2020, as we at DRB so commonly referred to as a dumpster-fire, was a challenging year on so many levels. But the successful completion of the racing season did bring some consolation with a number of feel-good stories. Here are just a few:
Aftercare Aid. The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance announced in late November that it had awarded $3.5 million dollars in grants to 81 Thoroughbred aftercare organizations. Since the inception of the TAA in 2012, it has awarded more than $20.7 million to accredited organizations. Even in the hardest of times, TAA supporters remained generous.
Benevolent Queen. Hailed as the Queen of Saratoga during her lifetime, Marylou Whitney continued to aid the backstretch workers she so admired, even in death. Her widower, John Hendrickson, arranged for more than 1,700 of her personal items to be auctioned off this summer to raise money for backstretch facilities at Saratoga Race Course. The effort brought in about $400,000 dollars.
Double The Fame. Trainer Mark Casse, who is already a member of the Canadian Hall Of Fame, was elected to the National Museum and Racing Hall of Fame this past year. Casse had not Won a Triple Crown race until he broke through in a big way in 2019, with WAR OF WILL capturing the Preakness while SIR WINSTON Won the Belmont Stakes.
Sackatoga Sweep. It is always great to see operations succeed without spending millions of dollars. Sackatoga Stable, managed by Jack Knowlton in upstate New York, is one of those outfits. In a private purchase the partnership bought New York-bred FUNNY CIDE as a 2-year-old for $75,000. He went on to Win the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. They picked up the missing Triple Crown jewel when another New York-bred, TIZ THE LAW, a $110,000 yearling, Won this year’s Belmont Stakes.
Missing Piece. John Velázquez, the career leader with more than $430 million dollars in purse earnings, filled in one of the few holes in his other-worldly resume when he was aboard Kentucky Derby Winner AUTHENTIC riding his first Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner. It was his 18th overall BC Victory.
From all of us here at the Daily Racing Blog, we wish our readers Happy New Year, a Safe Trip, and nothing but Winning tickets.