away from him. Ordinary horses who engage reverse gear but Summer Bird instead kept closing. Old Fashioned had an uncontested lead and was only able beat Summer Bird by 3/4L. I am sure all the connections of all derby contenders are happy that this colt is sitting at 24 on the graded earnings list. It is highly unlikely that he will make it into the starting gates.

I Want Revenge sits a top your Derby Dozen. His performance in the Wood was hailed as sensational. He came from last in the Wood like Summer Bird in the AK Derby.

Steve, based on the information and statements below, do you believe if by some miracle Summer Bird’s graded earnings of  $100K gets him in, would he be a legitimate contender?

AK Derby   22.65, 46.19, 1:11.15, 1:36.75, 1:49.01

Wood         24.50, 48.13, 1:12.32, 1:37.36, 1:49.49

IWR - At no point trailed by 15-16 lengths; the Wood pace was significantly slower; he was not facing the winners of any graded races; he was making his eight start.

SS  - Trailed by 15-16 lengths ; he was facing graded stakes winners i.e. Win Willy & Old Fashioned. Graded placed Papa Clem, Poltergeist & Flying Private; significantly faster pace with former #1 ranked  graded winner on an uncontested lead; he was making his third start.

Based on the above, Summer Bird’s performance has to be ranked above IWR.  The tale of the tape tells no lies.

13 Apr 2009 11:14 PM
Keenelandcat

Knowing the full details regarding GQ's prep. & training in Florida-  it made listening to McCarthy basking in the limelight a bit hard to stomach.

13 Apr 2009 11:55 PM
ColetteMarie

Thank you, Mr. Haskin, for bringing attention to the fact that Mark Miller deserves a lot of credit for getting Gen. Quarters to where he is today. I was absolutely thrilled to see Gen. Quarters win the Blue Grass. Many people were & like me would love to see him win the Kentucky Derby. In the aftermath of what happened to Eight Belles last year & now the ugliness of the abuse & neglect of so many horses in upstate NY owned by a very rich, prominent owner/breeder, this is exactly the time for a good, pure story to show the general public that there is some good in racing. Many people do not follow racing all year & only watch the Triple Crown races. But, Mr. McCarthy is tarnishing & casting a cloud over the purity of the story of General Quarters. Why can't Mr. McCarthy share the spotlight with Mark Miller. There is certainly room for both of them. Mr. Miller deserves to be a part of the pageantry of the entire Derby experience. He's earned it. His presence as one of Gen. Quarters connections would add to the specialness of the story. Mr. Miller also deserves for this to bring his career to the next level. He has earned that right.

If Mr. McCarthy is reading this, I am asking you to do the right thing & include Mark Miller in this lead up to the Kentucky Derby. Give him the credit for all the hard work he put into Gen. Quarters all winter.

ColetteMarie

14 Apr 2009 1:29 AM
Steve Haskin

Let me reiterate, there is nothing inflammatory in the column regarding McCarthy. It is merely to give Miller the credit he's due. I never wrote in the opening that McCarthy didnt mention Miller. I wrote that there was no mention of him in those publications, period. That pertains to the story itself. All Miller said in essence was that it would have been nice if McCarthy had recognized his accomplishments. Had there been anything inflammatory written then McCarthy would have been given the opportunity to defend himself, but there wasn't. Not paying tribute to someone is not an offense, but merely something he chose not to do.

14 Apr 2009 3:07 AM
Greg J.

Coldfacts,

      I too believe "Summer Bird" ran the most impressive race over weekend, I had him on my Tri Box Ticket w/OF & PC, But His trainer (Tim Ice) said he will be pointed to the Belmont, He said he wished he had more experience, But he ran a great race to come in third, and came out of the race great...

14 Apr 2009 9:03 AM
Travis L

What's very interesting and maybe it's the rest of the story. But when Tom took GQ back, they then lost the Tampa Bay Derby. Think there was advice asked for from Tom to Steve on how to get him back in the winners circle????We'll it's glad to see people finally got aboard the General now. Thanks for no one listening to me, that got me 14-1.

14 Apr 2009 9:36 AM
Travis L

Sorry I ment Mark not (Steve) in my previous blog.

14 Apr 2009 9:47 AM
Ranagulzion

COLDFACTS: Keep on keping them honest.  Love your postings although I don't always agree with your conclusions.  Summer Bird looks like he would have a reasonable outsider's shot if he got into the field although, with Old Fashioned now joining The "Mousse" on the sidelines it is looking easier for Quality Road with each passing week.  Unlike what some people think he is not a one-dimensional runner but he'll have no complaints about the developing pace scenario of this year's Derby.  

14 Apr 2009 10:03 AM
concerned American

  My beef, ONE BIG "BOO" to 'ABC' and their television division! (THE WHY I personally HATE BIG CORPORATE AMERICA, where profit for the stock holders supposedly drives the product instead of appeasing the consumer.

  I grew up with ABC’s 'spanning the globe for sports excellence’ displayed on PUBLIC television and back then had some higher respect for that company that I do today. I for one also got interested in horse racing as a bettor and watched every race possible on TV ((which 'ABC' more than any other network)) broadcasted! Now with their acquisition of ESPN all the horse races have gone to cable pay TV subscriptions!  Well, I for one don't pay for but the simple cable package for reception purposes only, and can’t afford any more, along with my internet bill, and  the rest, etc., and etc., and there isn't one other race now on public television outside of and accept for hopefully the Triple Crown Majors? Thusly, they and their broadcasting decisions are also adding to the very decline and interest of American horse racing for “all” Americans in my eyes. I was no rich kid, but like others, I crowded in front of my TV on Derby Day. You didn't have to just be rich to enjoy the sport and it got this poor boy interested. How many Americans suffering in this economy where the last Republican regime stretched wider the economic strata of the rich vs. the poorer, leaving many poor farther and farther behind, only above the level of suffering, where now the likes of “ABC” continue to make it such that this is no longer an “all” America event, but an event for the upper middle class and the rich only!!

   Last year my neighbor who saw a prep of the Fla. Derby got interested in “Big Brown” and actually wagered on him through me. This year that same neighbor asked me who is competing because he stated that he “hasn’t seen a race on television”, and the industry lost another non uninformed potential fan.

   One can only wonder at why the numbers are continuing to slip away from this sport in general and why the proprietors of the industry are going bankrupt exclusive of the economy, where it isn't only the present economy, its making this sport so elite and foreign invested that in the future middle and poor Americans, the Americans in the mass strata, won't give a rats ass regarding whose competing, or who wins, or what the history of the sport was all about!! Then see who will be watching the races at all in the future?, only those who can afford to pay $200 for an overnight Hotel room already no doubt?... because it won't be 'Joe public American', not in the year 2025, because you'll have excluded him and his offspring and his like to the point they will find another hobby or another sport of interest and will never gain any respect for this sport!

  SO please, stop the restricting of this sport’s events on cable alone. You can’t have near as many viewers if you left it on public TV, where it would increase interest instead of restricting such even if you lose revenue in the PAY TV division, because interesting more Americans will only expand its display to the media that watches ADVERTISING PUBLIC TV,--and you’ll still be able to sell advertising!!!,--all while increasing public interest and thusly also expanding the horse racing industry in general. So, when this industry does go down or to the birds, maybe someone will wonder why they did not back in 2010 start thinking of selling the TV contracts for this sport exclusively to TV Companies that are willing to display this sport to the general American public on PUBLIC TV and not only the Triple Crown Races, but also the Preps and the rest and some good majority of the following other Graded races also on public television! There is plenty of time between weekly golf events, auto racing, baseball games, and basketball games, and etc., that are already still public ((much of which I don’t care about and don’t watch now myself personally)), where those other sports,--that are by the way still presently selling their sport to the public on such public media and massively and so much better,--AND all through PUBLIC non cable TV media, are reaching “all” Americans not restricting the cliental to payees only.  

  I watch football, SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL on PUBLIC television and am still interested in the sport and I HAVE NEVER WATCHED ONE FOOTBALL GAME ON PAY TV, thusly Monday night games in recent years. Yes, I loved MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL on ‘ABC’ in the past before they restricted it to pay-cable, ((wasn’t it America’s most watched program of all time WHEN on PUBLIC TV????)). So, now instead, I watch NBC advertising and Sunday Night Football and as one, ‘ABC’ has lost me all together!!  Again, NICE Strategy!

  So, please, push this issue through discussions, and get someone to address this issue, and please fix this aspect of the horse racing industry re Public TV, yes possibly with either ‘ABC’, or else with someone else, that is, thusly with some other network possibly sympathetic to this issue and willing to make a change for the industry and for rest of us, where again one might make American horse racing a sport for “all” Americans to watch and enjoy and to gain an interest in.

14 Apr 2009 10:17 AM
Larry Zap co-host race and sports radio

good article, Steve...the thing about thoroughbred racing is that their are many unsung people behind the scenes...the day these horses are brought into the world the care they receive can make or break them...the mental aspect of the thoroughbred makeup is so important and i'm sure that Mr. Miller made a difference....many times it's a groom  or a gallop person, but most of the time it's a team effort...being a bloodstock agent, i feel many times that how the horse was acquired matters more than anything...we have seen too many times that the good horses are usually the easy ones to train...you see many one hit wonders in this game because the horse makes the story...the people who put up the money do matter, the people that train do matter, but why a horse gets picked out in the first place makes the story for me...i read that Mr. McCarthy saw Sky Mesa run and knew he had to have one...there are two sides to every story and even the people involved sometimes lose sight on the truth...lets remember one thing...General Quarters is a nice horse and he really blossomed as a three year old...good horse!

14 Apr 2009 11:00 AM
Steve Haskin

For the record, I spoke to Tom McCarthy this morning, and he told a totally different side of the story. A lot of my column was based on previous stories in DRF, Louisville Courier-Journal quoting McCarthy, which basically said he was grooming and hot walking the horse and that they worked as a team, but he says that was taken out of context and he shouldnt have said it that way. He doesnt want to escalate the story, but said Miller's version was not the way it happened. Such is life on the backstretch. Just wanted to add this. So, regardless of what is the truth and what isnt, it's probably best to let them cancel each other out and let it die.

14 Apr 2009 12:52 PM
ColetteMarie

I understand what you are saying, Mr. Haskin. But, as excited as I have been about the story of General Quarters, this omission on the part of Mr. McCarthy casts a cloud over it. Now, I am left with...it's a great story, but... I know I am not the only one to feel this way. I have heard others say they were 100% behind seeing Gen. Quarters do well in the Derby & now this lack of giving Mark Miller his due leaves a bad taste in their mouths. All owners, trainers & jockeys live for the day they make it to the Kentucky Derby. Mr. McCarthy will be interviewed many times in the next few weeks. Every chance he gets, he should be giving credit to Mark Miller. Then, the publications would also be giving credit to Mark. General Quarters is Mr. McCarthy's swan song at age 75. He has already said he will retire when Gen. Quarters does. But, this could be a launch pad for Mark Miller's career & its a launch pad he fully deserves to be on. I get so frustrated. Why can't people just do the right thing? Mark should be at the post position ceremony, right alongside Mr. McCarthy. He should be part of the entourage in the paddock as Gen. Quarters is led to the track. He should be seen & interviewed as all connections of a Derby horse are.

I am heartbroken for Mark Miller & I am upset with Mr. McCarthy. I want to shake Mr. McCarthy & say, "Don't do this!" I am a nurse & work every Saturday. After Saturday's win in the Blue Grass, General Quarters became my Derby pick to win. I was so excited & on Sunday I changed my work schedule to be off on Derby Day.

Thank you, Mr. Haskin, for allowing me to vent. Maybe Mr. McCarthy will get wind of how I & others feel & do the right thing.

ColetteMarie  

14 Apr 2009 12:57 PM
Ranagulzion

STEVE: Every conflict always has three sides, YOUR SIDE, MY SIDE and THE TRUTH.  It is unfair not to take both sides of a story like this into account before reporting or sharing an influential opinion such as yours.

14 Apr 2009 1:33 PM
draynay

Coldfacts.... are you kidding me? Summer Bird vs. IWR....lol... just the fact that you are comparing them makes them both a toss for me no matter what.  Quality Road and Dunkirk are in a class by themselves all you have to do is find one more horse to get a piece and your done.  Chocolate Candy maybe and call it a day.  With Quality Road winning and Dunkirk picking up 2nd or 3rd. your work is done.  All this talk about obscure horses is fun I guess but when its time to put money down are you really going to bet one of them over Quality Road?  I think not.

14 Apr 2009 1:48 PM
Travis L

Hey Draynay

How about the General, make any money.

14 Apr 2009 2:56 PM
Cleone

Concerned American, big corporations (and small corporations and any other kind of business) don't HAVE any profits for their shareholders or owners if they don't keep their customers and consumers happy.  Instead, they're out of business.

If ABC thought more people would tune in to watch horse racing than they do to watch golf, auto racing, baseball games, etc., they'd be airing horse racing.  But apparently they believe they can attract more viewers through the events they do air.  They aren't going to show horse racing just because it would make you and me happy, if it's going to make twelve other people change the channel.  

I understand your point that it's a descending spiral - the major networks don't show much racing, so people don't watch it, so new people don't have an opportunity to become interested, so fewer people watch it... and maybe there's something that the powers that be in racing can do to get the spiral heading back up, I don't know.

I'm not rich, either, but some of my entertainment dollars are budgeted toward my cable package just so I get ESPN and can watch more racing.  I give up some other things in my life so I can afford this small luxury.  It's one of the free choices I have as an American.  

14 Apr 2009 2:58 PM
Ann

I had seen/heard Mark Miller mentioned at least twice as the trainer of General Quarters when he was in Florida. I think everyone including Mr. McCarthy thought he did a fine job with the horse during that time. We can see how Mark Miller fell in love with the horse and has an emotional attachment to him.

Your article also said Mark Miller needed another stall in Florida.

Lets cut Mr. McCarthy a little slack. He is a 76 yr. old man who spent the winter fighting cancer. He may not have said exactly the words Mark Miller wanted to hear when Mr. McCarthy took back his horse. But I am sure Mr. McCarthy is very grateful to Miller.

Be proud that you did such an excellent job for a sick friend and a good horse. Now cheer them on!

14 Apr 2009 3:36 PM
Larry Zap co-host race and sports radio

nice comments from Ann...i suffer from it, you suffer from it, hey we all suffer from it...what is it?

lets just say "it" is a sense of accomplishment, or being right, a job well done...the biggest reasons that "it" matters is that we spend a lifetime being humbled especially in the great game of thoroughbred horse racing...it's like that commercial when the kid hits a hole in one, but no one was around to see "it" and not until the old man shows up and tells him nice shot does he get that big smile on his face.

great horses are born and if anyone of us is fortunate enough to be connected to them...own them, train them, groom them, ride them, cheer for them, bet on them...it should be enough, but if others know about it...well then "it" just matters more.

14 Apr 2009 4:02 PM
Bill

I find this horse quite interesting. He has shown proficiency on poly and dirt and seems to be improving.  Eibar Coa has a tough decision to make: Musket Man or General Quarters?  Whom would you select??  Incidentally, it will be interesting to hear Mr. McCarthy's side of this story in the interests of fairness.

14 Apr 2009 4:28 PM
personalensign79

I agree with Ann and some others...I think some people are WAY overreacting!! My goodness, cut the man some slack and like I said before there are two (or more) sides to every story.  We have many worse things going on in this sport right now (take a look at those Paragallo horses?!), this IS still a bright spot!  Gooooo GQ!

p.s...love all of Steve's columns and books, not pointing this at him...just some of the harsh comments here.  

14 Apr 2009 5:25 PM
GunBow

Coldfacts:

I think Summer Bird ran a good race in the Arkansas Derby, and you were spot-on to bring him up before the race. However, I don't quite understand your use of the fractions in the Arkansas Derby and Wood.

Isn't a faster pace supposed to ADVANTAGE  closers like Summer Bird and I Want Revenge? Summer Bird faced a faster pace in the Arkansas Derby than IWR did in the Wood, thus the pace scenario of the Arkansas Derby was much more advantageous to Summer Bird than was the Wood pace scenario for IWR. The fact that the frontrunners in the Wood were able to set such a slow pace but IWR was still able to run them down made his win the more impressive of the two; if you add in all the trouble IWR had, I really don't think the comparison is apt.

Now, if Summer Bird and IWR were FRONTRUNNERS, your pace comparison would make sense. The pace for the Wood was much slower than the pace for the Arkansas Derby, so frontrunners were advantaged more in the Wood than in the Arkansas Derby. Had IWR been on the lead in the Wood, and cruised through such easy early fractions, I would agree that the performance deserves to be downgraded. In reality, IWR came from last, and had to face a disadvantageous pace scenario.

The horse most disadvantaged by the fast early pace in the Arkansas Derby was the horse setting that quick pace, Old Fashioned. The horses coming from the back, like Summer Bird, had an advantage with that quick early pace.

In general, frontrunners are advantaged and closers (IWR) disadvantaged by a slow early pace (Wood), while frontrunners are disadvantaged and closers (SB) advantaged by a fast early pace (Arkansas Derby).

Steve:

Could you chime in on this. Isn't it more impressive when a closer is able to close into a slow early pace, like I Want Revenge in the Wood, than when a closer is able to close into a fast early pace, like Summer Bird in the Arkansas Derby?

As a further point of comparison, I Want Revenge received a Beyer of 103 for his Wood, while Summer Bird was given a 97 for the Arkansas Derby. And IWR's 103 doesnt take into account the 4-7 lengths IWR lost at the start and when he was boxed and bumped at the top of the stretch. Furthermore, IWR WON his race while Summer Bird ran 3rd. I would think that should facor into the comparison as well.

While I think Summer Bird was advantaged by the fast early pace in the Arkansas Derby, I recognize that he did overcome 2 disadvantages:

1)Oaklawn was speed biased. Speed horses fared very well the past two weeks, particularly around 2 turns. Horses trying to close from as far back as Summer Bird were not doing well.

2) While the early pace of the Arkansas Derby was very quick, playing into Summer Bird's late run, the middle part of the race was slow, and thus hurt Summer Bird's late run. Old Fashioned went the first half in :46 flat, but was given a breather during the seond half, running it in only :50 and 3. As a result of this slow 2nd half split, Old Fashioned, as the frontrunner, was able to save something for the stretch, minimizing the impact of Summer Bird's late run. Had there been another horse to pressure Old Fashioned to run a :48 or faster second half mile, the horses close to the pace, including Papa Clem, probably would have been softened up enough that Summer Bird would have been able to run them all down and win the race. Because, in general, the faster the early pace the better it is for closers.  

By writing that I am not as impressed with Summer Bird's Arkansas Derby as I am with IWR's Wood, I do not mean to imply that Summer Bird is not a quality runner. For, it appears Summer Bird has a bright future. The Arkansas Derby was only his 3rd start, and he improved about 20 Beyer points (10-12 lengths) from his 2nd start to the Arkansas Derby. He has excellent breeding, as Coldfacts pointed out, as he has both Derby winner Unbridled and Preakness winner Summer Squall in his pedigree.

14 Apr 2009 6:48 PM
GunBow

karen2:

Thanks.

Actually, if my memory serves, it is not unusual at all to lose a couple(or more) contenders in the weeks leading up to the Derby. I started posting a few weeks ago that we had better prepare ourselves for some of these contenders being injured. Then, The Pamplemousse tore a tendon and now Old Fashioned has been retired. Unfortunately, another horse (or two) will likely be pulled from the race due to an injury or illness.

In 1991, Santa Anita Derby winner, Dinard and Wood winner, Cahill Road, both missed the Derby. Dinard had just defeated Best Pal in two consecutive races and was bed to get get a classic distance, while Cahill Road was a full brother to Unbridled and had won the Wood impressively although he was lightly raced. They would have been two of Derby favorites along with Strike the Gold, Best Pal,Fly So Free, and Hansel.

The following year, 1992, the top 2 finishers in the Santa Anita Derby were forced to miss the race due to injury or illness. Bertrando, 2nd in the Santa Anita Derby, had also run second to Arazi in the Breeders Cup Juvenile at Churchill and had won the Norfolk and San Felipe. Injured shortly after the SA Derby, Bertando returned at 4 and was Eclipse champion older horse. AP Indy, the SA Derby winner, made it all the way to the morning of the Derby before he came down with some cold/illness that forced trainer Neil Drysdale to scratch him. AP Indy would recover and win the Peter Pan, Belmont, and Breeders Cup Classic en route to Horse of the Year.

14 Apr 2009 7:09 PM
Karen2

thanks Gunbow. I just didn't recall any horses actually being named in Steve's Derby dozen that had career ending injuries. I also agree completely with your pace scenerio's listed above. As confusing as it may sound, it does make sense. I thought IWR race was that much more impressive because of the slow fractions. Technically you would think the other horses should have had energy in the tank at the end of the race and it should have been harder for IWR to pick them off methodically the way he did. furthermore he finished in style...getting faster. I truly feel IWR is a scrapper. He just seems to show some genuine toughness and the heart that seperates him from the boys.

14 Apr 2009 8:10 PM
ridinhigh

I find it absurd that one side of a story regarding Mr.McCarthy vs Mr. Miller was published as being the absolute truth without regard for obtaining both sides of the story. I find it even more absurd and down right shameful that so many people would jump on an imaginary bandwagon to persecute this older gentleman/owner/trainer. The derby origins were not established with large conglomerate owners and etc.It began with one man, one horse..and shoveling a lot of manure. So why persecute and judge an older,one owner/trainer  over incorrect facts and innuendos? This owner is a fine, honest,hard working human being who does not feel shoveling a little manure is beneath him. A lot of people could learn a lesson from this. Furthermore, As I read the article...are we all to realistically believe that Miller suddenly worked a miracle in this short period of time he was assisting his friend with this horse? Perhaps the success of the colt could also be attributed to the training and groundwork established by Mr. McCarthy previous to the colts short stint with Miller.Sounds to me like Mr.Miller is a self-advertising trainer..placing himself in the position for success if General Quarters wins, and at the same time be able to say --should a lose occur .." well, if I had trained him longer he would not have lost. Hmmm. seems to me Mr. Miller has placed himself in a win-win situation with his accusations and statements. Which, by the way, resembles a big pile of ..manure. In these difficult economical times, I would like to think the writer , Mr. Miller, and all those who have jumped on the proverbial accusatory  bandwagon ..for attempting to destroy the creditability of a fine,honest,caring, horseman of many generations, and all of us who wish the best for both...and still believe dreams can come... true. More importantly...all of us need this type of wonderful, uplifting story to brighten our day.Practice fair journalism, and allow the smaller stables to compete without jealousy and petty miffs.Go with God Mr. McCarthy and stay strong,with the heart and soul of a thoroughbred, as evidently some people do not wish you to succeed! We should all admire this man and what he has done throughout his life.No one is perfect,mistakes are always made throughout life...that is how we all learn...  do not destroy all our hopes and dreams with one sided articles and imaginary complaints by what seems to be petty people. Let this pony run!

14 Apr 2009 9:03 PM
Driftin Sage

I do believe a can of worms has been opened and let loose. Oh dear.  Hope it can all be fixed.

14 Apr 2009 9:51 PM
Paula Higgins

O.k. perhaps there is another side to this. I think both men are probably good people and love the horse. I hope Mr.McCarthy's battle with cancer is won and he is fully recovered. I wish the best for all connected to the horse. I hope everyone involved with getting the horse to this point gets proper credit.

Several years ago I wrote a book  entitled A PASSION FOR PURSES (see Amazon.com). I am an expert in the field of antique purses. A person, who has since become a very close friend, donated her time taking pictures for the book and paying for them herself, getting other collectors to contribute, etc. She did alot of work for my book (which became our book). So, although I actually wrote the book, I made her a co-author and she received half of the royalties. The contract with the book company was originally mine alone. She was happy just to contribute pictures and have her collection in a published book. But it got to the point she was such an integral part of making the book as good as it was, I knew I needed and wanted to give her the proper credit. It was the right thing to do. I have never regretted it and gained a great friend in the process.

By writing this column Mr. Haskins, you have given Mark Miller credit for helping to make this horse a success and I think that is wonderful. I am happy for Mr. McCarthy as well. He will get to realize a dream at age 75 and after a significant illness.

14 Apr 2009 9:51 PM
zarvona

     I admit, that I for one applauded T. McCarthy 'and connections' after his first victory, noting then he was well on his way to the required earnings, (little did we know that that win way back then was probably enough earnings!). I also stated, 'and connections'. To me, M. Miller thusly then fell in that category of 'connections' and therefore he deserves his due. I hope they are both still friends after all this hoopla and that there is some continued sharing of accolade among them both in regard to this horse's future successes. However, I for one see little hope of "General Quarters" (the 'National Velvet' storyline of the Derby and closely followed by "Win Willy") in the winner’s circle come May the 2nd.

    Also, I identified 6 horses, and 9 horses, some 6 weeks ago that I thought were respectable enough and that I thought had a shot at the win in the 1 1/4 'dance', with that list having been made up of: "The Pamplemousse" (injured) and "Imperial Council" (falling to make earnings) having fallen out of that nine, while "Dunkirk" and "Papa Clem" joined in the list. Thusly, going in, my top 3 now are, and for sometime have been: "Quality Road"; "I Want Revenge"; and "Dunkirk", where following closely behind them are "Friesan Fire" & "Pioneerof the Nile"; with this bunch closely followed by "Chocolate Candy" & "Papa Clem". (Note to Dray, five of these began racing in California!, being a state you said had no chance in the Derby!)

     Close behind the above list are: "Musket Man", with all followed by "Hold Me Back", "Win Willy", "General Quarters", and "Desert Party" potentially making up 'a dozen', if such a number is a requirement, although I see little chance of the last 5 really having but the tiniest of shots at reaching the winners circle.

    And, as to the rest of those scrutinized, I think they will show up for little more than just being there for those of their owners and connections who want to rub shoulders, drink mint juleps, and so that they can list being at ‘the dance’ on their horse's resume for future interested breeders and buyers and not because they will be legitimate contenders!

    And, hah, what a twist to now see Dray on the "Dunkirk" bandwagon after having bad mouthed this horse and his accomplishments for nearly all of the last 8 weeks ever since he won that first  1  1/8 allowance race way back when, when at that moment I stated “he was then in my top 5”!!!  Thusly, GO ‘PRINCE VALIANT’, my “gray” pick for the Derby win, where someone once hinted it was a “gray’s” turn again in some discovered rotation to win THE 135th KENTUCKY DERBY!

15 Apr 2009 1:03 AM
Coldfacts

GunBow,

I understand the points you are making. However, I think you have missed the real point I was making. Pace makes the race. Flat Out walk out of the gates in the Southwest and the half mile was run in 46 plus. He was a distance last. If the half mile in the Wood was run in 46 plus how far back do you think IWR would? Do you think Talamo would be able to relax and play catch up? The answer is no. He would have to use IWR to get into contention. To conclude that a quality colt is exceptional because he misses the break and tracks extremely slow fractions and win is exceptionally ridiculous. Summer Bird faced a faster and better field than IWR. He was 15L last following a 46 half mile. He was making his third start. IWR was at best 5 -6 lengths back tracking a 48 half mile. IWR was making his eight start. He defeated a graded stakes winner and three graded placed colts. Have you any idea how fast Summer Bird had to run to get in to contention being so far back? Without fear of rebuttal it was significantly faster than IWR. GunBow, I have ever respect for your detailed analysis but I believe you are devaluing Summer Bird’s performance. I will prove just how much you are off on this one. When IWR made his third start it was in a maiden special at 6F where he finished third to colt that has not been on the derby trail. How can you think that IWR and this horse should not be compared? Ordinary horses do not do what SB did on Saturday and with a little more experience he drop on IWR like a ton of bricks.

15 Apr 2009 1:35 AM
Coldfacts

Karen2'

Do you remember Pyro? He was so impressive he rocketed to the #1 in every top ten. When a good horse is running against an over matched group he will always look impressive. Dunkirk looked impressive until he met his match in Quality Road. To conclude that a horse is more impressive because the pace of a race was slow does not make much sense for the following reasons. If a horse misses the break in a sprint race where the fractions are expected to be fast, he has not chance of winning against horses of his caliber i.e, Henny Hughes in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. If Henny  Hughes was running against an over matched group who were setting slow fractions, his superior speed would compensate for the ground lost at the start. Because the Breeders Cup field was comprised of top class sprinters, he had no chance of winning because their speed was consistent with his. The rider on IWR was able to relax because the pace was so slow. If he was running against Quality Road who is a can run 46 on his bridle it would be a totally different horse race.  Horses with superior pace can always give up ground to lesser company but to their peers. Summer Bird didn’t have the luxury of relaxing. In fact when he arrived at the top of the stretch the pace quickened so he had to find extra. When IWR entered the stretch horses were backing up on him. I implore you review the races again with an open mind.

15 Apr 2009 2:03 AM
da3hoss

I used Summer Bird for the tri (my second tri that weekend!) I loved how he looked, a total athelete and the way he was moving down the backstretch was exciting...I'm sorta happy they are not running him in the Derby...happy for him they are putting him first...

I wish I could see a heads on view of him in the race...his action looked clean from the side...I always feel if you have a flaw in your stride you have to be that much better than everyone to make up for the inevitable inefficiency.

15 Apr 2009 6:35 AM
Ocala Dee

Mark Miller is not only a very competent trainer but a caring compassionate one also. He can often be seen at his stall doors in deep conversation with his charges!


15 Apr 2009 6:53 AM
Kat

I do so agree with you about Papa Clem.  I was going to comment about this after the Ark Derby.  He showed the same tenaciousness holding off Terrain for second in LA and went mano a mano with Old Fashioned down the stretch in Ark.  We'll never know how much OF was compromised by his knee in that stretch battle, and regardless, Old Fashioned demonstrated his class there too.  Papa Clem may not be "brilliant", but that "DO NOT PASS" sign that he has in his toolbox is worth a lot.

15 Apr 2009 11:13 AM
ColetteMarie

Ridinhigh, I agree with everything you have said about Mr. McCarthy & I will be beyond thrilled if General Quarters wins the Derby. I was so excited watched him win the Blue Grass on Saturday. Yes, Mr. McCarthy deserves this wonderful experience 1000% He has sure put in the time & truly loves his horse & I believe would do anything for him. But, from what I have read about Mark Miller, he put his heart & soul into training Gen, Quarters in the 3 months he had him in his barn, leading up to the Sam Davis. All I am saying is, "Isn't there room for both Mr. McCarthy & Mark Miller to experience the Derby, shoulder to shoulder?" I don't think it is petty to want this wonderful story to be completely free of any clouds. Wouldn't it be just as wonderful of a story if M.Miller & Mr. McCarthy stood shoulder to shoulder . I hate to see people's feelings hurt. Why can't both of them experience this once in a lifetime experience, together. I want to feel good about the WHOLE story. I don't want to be thrilled for Mr. McCarthy and feel bad for Mark Miller all at the same time. That is what I am frustrated about. This is not a case of an owner switching trainers. It is about 2 trainers (one also an owner) who worked together with each other. It is about one of those trainers offering to take the other's one horse to Florida with him when he brought his own horses down, to give that horse a chance to run in some good races. It is not petty to be thrilled for Mr. McCarthy but want him to take M. Miller along with him on this once in a lifetime experience.  

ColetteMarie

15 Apr 2009 2:19 PM
sophiekea

Coldfacts, I agree with you on Summer Bird. He was the most impressive in my eyes. I will be looking for him at Belmont in June. He gets no respect. Just like Birdstone is getting no respect as a stallion. Birdstone has had some good runners in his first crop. And they sold for very little. Talk about return for your money.

15 Apr 2009 4:26 PM
ridinhigh

I would like to clarify a few facts regarding the McCarthy issue. According to several of my  acquaintances close to the situation in Florida there was a reciprocal agreement between Mr.McCarthy and Mr. Miller regarding the care of both mens horses.Mr. McCarthy actually assisted Mr.Miller with his horses in exchange for the same favor. General Quarters was under Mr. Miller's tutelage for approximately 15 days, not a month, not 2 months, and certainly not 3 months. During this 15 day period Mr.McCarthy was relaying instructions via phone to Mr. Miller. Upon Mr.McCarthy's arrival in Florida, he returned the favor by assisting  Mr. Miller with his horses. However, Mr. Miller not only failed to disclose this agreement in his complaints but also actually failed to acknowledge Mr.McCarthy's training assistance and actually negated Mr. McCarthys assistant and training to a "groom" capacity.I would hope that this side of the story will prompt reassessment of the original story.I simply can not stand by and watch and elderly gentleman be judged on incorrect information and propaganda. This is not the Salem Witch Hunt.I also hope that Mr. McCarthy ,his friends,and family are not aware of this hoopla.It has turned into "much a do about nothing". Mr.McCarthy does not deserve the negative publicity.

15 Apr 2009 7:55 PM
Steve Haskin

I will mention this one last time. I have spoken to McCarthy and we had a good conversation. He explained his version, and when I told him I would tell his side of the story he told me not to. He said he didnt want to escalate it and wanted to let it die. I told him I would abide by his wishes. I also told him of his quotes in DRF and the Louisville Courier and other publications stating "I came down to Florida and became his groom and hotwalker. Mark and I work as a team." Based on McCarthy's own quotes, Miller obviously was more than an observer. McCarthy is the one who put the horse in Miller's name and now regrets it. He explained he made a mistake saying that about being the groom and hotwalker and it was taken out of contest. I gave Miller the opportunity to tell his side of the story after the race, because I already had public quotes from McCarthy stating that he was the groom and hotwalker and the two were a team. I also talked to the stakes coordinator at Tampa and he said he never even saw McCarthy. It was Miller who was always in the racing office entering the horse and deal with the racing secretary. The bottom line is, there was nothing inflammatory in the slightest against McCarthy, only Miller talking about what he did with the horse. Perhaps both are wrong and right in their own way. McCarthy wants to let it die, so thats what we should do.

15 Apr 2009 8:20 PM
ridinhigh

I agree completely.Thank you for your candor.I do not know the gentlemen involved personally but felt someone should attempt clarification due to several negative comments.Hopefully all will work out for the best.

15 Apr 2009 8:45 PM
Matthew W

Travis I made a bit of cash on Gen Quarters--I had boxed Hold Me Back with Massone and at the last min I played The General on top of them both and got a nice exacta! I just thought he looked awesome on the track--BTW I also thought the TVG coverage was ten times better than the ESPN coverage--They really "pulled me in" to the race and Gen Quarters delivered a big win!

15 Apr 2009 9:52 PM
realdeal

Obviously I came down too hard on you before, since my blog wasn't published. If you feel I did, I apologize.  I just wanted you and the others who have made negative comments to know part of the other side of the coin....at least the part that I have heard....that Miller only actually had the horse for approximately 15 days, but I see someone else has already covered it. My source didn't know what the arrangements were, but that Mr. McCarthy reciprocated by assisting him with his horses(in addition to paying him).(That's probably where the grooming comment came in.)

No doubt Mr. Miller is a nice man and clearly loves his horses and his work, but he is not being very nice about this.  The trackside people at Churchill I am sure will tell you that Mr. McCarthy would never send his horse to Florida if he had any kind of ailment. I have been told he treats his horses like babies.

It seems to me to be a big misunderstanding of some sort and should be settled by these two gentlemen and not us...but since this has been brought up it seems inevitable that some of us would come to Mr. McCarthy's defense.

This is not good for the thoroughbred industry either. There is already too much negativism around horse racing.

This response is not just about M & M, it is also about ordinary hard working people who still believe in dreams!  Please don't take that away from us or make something ugly out of it when it is not.

Everyone should think for themselves, form their own opinions and not be so easily influenced by what they see in print...don't be so quick to judge...just give each person the benefit of the doubt...and hope for the best. If God judged us like we judge each other we would be in big trouble!

Someone once said & it sounds pretty good to me:

I don't believe anything I hear,

and only half what I see!

I wish everyone well...and thanks for letting me get my 2 cents worth in.

16 Apr 2009 2:14 AM

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