This week has been busy, productive, and enjoyable. Highlights include significant visitors; the highly anticipated arrival of a young filly from Ireland, and the discovery of some beautiful trails.
George Strawbridge, one of our major owners, visited several times. It was a good time for him to see the horses he has entrusted to my care, and with enthusiasm he came out to the barn in the early morning three days in a row to see his homebreds train. We put the truck into 4 x 4 mode so that we could cruise beside the horses as they cantered and galloped along the trails of Payson Park. It was a great "up close" opportunity for George, who demonstrated his appreciation by treating the barn to breakfast from the Cracker Barrel!
Another visitor was my friend Osvaldo Hernandez. I met Oz when I was training at San Luis Ray Downs in California the winter of 2009-2010. Oz worked with some of my yearlings, and I was delighted to find such a superb horseman. Oz came to see what's going on in the Arravale Racing barn at Payson Park. I put him up on all the good horses. (They're all good, so he was busy!) You can see action pictures and a video of Oz on the Arravale Racing Facebook page.
We were all happy to greet Nancy O on Thursday. Nancy O is the daughter of ARRAVALE (no explanation needed!) and the proven sire PIVOTAL, whom I had seen during my stint in Newmarket while on the Darley Flying Start Program. PIVOTAL has demonstrated himself to be a top producer on all surfaces and distances.
It's funny how fate intervenes. In this case "fate" took the form of two auction outcomes. We offered ARRAVALE, in foal, at Tattersalls. We then offered her yearling filly at Goffs. We knew well the value of both mare and filly, and since this price was not met decided to keep them. And so it happens that Nancy O, who was broken beautifully in Ireland by John Kennedy, has landed in the warmth of Payson Park and is following in her mother's footprints as she too wintered at Payson Park. I am delighted with the young filly.
Fate intervened again this week by sending buckets of rain onto the track, which became quite sloppy. Consequently, I checked out the "back country" at Payson Park sooner than I might otherwise have done. I discovered beautiful trails which hold up against the rain really well, and the horses love it. The trails are now part of our daily routine regardless of the weather. The horses warm up nicely on the trails before training on the track. They are returning to the barn refreshed and happy.
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