AS WE BEGIN 2011

While I, like many others who are passionate about our business and worry about the health and safety of our horses, have been critical of NYRA and its management, they deserve very high marks for their maintenance of the Winter training track at Belmont. At times in the past very cold weather would cause the surface to be powdery and loose. By January/February we were a study in foot tubs. This Winter the track has been in excellent shape despite snowstorms and very cold, windy weather. The track superintendent and crew deserve a big thank you from all of us who support Winter racing.

As a breeder I am puzzled by the influx of stallions to New York. While there are those who believe many more mares will become resident in New York, or ship here to be bred, taking advantage of the Racino revenues, we will have a registered foal crop in 2011 that may be no more than 50% of what it was 5 years ago, and certainly number under 1,000. Breeder's will have the advantage given that the mare population cannot expand as rapidly as needed to meet the increased stallion capacity, thereby compressing season prices. It is unfortunate as the stallion roster, including present studs and those recently arrived, presents a formidable group, but small foal crops will temper the popularity of any stallion, and the consequential value of the foals. If you race your babies, the edge belongs to you this year and for the foreseeable future.

We are thrilled to see the Vinery plant its flag in New York. They are a first class organization with worldwide experience and a business model that has adapted well in Kentucky and Florida. The interest of other out of state groups are welcomed. You guys know who you are!

Finally, it seems that most people you talk with would prefer a lighter racing schedule during the Winter. The 5 day a week grind puts undo pressure on the Racing Secretary to fill cards, which in turn triggers the late morning/early afternoon dance between the Racing Office and the trainers as they try and fill races. Book races not going and a cascade of extras, certainly increases the difficulty of training a horse. There are different ways to reach the same end; race 3 or 4 days per week; card 6 or 7 races a day if you must race 5 days a week; simply shut down for 10 days in January and 10 days in February, or your choice of some combination of the above. While post-Racino times may ease the situation, we should be acting now.

Sincerely,  

Jeffrey Tucker

2009 Finger Lakes H.B.P.A. Awards: Mr. Windjammer Named HOY

Thursday, June 17th, 2010
MR. WINDJAMMER, is a 5 year old gelding by Regal Classic out of the Stonebridge mare Royal Relic, by Colonial Affair

FARMINGTON, N.Y. – Mr. Windjammer was named 2009 Finger Lakes “Horse of the Year” at the annual Finger Lakes Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association awards dinner on Tuesday. The chestnut gelding was the only local horse to win multiple stakes at Finger Lakes last year.

The 5-year-old New York-bred owned by Stonegate Racing Stables scored a one length victory in the $50,000 George Barker Handicap on May 25, 2009. He also took the $50,000 Leon Reed Handicap by three-quarters of a length on August 22, 2009. Jockey Gabriel Suarez guided the $241,612 earner to both wins for trainer Jonathan Buckley.

Mr. Windjammer validated the honor with a repeat victory in this year’s running of the George Barker Handicap on Memorial Day after the voting took place.  He visited the Winners Circle for the eighth time after recording his fourth career stakes triumph.

 

WHY WE LOVE HORSES: This is an e-mail addressed to Jeffrey Tucker, owner of Struggler's Legend during his racing career.

Hi,

My name is Katie Gardner and I now own the horse Struggler's Legend---a bay gelding foaled in 2001. (Struggler x Legend's Daughter) I think he used to belong to you --that is, if I found the correct Jeffrey Tucker!

I have watched videos of most of his races from equibase.com; it was really fun to see him as a racehorse!! He is going to be 9 in April and this past weekend went to his first show as a jumper. He is the most amazing horse I have ever known. He's brilliant, sneaky and opinionated. He is the first racehorse that I have ever owned, and the first horse I've ever trained entirely by myself. (Our family breeds hunter ponies and I've been showing and breaking ponies since I was a kid, but never an ex-racehorse!) We changed his name to Frankly My Dear ("Frank"), because he doesn't "give a damn" about anything! My original idea was to re-train him as a hunter, but once he learned to jump, he LOVED it, and he's just too bold and quick for the hunter ring, so we made the switch to jumpers. Having ridden hunters all my life, this is a new experience for me as well and we are learning together. Though he is fast and bold and "on his game" when he knows he's going to be jumping, he is also quiet enough to hack around the farm. I ride him bareback all the time. He is turned out in a huge field with 7 pony mares, and really enjoys being the king!

At the horse show this past weekend, I also put him in a model class, and he was 2nd in a group of really nice horses.

I've attached some pictures from this weekend so you can see how good he looks and how happy he is with his new job-- he is spoiled rotten and adored and has a forever home. I'm planning to show him again next month. (In the last picture, you can see that I have a peppermint in my left hand. That's how I bribed him to stand still---sneaking him candy during the class! I taught him to "set up" in his conformation "pose" when I crinkle the wrapper at him, hehe.)

I would love to know what he was like on the track. When did you get him? How was he to train? Anything to fill in the pieces of his history would be very interesting to me!

Also, here are a couple of video links. The quality is terrible (a friend took them using my phone) but you can see him jumping:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPwcokfMbZU
and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kydMCq-mMk
Thank you very much!!
Katie Gardner
Bedford, VA
www.otteridgefarm.com

 


Letter to the Editor,
Daily Racing Form,
Sunday February 14, 2010

How many hours have we spent  as owners, trainers, members of track management, etc. discussing why New York racing is in decline and what can be done to resuscitate it.  Various sources of pressure, particularly political, preclude some of the more progressive, radical notions from taking root.  One we fantasize about is the sale of Aqueduct and Belmont, the use of some of the proceeds to construct a state of the art facility friendly to horses, backstretch staff, and owners, to be located in a more rural setting, perhaps in Sullivan or Duchess County.  Graced with ample turnout space, fresh air, modern barns, and proper housing for employees, the track would offer racing over three different surfaces, dirt, turf and synthetic.  Staged around the Saratoga season, the meets would be conducted from Labor Day through year end, and March 15th until the exodus to Saratoga.  3-5 years to plan and build; lots of employment.  I leave to others what is to be done with the 600+ acres that is Aqueduct and Belmont.

Jeffrey Tucker


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