By Sheila Williams
When I retired from my position at Canterbury, I decided I was taking someone with me. I found him in the bottom rung of Canterbury Park’s claiming ranks. Although saddled by Quarter Horseman Jerry Livingston, he belonged to another owner/trainer.
A beautiful, tall bay, he was just four years old, and could not get out of his own way. His past performances suggested a wind problem at best, a fracture at worst.
And yet here he was in the paddock, deeply dappled, straight and strong as Mr. Allen would say. He ran last again.
I went to Mr. Livingston’s barn and asked if I could buy him. He talked to the owner, and I gave him the mighty sum of $1,000.
Since I had nowhere to put him, Bernell Rhone let him stay in his shed row, while I decided what to do with a thoroughbred that couldn’t run.
A friend of mine found a jumper woman in Stillwater. The gelding was very sound, he had a good mind, and he liked Mentos.
They called him Reggie. I don’t even remember his registered name–he was that bad.
The jumper woman asked if Reggie had a “flag tail”. Jumping people don’t want horses that run with their tails straight out like a sailing ship’s flag during a regatta.
So we watched the race replays, and thank God, no flag tail. Off he went to Stillwater to learn how to jump a bale of hay.
The jump woman really liked Reggie and gave me and my friend $5,000 for him. We split the money. And just like the day I made–and won–my first bet, I thought, “How long has this game been going on? “
I kept in touch with Reggie through the jumper woman. Within weeks, the hay bale became short fence blocks, then higher hedges.
By spring Reggie was sold to a jump man. For $50,000.
I have looked for another Reggie, but have not found one. But Reggie’s are out there, every day at every track.
I feel good about Reggie. Our short relationship was eight years ago, and he is not yet even approaching his prime in his new jumping career.
An animal person myself, we heard that Trevor Denman was a supporter of the United Pegasus Foundation. Do not make the mistake of thinking The United Pegasus Foundation is the other Pegasus Foundation, which is a group of people who think we are “guardians” of animals, not owners. I will write about that nonsense and group of dweebs on another occasion.
Anyway, during my time at Canterbury, Trevor called the races and signed autographs to raise money for this California foundation that saves and rehabilitates racehorses. There was never a fund-raiser I thought so worthy of doing.
The wise guys at the bar donated. Our employees donated. The Sampson’s donated and the horsemen and women donated. There are a few owners who sit in the Turf Club at Canterbury and watch their horses run at places like Santa Anita and Belmont Park. They did not donate. You know who you are and a pox on you.
A lot of people write about the “final owner.” I could regale you with horror stories of the champions who have gone to slaughter.
But if you are a horse owner who has a Reggie right now, give me a call. I will give you a $1,000 for him.