Saturday, February 17, 2007

Funny You Should Mention That

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Heading back to the barn after the gallop Kenny makes a point to mention that Birdbird is stabled in the same barn that Funny Cide was four years ago. I hadn’t noticed a plaque that is on the barn wall commemorating this obviously the significance of this is not lost on him. As we drive back to the the barn I get a chance to ask him a question or two. McPeek is obviously a top tier trainer and I always wondered if he solicits owners to get business. He said he doesn’t have to but one problem he faces more these days is that owners in general seem to be more skeptical and talking them into spending money at the sales is more of an effort. I also asked if he thought that the breed as a whole is more fragile than it was say twenty years ago, his answer to this question was an unequivocal no. McPeek thinks the modern tendency to train up to races, rather than race up to them, in order for trainers to maintain higher winning percentages, makes for fewer starts and gives a false impression that the breed is more delicate than it really is.

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Back at the barn, as Birdbird gets his bath I get a chance to ask some mundane questions about running the place. Behind the scenes an administrative staff of nine keeps McPeek Racing running in addition to asst trainers, grooms hotwalkers and exercise riders. One thing I did notice is that a computer was nowhere to be found.

There are three horses racing today and they must be ready for the shuttle van to Gulfstream by 9 AM. Kenny goes off to tend to those details, Birdbird is cooling out, Brad goes in search of a light for his cigarette, David goes in search of Invasor, who he has heard is stabled nearby and I wander next store to Barn 6 to meet another prominent three year named Street Sense

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