"Hey Shane. It's Tim Keefe. I was checking on extra one on the overnight."  

"Well it's not looking good, Tim. We only have seven in there and I don't think we're going to use it," Shane said. "Ahhhh. Are you kidding me? How can a two other than, long on the grass, for the boys, not fill?"

Go to address book on phone. Scroll. Find Andrew Byrnes, stakes coordinator for New York Racing Association (the only time he calls me is when he's trying to get me to nominate Celtic Innis to a stakes in New York).

"Hey Andrew, it's Tim Keefe. How is your two other than long on the grass for the boys looking? They aren't going to use it here in Maryland."

"Well it has four, you would make five and we will make it go with a short field," Byrnes said.

Those were the conversations.

Eighttofasttocatch ran in New York. I entered him two times in Maryland without any luck. I now had four horses in on Thursday.
Piney Point for Arnold Heft was the first to run Thursday. Sylvia and Arnold came to Pimlico to watch the 3-year-old daughter of D'Wildcat take on five other fillies in Pimlico's first race on the card. She broke well but ran dull, finishing fourth. Hugh McMahon claimed the filly for $16,000.

Next we had MOM Stables' Derwin's Pulpit making her first start in 2010 in the fifth at Pimlico. Finishing seventh beaten only seven lengths for everything, jockey Sheldon Russell and I both thought it was a solid first race off the bench. There was room for improvement but traffic and slow pace played a role in her placing.

NRS Stable's Love On A Wire was next in the seventh at Pimlico. Also making his first start in 2010 we were all looking for a solid performance, similar to his form of last year and hoping he would continue his winning ways into the new year. Well, that didn't happen. The 4-year-old by Broken Vow didn't show his consistent form and finished a disappointing eighth out of nine. More to come.

So Arnold and Sylvia stayed all day at Pimlico. They enjoyed crab cakes, great weather and a wonderful day of races at Pimlico while waiting for their horse to make his 2010 debut at Aqueduct. We would watch it on simulcast.

Unfortunately Sheldon had commitments to keep at Pimlico and could not go to New York to ride the 4-year-old son of Not For Love. I felt Edgar Prado would be a suitable replacement. Bred by Dark Hallow Farm and Herringswell Stable, the beautiful chestnut gelding went off as the long shot at almost 14-1. All three of us sat and watched as the six horses were loaded into the starting gate.

"New York! What was I thinking? It's be his first race back in six months. He was training well. But New York? Couldn't I find an easier spot for this horse?" was all I could think to myself.  

Arnold said, "You know Sylvia. He hasn't run in a while. He might need a race. Don't get your hopes up. It is a tough race."

He planted the seed. If he didn't run well we could blame it on his time off, the competition, New York!

No, I thought. This horse has been training better than any horse I've had in a long time. As well as Celtic Innis. If he got beat it wasn't because of anything other than faster horses. He was ready.

Prado broke from the inside and got him to settle right away. Into the first turn he took the lead posting slow fractions all the way. Masterfully ridden, Prado looked like a winner all the way around. When he swung for home "Catcher" lengthened stride and held off the challenge of Into My Soul from the inside and Thou Swell from the outside winning by a full length. The final time was 1:44:60 for the 1 1/16 mile.

Arnold, Sylvia and I nearly jumped out of Pimlico. Sylvia got out of her chair to go get her picture taken. We all watched as "Catcher" proudly made his way into the winner's circle with Victor and Fernando (my assistant and van driver). Prado's Agent called later and thanked me and said they would be around Preakness Day if we found a suitable spot for "The Great Eight." Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Friday we had two runners. At Pimlico we had Southern Twister for Tim Hopkins running in the eighth race. "Twister" was back to sprinting after the distance race didn't fill for the second time. Coupled as an entry for Tim (Ferris Allen also had one running for Tim), the big bay gelding by Stormy Atlantic was ridden by regular rider Harry Vega. Going six wide at the top of the stretch and being steadied made things tough. He did manage to nip Vencero for third. Unfortunately yet another one of my horses was claimed from us. Southern Twister goes to Christine Yourchisin.

Next we go up to Penn National. Louisa Laglass was trying to break her maiden for Nancy Lee Farm. The daughter of Louis Quatorze is still trying to put things together. Ridden by Craig Gibbs, the bay filly broke well and settled off the lead. Put the to a drive at the top of the stretch Louisa ran her heart out and just lost a head bob for second finishing third. A very nice effort.

Dumbarton Farm's homebred Choptank capped off the week with a nice win. The 5-year-old son of Dixieland Band stalked 70-1 Carbaby Street around the first turn and easily took command at the six-furlong maker. Jockey Luis Garcia slowed the pace and never looked back winning under a hand ride by 6 lengths. One of my longtime owners, Cary Jackson, had one of his homebreds running against Choptank, the 3-year-old by Dance With Ravens finished second at long odds. Nice job to trainer Todd Wyatt.

Several of the 2-year-olds have arrived from Florida. Next week I will have several arriving from Break Away Farm in Pennsylvania. This is a fun time of the year. New faces. Look here for pictures – soon – of all the new arrivals.

PO Box 186
Sandy Spring, MD  20860


22 Wins

21 Wins
1 Training Title

40 wins

38 wins
2 stakes win 

19 wins
4 stakes wins

36 wins
2 stakes wins
17% win percentage

43 wins
7 stakes wins
21% win percentage