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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Arlington Park Barn Notes (8/19/09)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
A little less than three months ago, May 28 turned out to be a day of infamy for young Thoroughbred owner Vanessa Nye. Destiny – while colored with cruelty – had her experience the best of times and the worst of times in Arlington’s seventh race of the day.
First the good news: Ms. Nye, a young professional living and working in Tampa, Florida, won the race with her 5-year old gelding Supah Soup. However, in that same race, the other half of her entry Voodoomon, who was among the early leaders, broke down suddenly entering the stretch run and subsequently had to be euthanized.
“(That race) was an emotional rollercoaster to say the least,” said Nye. “Naturally, I was very happy we won the race with Supah Soup, but I was absolutely devastated about what happened to Voodoomon. I’m still not over it and I’m not sure I ever will be.”
Nye flew up from Tampa to Chicago last weekend for the first time since that day to watch her horse Spanish Ambassador run a competitive third in last Sunday’s fourth race.
“I was a little apprehensive about coming back to the scene where it all took place,” said Nye. “So far, I seem to be handling it all right, but it’s been a hard summer without him.”
Nye, 37, although a criminal defense attorney in her professional life, regards her horses as members of her family, as trainer Dale Bennett explained with a story of his own.
“I claimed Supah Soup off of her last winter at Tampa Bay Downs without knowing who she was or anything about her,” said Bennett. “After I did, some of my friends came and told me, ‘You know, you broke that lady’s heart when you claimed that horse off of her.’
“After I found that out, I contacted her and sold the horse back to her privately (without profit) under the condition that I could continue to train the horse,” Bennett said. “I love to train for any owner who cares that much about his or her horses.”
Nye employs both Bennett and fellow Arlington-based conditioner Jim McMullen as trainer to care for her horses.
“They are both really good horsemen,” said Nye, “and the reason I have my horses with them is that they are both as passionate about the animals under their care as I am about the horses I own. I definitely foresee both of those guys in my future.
“I have three horses in training right now,” said Nye, “and I might someday I might add to that number, but I will never own any more horses than I could afford to take care of after their racing careers are over. I feel that owners should be responsible for their horses for their entire lives.”
Nye, who was born in New York City but raised in South Florida, began as a fan of Thoroughbred racing when she would accompany one of her uncles to the track. (Her cousin, incidentally, is ESPN horseracing broadcaster Joe Tessitore.)
“I fell in love with the horses right away,” she said, “and now I’m actively involved with a fundraiser for Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue, which has a division focused on Thoroughbreds.
“As for Voodoomon, I want to keep his name in racing and I want to keep his spirit alive,” concluded Nye, “so I’ve changed my stable name to Voodoo Mon Racing Stable, and I’ve changed my racing silks to a set that now has a big ‘V’ on the back.
“That ‘V’ stands for ‘Voodoomon’,” she added, “not ‘Vanessa’.”
Jockey Quincy Hamilton, who is hanging his tack at Arlington Park for the first time this season, will be riding in Oklahoma City this weekend when Remington Park opens its upcoming season Friday.
“I just want everyone back there to know I’m coming back there once the Arlington season is over (Sept. 27),” Hamilton said. “Then I’ll come back to Arlington next week to ride.
“I just don’t anyone back there at Remington to get the idea I’m going on to Hawthorne,” Hamilton said, “which I’m not.”
Veteran reinsman Carlos Silva, third on Arlington’s all-time leading rider list, rode his career winner number 3,499 in Sunday’s first race aboard Miller Racing Stable’s Storm Catch.
Also on Sunday, Lake Zurich-raised jockey Jesse Campbell scored a riding double after accomplishing that same feat Saturday. It was his third multiple-win afternoon in the last four racing days, moving him into seventh position in the Arlington standings.
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