Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How Did YOU Get Hooked?

Tonight is the premier episode of "On the Air With Owning Resources", my attempt via Blog Talk Radio to take this blog more interactive. In tonight's half hour space I plan on sharing how I got hooked on racing and getting into ownership. My question out to you all out there that (hopefully) will be listening:

How did you get hooked on racing?

My feverent hope is that they'll be some interactivity and we can create a community of sorts where we can tackle topics as they arise that face owners and fans alike.

I hope to hear you tonight, 10 PM Central Time just click the hyperlink in this post or the button above to the left.


Sandra Warren said...

Hi Ted:

I won't be available at 8pm PDT because that is my stall-cleaning time, but here's my story:

The horse-gene clicked on for me about age three, so I've always been fascinated by anything equine. In the 1970's I was glued to the Saturday sports shows in case a race came on, and I was so fortunate to be able to see Secretariat in action, if not in person.

I went to the Quarter Horse races at Bay Meadows with my roommate one night. I applied my superior horse knowledge and lost every bet. She picked out cute names and won most races. It was not a night that made me want to come back.

But in 1981, a friend of mine took me to Golden Gate Fields for the first time. He had been a box holder since GGF opened. In those days, a LOT of people came to the races, maybe 8,000 on the weekends, and just getting onto GGF property was a jam. We drove into the empty valet lane and shot up the hill, pulled to the curb, stepped out, and never looked back. We went into the Clubhouse and went to his box, which was right next to Harry Aleo's, who later owned Lost in the Fog. On the way to the box, we passed a number of his cronies, ex-Oakland Raiders and little old ladies who needed help carrying their tote bags to their own boxes. We ate bell pepper steak potatoes, went through the barn area, and bet every race. He taught me how to read a racing form, which opened up a whole new world. I made $85.00, which was such a fortune to me then that I still remember the amount. When we left, we walked outside, and there was the Cadillac parked at the curb waiting, facing out for convenience. We stepped in and zoomed down the hill. As we drove off, I turned my head and looked back and said, "I have to do this again soon!"

The next year, my friend bought a filly from one of the cronies in the boxes, named Miss Peachblossom, sight unseen. She was delivered to the farm that I was managing. She had an extremely toed-out front foot. But she was huge and beautiful, with two "horns" on her forehead, legs like a water spider and rather reminiscent of Ruffian to me. We raised her for a year, and then Marvin broached the subject of my buying a portion of her and getting an owner's license. Now I had no money to get involved in that, but there was no way I would turn it down. We ran her first time out at the Big Fresno Fair. I was lathered up all the way down I-5 until it was time for our race. There was a terrific crowd. I couldn't see the horses for the people in front of me, and I never heard my filly's name called. I looked over at another friend of ours, disturbed. "Where is she?" Suddenly the crowd parted in front of me, and glory be, there was Miss Peachblossom in front at the eighth pole, when I expected she was last by many. For a few terrible microseconds, I couldn't tell what the momentum was-- was she pulling away, or was someone about to pass her? It would be so terrible if someone passed her just as I saw her in the lead. Years later, I would know exactly how Shelley Riley felt when Casual Lies was passed in the Derby by Lil E. Tee, because I felt it in that moment. But no, Peaches inched away and won by 3/4 lengths. We were beside ourselves. Watching the replay later, I realized that Dick Riley was calling our filly by the another filly's name all the way around the track until Peaches took the lead. That is why I never heard her name.

That night we had dinner at a really great restaurant. The next day, I was walking back from the mailbox when an old trainer that boarded horses with us stopped his car next to me. "I heard you won your first race with your first horse. Congratulations!" he said. I grinned hugely. I was so proud that word had already gotten around. He said, "Now how are we ever going to tell you that sometimes they lose?" :)

Anonymous said...

Not to pimp my own blog, but my origin story can be found here:

If I'm still awake when you go live, I'll be all over this.