There was an announcement today that trainer Stew Firlotte has passed away.
Mr. Firlotte brings back some memories for me. As a kid, getting first interested in racing, his pacing colt Ralph Hanover was one I followed. Later on, when I moved to Toronto to go to school, we'd chart his young colt's and fillies progress from Florida, and get ready to bet them when they made their first start at Greenwood. Year after year it seemed he'd pay 5-2 or 2-1 with horses ready to blow the doors off the competition.
His horses tended to race good and look good and some, like Digger Almahurst, looked pretty hard to train too. I guess my two favorites of his were Town Pro and Ralph. I always liked Rare Review. For making a couple of scores Happy Family was one that sticks out. I liked that little horse.
Question: What lasts longer, a strawberry left out in the sun or a sophomore thoroughbred? Answer: Let me think about it. Bodemeister is off to Rood and Riddle for an undisclosed illness. If you ask 100 people on twitter if they ever expect to see him race again, 99 would likely say no.
Eric Poteck has a commentary on HANA about the OHRIA plan in Ontario. It's not a commentary that's feel good, and one would expect that it won't get filtered around, but it may be the most accurate of the pieces I have seen written on the subject. What has befallen racing? Too many cooks in the kitchen, having to be appeased. The OHRIA plan does the same. I've often said, as you have, that racing has systemic issues and no matter how many band-aids you put on them, they are still there. You don't fix structural problems with band-aids. I don't think racing ever learned that, or will learn it.
What a mess? Not only has the industry not come up with any guidance for people who want to buy a yearling this fall, now we have a backlash over credit notes for the upcoming Canadian Classic yearling sale. I was thinking of maybe going, but I have no faith that anyone in the industry has my back. And I am certainly not filling out a strange looking credit application that likely means, or tells anyone nothing, especially since I have not shirked on any debt since I was about twelve. I don't know about you, but my bank account four weeks before a sale will not have anything to buy horses in it. You go to a sale not knowing the foggiest what you may spend, then you buy, then make sure there's enough to cover it a day later, by contacting stable partners, making deposits, or moving money around. I remember back in the 1980's having some friends who had a couple of decent horses attending a sale. They wanted to buy a trotting filly and their max spend was $25,000. Four hours later they bought a pacing son of Niatross who ended up being the top priced yearling sold in Canada. If they tried that this year they'd get told 'no' because their banker said so? Anyway, I don't know what's going on.
My chuckle for the day came from Kendal Hansen, owner of Hansen. This guy never fails to give me a charge. On his blog he wonders out loud if his horse was targeted by another trainer and rider in the WV Derby.
Have a nice Wednesday everyone.
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