In the thrilling debut of Princess Kathy Racing, our elder twin colt, In The Chamber, raced for the 1st time. And just what did he do?
Great friends David, Pat, Ryan & Dena Block of Team Block had allowed us, Rick, Kathy & Ben under a new racing enterprise named Princess Kathy Racing, to buy a minority share in 2 of their promising Fort Prado colts, In The Chamber & Frontier Force.
I had nicknamed the colts "Russ" (In The Chamber) and "Pop" (Frontier Force) as a tribute to my Godfather & my Father who were identical twins. You see the colts have the same father, the great Fort Prado, look identical to me like twins and do everything together - just like my Uncle Russ & my Dad did. As In The Chamber was older, he got the monicker "Russ", while Frontier Force is "Pop".
Though Trainer Block would have preferred more training time, he had reluctantly entered Russ, a Team Block Homebred, in a Maiden Special Weight race at a mile on the lawn at Arlington Park on 6-Sep.
Originally, AP top jock Florent Geroux was set to ride, but a raceday suspension sidelined him, so Chris scampered to secure the services of Manny Esquivel, 2013's AP jock apprentice champion to ride instead.
The race came up tough with a full field of 12, scratched down to 8, which included a nice looking horse named Oak Brook, bred by great friends Rudy & Virginia Tarra who have the box next us in the Hutch under the AP canopy.
Concurrently with the race, was the wedding of our niece Jameson Batz to her longtime beau Lane. I officiated over the ceremony and had not planned on being able to see the race. But as the ceremony concluded and I followed the wedding party back up the aisle, a quick look at my watch showed I could make the race if I bolted immediately. So I did. That's why I'm seen in a suit with the pretty boutonniere on my lapel. Perfect attire for a Winners Circle Photo!
Sister Jeanie & Niece Aly were at the race and along with the Tarra's we sat together and watched the race.
So Russ breaks smartly from the gate and promptly settles in last against the rail. He was so far back that you don't even see him in the race video until they enter the turn in front of Ditka's Trackside.
There Manny puts him on the outside and smartly starts passing the field until he is 4 wide at the head of the lane looking at nothing but open race track in front of them. Down the stretch they rip with Russ gobbling up ground with his huge strides vying to push his nose in front. The Tarra horse, Oak Brook is running game, just inside of us matching Russ stride for stride!
300 yards from the wire, Manny unleashes the whip and with his left hand hits Russ for the 1st time in his life.
Manny still working the whip, tries to keep Russ going straight as he lengthens his lead to a full length when they sweep beneath the wire.
Pandemonium as we realize that Russ had won! But I was concerned, because I had seen Russ move out in the stretch and was wondering if he impeded the horse behind.
Sure enough, almost instantly the "Objection" sign goes up on the oddsboard as the Stewards wanted to review the stretch run. A minute later a SECOND Objection was filed this time against 2nd place finisher Oak Brook, claiming that he had ducked into the rail fouling another also ran.
So the oddsboard was lit up like a Christmas tree with 2 allegations of fouls needing to be sorted. Over 10 minutes went by before track annoucer John Dooley finally announced "No Change In The Running Order!", meaning we were safe - the Victory was ours!
Well, we piled into the Winners Circle, bringing with my other Neices Shannon & Mary Moran who happened to be at the races that day. Together the Blocks, The Tarra's and The Johnson's smiled for the camera on this most exciting day.