THAT OL’ SANTA FE TRAIL
Remember One Eye, the thoroughbred that ran at Canterbury Park a couple of years ago?
He spent the past couple of months in the Jamie Ness barn and the trainer used him as a pony horse much of the summer. Two weeks ago One Eye left Shakopee to join Becky McDowell in Kansas for what will be the longest race of his career.
How does 515 miles sound?
“I don’t like to drive that far,” said Ness, who doesn’t have doubts about One Eye’s conditioning. “I ponied him all summer. He has a good foundation under him,” he said.
McDowell will ride One Eye in the Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Endurance Ride, a 10-day race that begins Aug. 31 and traces the approximate Santa Fe Trail, from Santa Fe to Council Grove, Kansas. The endurance race was staged for the first time last year.
The trail was first opened by Coronado in 1541 and first used for trade in 1821 by William Becknell, who had a trade business and transported goods via mule train from Kansas City to Santa Fe, then still a part of Mexico.
McDowell ponied horses for the Ness barn from 2002 through 2007 and was part of the jockey colony at Canterbury from 1988 until the track closed after the 1992 season.
McDowell will take a second horse, Prissi, who also was once at Canterbury but didn’t race, as a backup on the long ride.
Each leg of the ride is around 50 to 55 miles a day, with one long 70-mile stint
“Jamie’s dad, John, got Prissi ready,” said McDowell, who was unable to do it herself this summer because of an injury.
“I couldn’t get two of them because I fell off a horse and landed smack on my back,” she said. ‘It took a month to recover.”
McDowell said her horse spooked at what it thought was a predator, wheeled and left her behind. “I landed gracefully hard,” she said. “And the horse left two hoofprints on my butt, too.
McDowell will have a companion on the trip to drive a trailer carrying the backup horse. “We’re going to rough it, though,” she said. “We going to live on freeze-dried food, hamburgers and hot dogs and sleep in a tent.”
LIGHTNING STRIKES RACING OFFICE
There was ample evidence of Wednesday night’s storm awaiting racing office employees when they got to work on Thursday morning.
The effects of the storm were obvious. Lightning struck the flag pole outside the racing office door adjacent to the track kitchen and the pari-mutuel stand, driving a piece of concrete five feet up the pole after breaking up its base. Another six feet away a piece of cement came out of the ground and broke the racing office window opposite the table where many of the agents and trainers play cards.
The storm also changed the way business is done on the backside, chasing many of the people who are found mornings in the racing office to desks on the frontside, where computers, telephones and fax machines still operated.
“We actually used papers and pencils,” said stall superintendent Mark Stancato. “No computers were working.” Stancato said that the computer and telephone outages chased Peggy Davis, Terri Hoffrogge and Carmen Bish to the frontside.
“It’s almost like the pony-express era,” he said. “There are no faxes, no e-mails and no internet back here and my phone is the only one working. It’s actually kind of neat.” He said the HBPA office was not affected by the power problems.