I still get goosebumps when I re-watch the home stretch run of the 2015 Belmont Stakes. American Pharoah had won the fist two legs of the Triple Crown. As the horses came off the final turn Larry Collmus, who has called so many huge races was screaming, "American Pharoah's got 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!"
Rarely in this NOW society does anyone remember who comes in second. I believe that with the exception of baseball, does anyone really remember history in sports. Im quite sure most NFL fans can not tell you who won the last 5 Super Bowls, and certainly not who they beat. Even in horse racing. I doubt that most fans can name all, or half of the twelve Triple Crown Winners. But because of American Pharoah, and the Belmont call of Larry Collmus, people will always know who came in second to AP when he won the Triple Crown.
Although Frosted is best known for that second place finish (he was second to AP four times), he actually was very succesful, with five G1 wins. He set a record with a Dazzling permformance in the 2016 Metrololitan Handicap (Met Mile) at Belmont Park. He followed that up with a win in the Whitney Handicap in Saratoga Race Course.
This drawing was done from a photograph at the 2016 Breeders Cup Classic by Robin Buchanan. It is the fourth drawing I have done from one of her photographs.
Jim McCue is the track photographer for Maryland Jockey Club who runs Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course.
Jim and I with my Secretariat Drawing
Jim took the photograph that of Secretariat during the 1973 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico that I did this drawing from. I gave him a print.
Jim photographing in Winners Circle at Laurel Park
I did an article about Jim for my column "From the Apron" on DanonymousRacing.com I joined Jim at Laurel Park and he allowed me to join him on the rail for the 9 race card. We discussed his story and career during the day.
Jim photographing the finish wire at Laurel Park
Jim has been the track photographer for Maryland Jockey Club for 47 years! I believe that Jim is the only active professional equine photographer to have shot more that one Triple Crown Winner. He has actually shot four with Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed, and now American Pharoah!
Secretariat was the 1973 Triple Crown Winner. His record times in all three jewels of the Triple Crown Races still stand today. Those records include his winning the third jewel, the Belmont Stakes, by 31 lengths! 1973 was the first time the Triple Crown had been won in 25 years. It was won twice more in the 70's with Seattle Slew in 1977, and Affirmed in 1978.
The photograph that inspired this drawing was taken by Jim McCue of the Maryland Jockey Club during the post parade for the 1973 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore Maryland.
Califonia Dreamin' is the fourth drawing that I have done of California Chrome. "Chromie" is set to race in the inaugural Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 28th at Gulfstream Park in Florida. The PWC will be the richest race in the world. "Chrome" will be battling with Arrogate who narrowly beat him in the Breeders Cup Classic in November. The PWC will also be "Chromies" last race before retiring to stud. This is the third drawing I have done from a photograph by Robin Buchanan. She also named this drawing as she had done with "Go Kick Some Ass Boy."
Go Kick Some Ass Boy was a fun little drawing that I did at work one day. It was from a photo by Robin Buchanan. I asked her to name the drawing, and after thinking, she said "Go Kick Some Ass Boy," as that is what she yelled at California Chrome as he entered the track for the 2016 Breeders Cup Classic. This was the second of Robins photos that I have used.
I had never been to Harness Racing, nor had I been to Rosecroft Raceway, although I wanted to go to both. On November 22nd, Rosecroft Raceway, now owned by the Stronach Group, hosted the 1st Annual Potomac Pace. The race had a $100,000 purse and attracted 8 of the top Standardbreds from around the country.
Driver Russel Foster in Winners Circle
I really enjoyed watching the races that each covered 1 mile. The races are either Trotting Races, or Pacing Races. A Trotting horse moves its diagonal legs simultaneously, while a Pacer moves the legs on the same side of the body together. Pacers tend to be faster than Trotters.
The Drivers for the Potomac Pace
During the evening, and prior to the big race, the Drivers came out and signed posters for the fans in attendance.
Autographed Driver Poster
All Bets Off in Winners Circle with Driver Matt Kakaley
Maryland Horse Radios Stan Salter with winning Driver Matt Kakaley
Hoppertunity is a five year old Bay trained by Bob Baffert.
This was a photograph taken this year by Robin Buchanan on Breeders Cup weekend in Santa Anita. Hoppertunity ran in the Classic,and Robin took this picure in the Paddock as the horses headed to the track.
Sheldons Agent is Marty Leonard. Marty also represents Javien Toledo who has been on this blog numerous times.
Maryland Million 2015 Sheldon on Monster Sleeping
The first time I went to Laurel Park was for Maryland Million Day in 2015. Sheldon had a few mounts that day, and I took this photograph in Winners Circle with Sheldon aboard Monster Sleeping.
In November I started a column on DanonymousRacing.com called "From the Apron." The column is human interest stories from the Horse Racing industry. Sheldon's story was my December article and titled "Tough as Nails."
November 12th is my and Laurens Wedding Anniversary. This year, our 22nd, it fell on a Saturday. Lauren and I are forever connected by the ocean, so we decided to take a day trip to one of our favorite places, Assateague Island.
We were lucky enough to find a couple of ponies out on the dunes.
Jacob getting the close shot!
The Chincoteague Pony was recognized as a breed in 1994
The Chincoteague Ponies live on Assateague Island which borders Maryland and Virginia.
Empire Maker currently stands at stud at Gainesway Farm in Lexington Kentucky. His best win was the Triple Crown Belmont in 2003. He is probably best know now for being the Sire of Pioneer of the Nile, and Grand Sire of Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah.
This drawing was done off photographs by Laurel Humbert, and used by permission.
I have written about Triple Crown Bugler Bethann Dixon numerous times on this Blog. Most recently at this years Maryland Million. During that weekend, she invited my family to the Opening Meet of the Goshen Hounds. The Goshen Hounds is a Fox Hunting Club that she belongs to.
Goshen Hounds Opening Meet Invitation
November 6th arrived and was an absolutely gorgeous fall day. Jacob and I made the drive to Montgomery County in Maryland, and had no idea what to expect.
Bethann playing Call To Post
After a wonderful breakfast buffet, everyone gathered around. Bethann played Call To Post, and the riders went off to prepare and mount up on their horses.
Bethann mounted up
There were a wide variety of people and horse breeds in the hunt club. For this hunt, the Master of Hounds wore red jackets, while the Field Riders wore black.
Riders mounting up and gathering for the releasing of the hounds
After the riders had all gathered mounted up on their horses, the hounds were brought out. I was surprised how many there actually were. They are a very high strung breed, but quite beautiful.
Jacob with one of the Hounds
The Master of Hounds prepares to start the Hunt
When all the hunters were gathered and the hounds were released, the Master of Hounds gathered the hounds by blowing a horn. The Chaplain blessed the Riders, Dogs and the Hunt season.
The Field Riders following the Master of Hounds
The hunt began with the Master of Hounds leading the hounds. The Field riders were divided into Field 1,2 and 3 riders. Field 1 being the stronger and faster horses and riders.
As the hounds got on the trail of a fox, there were riders positioned around the patch of woods to look for the fox.
Field 3 Riders
Riders on the hilltop prepare for the chase
The chase concludes when the fox gets caught, or the fox "Holes up." The Master of hounds then prepares the dogs and the field riders for the next chase.
Master of Hounds leading the dogs
Taking a break between hunts
Bethann during the hunt
The farm that the Opening Meet was held in Montgomery County Maryland was beautiful. In addition to some large sculpture installations, there was various farm animals around. Jacob got a kick out of the lamas!
Jacob with a Lama
Once the dogs get on a scent, most of the dogs and riders disappear into the woods. I was told that the hunts take around three hours, and there are time when you don't see the hunters or dogs for a very long time. When the second chase began, Jacob and I headed home.