On a pretty January day, I went by myself to Freehold Raceway in Freehold NJ.
Freehold Raceway is the oldest racetrack in the United States. Horses began racing there informally there in the 1830's, and 1854 officially. Today the half mile track hosts two meets a year for harness racing.
The tracks most notable race is the Cane pace. That race is the first leg of the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers, along with the Little Brown Jug, and the Messenger Stakes.
Each race on the cards are one mile. Horses follow the pace car, and then do two full laps on the half mile track.
Winx is a Champion Australian mare who was foaled on Sept. 14,2011. Since May of 2015 she has won 22 consecutive races. In 2016 she was voted Worlds Best Ranked Filly or Mare, and also Worlds Top Ranked Turf horse.
Of all her wins, she has won three consecutive Cox Plates. The W.S. Cox Plate held in Melbourne Australia is a Moonee Valley Racing Club Group 1 Thoroughbred race for horses three years old and older. In 2015, as a four year old, Winx set a track record in the 2040 meter race. In 2017 she won again and broke her own track record.
She is owned by Magic Bloodstock Racing, trained by Chris Waller, and her regular jockey is Hugh Bowman.
This is the second drawing that I have done of Arrogate. In this picture he is with his exercise rider Dana Barnes. The pictures that I drew from were taken in Del Mar by Penelope Miller. Equine photographer and Senior Manager of Digital Media at ABR racing, she has become a friend over the last couple years, and this is the second time I have drawn from her photographs. They were used by permission.
The 2015 Belmont Stakes, the 147th running of the third jewel of the Triple Crown was held on June 6th. American Pharoah won the 1 1/2 mile race to become the 12th Triple Crown winner, and the first in 37 years since Affirmed in 1978.
I was at my Sisters house for the race. I like many in the horse race world were on the American Pharoah bandwagon, and really wanted to see him win the Triple Crown. I was going nuts as the horses came onto the front stretch, I still get goosebumps listening to the call by Larry Collmus, screaming at the top of his lungs. "American Pharoah has a two length lead, Frosted is all out at the Sixteenth Pole, and here it is, the 37 year wait is over, American Pharoah is finally the one, AMERICAN PHAROAH HAS WON THE TRIPLE CROWN!"
This drawing is 22x28, and is from a photo by Chelsea Durand (NYRA), and used by permission.
This is a photo of me at my Sisters house, working on my first of four American Pharoah drawings, moments after he had won the Triple Crown at the 2015 Belmont Stakes.
Haskell Day at Monmouth Park is a special day for me. In 2015, Jacob and I went to Monmouth Park to see Triple Crown winner American Pharoah win the Haskell Stakes. There were over 60,000 people there that day, and it was my first time ever at a race track. In the two years since then, I have dedicated most of my drawing time to Bardsley Equine Art, and have visited some nice tracks, barns, and met some great people!
One of those people is Dan Torjman. Dan is a video corespondent for ABR (Americas Best Racing), but is also the founder of DanonymousRacing.com. That is the website that I have written numerous articles for in a human interest column that I call, a"From the Apron."
One of the highlights of the day for me, was seeing the Mare Miss Temple City. Here is my drawing of her.
Trained by Graham Motion, I love this horse, and have followed this 5 year old mare now for two years.
Miss Temple City in the Paddock prior to Race 11 on the 14 race card.
Miss Temple City leaves the Paddock with Edgar Prado in the irons.
Irish War Cry Drawing
Also trained by Graham Motion, Irish War Cry, a Jersey Bred, has become my favorite horse of the year.
Irish War Cry walking in the Paddock
Irish War Cry leaves the Paddock with Rajiv Maragh in the irons
The Upper Grandstand at Monmouth Park
Despite not having one of the winners from this years Triple Crown Races (there were three different winners this year) in the Haskell Stakes for the first time in many years, the crowd was estimated at about thirty thousand. The 14 race card was enjoyed under perfect weather conditions. and I cant wait for Haskell 2018!!
My Songbird Drawing from March of 2016, at the time she was undefeated in six starts.
Songbird on my Bardsley Equine Art Business Cards
I have joked for over a year about Songbird being my "Horse Crush" There was no way I was going to miss her running in the Delaware Hadicap.
Songbird on the Track, heading to the Paddock area
Throughout the under-card leading up to the running of the Delaware Handicap, I had gone back and forth during every race, from the track, through the casino to the paddock area, to the walking ring, to the paddock exit to the track, back through the casino, and down to Winners Circle. All of these test runs, were so that I could follow Songbird though all of the stages of the race when it happened.
Songbird in the Walking Ring
Songbird saddled in the Walking Ring with Mike Smith in the irons
Songbird with Mike Smith up exiting the Paddock area to the Track
Songbird in flight on the first time down the front stretch
Songbird approaching the wire to win the Deleware Handicap
Songbird adorned with the flowers approaches Winners Circle with Mike Smith up
Songbird in Winners Circle
Mike Smith talks to the media in Winners Circle
Me with Songbird flowers in the Delaware Park Casino
That's me in the bottom right with the plaid shirt as Songbird approaches Winners Circle!