Feb 28 / kimberlygodwinclark@gmail.com You’ve been Claimed

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Someone emailed me and asked if I’d ever had a horse claimed from a race. Since I had to write about it anyway, I thought it might be an interesting addition to my blog. Especially since it involved two horses I had that were very special too.

Zebra Laughter was one of the first horses I ever trained as a racehorse, and of course I loved her dearly. She came with another horse Crown Mist. I broke them both, brought them along and trained them as racehorses. Crown was by Sporting Life and he had the expected temperament. He was not reliable, but had talent and I recall I won two races with him. His ankles started to bother him so rather than contine to race him I retired him and gave him away. He was a beautiful horse.

Pookie (Zebra Laughter) was a big Rollicking filly who was back at one knee. She was the only horse I had in training at the time. I never expected her to have a long racing career, but as long as she was sound I would race her. She was a nervous horse and didn’t have the best breathing. Back then they didn’t have all the great operations and treatments for horses with wind issues.

I put her in for I think $16K and she ran good and then back again for the same price and she won. I raised her to $20K to protect her and Dale Capuano claimed her. This was my first claim. If you don’t know how it works, your horse runs the race and while they are pulling up a MJC rep walks up to you and hands you a slip of paper and tells you you’ve been claimed. At that point you don’t meet your horse on the track, their groom does. They put their halter on the horse and take her back to their barn. To say it was horrible for me would be an understatement because I love my horses. I break them, gallop them, train them and adore them. I told myself I wasn’t going to be another girl trainer crying when they lose their horse so I held myself together until I got out of there. I ship them myself so I have a trailer. I went back to the receiving barn with Calvin, my helper and we got my and Pookie’s things. When I got into my truck at Laurel, I cried all the way back to Pimlico. Calvin just kept telling me it would be alright Missy Kim.

I never wanted any of my horses to be claimed, but I knew it would happen and I knew I wouldn’t like it. I had a second horse claimed a couple years later named Hey Snipe. He finished second or third his first race out for I think $14K and I raised him to $20K and Gary Capuano claimed him. I don’t know why the Capuanos like me so much, but I wasn’t happy that day either, although I handled it better. Incidentally, Snipe was the full brother to Earn My Keep who won my first Allowance and Stake races. I think that may have tortured Gary a bit because he seemed to try with Snipe longer than he normally would have, at least in my opinion. Neither Gary or Dale improved the horses trained by the girl who loves them. They both ran better for me. It’s not true that you can’t love them.