A Great Seat

Normally, it's her pretty face that you see on TV. But Jeannine Edwards has a great seat. For those unaware of the comely ESPN commentator's off-the-air interests, she's an equestrienne par excellence.

Edwards sat her back up like a washboard on Ashkal Way through an impressive demonstration of dressage in front of the Clubhouse before the racing began on Wednesday. She took her 8-year-old gelding through his paces to "It's Gonna be a Good Day" by the Black Eyed Peas. Ashkal Way, the winner of the 2006 Bernard Baruch Stakes, was a poster boy for Thoroughbred Retirement Day. 

NYRA made generous donations to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, Old Friends and the Exceller Fund. In the morning, Michael Blowen told about 40 people attending the Guests in the Gallery program at the Racing Museum that Old Friends was hoping to start a National Horse Cemetery in nearby Greenfield.

On Tuesday, a golf foursome led by retired jockey Filiberto Leon shot minus-10 to edge out Garrett Gomez's in the Jockeys Golf Tournament.  The tournament benefited the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.  Thirty-one foursomes had a shot to win at Saratoga Lake Golf Club. Richie Migliore gave a brief speech at dinner to thank his former locker room pals for honoring him. A few weeks back, the jockeys played hoops to help the cause out. On August 30, they'll play softball.

Back at the races, Rudy Rodriguez, a former jockey turned trainer, did his part to uphold the retirement theme.  He saddled 11-1 Saltamontes to win the second race - her first start ever.  There was nothing in Saltamontes' vita to make you play her - an issue, according to some.

Trainer Linda Rice praised Allan Garcia for piloting Awakino Cat to victory in the featured Troy Stakes. "He's terrific at these 5-1/2 furlong grass sprints," she said about her rider. In addition, within the course of a short afternoon, five horses changed hands via the claiming route.

This past Sunday's controversial induction of Michael Jackson into the Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance and Friday evening's National Museum of Racing's tony Museum Ball put a temporary stop to Saratoga's expensive social events.  Nevertheless, the spending picks up again next week with Belmont Child Care Association's "Round-Up" at the Gideon Putnam on Wednesday evening and the Travers Celebration Ball at the racecourse the following night.

In the past, the upcoming week was also when the New York Turf Writers held its annual dinner.  Unfortunately, the event won't be held this August.  Forty years ago, the New York Turf Writers dinner was the one party that everyone attended. Now the organization is near oblivion, its members busy with real jobs.

Meanwhile, ballots for three important awards, presented by the National Turf Writers Association - a healthier body, went out in the email. Speaking of healthy, fallen jockey Rajiv Maragh was declared that at Albany Medical Center.

Vic Zast has attended at least one day of racing at Saratoga in each of the last 47 years. He is the author of the award winning book, "The History and Art of 25 Travers."



Leave a Comment:

Blue Blue Sea

Nice bit. As an owner/rider of OTTBs and fan of horse racing I love to see these stories.

19 Aug 2010 10:26 AM

I remember Ashkal Way! He won the Gr 1 Citation HCP, too. Wonderful that he ended up so happy, way to go Jeannine ♥

I'm glad to see it being relabeled more as a "retirement" theme as opposed to "rescue."

19 Aug 2010 11:53 AM

I remember Ashkal Way.  Is there any way you can post the dressage demonstration on-line (or direct me to some site where I can watch it)?

19 Aug 2010 1:40 PM
Leigh in Va.

Retired from racing does not mean retired from a chance to be an athlete in another career.Many of these horses would be happy doing something and being cared for as well as at the track.please promote retired from the track,ready for a new career,not just turned out somewhere.Go Jennine!

19 Aug 2010 3:31 PM

Awakino Cat! My mare's half-brother, he's helping the family's black-type! Thanks dude, your niece/nephew-to-be thanks you too!

19 Aug 2010 5:18 PM
Robin from Maryland

Wonderful story!!!  It's nice to see these guys living on.  Kudos to all who support OTTBS.

19 Aug 2010 8:51 PM
John T

Ashkal Way had class on the racetrack and it,s good to see him

getting some class now that those days are over.

19 Aug 2010 10:36 PM

I would have loved to have been there, especially to see Jeannine and Ashkal Way.

20 Aug 2010 9:03 AM
Show Jumper

Good girl, Jeannine.  Musical Freestyle no less!

It sounds like we need several tracks (pun intended) for racehorses that are finished racing.  

1) "Rescue/Rehoming" for those that are not physically suited for new carreers.  The marketing model is probably more like that for dogs.  These are pure pets / companions and need that kind of organization to get them homes.  Funding responsibility here should probably be heaviest on those who breed and race these horses.

2) "Casual Sports" for those that are suited to lower level athletic pursuits.  This is the in-between and where the new owners need more resources and are hoping for a companion/sporting partner. The people who adopt these horses provide some support through adoption fees, but funding here may probably need to be a hybrid of that and breeders/race owners.

3) "Competitive Athletes" for horses with a lot left in the tank who have a shot at upper level competition.  These horses if recognized can do a lot to help spark interest in the "track 2" type horses, but the economics in all but eventing are very problematic.  You need professionals to be able to bring these horses along without losing a ton of money, which would mean  sponsorship to get things started.  TBs have all but dropped out of upper level show jumping and show hunters and that is a large market (as horses go) with a lot of discretionary income to support these horses.  This 'market' should not be left untapped as it largely is now.  

If Super Saver's full brother is sound, maybe Winstar could sponsor him as a possible show jumper.  That is just an example.  In general it would be better if the horses were selected by the jumper trainer, but he would deserve a shot and his famous full brother might help get attention.

Gotta go now, interested in thoughts from others on this.

20 Aug 2010 9:10 AM

How about establishing a TB only circuit of shows? Arabians do it, why not TBs? And then, the show jumping and dressage TB owners could have their own forum. OTTBs are usually less expensive (read: sometimes free), in comparison to the purchase of warmbloods, which rule in these competitions. Creating breed recognitions and awards would stimulate the desire for these deserving horses.

20 Aug 2010 11:02 AM
El Kabong

You shamelessly used the impeccable Jeannine Edwards to get me into this story. Very nice. I appreciate the story and as implied, I appreciate the Jeannine Edwards tie in to this cause. When do we honor Mrs. Edwards for her alluring attraction to TBHR with a statue in the paddock of her choice? Sorry Randy, the Moss statue will have to wait.

20 Aug 2010 11:56 AM
Show Jumper

True, Goodwin.

There is a small "Triple Crown Series" being run at the Horse Park in Lexington Virginia.  This is for TBs only.  There are three shows this year, with the last one being in November.  It is great that they are doing this.  This is really for "Track 2" horses of my three "tracks" above.  The highest jumping competitions they have are smaller than anything in the "rated" divisions at the open shows (US Equestrian Federation).  Also, the 'money' classes are structured so the horses that have the ability to move up in open shows have no advantage.  I think these shows and the stakes classes held this summer in KY (Thanks to New Vocations and Castleton Lyons) are great for "Track 2" horses.

Thoroughbreds have potential to get back to competitiveness in the big open shows, but all of us who have to make a living in some way have backed away from investing in the thoroughbreds (even if they're 'cheaper' to buy it still costs $1k/week with expenses to do a large USEF show). If some of the big TB farms got interested (together or separately) maybe they could sponsor a few of these top athlete horses, and then there would be TBs in the big competitions again.

20 Aug 2010 1:38 PM

I am so glad to see Exceller and Old Friends in the same playground as TRF. Both Michael Blowen and Nicole Smith(ED, Exceller), are TRF Alumni!!!

Makes for a bad day for Diana!!!!!

Way to Go NYRA!!! Glad you could include Michael, and Exceller!!! They deserve the recognition!! They truly love their charges!!

24 Aug 2010 2:03 AM
Phoebe Hayes

The Maryland Jockey Club has been actively promoting OTTBs for many years.

At various events throughout the year both CANTER MidAtlantic and Thoroughbred Placement and Rescue have provided on track demonstrations between the races, showing talented ex-racehorses as show jumpers, show hunters, dressage horses, and western pleasure horses, and foxhunters.

CANTER volunteers have provided assistance at the past two Laurel Park Chili Cookoff (recognised by the International Chili Association) and in appreciation MJC has donated thousands of dollars. www.canterusa.org

Kim Clark, Trainer@GoodHorse.org, conducts trackside seminars for potential owners to help them with understanding the OTTB and the transition from the racetrack to their new careers.

26 Aug 2010 12:19 PM

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