Tag Archives: Hard Way

Let’s Cook!

The day I wheeled the hay steamer off the truck, you’d think I’d just brought in the first motorcar of the industrial era. A small group of curious onlookers crowded around the new, mysterious machine with a mix of skepticism and apprehension. Chantal, the landlady of our stable, immediately started pacing the yard. The machine would consume two things she holds most dear: Electricity and water.

“You’ll need a special outlet for that. It’s going to take a huge amount of power,” she said, pacing around the steamer unit at a safe distance. I left her alone to digest the new contraption to go and watch the lot of horses I had just sent out to work. When I returned, she was measuring the length of the steamer box itself, an imposing, black casket-like box that could hold a bale and a half of hay or two bodies, if you were so inclined. “Where will this go? How much steam will come out when you open it? Where is the instruction manual?”

I continued to go about my work, and after the next lot, she had brought down her husband, Alan, to survey the situation and had read most of the instructions. “You’ll need a longer hose, too,” she decided. She spent most of the day fretting about how it would all work, and the next day our electrician friend came to install an outlet – and a meter so we could pay our share of the cost. “It’s not that big of a deal,” he said. “You mean I don’t need to build that nuclear power plant in the back yard?” I asked. Chantal, overhearing, stormed away. It was time to get started. We filled up the reservoir, put the first bale in the coffin, snapped it close and hit the button. An hour later, we popped it open to see the results, and they were impressive: The hay smelled wonderful and it was dust-free.

Mark, an owner who also doubles as our yard man, took to the new machine with the fervor of Heisenberg. He set his cell-phone alarm for every cycle, calculated how many bales we’d need for the day, came up with a system of rotating them through and – most importantly – kept water in the thing so it wouldn’t burn dry. We were cooking. And I’m sure it’s a coincidence, but the day we started feeding steamed hay, the horses started running better. We sent out six runners in the week after we started using the machine, and every one of them made money. Now this is what we’re more used to around here, and we desperately needed it after a dismal run of luck.

Fanoos started us off by hanging on to 5th place in a very hot condition race in Fontainebleau. She was only beaten a length and would have been closer if she hadn’t slowed down to watch the horses walking in the stabling area just next to the course about 200 meters from the finish. Gut Instinct followed up with fourth a couple of days later in Nancy, and then Hard Way won in Chantilly. It was the old man’s fourth career win and put him over the 100,000 euro mark in earnings. It also broke our losing streak. Just 20 minutes earlier in Craon, Alice’s Dancer finished 3rd in a Listed race, surprising us all. It was a fantastic run and fulfills our objective of getting some black type for her breeding career. Barbe a Box and Impulsive American rounded out the results, with both of them finishing fourth – Bbox in Lyon and the Imp in Maisons-Laffitte.

So it seems that we’ve turned a page, at least for now. We still have some problems to solve, as usual, but the recent run has made everyone breathe a little easier. Even Chantal, who has been convinced that maybe the new machine is harmless. And apparently quite helpful.

The agony and the ecstasy of social media

So it seems this blog is all but dead. My fault. Facebook’s fault. I resisted, in the beginning. I hated the idea of Facebook (not least because that was what the New York Times called their personnel directory, which seemed insulting and…well, impersonal). But a few years ago I cracked. My excuse was that I needed to be on Facebook for marketing purposes, which turned out not to be wrong. Facebook has been a useful tool for that. It also has been a colossal time-wasting addiction, but I digress. And it has also eaten my blog.

Facebook, for better or worse, is an extremely quick and easy way for me to update anybody who cares or claims to care about all the comings and goings in the yard, the races, the results and just random tidbits (that would contribute to the time-wasting part). I have a pretty large following there, and I have been resorting to communicating that way instead of by blog, which some of you have actually noticed. To those of you who still check back here regularly, I apologize. And once again, I will try to do better. Meanwhile, if you’re not already signed on to Facebook, just do it. It’s really not so bad. And if you’re paranoid that signing up to Facebook will open your entire private life in every intimate detail to cyberspace, don’t be. Facebook only knows what you want it to know, so just don’t tell it anything. They don’t need to know your birthday, your address or anything else pertinent. You need an email address and a name. That’s pretty much it. Sign up, “friend” me (yes, Facebook has verbed the noun) and I’ll add you to the Gallop France group there and you’ll see everything that’s going on.

Right, so some of you are still resisting. For you guys (all five of you, so I hope you appreciate it!), here’s what’s going on in a nutshell: Hard Way has resisted retirement yet again, and ran a comeback race down in the country yesterday at the ripe old age of nine. He finished third of eight runners. I had hoped he would win, because to say the competition was weak would be the nicest thing you might say. But third still requalifies him for handicaps, and he probably needed the run after six months off. Despite rock-hard ground, he seems to have come back OK.

Gorki Park also ran his comeback race, finally, after nearly six months off, and he came 4th in a 20-runner handicap in Maisons-Laffitte. He looks like he should be just as useful this year as last. He’s grown up a bit and will stretch out in distance this year – if we can find him a decent race, which is easier said than done at the moment. King Driver, our other stable banker, is just back from a short break. He finished third at St. Cloud in mid-May, but chucked off his jockey (twice!) and ran loose for quite some time around the racecourse before he got down to work. That was him telling us as clear as he could that he was ready for a vacation, so he got one. He’s back in training as of tomorrow after having spent a month at the spa  – a stud just north of us that specializes in massages and has a great water-walker to keep the muscle tone while on vacation.

Melrand and Pahlavan also had short stays there, as did Risk Well Taken, an unraced two-year-old who went for two weeks after coming up with sore shins. Risks’s stay there was nothing short of miraculous – she came back nearly 20 kilos heavier and bulging with muscle. Our other unraced two-year-old, Impulsive American, was almost ready to debut when he picked up a virus of some sort, which will set us back a few weeks. Pahlavan and Ray of Hope also got it, but they all seem to be on the mend now.

Charitable Act has been retired; his iffy joints were getting the best of him so we decided to stop while he was still sound enough for pleasure riding. Greatest has also moved on to greener pastures, but is still racing and just finished 2nd for his new connections. We wish him well – I always thought he was a good horse, but we were persistently unlucky with him. Clearly, a change was in order!

La Mer seems finally on track after having just about every problem a growing horse can have. She is back galloping, and will hopefully run a maiden in Deauville in early July. Eternal Gift has finally come down in the handicap to a mark he should be able to win from, and he’ll get a try in Amiens on Saturday. Gut Instinct also should be able to win a small race soon, but she would be better on softer ground. She has some good entries coming up, though, so I’ll have to decide whether to brave the good ground or not.

That rounds up just about everyone, I think. And reading back, I see the other problem Facebook has caused. Since I no longer write much more than a sentence at a time, it seems I’m losing the knack. I’d better get back to it, or I won’t be able to write that novel I’ve been talking about for the past two decades!

Winner, winner!

I’ve waited years to finally get a winner at Longchamp, and this month we got two: Hard Way won his handicap two weeks ago, and Eternal Gift followed it up with a win last Saturday. Hard-working Deep Ocean was in the money again this past week, and King Driver ran a fantastic comeback after a year off to finish third. Grey Falcon dropped in a check, too, confirming that the yard is definitely in form.

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks. Hard Way followed exactly the same pattern as he did last year: After his comeback race out in the country, he was ready to tackle Paris and found his favorite jockey, Christophe Lemaire, who rode a perfect race to give me my first winner at Longchamp. It was a 3,100-meter handicap, and Hard Way aced it carrying top weight of 60 kilos. His efforts got him back into the Bloodhorse magazine in America, with his longtime fan John Gilmore doing the honors. The next day, Grey Falcon stepped up in class and distance when he ran second division of the Quinte handicap in Maisons-Laffitte, trying 2,400 meters for the first time. He nearly wired it, just getting caught at the post to finish second by a short head. He has been really unlucky not to win yet, but he’s knocking on the door and it should happen soon.

Eternal Gift finally stepped up his game at Longchamp last Saturday, winning a mile handicap by a neck. I knew he was progressing, and he certainly showed us that he preferred the good ground and galloping track of Longchamp to the muddy traffic circle he found in Amiens. It was his third race back after gelding, and I think he’s going to be a useful horse now. He picked up three kilos in the handicap ratings, which isn’t great, but he still has margin for progress.

We barely had time to get him off the truck Saturday night before we loaded up Deep Ocean, Gold Knight and Not Bad for a Boy for the trip down to Vichy and the week-long racing festival there. Deep Ocean finished fourth in the Quinte on Sunday (we were all sure it was third, but there was just the shadow of a nose in front of him), but Not Bad didn’t distinguish himself in his claimer. It was his first race back in a year, though, and he has been a bit sore in the back, so he deserves another chance or two. Gold Knight showed quite a bit of improvement in his claimer on Monday. He didn’t get up into the money yet, but he did give us hope that we’re on the right track.

The star of the week, though, was King Driver, who was coming back after year off almost to the day. He had some serious health problems last year, and I was never able to get him to his potential. He showed that those seem to be behind him now, though, running a strong third. It was a very easy field of 18, and he would have won if he had kept to the rail instead of coming out to the stands side. He is still very green, having run only six races in his life before Wednesday, and there was a good crowd at the track and it was a night meeting, so once he hit the front, he just looked at all the people rather than pay attention to racing. He has come back very well and is likely to run in Deauville in early August.

In between the racing, I went to the Newmarket sales, where we found an addition to the yard optimistically named Greatest. He is a four-year-old gelding by Anabaa out of a stakes-winning mare, and he seems to want soft ground to run his best. So we’ll build him up and get him ready for a fall campaign. A half share in him is available, so contact us if you’re interested.

Next up might be Hard Way and Grey Falcon on Thursday in Chantilly. I don’t particularly want to race them against each other, but they are in the second half of the Quinte handicap and there aren’t many runners declared, so it might be too good to pass up. In any case, I’m pretty sure Hard Way will go, but I’m still undecided about Grey Falcon, who might prefer softer ground. Hard Way is really a soft ground horse, too, but he doesn’t really care what he gallops on as long as he feels good and wants to run. Both will gallop tomorrow morning, and I’ll decide for sure then. All of the horses are struggling a bit with the heat, and storms are forecast for Tuesday, which might make the going a little easier.

After that, we’ll gear up for Deauville in August, although we’ll probably have fewer runners than in July. Competition is tough there, and unless we have very good entries, it makes more sense to wait until September. In any case, the horses will tell me what they want to do. All I have to do is listen.

Gallop France Winners

Casquito

CASQUITO (Delphine Santiago) easing past the winning post to take the Prix Equipement du Cavalier – Hippolia (Prix des Pervenches) (Course 7), June 25, 2015 at Deauville-Clairefontaine. (Photo by Frédéric Vernichon.)

Deep Ocean

Deep Ocean’s second consecutive win, the Prix President Nebon-Carle, Lyon Carré-de-Soie, March 21, 2013.

Doctor Sim

Doctor Sim takes the Prix Perigord while King Driver follows closely for fourth. (Scoopdyga)

Eternal Gift

Eternal Gift taking the Prix de la Roche in Deauville, December 21, 2015. ScoopDyga

Gorki Park

Gorki Park winning at St Cloud for the second time in 2015 taking the Prix d’Anjou on October 2. Jacques YeSse
Not to be outdone, Gorki Park winning the Prix Crécy Saint James one hour later. (ScoopDyga)
Gorki Park, win photo, May 2013, St. Cloud, France.
Gorki Park, pulling ahead at the finish line in St Cloud, May 2013

Hi Shinko

Hi Shinko crossing the finish line first in February, Prix du Val Fleur-les-Vespins. Scoop Dyga.

Hard Way

Hard Way winning the Prix Du Vieux Colombier Handicap over 3,100 meters at Longchamp July 6. Photo by John Gilmore
Hard Way winning the Prix Du Vieux Colombier Handicap over 3,100 meters at Longchamp July 6. Photo by John Gilmore
Hard Way running away with the Prix Lomagnes at St Cloud, May 2012.

King Driver

King Driver easing ahead to take the Prix Herblay. (ScoopDyga)
King Driver winning the Prix de Juan-les-Pins in Cagnes-sur-mer, Febuary 14, 2015. (Scoopdyga)

Parkori

Parkori taking the Prix Duc d’Alburqurque in St Cloud, June 28, 2015.

Ray of Hope

Ray of Hope taking his second straight win, the Prix de l’Esterel, February 11, 2015, Cagnes-sur-mer. (Scoopdyga)

 

One Two Punch:
Ray Of Hope edging out stable mate Mouhjim to take the Prix d’Ostende in Cagnes-sur-mer, January 22, 2015.

Surrey Storm

Surrey Storm taking the the prix Alec Weisweiller, April 1 2012 in Lisieux.

Turfani

Turfani (center, white cap) winning in Deauville.

November: Why?

When T.S. Eliot penned “April is the cruelest month,” he obviously had forgotten about November. But then again, he probably wasn’t involved with racehorses. For those of us who are, November has to be the most miserable time of the year. The days are so short that you start work in the dark and you finish in the dark. Thankfully, this year hasn’t been nearly as cold and snowy as last year, but it has featured bone-chilling high humidity. A thick fog has blanketed Maisons-Laffitte for the past few mornings, and it gets heavier in the hour after sunrise, already the coldest of the day.

The horses don’t appreciate it much, either. They change their coats, pushing out winter wool, which we then have to clip off so they can work and sweat without catching cold. The heavy rugs have come out, but get alternated with the lighter polar fleeces during the day, because the winter rugs are too hot in the afternoon. Changing their clothes three times a day adds to the work load, and wiping all the runny noses and seeing to the coughs and sneezes are keeping us running, too. It’s the time of year when we need to decide who should push through a winter campaign and who needs a break. The turf racing is almost over, and the all-weather races in Deauville and Cagnes-sur-Mer are ahead.

We’re counting the days until Dec. 21, when we start to add back those precious minutes of sunlight that make such a huge difference. By then, too, the horses will have adjusted to winter. The coughs and niggling health problems that come with the change of season should be behind us – to some extent, it seems we’ve already turned that page, because most of the horses seem to be coming up in form. All that Vitamin C and echinacea extract has paid off.

Satwa Sunrise has started galloping without the aid of Lasix, and seems to be completely fine. We haven’t done head-to-head work with her yet, but will start that next week, and she should run in two weeks (or at least she has an entry – we’ll have to see if she gets in. Magical Flower seems to be recovered from her brush with a cold, and even Triple Tonic seems back in form, except that she popped a splint on her near fore and will have to have an easy week to let it set.

Deep Ocean is a lovely horse, and the infiltration and Tildren treatment seem to have made him pretty comfortable. He had a gallop yesterday that was quite impressive, and I’m looking forward to seeing him race in December. He has to switch boxes and go to a bed of shavings, though, because he has threatened to colic twice in the past week after trying to eat his entire straw mattress.

Little Milly (Surrey Storm) is giving us no trouble at all, and seems to be balancing up a bit better. Hard Way is training up so well I’ve had to cut his feed back because I can’t hold onto him any more. He was supposed to be spending the winter as essentially the stable pony, and he’s only eating pony food, but he thinks he’s ready for Longchamp. I had forgotten what a magnificent stride he has – even going slow he opens up huge distances from the others. Anyway, we’ll try to keep him turned down to simmer for the moment.

The enigma has been King Driver, who just doesn’t seem to have a great immune system. He ran two nice races, but then we had to give him a flu shot, after which he promptly got a fever and a cough. Just when I’m ready to pick up the phone to call the vet to come and geld him, though, he seems to stage a miraculous recovery. He’s not quite 100 percent yet, but he’s fighting hard to get there.

Pretty much everybody can race in December, I think, and then we need to decide who goes to Cagnes. Strictly Rhythm will come back into training in December to get ready to go down south, and Sunrise, Magic and Milly will probably also go. Deep Ocean can’t because he can only run left-handed (Cagnes runs right), but King and Triple can go if they are healthy. I have six boxes, so the final roster will wait awhile to be determined.

Meanwhile, dreaming of Cote d’Azur sun will get us through November, which, apologies to T.S. Eliot, really is the cruelest month.

The road to perdition…

…is paved with good intentions. That certainly was in evidence this past week, when a number of attempts at good deeds were fraught with unintended consequences. Where to start? How about the story of George.

I sold him to an organization called Ecurie Second Chance, which buys out-of-training racehorses, reschools them and then sells them on as riding horses. Sometimes, with the owner’s consent, they are placed again for racing. When I sold George, for just 500 euros, which is the going rate for retired racehorses, I said I wasn’t opposed to him racing again if a small permit-holder was found and if the horse had a much-needed break. George is sound, nice and could race next year in easier venues than around Paris. A week later, the man who bought the horse called me and said he had two possibilities that both involved racing: One in Martinique, and one in France, but for either one he’d have to move on immediately. Needless to say I wasn’t pleased with either choice, but in all fairness I had sold the horse, so I had very little say in the matter. Between a rock and a hard place, I said I prefer he stay in France. That week, he showed up declared in training with a public trainer with a yard of 25 horses, and a week after that he was entered in a sprint up in Le Croisé-Laroche, a dismal track near Lille that I would avoid racing at at all costs. George would have to endure a seven-hour truck ride each way to get from his new trainer’s base to race and back, not to mention it was a race completely unsuited for him even if he WAS in shape. He raced, and needless to say he finished last, poor kid. The next day I saw he was entered in a race at Amiens seven days later. That was when Kay, my American owner who had leased George while he was with me, and I took action. Long story short, we bought the horse back, and we’ve found a new home for him that will not include racing.

The man who runs Ecurie Second Chance was highly apologetic and I believe he sincerely did have good intentions, but just had no idea how to execute them. During our numerous phone exchanges, he would always complain that he was severely overworked, that numerous trainers were looking to “dump” their bad horses at the end of the season and that he couldn’t cope. These are the times that try men’s souls. Yes, there are too many horses, and yes, we’re looking, at this time of year, to move the underperforming ones on. But if Ecurie Second Chance felt overwhelmed by the task, he should not have bought the horse! I would have kept him until I found a suitable situation for him myself. Which brings me to the second story of the week…

…and the names are changed to protect the – well, not the innocent, really, but…a horse, let’s call her Sadie, was injured in a race at the end of September. The nature of the problem meant that she had to be on box rest for a few weeks, but she was a very nice-natured filly and would make an excellent riding horse; the injury wasn’t limiting in that sense. I immediately started looking for a home for her, but obviously it is hard to place a lame horse, even with good potential. So I was forced to hang onto her for longer than I wanted, and certainly far longer than the owner wanted, but I did eventually find a very nice home for her at the end of October. This meant the owner was being billed for the horse a month longer than he wanted to be. He paid, along with a registered letter saying how furious he was with my “extortionary” price of 30 euros a day for a horse out of training. I understand his frustration, but despite all, I applaud him for paying his bill and not ordering the horse sent to slaughter, which I suppose he could have done (for the record, I wouldn’t have done it, even if it meant paying the horse’s keep myself). In any case, this story ends well: I just got a photo from the new owner, and he is thrilled with her. And for the record, the price I charge is far from extortionary; there is no profit margin there. Hay and straw prices have skyrocketed this year, and while the horse wasn’t ridden out, she was kept in a clean box, brushed and fed daily. The standard of care doesn’t change when the horse can no longer race.

We soldier on. Going into winter is the worst time of year in the horse business. Magic picked up the dreaded cough right before her race on Monday, and I nearly scratched but didn’t and should have, probably. In any case, the distance of 2,500 meters seems just a bit too long on heavy ground, and I’ll look for something shorter for her once we clear up the cough. King ran a great second race at St. Cloud last week. He’s learning his lessons well and I want to get a couple of more races in this year, but we had to give him a flu shot this week, and of course, he’s had a reaction to it. I’m hoping it’s a brief setback, but don’t know yet.

The new fillies from Newmarket are doing well, and Triple Tonic, back from her convalescence in Normandy, is jumping out of her skin. It’s great to have Hard Way back. He seems better than ever and hasn’t lost a step – if you don’t hang onto him in the morning he’ll be off like a shot. And we have a new colt, Deep Ocean, who came to us from Marseille. He can only race right-handed because of stringhalt in his left hock, which makes him a challenge, but he’s a lovely horse who clearly always tries his best (he’s had a win and six places this year). All of them are being aimed at some winter racing on the fibersand in Deauville and later in Cagnes (except for Deep, who can’t go to Cagnes because it is left-handed).

Already, November this year has been paradise compared with what we had to put up with last year. I don’t know how long we can escape the freezing temperatures, but I’m treasuring every day I don’t need to put ten layers and gloves!

King debuts, and Hard Way’s home!

Two big events this past week: King Driver finally is officially a racehorse, and Hard Way has come home. King debuted Thursday on the fibersand in Deauville. I sent him there not because I thought he would be particularly adapted to the surface, but more because the big Chantilly trainers tend not to send their very best on the sand for a debut. I also realized the race 1,500-meter race would probably be on the short side for him, but he needed to learn what it was all about. I was right on both counts. There were a couple of decent horses from Chantilly, but I doubt next year’s Derby winner was among them. And King figured out he needed to stretch out and accelerate only about 50 meters from the finish, which was, of course, far too late. But he learned some very good lessons, and I’m very pleased with his debut. We drew our least-favorite far outside post, No. 15, which left us sort of hanging out to dry, but since all the horses were debuting, they all ran in a wide pack rather than arranging themselves in the usual ordered peleton. King was with the leaders until they started moving away from him at the turn, at which point he was wondering where they were going in such a hurry. Now that he understands a bit better, I suspect his next race will be quite a bit more interesting. And that should probably be on Nov. 3 at St. Cloud, a mile on the turf. The surface and distance will suit him better, although he’ll eventually need to stretch out closer to 2,000 meters.  But he’s going to need a few races to learn the game, and there’s no need to push him too much. He is going to be a very useful horse if we do things right with him.

Hard Way, meanwhile, has come out of retirement. For the moment, he’s sort of the stable pony, but when I had a hack through the woods with him today he certainly felt more like a racehorse than a trekking pony. He is bright-eyed and seems very happy to be back. We’ll see what he tells us he wants to do.

Magical Flower ran her first handicap last week and finished only 7th, but she was carrying 59.5 kilos and the winner 53.5. Luckily, she’s now come down 1.5 kilos, so rated 30 we should be better placed next time out. She is a nice horse and will win somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 meters. She’ll be entered in both on Nov. 4, and we’ll take whichever race we can get into; unfortunately by not being able to grab 5th last week, she is still “exclu” because she hasn’t passed 3,000 euros in earnings and will be the first eliminated.

And we gave Rendition another shot yesterday in Pornichet, but the race confirmed what we pretty much knew: while her heart, head and upper body are in the game, her legs can’t keep up. So we’ll look for new horizons for her.

Meanwhile, I’m getting ready to head off to Newmarket tomorrow for the annual fall Horses in Training sale. The catalog looks enticing, as always, so anyone needing a racehorse to run down in sunny Cagnes-sur-Mer this winter should speak up! Buy yourself an excuse for a weekend in Nice in January!

George moves on, Magic gears up

George left the yard yesterday to start a new life with the aptly-named Ecurie Second Chance. He is sound and could race again, but most likely will be reschooled as a riding horse. He has such a wonderful personality and is very fun to ride, so I’m sure he will do well. He’ll have some turnout time now, too, which he very much needs. We’ll be able to follow his travels to make sure things go well for him.

Strictly Rhythm will be off this week, too, for a bit of much-deserved vacation in Normandy. Coming home will be Hard Way. I had decided to retire him, but I’m now rethinking that decision. He is not very happy standing around in a field and he’ll come back to see how he adjusts to life back at the yard. There will be no pressure; he’ll basically by my stable pony for the moment and we’ll see where it goes. (Although having Hard Way as a stable pony might be a bit optimistic on my part – he can be quite a handful to ride at times, so I may regret my decision.)

Magical Flower, meanwhile, will go to Clairefontaine on Monday for her first handicap and her first try stretching out to 2,900 meters. She seems in fine form, so if she gets the distance, and I think she will, we should have every chance here. King Driver is still on track for his debut on Thursday in Deauville. He’ll have a gallop tomorrow morning and then it’s time to start declare. We’ve been this far once before without quite making it, but I’m hoping this time we can really go ahead.

Apres-Arc detox

Our last visitors left today after a great week of racing, touring, eating and drinking. The Arc weekend was fantastic, as usual, plus the weather was more like Deauville in August than Longchamp in October. Put simply, we roasted. It was wonderful. Our party took over a good part of the paddock restaurant, and we couldn’t have been better placed to have a look at all the Group 1 horseflesh on offer. No one saw Danedream coming. The crowd of 50,000 were stunned into silence by her record-breaking victory. Even Frankie Dettori, on third-placed Snow Fairy, couldn’t believe it – and who could blame him? He was sitting pretty going into the home stretch, with only Sarafina’s leader and some unknown orange silks in front of him. But Sarafina’s leader, Shareta, ran the race of her life and the unknown orange silks happened to belong to a feat of German engineering called Danedream. Frankie settled for third.

It was also too bad to see Goldikova get headed on her last appearance in France, but she’ll still go to the Breeders’ Cup, where I suspect she still has some ass to kick. Nice to see Sole Power take a good third in the Abbaye; he is Sotka’s half-brother, and this bodes well for her season next year. And another one to keep a close eye on is the undefeated Dabirsim, who showed amazing acceleration in the Grand Criterium.

We left the crowds of Longchamp far behind on Monday to head off to Argentan with Magical Flower, where she finished 5th in a maiden and took her first check in France. She is now qualified for handicaps, and there is a good one for her next week, if she gets a low enough rating. I’m reluctant to enter in a handicap straight away, but this would be the best race for her. She has to be rated below 32 to qualify. Based on what she’s done so far for us, she shouldn’t be rated higher, but sometimes the handicappers do unreasonable things.

While we were out in deepest Normandy, we took the opportunity to stop by and see my other horses near Orbec, where Triple Tonic is recovering, Hard Way is bored in a field and Well Done Clare is happily in foal to My Risk. Triple Tonic will be ready to come back in early November, I suspect, and I’ve decided to bring Hard Way back home. We’ll see how he goes, but it’s not out of the question that he could race again.

Anyway, in all the excitement this past week, I haven’t gotten a chance to say that I’m very pleased to be part of a new alliance of bloggers called Turf. Have a look at the web site. It includes some very well-written blogs by people in and around the thoroughbred racing business all over the world. I’m very pleased to be part of the group, and it will give me a chance to address wider issues now and then, in addition to the laundry list of what the horses in my yard are doing. There will be various themes tackled by all of the bloggers in the group (and the current one is the Breeders’ Cup, and I’m behind…so stay tuned!).

Press

Gina RARICK in the news


By John Gilmore

Gina Rarick doesn’t mince her words, as readers of her online blog will testify. The American journalist who became a French racehorse trainer has strong views on all aspects of the sport – from the struggle to make ends meet in Europe, the problems of being accepted in France and the admin issues at France Galop to the medication situation back in the U.S. – as John Gilmore found out in this recent question-and-answer interview. Thoroughbred Racing Commentary – August 14, 2015

Vichy : Ella Diva remporte la dernière listed de plat

By Céline Maussang

Ella Diva reste invaincue et décroche sa première Listed à Vichy. Achetée à réclamer, elle empoche le Prix des Jouvenceaux et des Jouvencelles. Equidia Live – August 2, 2015

Gina Rarick descend son écurie à Vichy

By Kristin Odegard

Le Festival de Galop de Vichy est devenu incontournable, pour les professionnels comme pour les amateurs de courses hippiques. Cette semaine entièrement dédiée au galop a été bien préparée par Gina Rarick qui descend plusieurs chevaux, avec la nouvelle arrivée Ella Diva en attraction. Equidia Live – July 18, 2015

Carnet de piste ELLA DIVA – Gina Rarick

By Equidia – July 17, 2015

Rencontre avec Gina Rarick à Maisons-Laffitte

By Equidia – July 17, 2015

Un entraînement avec Gina Rarick

By Sonia Donadey

Après les coulisses de l’hippodrome (lire nos éditions précédentes), voici les coulisses du centre d’entraînement. L’Américaine Gina Rarick possède une écurie à Maisons-Laffitte. Courrier des Yvelines – April 13, 2015

Aspiring women in horse racing with Gina Rarick

By Lissa Oliver

American Gina Rarick, a former international horseracing journalist, has been training racehorses in Maisons-Laffitte, France, since 2002. 46 percent of her runners were in the money in 2013, and that percentage has been rising steadily for the past four years. Total earnings for the yard have already topped €750,000. Gavelhouse.com – March 1, 2014

Miraculous Hard Way Continues to Win

By John Gilmore

Hard Way, an 8-year-old gelding who made a remarkable recovery from a crushed vertebrae in 2010, is continuing to amaze French racing fans.

Routine On U.S. Racetracks, Horse Doping Is Banned In Europe

By Eleanor Beardsley

At the famous Hippodrome de Longchamp just outside of Paris this month, crowds came to cheer and bet on the sleek thoroughbreds that opened horse racing season by galloping down the verdant turf course. NPR – April 23, 2013

Hard Way Back

By John Gilmore

As the horses galloped up the finishing straight in the 2,400-meter (11⁄2-mile) Prix de la Lomagne Handicap at Saint-Cloud on a gloomy, rain-sodden evening May 5, Hard Way cruised to the front, eventually winning as he pleased. Racegoers enthusiastically cheered his every stride to the wire and beyond. bloodhorse.com – May 15 2012.

Guest Post: A Hard Way to Own a Racehorse

By Mark Cramer

Film directors take note–Gina Rarick is an unusual character and in the treatment we also have a most unusual horse: Hard Way. No novelist could have conjured up a more symbolically accurate name. In August 2010, after 16 races, Hard Way endured a crushed first vertebra and was basically lucky to be alive. Rarick sent the horse to friendly pastures, gave him time off. Treatment involved only one pharmaceutical product, Tildren, for improving bone density. Thoroughbred Daily News – Thursday, May 10, 2012.

Lettre ouvert aux lecteurs de Jour du Galop

By Gina Rarick

Avant de devenir entraîneur professionnel en 2008, j’ai été journaliste pendant plus de 20 ans et je collabore toujours à différentes publications, dont le New York Times. L’année dernière, c’est avec fierté que j’ai écrit un article sur le système français de mise à la retraite des chevaux de course, conjointement mis au point par France Galop et la Ligue pour la Protection du Cheval. Ce système a fait l’admiration et a été envié par de nombreux lecteurs américains qui se désolaient de la triste fin réservée aux champions de leur côté de l’Atlantique, du fait de l’absence de tout régime de mise à la retraite. Jour du Galop – Lundi 1er Fèvrier, 2010

‘I like taking a cast-off horse and turning it into a winner’

By John Gilmore

As the horses galloped to the turn at Chantilly racecourse, shooting past the grandeur of the Château de Chantilly and into the home stretch, a dark brown filly, easy to recognise thanks to the small diamond of white hairs on her forehead, surged to the front of the pack. To the shouts of the crowd, and urged on by her jockey, she raced past the post in first place. The French Paper – January 2010

A Profile of Trainer Gina Rarick

By Mark Cramer

You will not have heard of Gina Rarick because she trains in France, and in fact is the only American trainer operating in that country. However, the handicapping portrait of this best-kept secret in the training profession can be applied universally wherever races are run. American Turf Monthly – December 2009

Heartland transplant now has French accent

By Alan Shuback

She is racing’s American in Paris. Or, to be more specific, racing’s American in Maisons-Laffitte, the training center west of Paris where she maintains a string of American – and British-owned horses, the only Yankee — male or female — currently training in France. Daily Racing Form – Sunday, November 29, 2009

Le parcours atypique de Gina Rarick

Le parcours de Gina Rarick est un des plus atypiques. Cette Américaine de 46 ans a commencé à monter à cheval à 30 ans, ne connaissant rien aux courses. “Je suis la seule Américaine à entraîner en France. J’ai décroché un permis d’entraîner en 2001 avant de devenir entraîneur public en septembre 2008, suite à un licenciement économique qui m’a permis de me jeter dans le grand bain.” Le Parisien – November 25, 2009

Rarick finds success in France

By John Gilmore

Former Turf writer Gina Rarick has only been training in France professionally for a little more than 18 months, but the American-born former International Herald Tribune editor has proven as adept with horses as she was with a pen. Thoroughbred Times – October 17, 2009

Paris People: Gina Rarick, Racehorse Trainer

By Adam

A woman in a male-dominated business is not a unique situation, but an American woman in the very closed world of French horse racing is certainly a more unusual proposition. I met with the racehorse trainer Gina Rarick who gave me an insight into both the sport and how she has managed to find her place in this business. Invisible Paris Blog – September 20, 2009