More Gems

Clyde Haugan always said: "Don't let the bastards get you down."

Haugan, a longtime resident of Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., began suffering from skin cancer at the age of 51 and had to undergo more than 100 procedures to have them removed, extensive lymph node surgery, and high dose radiation therapy.

Despite his ordeal, he never stopped having a positive attitude. His doctor, Jeannine Stein, was amazed at his tenacity and nicknamed him "Cantankerous Clyde." She kept telling him, "If you weren't so cantankerous, you wouldn't be here today."

Haugan decided about five years ago it was time to enjoy life to its fullest, and one day he gave his wife Doris the surprise of her life. He had bought an interest in a racehorse named Awesome Gem through the West Point Thoroughbreds partnership, who eventually would name one of their horses Cantankerous Clyde.

Doris was the one who always had a love of horses. When she was a young girl growing up in Chicago she told her parents she wanted a horse. Her mom told her if she saved $100 she could have one.

"I don't know how many years it took me, but I remember telling her I had the $100, where's my horse," Doris recalled. "Of course, living in Chicago, I never did get the horse.

"But, finally, after all these years, I finally got my horse in Awesome Gem. That was such a surprise to me when Clyde did that."

When Awesome Gem started to develop into a good horse, despite some early behavioral problems, Clyde was totally hooked and gave Doris another surprise.

A good friend of his from Greensburg, Ind. had a neighbor, Leonard Schoettmer Jr., who dealt in hog feeders, but carved carousel horses as a hobby. During a visit to Indiana, Haugan learned that Schoettmer had just finished one for his daughter who was about to be married. Haugan told him, "Hey, I got this horse; how about making one up of him."

Schoettmer agreed, and Haugan sent him a variety of photos of the horse from every possible angle. Schoettmer made drawings of Awesome Gem and scaled everything down proportionately so that all the dimensions were correct.

Schoettmer began working on it in November, 2006, and in August, 2007, a 480-pound crate, measuring six feet by four feet by eight feet, arrived at the Haugans' home. Inside, wrapped in plastic bubble wrap, was "Awesome Gem" in full stride, his mane blowing in the wind. The wooden sculpture was built on a platform with casters, so that it would be easy to move around. Like all carousel horses, it had a pole that extended from the platform into the bottom of the horse. Schoettmer included photos of his work in progress, before it was painted and still carved in sections.

The Haugans, who have five daughters, kept "Awesome Gem" in their living room in front of the fireplace, for several weeks before moving him into their sun room.

Clyde continued to buy shares in West Point horses, owning a piece of top horses such as Lear's Princess, Macho Again, El Gato Malo, and Tropical Storm. He always laughed about it, blaming Jeff Bloom, West Point's executive vice-president of West Coast operation, for talking him into buying horses.

But it was the horses, especially Awesome Gem, that helped Clyde through a lot of rough times, and he never lost his enthusiasm for the sport or his love of Awesome Gem, the horse that started it all.

"I've been blessed," Clyde said two years ago. "The best thing I ever did was getting involved in this."

Sadly, Clyde lost his battle with cancer in December of 2008, but it's difficult to think of Awesome Gem without thinking of Clyde.

"It was so emotional," said Doris after watching Awesome Gem score his first grade I victory in the Hollywood Gold Cup. "I immediately thought of Clyde and thought, ‘I hope he's watching.'"

As for the other "Awesome Gem," he currently sits right next to Doris' bed.

"I know it sounds strange, but I pat ol' Awesome a couple of times a day as I go in and out of my closet," she said. "He's still my baby. Behind him on the wall I've started hanging family photos from the different races we've gone to. I have some wonderful photos of Clyde and Awesome at the Breeders' Cup. I guess you can call it my memory wall."

It was not difficult becoming attached to Awesome Gem. He was that kind of horse.

You wouldn't have known that early on, as the son of Awesome Again was a bit of a rogue and tough to manage. Trainer Craig Dollase remembers him having an attitude even at the Barretts 2-year-old March sale when he was purchased for $150,000 by West Point president Terry Finley and bloodstock agent Buzz Chace. He was so tough there was no other choice but to geld him. After that, his attitude improved immensely other than a few quirks he had on the racetrack.

As a young horse at John and Jerry Amerman's Peacefield Farm in Temecula, Cal., he would refuse to load on a van, an odd habit considering how much traveling he would do throughout his career. But at the farm it would take two hours before they could get him on a van. When he arrived at the track, Dollase would arrange to get a special van for him. But as he matured he changed dramatically and no longer became a problem.

In the starting gate, he was always the perfect gentleman, but on the track he was difficult to handle and dumped many a rider. One morning at Hollywood Park when Awesome Gem was a 3-year-old, Bloom, who would often gallop the horse, and Dollase were watching him out on the track, and were delighted to see him galloping along and doing everything perfectly.

Bloom turned to Dollase and said, "My gosh, it's amazing how good this horse is now. He's really settled down and is so easy to manage." Dollase agreed that he had showed a great deal of improvement. As Awesome Gem was pulling up from his gallop, Bloom and Dollase walked down the stairs from the clocker's stand to wait for the horse and walk back to barn with him. As they waited, here came Awesome Gem...with no rider on his back. No sooner had they said how good he was doing, he dumped his rider, as if on cue.

"He's such a character," Bloom said several years ago. "He can be in the shedrow rearing up and strutting his stuff, but in his stall he's the barn pet. You could bring little kids up to him. I have two daughters and he's their favorite horse. He drops his head down and is like a little kitten in terms of petting him and feeding him carrots. He'll nibble the carrot in your hand. He just loves people and loves attention.

"This horse is such a great story. Sometimes, there's a certain thing about a horse that you can't put your finger on. You can't explain it; they just have it, and he's definitely that kind of horse. He just sparkles."

Throughout his career, Awesome Gem has had his share of bad luck and setbacks. In 2008, two weeks after running in the Santa Anita Handicap, he came down with an illness and initially was only going to miss a day or two. The next thing anyone knew he was in the hospital.

"We weren't sure we were going to be able to save him," Finley said. "He had an intestinal virus; it wasn't colic, but he got very sick and lost a lot of weight. He spent about a month at the clinic and when he came back we took our time with him."

Bloom added, "He bounced back a lot faster than we thought he would. He just loves training and being at the track."

In many of his races, he's been the victim of traffic problems, wide trips, and slow paces, but never failed to give his all.

"He's had some tough losses, but always bounces out of them well," Dollase said prior to the 2007 Breeders' Cup at Monmouth. "I thought we had it in the Pacific Classic, but as long as they come out of it good and live to fight another day that's all you can ask for. He's picked up some nice checks along the way. We're excited to be in the Classic with him and we feel he deserves a chance to run here."

Despite being up against one of the most talented Classic fields ever, with the likes of Curlin, Street Sense, Hard Spun, Any Given Saturday, Lawyer Ron, Tiago, George Washington, and Diamond Stripes, Awesome Gem closed from eighth to finish third behind Curlin and Hard Spun at odds of 28-1, the second longest price in the race.

Tough defeat after tough defeat followed, whether on sloppy and fast dirt tracks, turf, or every kind of synthetic surface. He closed fast to finish second in stakes at a mile on the dirt and on the grass, as well as 1 1/8 miles on dirt and grass, and as mentioned, narrowly missed in a grade I going 1 ¼ miles on dirt.

Then came a breakthrough race, winning the 2009 Hawthorne Gold Cup in the mud. This year, as a 7-year-old, he was third in the New Orleans Handicap in Louisiana, second in the Charles Town Classic in West Virginia, and third in the Lone Star Park Handicap in Texas.

Last fall, Terry Finley said, "He deserves to get one of these and have everything break in his favor. He shows up every time. It's obviously disappointing, but how can you be frustrated with a horse who tries so hard every time? We're not frustrated, just disappointed for him and for the partners. He's such a joy to be around. I just hope before he retires we have a chance to get him in the winner's circle in one of these big ones."

That chance came on Saturday. There he was in the Hollywood Park winner's circle after blasting through an opening on the rail to defeat (ironically) Rail Trip, the 2-5 favorite and one of the fastest rising stars in the sport.

Awesome Gem finally had some luck go his way and took full advantage of it. This was his day. This one was for West Point and Craig Dollase for their patience; for all the partners who rode along for the entire journey; for Awesome Gem himself; and finally for Clyde Haugan and a wooden carousel horse that kept alive the image of the owner's first and favorite horse until the day he died.

Would you like to own your own Awesome Gem? Join us Tuesday, July 20 at 1:00 p.m. EST, for a free webcast and a live Q&A session about Thoroughbred partnerships. Register Now!

66 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Ted from LA

Steve,

I haven't read either of your articles yet on Amesome Gem, but I hope you bet enough on him that you continue to write about horseracing just for fun. I'd say you had a feeling......

11 Jul 2010 4:59 PM
ruffian518

Oh Steve, This is a wonderful story!I wish Clyde could have seen him win the big one,And that carousel of The gem is great.Thanks for this...

11 Jul 2010 5:01 PM
Scott C.

Steve - Thank you for another wonderful article on Awesome Gem and Clyde Haugan. We definitely missed Clyde in the Winner's Circle yesterday. He was truly one of a kind and oh how he would have loved that scene. I was already a partner on three West Point horses, when Jeff Bloom begged me to get a piece of Gem, and I frequently thank him for that advice. Awesome Gem is truly special, as was Clyde and I have been blessed to know both of them.

11 Jul 2010 5:04 PM
Mike Relva

STEVE:

Another great story. I admire A.Gem and appreciate your great time and effort. You never disappoint!

11 Jul 2010 5:05 PM
Ida Lee

I've just heard some bad family news so this day has been a bummer. But your article and this incredibly charismatic and talented horse certainly brought a smile to my face. Thanks I needed that...

11 Jul 2010 5:35 PM
txhorsefan

You did it again.  Awesome telling of a lovely story.  Thank you.

11 Jul 2010 5:35 PM
Dona

What a treasure that carousel will be for generations to come, and what a treasure Awesome Gem is! Wonderful story Steve, thank you for sharing.

Also, a thank you to Mike Smith for shifting over and allowing David Flores and Awesome Gem to get by. Great sportsmanship on his part and David mentioned that fact during his post race interview. How often have we witnessed a horse losing a race in just such a situation. Mike didn't have to allow David thru and a lot of jockeys would not have geen so gracious. A real class act from a classy guy. Everything just came together for Awesome Gem and that it's self, is Awesome!  

11 Jul 2010 5:46 PM
alybar

Thank you for the story.  He and his owneship are to be applauded.  I am so glad that he had his day at the Hollywood Gold Cup.  

Awesome Gem always shows up and gives the very best he has to give for each and every race.

11 Jul 2010 5:49 PM
Barbara

This is the kind of story that makes horse racing so special.  Thanks for telling it Steve.

11 Jul 2010 5:54 PM
anna

well david flores got lucky when he wasn't dumped when he was removing awesome gem's hood before returning to the winner's circle with the blinkers hooked to his left arm.

11 Jul 2010 6:00 PM
Flynne

Such an amazing horse. Watching the race on NTRA Live, I started screaming when I saw him coming through on the rail; I couldn't believe he'd finally gotten his win. So nice for him and his connections.

11 Jul 2010 6:01 PM
Lmaris

Check your 10th paragraph - "Awesome Again"?  Its "Awesome Gem" isn't it?

11 Jul 2010 6:01 PM
jayjay

Great story Steve!

11 Jul 2010 6:32 PM
Greg Melikov

What a great story. Boy, five daughters and a great, late mate. Hang in there, Doris. Awesome Gem is a gem. The best!

11 Jul 2010 6:37 PM
tbarrach

Oh Stevo!

You've done it again!  This is another great racing story that should bring a tear to any horseman's or fan's eye.  We hear so little about the owners, and they're the ones who not only foot the tremendous bills, but they show up time and again to root for their "four-legged kids" win or lose. Awesome Gem richly deserves his Grade I.  Racing needs more horses with stories like this to race on past three, and I don't mean just geldings!  As for you it's high time you wrote another book...make it 1200-1500 pages this time!  We never get tired of your prose!

11 Jul 2010 6:45 PM
GJU

Nice story, Steve. I'm pretty sure Mr. Haugan was watching that race from above. I'm also happy for David Flores.

11 Jul 2010 6:53 PM
berttheclock

Mr Haskins, you have a wonderful gift, for not weaving great stories about wonderful equine athletes, but to care deeply about the human side of those who care for them and/or are so personally involved with them.

As an aside to Lazmannick, from the first Awesome Gem thread, kudos to your excellent sleuthing.

11 Jul 2010 7:02 PM
rjh

Steve, my youngest brother and his wife are part of the Awesome Gem family. Through them I have had chances to meet the family and Gem and see horseracing through their eyes and hearts. These folks have a depth of love for this horse that is startling and wonderful to see. Even a seasoned vet like Jeff Bloom lights up when he talks about Awesome Gem. I've seen them lose, too, and it is accompanied by the greatest of concern for the horse and his welfare. I couldn't be more happy for them and Gem. And I feel especially humbled to have witnessed just a small part of this family affair.

11 Jul 2010 7:10 PM
Richard Lackie

Great story Mr.Haskins sir!

11 Jul 2010 7:16 PM
Cynthia

I always loved this horse. Was so glad to see him win yesterday. Steve thanks for giving us a background of the owners. This was a heartfelt story. Congrats Doris to a Gem of a horse

11 Jul 2010 7:16 PM
sherpa

Yes, Steve, now is the "right time" to tell this story.  The background makes yesterday's win even more meaningful.  Thanks for deciding to go ahead with it.

Congratulations to ALL the connections of Awesome Gem...  

11 Jul 2010 7:20 PM
John T

You always like to see a hard knocking horse like Awesome Gem get

his moment in the sun and win a grade one.No question about it he deserved to win a race like the Hollywood Gold Cup.

11 Jul 2010 7:29 PM
wee-o

Great job, Steve.  Yes Mike Smith deserves credit for his actions that let this wonderful horse come thru on the rail.

11 Jul 2010 7:36 PM
Paula Higgins

A wonderful story Steve complete with pictures of the carousel horse. It really put a smile on my face. He is clearly an unbelievable character. I know I shouldn't love the fact that he dumps his riders, but I do. Doris sounds like a "gem" of a woman. Her husband sounds like he was a sweetheart to buy his wife a horse.

11 Jul 2010 7:52 PM
Judy G ~ California

Steve ~ another nice piece!

I was at Hollywood Park yesterday. No disrespect to RAIL TRIP, but my friends and I were hoping if RT couldn't win this ~ the honor should go to AWESOME GEM! Incredible race. We couldn't be happier!!

11 Jul 2010 7:53 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, Lmaris. I fixed it.

11 Jul 2010 7:58 PM
*ZeNyAtTa*

I got to see Awesome Gem this year for the first time when he finished second in the Lone Star Park Handicap. I've always been a fan of his, and it was great to see him. He always tries. What a great story. So glad he won the Gold Cup. He deserved it!!

11 Jul 2010 8:25 PM
Old Timer

I must admit that overall I have lost a few shekels  over the last couple of years on Awesome Gem. Nevertheless he always gave a good effort. I was excited and pleased to see him finally get some racing luck and win his Grade 1.

Nobody, and I do mean nobody, can tell a story and portray the human side of this sport the way that you do, Mr. Haskin. Kudos on another excellent article.

11 Jul 2010 8:26 PM
Cris

What a strange ride on Rail Trip. What a great day for Awesome Gem.

May he have many more Grade 1 wins.

May Rail Trip get a better ride on his next effort.

11 Jul 2010 8:28 PM
Delrene

Thanks Steve, for such a wonderful background story on AWESOME GEM.  Was there to see him win it- Boxed an exacta with Rail Trip and got nice little return.  If Rail Trip couldn't win it, I wanted Awesome Gem.  What a huge heart this thoroughbred and his connections must have.

Thanks for all your in-depth reports.

11 Jul 2010 9:20 PM
Gin

Wonderful story Steve!  Thank you so much!  I have followed him for years and have been such a fan of Awesome Gem.  I told everyone I knew he would win the Gold Cup yesterday.  What a move up the inside!  Yes....good boy!  It was his race to win, the pace was a nice going along easy fractions, it unfolded real nice for him.  

I didn't realize he became pretty sick at one point.  I did know about his owner tho.  He is one of the greatest horses, he may not have a ton of wins,  but like you said he shows up every time, he tries.  Thats what he does best!  He deserved your fantastic article!

11 Jul 2010 9:59 PM
ctgreyhound

If we all possessed Awesome Gem's work ethic the world would be a better place. It's great to follow the maturation of the youngsters, but it's the older horses that tug at the heartstrings when they perform above & beyond expectations. Such was the case with Saturday's race. What well deserved jubilation took place in the winners circle. Let's hear it for horse racing's senior citizens!

11 Jul 2010 10:25 PM
helsbelles

I look forward to seeing the name Awesome Gem on the marble wall.  You beat the big boy, Gem.

11 Jul 2010 11:31 PM
Matthew W

Steve, thanks.

11 Jul 2010 11:35 PM
Laura P

Thanks, Steve, for your captivating and prescient story about a lovable and very talented 7 year-old gelding and also about his part-owners', Clyde and Doris Haugan's, love story, as played out through their love for this horse.  What a thoughtful man "cantankerous Clyde" was!

11 Jul 2010 11:50 PM
scpalohorslvr

Just wanted to say I do not know when I have pulled so hard for a horse!  It reminded me of my first visit to the racetrack when I was nine years old and picked out a horse to win and he won with me screaming the whole time.  I have been a racing fan ever since.  All I have to say is go Awesome Gem!

12 Jul 2010 12:37 AM
The Deacon

Sometimes great reading comes from stories like this. This special sport is not always about the stars. It's about horses like Awesome Gem and his connections. It's about the Little Cho Cho that can, and the perseverence of a giftrf animal who finally got a few breaks on saturday. Amazing how the rail opened up, almost like Moses parting the Red Sea.

You write so eloquently and tell a story like no other. Much abliged Steve.............  

12 Jul 2010 1:21 AM
GunBow

Great story.  I had a perfect view of the winners circle, and I saw a few in tears.  Maybe it had something to do with Clyde.  The journey following Awesome Gem would have been enough to have made me cry if I were an owner; throw in Clyde and Doris' story, wow!

Courage.  Awesome Gem has shown it throughout his career, and certainly did so Saturday, bounding through on the rail with his equally fearless rider, David Flores.  Clyde was obviously courageous to continue fighting cancer and still enjoy life so much, including Awesome Gem.  

And I can't forget the courage of Craig Dollase and the entire West Point team because they did something not many were willing to do, face Rail Trip at Hollywood.  In 3 races this year, Dollase and West Point had sent Gem to New Orleans, West Virginia, Texas, and they did all this shipping, like another road warrior Blind Luck, from Dollase's home base in California.  So, techinically the Gold Cup was a return home for Gem, but he would be running on synthetic after 3 races on dirt, and facing a horse in Rail Trip few were eager to challenge.  Yet, like always, Dollase and West Point didn't shy away, and accepted the challenge.  It was a challenge Team Zenyatta and the numerous stables of the East and Midwest refused, and that's why it was Dollase and West Point and not anyone else in the winner's circle Saturday.  The spoils go to the courageous.

12 Jul 2010 3:43 AM
Majella from Ireland

Thanks Steve. You can tell the most heartwarming stories. Thanks again!

12 Jul 2010 5:55 AM
Rachel

Great writing, happy stories, love it.

12 Jul 2010 6:33 AM
Fran Loszynski

"AWESOME" story Steve. I hope the day Afleet Alex's young win the Triple Crown you do the write-up. One note: I wish Drosselmeyer well. I feel badly he is hurt. He deserves the best care. He is "awesome"!

12 Jul 2010 7:59 AM
LouAnn Cingel

An exceptionally wonderfully written article Steve-thankyou!  I love Awesome Gem and was brought to extreme tears of happiness experiencing his Hollywood Gold Cup win-he is truly a sparkling gem and such a supreme being.  God watch over him and keep him healthy, sound and safe.

My Love & Blessings

LouAnn Cingel from Union, Missouri

12 Jul 2010 8:09 AM
OldDog

We were whooping and hollering as Awesome Gem made his jump toward the rail heading for the wire!  A great performance from a older horse, something I especially love to see.  Knowing more of his history makes it all the more special.  Thanks, Steve.

12 Jul 2010 8:40 AM
Linda

now I know why I get the bloodhorse magazine.  This incredible in depth compassionate writing makes the magazine about so much more than winning.

12 Jul 2010 8:58 AM
Tom D

Having known Clyde, your article does a great job of highlighting the special person that he was, and how special Awesome Gem was to him and the Haugan family.  I'm sure that Clyde was smiling ear to ear watching Gem in the winner's circle.

12 Jul 2010 9:05 AM
Bill Daly

Wonderful story, Steve. The connections of this horse ought to get serious consideration for an Eclipse for their willingness to go anyplace and meet anybody's horse. So rare to find sportsmen and women like this anymore.  

12 Jul 2010 9:27 AM
Giddyup

Another great example of how thoroughbreds can be such an inspiration in our lives. Thanks for this awesome article Steve.

12 Jul 2010 10:08 AM
steve from st louis

Although another blogger on this site likes to give his picks in upcoming stakes, I've found that all you have to do is follow that Haskin fellow. He usually has his finger, hand, arm and foot on the pulse of horse racing in the United States. We are so lucky.

12 Jul 2010 10:47 AM
Zookeeper

Mr. Haskin,

So, this is what you had in reserve for you readers? Like an excellent bottle of wine, hidden away, waiting for the perfect occasion...

Awesome Gem's story and everyone connected with him are, without a doubt, vintage Haskin. Thank you for filling our glass with one of the best your "tale cellar" has to offer. To life!!!

12 Jul 2010 11:32 AM
Ranagulzion

Well said GunBow.

12 Jul 2010 11:43 AM
bellesforever

Thank you for the wonderful story about a wonderful horse.I played him for third in that breeders cup race..i never cashed the ticket as sometimes the memories of looking at it next to the picture of the horse brings me a lot more happiness than the cash in hand.I am still jumping with joy for Awesome Gem!

12 Jul 2010 12:23 PM
Freetex

Oh Steve, what a tale.  You reinforced my hope and belief there are people who truly love and care for their prized athletes.  

What an amazing partner in life Clyde must have been for his wife.  The carousel horse of Awesome Gem was the topper of your article.  Out came the kleenex for me.  What a treasure and memory for Clyde's wife.

Thank you again and again for connecting Awesome Gem and his family to his fans the in best possible way.

12 Jul 2010 1:07 PM
Karen in Texas

Wonderful story of courage for all involved in the life of Awesome Gem! Thanks, Steve, for telling the back stories as no one else can.

12 Jul 2010 1:28 PM
racingheart

I notice weird things like this -

Look in This Week In Photos. Now find #10, Awesome Gem's victory.

He is in the EXACT same pose as the carousel horse - flying mane & everything! Doris should hang THAT picture on her memory wall!

God Bless her & may her loving memories of Clyde remind her that he IS always by their side & rooting for them all.

12 Jul 2010 1:39 PM
John C.

No matter what problems are going on in the world or in my world, after reading a beautiful story like this, I can't help but to feel good for the rest of the day.

12 Jul 2010 3:16 PM
democraticjack

Thanks for this information on the awesome Awesome Gem.  

Off topic a bit, did anyone else notice that a 20 year old gelding, Sir Windsor, just registered a work at Mountaineer?  He is a CA bred by L'Natural.  Anyone know the story here?

12 Jul 2010 3:20 PM
Rhonda from Saskatchewan

Horses come into your life and have an uncanny way of making you appreciate each day more. They make you want to live in the moment and when you see their stoicism and courage, your will to fight and survive whatever comes gets stronger and stronger. When you treat horses with kindness and love them, they give it back to you tenfold.

I think that's what Awesome Gem gave to Clyde and continues to give to his family, connections and the racing world.

What a gift horses are!

Thanks, Mr. Haskins for the "Awesome" article.

12 Jul 2010 3:31 PM
Patti Whalen

Mr. Haskin, Thank you for this wonderful article about my mom and dad and Awesome Gem.  I remember when dad called and told me he bought mom a horse.  He was always bringing things home from his travels and had a great sense of humor so that's why I asked what kind of horse?  Wooden, crystal, paper, what?  He said, "No, kid, a real #@%& horse!"  He was laughing! I will never forget the excitement in his voice as he went on to describe his new horse.  I miss his "girlie's only" trips to the races (no husbands or kids).  We always had a ton of fun and I know he loved having all of us there with him.  I think that's part of why he said it was the best thing he ever did.  He brought something into all our lives that we loved sharing together.  Thank you again!

12 Jul 2010 5:07 PM
Steve Haskin

Thank you very much for writing, Patti. I've been wanting to write that story for a long time. I admired your dad. He was always so upbeat and determined. I first met him at the Gazelle when he brought his grandson Zach and watched Lear's Princess upset Rags to Riches. We hit it off and kept in touch, and he sent me the photos of the carousel horse and loved sharing every bit of information about it. He seemed so proud of that. I'm so glad Awesome Gem and the other horses gave him so much pleasure and that Awesome was able to come through for your mom.

All the best,

Steve

12 Jul 2010 5:27 PM
Katherine

I think the title you gave this story is so appropriate. That is how I think of your articles, more gems. Thanks for enriching all us with these stories. You're the best!

12 Jul 2010 6:16 PM
CV

"Off topic a bit, did anyone else notice that a 20 year old gelding, Sir Windsor, just registered a work at Mountaineer?  He is a CA bred by L'Natural.  Anyone know the story here?"

democraticjack 12 Jul 2010 3:20 PM

I asked about this on Thoroughbred Champions.com and after a couple hours someone saw it and said the trainer gave the clocker at Mountaineer the wrong name. The correct name of the horse is King of Windsor, a gelding foaled on April 15, 2005.

12 Jul 2010 9:32 PM
Fran Loszynski

Boy can I call it Steve, Awesome Gem won for you! I was thrilled what a race.  His inside rally was awesome. I just had a feeling he would do it. I'm thrilled for you and I bet you were saying  "See that horse has heart!" Your article came at just the right time!

13 Jul 2010 7:51 AM
eeebayou

Life is strange. A few years ago, David Flores was the regular rider of Zenyatta and he had to make the call between her and a West Point horse named El Gato Malo. Who reaped the fruits of that decision? Mike Smith!! Good to see that Mike Smith gave David a bit of a "thank you" in the Gold Cup.

13 Jul 2010 6:25 PM
IRA

I am a pertner with WPT. I meet Clyde Haugan at the breeders cup in 2008. We talked briefly about Awesome Gem and Cantankerous Clyde. I infromed him that I had a small share in Cantankerous Clyde. He was so happyto hear that. He really loved the thoroughbred. It is to bad he couldn't see Gem cross the finish line first in a Grade 1 race.

14 Jul 2010 12:37 PM
TerriV

Maybe this is a good place to post a comment about the news I just read about Macho Again.  I'm sad to see him retired.  He was always a favorite of mine.  Though he wasn't consistent, he was capable of sparks of brilliance.  He is a horse I always watched for, enjoyed and put a couple dollars on, just in case.  One of those beautiful greys that always capture my attention. I'll miss him and wish him well and safe for the rest of his life.

15 Jul 2010 1:33 PM
Richie

Just wanted to say this is one of my favorite blogs that you've done Steve. Thanks!!!

26 Jul 2010 12:34 PM

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