Been awhile. Sorry about the lack of communication; life and times of a horse trainer (31 horses), father (four kids), farm owner (26.5 acres) and a college graduate (six years) in animal science instead of grammar and writing (1,000 typos). My editor, Sean Clancy, flew to Cheltenham for the four-day Cheltenham Festival and basically left me hanging out to dry. Good thing I train a horse for him, his board bill just went up.
New owners, new horses. Oh yeah, kids, school, sports, family. Time just got away from me as it does to us all.
As rapid as we started in January, things have definitely slowed up in February and March. Entering horses became a chore in February when the blizzards hit and racing was canceled in most Mid-Atlantic states. That took a real toll on our numbers, but something you simply have to weather (sorry about the pun) when it comes to racing during the winter.
The weather has turned, I can even see a shade of green on the dormant Laurel turf course, and things are bound to pick up.
Hope springs eternal. Especially in the spring!
With the relative break from racing, I've made a bunch of trips to the farms to visit the 2-year-olds and some of the 3-year-olds. Always love going to Middleburg Training Center to check on the horses with Barbara Graham. They're doing great. Spent a lot of time this winter trying to line up breeding nicks for next year, trying to decide to go to Kentucky stallions or stay in Maryland. Getting some of the turf horses back in and brushing off some of the dust off of them.
I even had enough idle time to run my first road race, the St. Patrick's Day 8K in Washington, D.C. I ran with with my brother Brian, Jimmy Riley, Sheldon Russell and his girlfriend Gabby. We tried to stay together but we had to ditch Brian and Jimmy (they were under-trained), finishing in 45 minutes. It gave me a firsthand feel of how horses feel after they run a race. I was sore. As I say, 'I'm not a runner.'
We ended February well with Strikers Notion breaking his maiden for long-time owners Richard and Noreen McCrossen. J. Ramirez put Striker right to work out of the gate and never looked back as he graduated from the maiden ranks.
Christian's Star started off March with a bang. MOM Stables 3-year-old by Essence Of Dubai was rated well by 10-pound-bug rider Brian Pedroza as Queens Partner set the early fractions. When things got a little tight inside the 3/8 pole, Brian took Christian outside and asked for run. We were in front by the quarter pole and drew off by 2 3/4 lengths. All I kept saying was, "Don't fall off, kid. Don't fall off." Nice job, Brian. It was something to behold, seeing a young kid win one of his first career races. So excited, so innocent, so vibrant. May the feeling never lessen.
Three horses in Wednesday, two at Laurel and one at Penn National. Let's hope the numbers start rolling.