Thursday, August 9, 2012
AMERICA'S BEST RACING Thoroughbred Notebook
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Former University of Kentucky star and 12-year NBA veteran Rex Chapman joins jockey Garrett Gomez and trainer Doug O'Neill at Del Mar in celebrating the sparkling victory by J. Paul Reddam's Know More in Sunday's Best Pal Stakes in the first race of his career. (Image courtesy of Benoit Photo)
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay, top trainer Graham Motion and Team Valor’s Brad Weisbord talk horse racing in the Saratoga paddock (Image via Penelope P. Miller/America’s Best Racing)
Saratoga sunrise (Image via Adam Mooshian’s Twitter feed)
Know More takes the Best Pal Stakes in his 1st career start (Image via the @DelMarRacing Twitter feed)
Rick Pitino enjoys an afternoon at Del Mar (Image courtesy of Benoit Photo)
Image via Kerry Thomas

Kerry M. Thomas, founder of the Thomas Herding Technique and author of the newly released book, Horse Profiling: The Secret to Motivating Equine Athletes, is recognized by many around the world as a pioneering researcher and service provider in the field of Equine Athletic Psychology. He initially began his independent research of wild horse herds to learn more about their social structures for the purpose of developing therapy horses for children. Since then, his work has carried over into equine athletics and the sport he loves, horse racing. He gives seminars and lectures to colleges, private groups and businesses on “Herd Dynamics” and “The Dynamics of Communication” and is developing an Education and Wellness research platform. He is also the subject of a TV show that is currently being created.


Name: Kerry M. Thomas

What I do for a living: I study Emotional Conformation & Equine Athletic Psychology as the founder of Thomas Herding Technique

How and when I was introduced to Thoroughbred Racing: My grandpop introduced me to horse racing when he used to take me with him in his truck to “grab a paper” as he told my grandmother. We usually found horses not long after….

My favorite racetrack: Santa Anita

My favorite Thoroughbred racing event: Breeders’ Cup Classic

Other sports/teams I follow:  I’m a Phillies baseball fan and a Cowboys football fan

What I would like to see more of in Thoroughbred Racing: More new fans, more innovative public programs and education to take away the mystique racing has with some. Also a lot more classic distance races. And more continuity, better communication and more structured leadership. Our industry isn’t perfect but there are a lot of very great people in the sport.

What I would like to see less of in Thoroughbred Racing: The distance between those inside and those outside. Racing too often seems to be a sport seen in the USA for “those” people, and not a sport for “us people” to understand and enjoy. I think our horses retire so early for the breeding shed it’s hard for casual or fringe fans to get excited about following a horse or the athlete like they can in other sports. You hear about them in the news for a few weeks, then they vanish. Fan loyalty is hard to cultivate this way.

Three words that define what Thoroughbred Racing means to me: Beauty, Majesty, Fascination

First Thoroughbred track I ever attended was: Belmont.

Favorite All-time Thoroughbred: Seabiscuit

My personal best moment in the sport of Thoroughbred Racing: Being able to buy my first behavioral genetic broodmare for the start of our breeding program and having secured a forever home for her before making the purchase. She will one day retire to a ranch in Hawaii.

Best racetrack food can be found at: I am rather fond of the Bob Baffert Breakfast that I had at Santa Anita at Clocker’s Corner… If Bob made it, he might challenge Bobby Flay one day.

My favorite jockey: Pat Day

My favorite trainer: The Bald Eagle (Charlie Whittingham)

My Heroes: My mother and late father

Person in Thoroughbred Racing I’d like to have dinner with: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

My philosophy on life: "The willingness to discover beyond one’s own perceived limitations is a power to accomplish more than can be imagined, in ways we cannot predict."

Favorite quote or motto: “You must endeavor to understand, before you seek to be understood.” -KMT

Favorite animal other than a horse: Cat

Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: World Series in Philadelphia.

Favorite food: Coffee and chocolate… oh wait… yeah, steak, rare

Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere near the ocean and palm trees

Favorite city: It’s not really a “city” but Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Favorite Musician/band: Very eclectic; Mozart to TOOL…

Favorite all-time movie(s): Outlaw Josey Wales with Seabiscuit a whisker behind.

Favorite TV Show: Forensic Files

Favorite hotel: Wynn Las Vegas

Websites I visit daily: Equibase, DRF, Paulick Report, Twitter, Facebook, Blood-Horse, NTRA, Weather Channel, ESPN and countless wildlife sites.

What I drive: F-250/ 2003 Night Train Harley Davidson & my trusty red Ford Explorer; nothing too new, trust me.

Pet Peeve: People who do not use turn signals

Favorite movie about horse racing: Seabiscuit, hands down

Which actor would play me in a movie: George Clooney or Brad Pitt might be ok, but I’d have to interview them!

Alma Mater: What’s that mean?

Favorite Radio shows/channels: SirusXM electric area and BPM

Best Book I recently read: The Spirit of Seventy Six, The Story of the American Revolution as told by participants.

Favorite Memento: Braided tail hair from the horse who taught me more than any other, my best buddy, who died in 2008.

Favorite Dessert: Chocolate... anything chocolate

Favorite Drink: COFFEE

Favorite Scent: Lilac

What I like about my job: It’s like a window into the invisible. Each new case, each new horse, the challenge of discovery, the sense of research and adventure. I like when folks who were on the edge of getting into the business come to THT and get involved in Thoroughbred Racing for the first time because of the work we do and how we do it. That’s satisfying for me. And the simple fact that I hope I know more tomorrow than I do today because it’s the sense of “what’s next” that drives my passion forward.

Favorite Tech gadget: TV Remote!

Twitter Handle: @thomasherding

People I follow on Twitter: Mostly racing industry and entertainment industry folks… news outlets some…

No. 1 Bucket List Item: Safari in Africa


Congratulations to James Miakisz, winner of the August 8 Fan Photo Contest! From James: "Judy the Beauty for Trainer Wesley Ward out for an afternoon graze at Saratoga." Want in? E-mail a .jpg with a brief caption to


Rosie Napravnik when asked by a male reporter if she thinks about the fact that she is riding against men or if the whole topic is simply something cooked up by the media:
“No, you’re just in the kitchen because I don’t think about that at all.  You’re just cooking that up.”

Trainer Charlie Lopresti when asked whether his horse, Wise Dan, perhaps did not see Ron the Greek coming when Wise Dan was narrowly beaten in the Stephen Foster Handicap:
“I kind of like to think that, but to say that for sure, I don’t know.  I think the horse thought he won…he came out of the race in good form and he wasn’t depressed or anything like that.”

Bob Baffert in San Diego Union-Tribune on reports that his friend Michael Phelps (and other U.S. Olympic athletes) would be taxed for their medals and the cash payments of up to $25,000 that accompany each medal:
"They can't be serious about taxing him for his medals, can they? How much gold can be in those things? Obama should step in and stop them."


Video: I’ll Have Another arrives at Big Red Farm in Japan (BigRedFarmGroup  YouTube channel)

I’ll Have Another makes the list of the year’s “Biggest Sports Letdowns” (so far) (

Video: Racing 101 at Saratoga (

Video: Why trainer Craig Dollase brings in beach sand for his horses to roll around in at the barn (America’s Best Racing)

Photos: Behind the scenes at Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga Select sale (America’s Best Racing)

Photos: More from the Saratoga sale (The Business Review)


Velazquez and Ghostzapper among six new Hall of Fame inductees tomorrow (Daily Racing Form)

Impending Hall of Famers team up to win Waya Stakes (Thoroughbred Times)

Kerry Thomas “The Herd Whisperer” to appear at Hall of Fame, Aug. 12 (

Paynter went to medical clinic; status for Travers in jeopardy (Daily Racing Form)

Paynter  heading to Belmont, much improved (The Blood-Horse)

Travers runners will face new security measures (The Blood-Horse)

Fillies night at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga as market bounces back after first-night declines (Thoroughbred Times)

Pete Pedersen, highly respected California racing official, dies at 92 (Daily Racing Form)

Will racing’s leaders step forward? (The Saratogian)

Kentucky Downs becomes the 24th track to earn accreditation from the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance (NTRA)

Salix ban will extend to 2yo old listed stakes (The Blood-Horse)

Sam Houston Race Park aims to raise stakes with $400,000 race (

Kentucky Cup day cut for the second time in three years (Thoroughbred Times)

Fort Larned joins leader Game On Dude in NTRA Poll (The Miami Herald)

VIP lounge established for Arlington Million (The Blood-Horse)

Sutherland to take part in Ascot’s Shergar Cup (The Blood-Horse)

Why Frankel is not connecting with the general public (Racing Post)

Saratoga: Too much of a good thing? (

Napravnik sisters take on Saratoga (Hudson

Get some betting advice at NYRA's Racing 101 tent at Saratoga Race Course (The Saratogian)

The uncertain future of New York racing (The Saratogian)

Horse racing reaches out to Michael Phelps (

Shoeing horses a life’s calling for blacksmith Jim Jimenez (UT San

Exercises to strengthen equine back muscles, reduce pain (The

Triple Crown winning jockey Ron Turcotte makes charitable appearance in Ocean City (Shore News Today)

More than $400,000 raised during TRF Gala (The Blood-Horse)

OTTB Showcase: Pickin N Singin (A.K.A. “Lance”) (Paulick Report)

A great racing official passes away (   

Phelps dives in (Horserace  

Talking 2-year-olds (Daily Racing Form)   

August fools day at Saratoga (  

The ups and downs of handle (  

Taking advantage of track conditions: How I turned $50 into $2,912,50 (Equinometry)  

Lessons Larned (  

Thoughts on the Breeders' Cup Santa Anita 2013 announcement (  

Secretariat owner Penny Chenery honored by Thoroughbred Club of America (Louisville Courier-Journal)  

Why I got a Rachel Alexandra tattoo (Horse Racing Nation)  

Mariano Rivera will visit Saratoga Friday (Albany Times-Union)  

Send a note to Hope Hudson, the brave Make a Wish Foundation 12-year-old who accompanied Team I’ll Have Another throughout the Triple Crown; she underwent her ninth surgery on Wednesday (CaringBridge)      


Rhonda Sylvester of North Little Rock, Ark., wins $15,000 as Daily Racing Form NHC Tour first-half champion (NTRA)

Rich Cristiano, Director of Business Development at NHC sponsor Sovereign Stable, will be speaking on Thoroughbred racing partnerships at the TOBA New Owners Seminar in Saratoga Springs on August 9th.  The seminar will cover every aspect of Thoroughbred ownership.  Click here for details and registration information. 

Sovereign Stable, a presenting sponsor of the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship is hosting a free online handicapping contest on  Registration is now open for the August 18 online qualifier.  Click here to enter.  Tour points will be awarded to the top 30 finishers.

Aug. 9, 1999: Trainer, D. Wayne Lukas; jockey Russell Baze, and horses Miesque, Exceller and Gun Bow were inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.


Aug. 10, 1868: “The Dinner Party Stakes,” devised by a group of seven influential Thoroughbred owners after a dinner at Saratoga a few days before, was advertised with a request for nominations. The stakes race, designed to showcase racing in Baltimore, was to be run two years hence, in 1870, at the yet-to-be-built Pimlico Racecourse.


Aug. 10, 1982: Mary Russ became the first female rider to surpass the $1 million mark in earnings when she finished third aboard Bammer in the fourth race at Saratoga Racecourse.


Aug. 10, 1996: Cigar was denied a 17th straight victory when longshot Dare and Go passed him in the stretch of the Pacific Classic at Del Mar.


Aug. 10, 2002: Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day became the leading money-winning rider in history with $264,580,968 in purse earnings after guiding With Anticipation to victory in the Grade I Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap at Saratoga. The previous mark was $264,351,679 set by Chris McCarron.


Aug. 10, 2009: Breeders’ Cup announced that it would adopt the standard colored saddle towel system, and that trainers who violate its medication policy would face an automatic one-year suspension. Trainers who violate the policy three times face a lifetime ban from the Breeders’ Cup.


Aug. 11, 1972: In preparation for his stakes-racing debut, the Aug. 16 Sanford at Saratoga Racecourse, Secretariat worked five furlongs in :59.


Aug. 12, 1943: Representatives of Suffolk Downs donated $625,000 to the National War Fund, the single largest contribution by any sports venue in support of the war effort. Six weeks later, an additional $10,885 was contributed. The track had held an 18-day War Charity meet to fund the donation. 


Aug. 12, 1938: In a $25,000 winner-take-all match race, Seabiscuit defeated Ligaroti by a nose at Del Mar. The race pitted father against son, with Charles S. Howard, owner of Seabiscuit, competing with his son Lin, who owned Ligaroti in partnership with crooner Bing Crosby. The race was so closely contested that the jockey for Ligaroti, Noel Richardson, kept rider George Woolf in a leg-lock for part of the stretch run. 


Aug. 12, 2000: Hallowed Dreams, bidding to surpass the record of 16 consecutive wins she co-owned with Cigar and Citation, finished third in the Millennium Stakes at Evangeline Downs.


Aug. 13, 1919: Upset scored a win against Man o’ War in the Sanford Memorial Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse. The defeat was Big Red’s only loss in 21 starts.


Aug. 13, 1938: Mary Hirsch became the first woman to train a Travers Stakes winner when she sent Thanksgiving to victory for owner Anne Corning.


Aug. 13, 1951: At odds of 2-1, Greentree Stable’s Tom Fool won his maiden race by four lengths at Saratoga Racecourse.


Aug. 14, 1942: One of racing’s oddities occurred at Saratoga Racecourse when Rurales and Joe Burger finished in a dead-heat for first place, giving trainer W.O. Hicks, who saddled both horses, two winners in one race.


Aug. 14, 2009: Trainer Bob Baffert was among six stars inducted into Thoroughbred racing’s Hall of Fame.


Aug. 14, 2010: Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze registered his record 11,000th career winner aboard Separate Forest in the fourth race at Santa Rosa.


Aug. 15, 1972: The 15-race winning streak of England’s Brigadier Gerard was ended by John Galbreath’s American-bred Roberto, ridden to a three-length victory by Braulio Baeza in the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup at York Racecourse. Brigadier Gerard, who finished second in the Gold Cup, went on to post two more victories before retiring with a record of 18-17-1-0.


Aug. 15, 1987: Kent Desormeaux began his career as a journeyman jockey.


Aug. 15, 2000: Jockey Russell Baze rode three winners at Bay Meadows and surged past Angel Cordero into fifth place on the list of all-time winning riders with 7,059 victories.


Aug. 16, 1930: Triple Crown winner Gallant Fox was beaten by 100-1 shot Jim Dandy in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse.


Aug. 16, 1946: Rockingham Park began to film its races from the vantage of a helicopter, using the equipment as a “mechanical patrol judge.”


Aug. 16, 1954: Native Dancer concluded his 22-race career with a victory in the Oneonta Handicap, a non-betting exhibition race at Saratoga Racecourse that he won by nine lengths while carrying 137 pounds. Although he raced only three times in 1954, Native Dancer was subsequently voted Horse of the Year, partly because he had been denied that honor in the previous year, despite having won nine of 10 races, all of them stakes. Tom Fool, 1953 Horse of the Year, had had a perfect 10-for-10 record.


Aug. 16, 1965: John Longden rode his 6,000th winner, riding Prince Scorpion to victory while at Exhibition Park.


Aug. 16, 1972: Secretariat won his first stakes race, the Sanford Stakes, at Saratoga Racecourse. The time for the six-furlong race was 1:10, the fastest time for the distance at Saratoga that year.


Aug. 16, 1976: John Campo swept the top three spots in the Adirondack Stakes with his trainees Harvest Girl, Bonnie Empress and Drama Critic.


Aug. 16, 2003: Storming Home unseated his rider, Gary Stevens, at the finish of the Arlington Million in a spectacular incident that resulted in Sulamani being named the race winner. Stevens suffered a fractured vertabra and collapsed lung in the spill.


Aug. 17, 1918: Samuel D. Riddle purchased the yearling Man o’ War for $5,000 in a sale of August Belmont II’s bloodstock at Saratoga.


Aug. 17, 1977: Jockey Steve Cauthen rode Affirmed for the first time, winning the Sanford Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse by 2 3/4 lengths.


Aug. 17, 2000: Zippy Chippy, loser of all 86 of his lifetime races, was defeated again--this time by minor-league baseball player Jose Herrera in a 40-yard dash.  The race, called the "2000 Red Wings Derby," was held prior to a home game of the International League's Rochester Red Wings.


Aug. 18, 1923: The Jockey Club announced that the owner of Papyrus, winner of the Epsom Derby, had accepted an invitation to compete in an international match race in the U.S., against an American horse. Zev, winner of the 1923 Kentucky Derby, was chosen to represent the U.S. against Papyrus in the race, scheduled for October.


Aug. 18, 1961: Trainer Dale Baird saddled his first winner, New York, at Ellis Park.


Aug. 18, 2002: Sunday Silence, the 1989 Horse of Year who later became a perennial leading sire in Japan, died after suffering a fatal heart attack at the Shadai Stallion Station on the isle of Hokkaido in Japan.


Aug. 18, 2008: Trainer Linda Rice saddled the top four finishers in the $83,250 Mechanicville Stakes over the turf at Saratoga. Rice won the race with Ahvee’s Destiny, with Canadian Ballet second by a head, Silver Timber a half-length farther back in third; and Karakorum Elektra another three-quarters of a length behind in fourth.


Aug. 19, 1978: In the conclusion of their 10-race rivalry, Alydar scored his third “success” against Affirmed in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse, when his adversary was disqualified from first place.


Aug. 19, 1990: Jockey Earlie Fires became the eleventh rider in Thoroughbred racing history to register 5,000 victories when he guided Tex’s Zing to victory in the ninth race at Arlington International Racecourse. He joined history-making jockeys Bill Shoemaker, Laffit Pincay Jr., Angel Cordero Jr., John Longden, Jorge Velasquez, Larry Snyder, Sandy Hawley, Dave Gall, Carl Gambardella and Chris McCarron.


Aug. 20, 1966: Ogden Phipps’ Buckpasser, ridden by Braulio Baeza, became racing’s first three-year-old millionaire after he won the Travers Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse.


Aug. 20, 2000: Ron Ardoin became the 16th jockey in North America to win 5,000 races when he guided Heart of an Angel to a three-length victory in the seventh race at Louisiana Downs.


Aug. 21, 2007: Perry Ouzts gained the 5,000th win of his riding career when he piloted Kandinsky to victory in the 1st race at River Downs.


Aug. 22, 1972: In preparation for his next start, the Aug. 26 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga Racecourse, Secretariat worked a half-mile in :46 2/5.


Aug. 22, 1998: Hall of Fame trainer Woody Stephens died in Miami Lakes, Fla. He was 84.

Aug. 22, 2011: Jockey Tammi Piermarini recorded the 2,000th win of her career, piloting Sugar Trade to victory in the third race at Suffolk Downs. Piermarini joined Julie Krone (3,704 wins), Rosemary Homeister Jr. (2,438), Patti Cooksey (2,137) and Vicki Aragon Baze (2,019) in the exclusive group of women with 2,000 or more career victories.


Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes, 4&up (f&m), $100,000, 2 1-16M (Steeplechase), Saratoga 

National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes, 3yo, $200,000, Grade II, 1 1-16M (T), Saratoga

Daisycutter Handicap, 3&up (f&m), $85,000, 5F (T), Del Mar

Fourstardave Handicap, 3&up, $500,000, Grade II, 1M (T), Saratoga

Governor’s Cup, 3&up, $200,000, 1 1-8M, Remington Park

La Jolla Handicap, 3yo, $150,000, Grade II, 1 1-16M (T), Del Mar

Ontario Debutante Stakes, 2yo fillies, $150,000, 6F, Woodbine

Evangeline Mile, 3&up, $125,000, 1M, Evangeline Downs

Gardenia Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $100,000, Grade III, 1M, Ellis Park

Monmouth Oaks, 3yo fillies, $100,000, Grade III, 1 1-16M, Monmouth Park

David M. Vance Sprint Stakes, 3&up, $100,000, 6F, Remington Park

Wine Country Debutante Stakes, 2yo fillies, $75,000, 6F, Santa Rosa 

John C. Mabee Stakes, 3&up (f&m), $250,000, Grade II, 1 1-8M (T), Del Mar

Adirondack Stakes, 2yo fillies, $200,000, Grade II, 6 1-2F, Saratoga

Saratoga Special Stakes, 2yo, $200,000, Grade II, 6 1-2F, Saratoga

Cavonnier Juvenile Stakes, 2yo, $75,000, 6F, Santa Rosa 

Coronation Cup Stakes, 3yo fillies, $100,000, 5 1-2F (T), Saratoga 

Troy Stakes, 3&up, $100,000, 5 1-2F (T), Saratoga

Green Flash Handicap, 3&up, $85,000, 5F (T), Del Mar

RACING ON THE AIR (All times Eastern) top

August 11 Fourstardave Handicap (Saratoga), 6:00-7:00 p.m., NBC Sports Network

August 12 Saratoga Special Stakes and Adirondack Stakes (Saratoga), 6:00-7:00 p.m., NBC Sports Network

August 18 Alabama Stakes and Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap (Saratoga), 5:00-6:00 p.m., NBC Sports Network

Who’s your pick for the Fourstardave?  Tweet your answers to @ABRLive!