America's Best Racing
Sally Steinmann’s Hats Off to Horses Print E-mail

America’s Best Racing
The Jockey Club Website
www.followhorseracing.com
October 2013

It’s all about the drama.

Sally Faith Steinmann has always looked at the Kentucky Derby as theater where women arrive at the grand, glorious stage of Churchill Downs, making their stylish entrances.Hats 001

It’s the vivid colors, gorgeous brims and dazzling attention to detail that set off Steinmann’s creations as one-of-a-kind couture Kentucky Derby hats. Custom handmade pieces, evolving from design to shaping and finishing, each hat provides an air of confidence and panache.

“It’s like stepping outside yourself and playing a part in this grand pageantry,” Steinmann says. “Each woman wants something unique, something that will always remind her of her special day at Churchill Downs. In our culture, we don't have all that many occasions like this. It’s dressing up in a parade of hats. There is nothing like it, from the infield to Millionaire's Row, and anyone can participate.”

For the fifth consecutive year, Steinmann’s Maggie Mae Designs and Old Friends are teaming up for a unique six-month online shopping experience beginning November 1 with their "Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby" online auction series. The spectacular Derby hats are created and donated by Steinmann with all proceeds going to Old Friends-- the thoroughbred aftercare facility in Georgetown, Ky. Old Friends take care of 118 retired racehorses in Kentucky with another 14 outside of Saratoga, N. Y. They are the only thoroughbred rescue/retirement facility specializing in the care of stallions.

 
Round Table: Champion on the Turf Print E-mail

America’s Best Racing
The Jockey Club Website
www.followhorseracing.com
September 2013

When Wise Dan swept three categories -- Horse of the Year, older male, and male turf horse -- at the Eclipse Awards early this year, it brought back sunny memories of Round Table, who collected Horse of the Year honors, a champion male turf horse award, and male handicap honors in 1958.

Round Table was an everyman's horse. In an era when larger-than-life racehorses such as Native Dancer, Swaps, and Nashua became national heroes, the small, unassuming Round Table steadily racked up victories. In a career spanning four years (1956-1959) he was recognized as one of the greatest turf runners in the history of the sport.RoundTable3

The bay colt liked to run close to the pace and set the pace when he had to, putting away his contenders as they came to him and winning by as much as he could. Round Table traveled coast to coast, carried more and more weight, stayed the distance or sprinted past swift rivals. He battled one of the best crops of three year olds-- Calumet’s Gen. Duke and Iron Liege, Wheatley Stables Bold Ruler, and Ralph Lowe’s Gallant Man.

At 15.2 hands Round Table was the little engine that could.  

An extremely sound, tough horse with a kind temperament, Round Table was a terror on the turf scoring in 14 of 16 starts. The great turf writer Joe Hirsch wrote: “Now, at 5, as he keeps winning the big ones with his weight up in the relentlessly professional thoroughness of the New York Yankees in Ruth’s day and DiMaggio’s, the applause grows louder with each passing hour until it is a crescendo of appreciation and admiration for one of the greatest performers in the history of U.S. racing.”

Foaled at Claiborne on April 6, 1954, Round Table was born a half-hour prior to the birth of another legendary champion, Bold Ruler, that same night at the legendary Paris, Ky. farm. This odd quirk of fate played out in spirited battles at the racetrack, the duo earned more than $2.5 million between them.

 
Bookshelf: 'Refusal' by Felix Francis Print E-mail

America’s Best Racing
The Jockey Club Website
www.followhorseracing.com
September  2013

Murder and mayhem have been a family trait for more than fifty years.Refusal 1

As a kid in 1965 Felix Francis remembers sitting around the breakfast table having a discussion with his parents as to whether Sid Halley would survive the night lying on an office floor with a .38 slug in his guts.

“My mother chipped in, saying ‘yes, with his blood dripping through a crack in the linoleum floor’ and that went in the book Odds Against,” recalled Francis, 60.

There are few mystery writers who have had such long and distinguished careers as Dick Francis. His stable full of whodunits were chock full of suspense and intrigue, keenly evocative of the racing world within which their tales of skullduggery were set.  With more than 80 million copies sold worldwide over the years, the books have been translated into 35 languages including Japanese and, recently, two new languages, Ukrainian and Georgian, have been added.

 
Paul Mellon: Pillar of the Turf Print E-mail

America’s Best Racing
The Jockey Club Website
www.followhorseracing.com
July 2013

Paul Mellon was racing’s renaissance man. Co-heir of the enormous Mellon Bank fortune, he turned in his banker's suit for life as a patrician collector of impressionist art, philanthropist and racing impresario.Mellon 1

He never shared his father’s, Andrew W. Mellon, love for commerce, but did inherit a dedication to giving something back to society. For the son it became a way of life. Mellon’s gifts were bestowed to museums, libraries and other causes as diverse as from creating parks and saving seashores to encouraging scholars and endowing America’s top poetry award, the Bollingen Prize.

After graduating from Yale, Mellon studied history at Cambridge where he was soon enamored by the breeding and racing of thoroughbreds in the UK, activities close to any gentleman's heart.  Racing under the banner of Rokeby Stables, Mellon won the Eclipse Award for outstanding breeder in 1971 and then again in 1986.

 
Picture Perfect Print E-mail

America’s Best Racing
The Jockey Club Website
www.followhorseracing.com
August 2013

In horses Shawn Faust found kindred spirits.  Faust 5

Powerful to gentle, docile to wild, Faust gets to tell their stories on canvas.  The manes are like a short rainbow, ears alertly pricked, the eyes bright and prominent.  

“People admire the majesty, elegance and physical beauty,” says Faust.  “That’s foremost, but I want to go beyond that, touching the soul and getting into the horse’s head.  I want people to grasp the inner feelings I have when I’m painting that horse.”  

To bring a horse to life, Faust’s brushstrokes develop multiple layers of paint to reach the final detailed painting with just the right brilliance and balance.  The artist typically spends a month or two researching the look of the horse.  Next he draws a full outline or silhouette. The painting process can take a full month.

 
Fabulous Forego: Star of the Handicap Division Print E-mail

America’s Best Racing
The Jockey Club Website
www.followhorseracing.com
July 2013

A bank of menacing grey clouds rolled low over the barns at Belmont Park the morning of October 2, 1976. A steady rain began to pelt the Long Island track.Forego 1

It was bad news for trainer Frank Whiteley. In 47 previous starts, his champion Forego had run only once on an off-track, finishing third.

But a few days earlier when Whiteley heard from Tommy Trotter, it was worse news. The Belmont’s racing secretary slapped his horse with a career high 137-pound impost. Trotter based his decision on Forego’s impressive victory in the Woodward Stakes two weeks earlier while hefting 135 pounds.

 Whiteley, who also trained the ill-fated Ruffian, was leaning toward scratching Forego from the Marlboro Cup fearing the combination of mud and weight could injure his six-year old star. As talented as the gelding was, Forego was also one of the most unsound horses in racing. Sesamoid problems plagued him throughout his career, later came splints, suspensory trouble and calcium deposits. It was said that Forego ran on one good leg, his left hind.

 
The Mighty Citation Print E-mail

America’s Best Racing
The Jockey Club Website
www.followhorseracing.com
May 2013
 
Sixty-five years ago, Citation unleashed the greatest three-year-old season in the annals of thoroughbred racing. Blessed with genuine speed, staying power and a seemingly endless desire to win, Citation inspired his handler Jimmy Jones to boldly say: "My horse could beat anything with hair on it.”Citation 2

Citation won 19 of 20 races in 1948. He won at every distance, won at ten different tracks, and won in seven different states travelling the countryside in dusty trucks and sweltering rail cars. He won his races by a total of 66 lengths, and swept the Triple Crown races by a total of 17 lengths. The victories in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes were part of his 16-race win streak.

Citation represented the vaunted Calumet Farm and the Jones boys, its private trainers. Natives of Purnell, Missouri, they captured eight Kentucky Derbys, creating a dynasty that has never been matched. Famed trainer Ben Jones, big, beefy and a feared salon brawler, told his son the evening before the 1948 Kentucky Derby: "Jimmy, you can sleep well tonight, and you can take this as gospel: any horse Citation can see, he can catch. And he's got perfect eyesight."

 
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