- FATHERS REMEMBERED TOMORROW ON THEIR DAY
- TWO SPECIALS ON FATHER’S DAY AT SANTA ANITA
- GOOD DAD DAY NEWS FOR FORMER VALET LEON
- BENDABLE RETURNS SUNDAY IN DESERT STORMER
FATHER’S DAY SUNDAY AT SANTA ANITA AND ELSEWHERE
Father’s Day is Sunday, when homage is paid to caring and loving paternal members of the family throughout the land. Following is a remembrance of my father that appeared September 1999 in Gaming Today, a weekly publication in Las Vegas:
My dad died last week.
He had a long and healthy life, until the last three months, when at 87, a dormant form of leukemia finally erupted. He died quickly and peacefully, thank God, but long before he went, he taught me almost everything I know about horse racing and handicapping.
I remember waiting outside Atlantic City Race Course as a child, my fingers probing through a chain link fence as I strained to hear Tommy Daly’s fractured call, while my dad and his friends were inside playing the ponies.
This was long before tracks allowed children, before the days of Beyers, “bounces” and bute.
My dad was a comedian. He went by the stage name of Ken Barry (not to be confused with Ken Berry of ‘F Troop’ fame). Barry was a world traveler, visiting countries from Africa to Yugoslavia, with stops in Hong Kong, Japan, Russia and Spain.
Oddly, he never played Vegas, but he performed with major stars such as Sammy Davis Jr., Sergio Franchi, Frank Sinatra Jr., Johnny Mathis, Jerry Vale, Phyllis Maguire, Al Martino, Tammy Wynette, Buddy Greco and many others.
He was a trouper to the end, doing 21 shows on the senior citizen circuit in Florida last winter. He regarded himself as a modern-day Will Rogers. His material was original and topical, never dirty or risqué.
He was an avid bridge player, lived and died with the Phillies, and played the horses all his life.
He was once asked if he ever intended to retire. He gave the reply of colleagues Milton Berle, George Burns and Bob Hope: ‘Retire? Retire to what?’
It was Ken Barry who taught me to observe horses in the post parade and warm-ups; to study odds moves on the tote board; to look for significant jockey changes and post position changes; and not to overlook horses coming in from an obscure circuit to run with the big boys.
Those observations still apply today.
A few years ago, my dad left his home in South Jersey, where playing the horses at Garden State and Philadelphia Park had turned into a bingo game, to enjoy some major league racing at Santa Anita.
He asked me if I liked anything the day he went to the track. I gave him a horse that won and paid $51.
I couldn’t wait to talk with him that night about his big score. A $51 winner. The kid did his dad proud.
Did you play it? I asked him eagerly.
Nah, came the honest response. I hooked him up in an exacta.
Ken Barry’s best horse story typifies a gambler’s mentality:
Two friends meet at the track an hour before the first race.
The first one asks the second if he can borrow $20.
“You can’t be broke already,” the second guy says. “It’s an hour before the first race.”
“Nah,” the first guy says. “I got money to bet. I need money to eat.”
Dad, thanks for the laughs.
SANTA ANITA OFFERS SPECIALS ON FATHER’S DAY
Tomorrow is Father’s Day, and Santa Anita is offering two unique and fun experiences from which dads can choose.
The ‘Drams for Dads’ whiskey tasting and brunch in the historic Directors’ Room at Santa Anita includes brunch from 1-3 p.m., a complimentary glass of champagne or beer on arrival, Woodford Reserve tasting session, commemorative tasting glass, Club House admission, racing program and a meet ‘n’ greet session with a professional handicapper. For tickets, visit: http://www.santaanita.com/events/drams-for-dads/.
And, for dads who just want to show up in shorts, sit outside and enjoy a delicious barbeque, Santa Anita offers the Father’s Day Trackside Package. Each ticket includes a BBQ plate, one craft beer or wine, Club House admission, racing program and tip sheet and seating alongside the home stretch. For tickets, visit: http://www.santaanita.com/events/47675/.
FORMER JOCKEY & JOCKS’ ROOM VALET LEON CONTINUES TO RECOVER
Popular jockey and longtime Jockeys’ Room valet Luis Leon continues to recover from the effects of a stroke suffered this past April, according to his daughter Sylvia Leon Sanchez.
“My dad suffered a heart attack at home a couple weeks ago, but he’s recovering well now at Scripps La Jolla,” said Sylvia. “The doctors discovered he had multiple blockages, which were the cause of the stroke in April. They’ve applied stents and he’s doing much better. He’ll be in the hospital another two or three weeks, but he’s walking and talking, fully coherent.”
Leon, 86, who went to work for Rex Ellsworth and rode for the Ellsworth stable horses who were trained by Hall of Famer Mesch Tenney, retired from riding in the mid-1960s and later worked for many years as a valet for jockeys such as Eddie Delahoussaye, Patrick Valenzuela, Chris McCarron and Martin Pedroza prior to retiring to his ranch near San Diego in 1995.
Those wishing to send best wishes to Louie Leon may address their correspondence to Sylvia Leon Sanchez at 12122 Lakeland Rd., Norwalk, CA, 90650.
BENDABLE RETURNS IN SUNDAY’S GRADE III DESERT STORMER
Bendable makes her first start in more than eight months Sunday in the Grade III, $100,000 Desert Stormer Stakes for fillies and mares, three and older, at six furlongs.
“She had a splint issue after her last race at Keeneland (third by two lengths in the Grade II TCA Oct. 8), but she’s recuperated, back ready to run and doing well,” said Richard Mandella, who trains the four-year-old Horse Greeley filly for Claiborne Farm.
Bendable has never been out of the money in five career starts, with three wins accounting for most of her $152,000 in earnings.
The field for the Desert Stormer, named for the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner trained by Frank Lyons: Invested Prospect, Tyler Baze, 4-1; Coniah, Kent Desormeaux, 4-1; Bellamentary, Flavien Prat, 7-2; Pretty N Cool, Martin Garcia, 9-5; and Bendable, Mike Smith, 5-2.
ELIZABETH MOREY IN EXPANDED ROLE FOR TOC
The Thoroughbred Owners of California has announced the promotion of Elizabeth Morey to the position of Director of Racing and Northern California Operations, effective immediately.
“Elizabeth is one of the brightest young talents I have seen in my two decades in the industry,” said TOC President and CEO, Greg Avioli. “She is smart, hard-working, always prepared, and has earned the respect of our racetrack partners throughout California.”
Morey joined TOC in July 2016 as Northern California liaison. In addition to overseeing operations of the TOC in Northern California, her role quickly expanded to encompass oversight of the organization’s racing affairs. She is staff lead on the TOC Racing Affairs Committee, working with the California racing secretaries to implement purse agreements and tracking and analyzing handle and revenue trends.
A lifelong equestrian, Morey worked as an exercise rider in college and after graduating worked as a liaison between horsemen and the CARMA Thoroughbred retirement program. She came to the TOC with a wide variety of hands-on experience in the racing industry and strong research skills. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied public policy and city planning.
TOC is a non-profit corporation that serves as the CHRB-recognized representative of Thoroughbred owners in the California horse racing industry.
FINISH LINES: There is a two-day Pick Six carryover into Saturday of $230,887 and today’s total Pick Six pool is expected to approach $1 million . . . Cecil B. DeMille winner Term of Art, a candidate for next Saturday’s Grade III Affirmed Stakes for three-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, worked six furlongs this morning for Doug O’Neill in 1:13.80 . . . Multiple graded stakes winner Vale Dori, who had a six-race winning streak snapped by champion Stellar Wind in the Beholder Mile on June 3, worked four furlongs in 47.40 under Rafael Bejarano for Bob Baffert as she prepares for a Del Mar excursion. Baffert said the drill was “very nice.” . . . Santa Anita hosts Cigar Festival Americana next Saturday, June 24, featuring cigar vendors, live music by Moonsville Collective and exciting live racing. For a special online package, visit santaanita.com/events . . . Monday and Tuesday, July 3 and 4, are Dollar Days at Santa Anita, with beer, hot dogs and sodas on sale for a buck each. First post time both days will be 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m. . . . Owner/horse player Stuart Tsujimoto will be Tom Quigley‘s guest Sunday, 11:50 a.m., in the East Paddock Gardens.
|SANTA ANITA STATISTICS|
|(Current Through Friday, June 16)|
|Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||67||10||11||11||15%||48%||$637,299|
|Hector O. Palma||41||7||7||5||17%||46%||$283,261|