Representatives from Barsuk T. L. Farm went to a familiar and proven source when shopping for racing prospects at the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale and fortunately Virginia’s Audley Farm supplied consignor Brookdale Sales with just the type of colt the Russian agents were looking to buy.
In 1989, Tim Woolley headed to Delaware Park’s paddock sale with a modest bankroll and an eye toward launching his training career. Woolley had by then been freelancing as an exercise rider at Fair Hill Training Center and Delaware Park for two years, and one of his regular mounts was a 3-year-old filly named Shakin All Over in the barn of Patti Miller. When word came that the Florida-bred daughter of It’s Freezing and the Navajo mare Andthebeatgoeson had been consigned, Woolley thought the small but gritty filly would be a great first project.
“I didn’t believe it,” Buck Woodson said. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Even then, nearly 30 years past, doubt had no residence in Woodson’s West Virginia stable, the space long occupied by back-at-the-knees sensation Onion Juice. Race after marvelous race, the conformational misfit had outrun better-made rivals, winning stakes, stoking hope, assuring Woodson that certain gallant homebreds surmount odds far beyond the tote board.
They’ve been training horses forever – OK, it only feels like it – at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course. Training hours involve horses of every age, size, shape and era. Even steeplechasers. Old Hilltop used to card jump races, back when photos were black and white and the jumps were natural brush. Jump racing returned for a bit in more recent times – the track hosted the Joe Aitcheson Stakes two days before the Preakness for several years – then went away again.
Plunked down in the middle of the strip malls of suburban Baltimore is a place. This place is the Maryland State Fairgrounds. Home to conferences, cat shows, and yes, the state fair, I know it better as a racetrack and home of Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Thoroughbred sales.
Carol Holden and Sam Huff dreamed up the West Virginia Breeders Classics and – although I wish they added an apostrophe – created something wild and wonderful. Now 30 years old, it’s a night to be proud of West Virginia’s Thoroughbred industry.
It’s an oft-repeated scene. A caring, responsible breeder/owner walks into a field and points out a cherished, pensioned broodmare. She tells of how much the horse has meant to her family and her entire operation. These are the good stories; the happy endings.
The million was for us anyway, not him. We wanted him to join McDynamo, Good Night Shirt and Lonesome Glory as the only American-based steeplechasers to reach $1 million in earnings. He really didn’t care.
A small procession of cars filed up the manicured lane at Renee Townsley’s Greystone Farm in Monkton, Md. Jack and Sheila Fisher emerged from their car. Sheila’s parents, Rufus and Sheila Williams, parked theirs a few feet away. Loaded with carrots, the group walked into Townsley’s so-clean-you-could-eat-off-the-floors barn.
Convey, a mare at the Safely Home division of Dark Hollow Farm in Upperco, Md., stops the camera of Lucas Richardson during a summer visit. Richardson, who turns 9 on Oct. 11, won a blue ribbon in the Maryland State Fair photo contest for the image – judged the best in the Animals (black and white) division for photographers under age 16.
Big Sky Country
Laurel Park does its best Montana impression as a runner heads back to the barn in August. Jim McCue photo.
The day after her 600th win, Maryland-based jockey Forest Boyce (right, aboard July 2015 Pensioner on Parade My Lord) leads out some Green Spring Valley Hounds pony camp riders June 20. Boyce was joined at the head of the group by Maryland Hunt Cup winner Liz McKnight.
Carol Fenwick photo
Ben’s Cat heads to the Pimlico paddock accompanied by his half-brothers Pair (left, Doug Leatherman aboard) and Hound (Kerry Hohlbein).Lydia A. Williams photo.
Hey, It's a Maryland-bred
Sister Keys showed off her day-old baby Purple Rain (in honor of Prince, of course) at Seven Dots Farm in Butler, Maryland. Anne Litz photo.
Hansel, who won the Preakness Stakes 25 years ago, enjoys a regal retirement at Lazy Lane Farms in Virginia. At 28, the Virginia-bred is the oldest North American classic winner. Champion 3-year-old of 1991, he won the Preakness and Belmont Stakes and earned more than $2.9 million for Lazy Lane and trainer Frankie Brothers. Douglas Lees photos
The New Castle County (Del.) Police Department's mounted patrol unit stands at attention at the funeral of Harford County Sheriff's Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey in February in Maryland.
Retired champion Declan's Moon enjoys a roll in the snow from the blizzard of 2016 at Maryland's Country Life Farm. Ellen B. Pons photo.
Training starts with the sun at Fair Hill Training Center, and all around the region. Kathee Rengert photo
The Last Gallop
The Last Gallop. Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah enjoys his morning work at Keeneland before the Breeders’ Cup. Lydia A. Williams photo
Trainer Shug McGaughey’s exercise riders at Fair Hill Training Center are dressed for Halloween, but could pass for Santa’s elves too. The horses don’t seem to care. Kathee Rengert photo
Paris Vegas (right) and Gnostic head back to be unsaddled after a flat race at the Shawan Downs steeplechase meet Sept. 26. Trained by Elizabeth Voss, the Maryland-based stablemates finished first and third, respectively, for jockeys Jack Doyle and Gus Dahl. Lydia A. Williams photo.