September 20, 2013 |
It is an overcast morning Friday, and a tiny woman sits on a bale of hay outside a distant barn at Santa Anita. In the stall behind her is a giant race horse. Her name is Kathy Ritvo, his is Mucho Macho Man. She weighs barely 100 pounds. He stands more than 17 hands and weighs close to 1,200 pounds. They are the Mutt and Jeff of thoroughbred racing. She is the trainer, he the breadwinner. Each has a story of survival, but hers is more compelling. Plus, she tells hers better.
November 20, 1987 |
As good a race horse as I have ever seen was Dr. Fager. He set a world record for a flat mile of 1:32 1/5 at Arlington Park in 1968, carrying 134 pounds. He won the Withers in 1:33 4/5 in 1967, carrying 126 pounds. He won the seven-eighths Vosburgh in 1968 in 1:20 1/5--the world record is 1:19 1/5--carrying 139 pounds. As the backstretch lingo has it, he could run a hole in the wind carrying a statue of General Sherman.
August 3, 1990 |
The Lasix Wars of 1990 are starting to get ugly. Like gangs battling over philosophical turf, equine veterinarians and racing policy makers from British Columbia to Boca Raton have been lining up either for or against a University of Pennsylvania paper published last May that drew several damaging conclusions regarding the use of furosemide--a diuretic given to bleeders and known best by the trade name Lasix--in thoroughbred race horses.
November 29, 2010 |
In horse racing terms, Grant and Greta Hays have had a rough trip. They have two young children, both severely autistic. "After we had Jack, we wanted to have another child," Grant Hays says. "We thought the odds of having a second with autism were really low. " Jack is 6, Dylan 2. Neither speaks, except on rare spontaneous occasions. According to their father, they are antisocial kids, which is not unusual with autistic children. Grant says it creates a life of stress and tension, and cites research that says something like 85% of parents with autistic children get divorced.
January 27, 1989 |
Private Terms, Maryland's racing hero of 1988, has been sold to new owners who say they will keep the colt in the state for racing this year. Richard Golden and Allaire du Pont have purchased the colt for an undisclosed sum, with the understanding that he will spend next year at their Northview Stallion Station, part of the old Windfields Farm in Chesapeake City. In 1990, Private Terms will stay in Maryland for stud duty.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 13, 2001 |
Ben Rochelle, who partnered a comedic husband-wife dance team that performed in vaudeville, the movies and on television, and later raced a champion thoroughbred that earned more than $3 million, has died. He was 91. Rochelle died Thursday of pneumonia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Despite the illness, Rochelle, who enjoyed betting on horses as much as racing and breeding them, was at Hollywood Park on Wednesday, trying to hit the pick six.
August 23, 1987 |
Increasing numbers of high-priced breeding stallions are turning into duds as studs, suffering from sexual problems that appear to be caused by drugs and unnaturally stressful training programs, researchers say. Between 20% and 25% of the stallions brought to the University of Pennsylvania for stud evaluation exhibit mating behavior problems, many of which mimic human sexual dysfunction, said Sue McDonnell of the veterinary school's reproductive studies program.
March 26, 1994 |
Where Bien Bien goes, rain follows. Every time the 5-year-old Manila horse is entered in a turf race, bad weather seems to materialize. John Toffan and Trudy McCaffery's horse, who prefers his grass firm, didn't run in the Hollywood Turf Cup last Dec. 12 after rain left the turf course yielding. The skies opened again before the San Luis Obispo last month, and although Bien Bien ran as the heavy favorite, he was beaten by Fanmore.
August 12, 1990 |
Mark Johnston was 14 years old and dreaming of the grand life as a jockey when he stepped on the backside of a racetrack for the first time, at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. He had not been there an hour when a man who worked in the barns looked down at his size-6 feet and laughed. "Son, there's no way you'll ever get to be a jockey," the man said. "Look at those big feet of yours. You're going to grow right into those feet and right off the back of a horse."
February 3, 1991 |
For a few moments, the old horse must have thought he was back at Belmont Park. He was being brushed like a stakes horse, getting "buffed up" for the cameras. Only this time, Three Engines, a graded stakes winner of $265,000 and a onetime Triple Crown hopeful, was not in a winner's circle. He was being used as a sort of poster horse for Greener Pastures, Maryland's first full-fledged retirement home for racehorses.