Longtime The Washington Post racing columnist Andy Beyer, widely acknowledged as the guru of Thoroughbred handicapping, sat down with Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred editor Tim Capps to share his thoughts on the state of racing. The first question asked: “There has been a story around for years that you left Harvard just before final exams as a senior. Is it true?” Said Beyer: “It’s fundamentally true. I was 100-1 in my Chaucer exam anyway, so when it fell on the day of the Belmont Stakes it was a good excuse. . .”
- Romano Gucci, a homebred for retired dentist Herb Kushner and his wife Arlene of Rockville, Md., burst on the scene in New York. Trained by Dickie Dutrow, the Maryland-bred won his first four starts, including Aqueduct’s Grade 3 Best Turn followed by the Grade 2 Gotham Stakes.
The Kushners owned the Triple Crown contender’s sire Aaron’s Concorde, who stood at Jerry and Laurie Calhoun’s Summer Wind Farm in Libertytown, Md. Also a stakes winner, Aaron’s Concorde was the first horse the Kushners purchased at auction, but had not been a hot commodity as a stallion. In 1995 he had one registered foal. But Romano Gucci, from his second small crop, changed all of that. By mid-April 1996, Aaron’s Concorde had 34 contracts, with inquiries still coming in.
In his next start, Romano Gucci finished third behind Unbridled’s Song in the Wood Memorial Stakes-G2, but the campaign took its toll and he was off for eight months. He returned, recorded a win in the Hoover Stakes in his first start at 4, raced through 8 and added multiple stakes-placings while earning $465,524.
From 84 starters, Aaron’s Concorde sired 63 winners (75 percent). Four were stakes winners.
- Jonathan Sheppard sent out five of the seven starters in the Grade 1 Robinson-Humphrey Coca-Cola Atlanta Hurdle Cup Stakes – getting first (Irish Approach, by a neck), second (Mistico-Chi), third (Confidente-Chi), fifth (Ninepins-GB) and sixth (T. V. Gold).
It was the fourth stakes win, and first graded, for Augustin Stable’s Irish Approach. Sheppard also trained the winner’s dam First Approach, a Grade 1 winner on the flat, and multiple graded stakes-winning half-sister Alice Springs (the 1995 Pennsylvania-bred older female) for breeder George Strawbridge Jr.