Attended by Rabbit Relatives arriving from Washington State, our General Charley
on Sept 17 race in a 50k claiming race on the turf at a mile and a sixteenth, late in Arlington's meet. Charley went off as the overwhelming favourite of the 8 horse field at even money 1-1.
First-time viewers Diane Wallis Rabbit and babe hottie daughter Mindy Lou Wallis Rabbit flew in from Spokane Wa. to take in the race. Sue Tomczak Rabbit also was watching her first RRR race and all had a great time. You can view these fillies in picture right being tutored by Senior Partner Peggy Lenz Rabbit on all the intracies of the riveting Paddock action. I haven't seen so much red hair in the paddock since Secretariat (Big Red) ran at AP in 1973....
Following the conclusion of the race, trainer Chris Block met us on the track apron and he was upset. What had riled him was that he felt we got a bad ride from jockey Eddie Perez which resulted in our poor finish. He said he specifically instructed Eddie to stay close to the lead and to never, ever let the number 1 mule get on the outside lead ahead of us. He felt Eddie kept him too far off the pace and when it was time to run down the lane Charley wasn't as engaged as he usually is when he is right in the thick of it. Disappointing for sure - but Eddie has won us a bunch of money having been on 5 of our 6 wins we have to date. He is still our guy and he will get 'em next time.
When we get back to the barn to check on Charley after the race, the hotwalker says 'Hey - he lost a shoe!'. Sure enough our beast had lost his front left shoe somewhere during the race.
Picture right is a composite shot of the last time we know Charley had his shoe - which was just after the start - and a closeup of the now naked hoof. To the practiced eye (which is not mine), you can see several rips in the hoof caused when the nails got yanked out when the shoe went flying.
Hell, how are you going to run well with That happening?
Side Shoe Note.... After the race we were talking about Charley losing a shoe and reminded of that fine Johnson tradition begun by Family Patriarch Bob Johnson on the dance floor of many a family wedding. When Bobby, fueled by a full tank of premium Blatz Beer would get dancing, more often than not one of his shoes would fly off over the heads of the other dancers accompanied by his rousing rooster crow.
In fact, I once witnessed a jitterbugging Al Rosenquist take a direct blast to the head from one of Bobby's flying loafers. To Al's credit, he took the incoming Florsheim missile and missed nary a beat as he continued putting Auntie Flo-Flo through her paces on the dance floor.
Perhaps Charley was saluting our Family Patriarch ?
A 4th place finish still provides us a check - though not very big, but we were very proud of our Charley even though he had not done as well as expected.
We were mildly concerned that Charley may have got claimed, but no one had dropped a claim tag on him so he was led back to Chris' barn.
Thanks to all who attended and a special thanks to Family Bonehead Steve Gallo for all the great pictures he took.
Next race is a bit up in the air - given Charley's poor showing this time. One race we know we will be looking at is another 50k claimer on the turf at Hawthorne on Oct 18.