In the words of Trainer Chris Block our General Charley
"RAN A BANG UP RACE!"
finishing a game 3rd against some quite good horses at a mile on the turf. Closing out the 2008 racing year our General Charley was entered in a $62,500 Allowance Optional Claiming race for a purse of $48,000 at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans on December 28th.
None of the partners were able to travel down to New Orleans - which was a first for us. So back in Chicago, Partner Jeff Rabbit went to the OTB, while the Johnsons, Gregorio's, Gallo's & Perryman's watched from Rick & Kathy's home.
Sr. Partner Peggy watched from her home in El Paso, IL. However, we all agreed that in the future we have to go see our boy run in person, if we possibly can.
Neil Pessin, our winter trainer down in the Big Easy, had Charley ready. He was concerned that rain showers would move the race off the turf, but they held off and we were able to run on the grass.
Neil had jockey James Graham on Charley for the 2nd time down at the Fair Grounds. James looked quite at home on Charley and gave him a good ride, keeping him just off the pace through most of the race and then letting him go at the stretch pole.
James reported to Neil that he wanted to wait a bit more before turning him loose - but he was afraid he would lose the lead horse if he didn't move when he did. James also wore a red cap rather than the usual blue.
Unbelievably, as none of us were down there, we have no pictures from the race. However, image upper left is Charley in the Post Parade that I extracted from the video on the TV. Image to the right is Charley leading the charge at the head of the stretch. He ran so hard down the lane but just couldn't hold off the 2 late chargers.
However as you can see from the video (all the way at the end of the page) he dug in hard late in the stretch to keep 3rd place - and earn yet another paycheck for us. All the way on the bottom of the page is of the group watching the Race at Rick's house...
Don't forget to check out our Video's on the bottom of the page....
Neil Pessin reports that Charley looks to have come through the race just fine and we now start a look for Charley's next test, which should be a the Fair Grounds towards the end of January.
MANY THANKS GO TO NEIL, JAMES & CHRIS BUT A SPECIAL THANKS GO TO OUR WARRIOR
'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE RACEDAY
A Poem For General Charley On The Eve Of His Race
‘Twas the night before raceday When all through Neil’s barn,
Only Charley was stirring As his night watchman had expired.
The Red Stockings were hung In the clean tack room with care,
In hopes that a 48k purse Soon would be there.
Neil’s night watchman was nestled All snug in his bed,
With visions of well fitting trousers Dancing in his head.
And Frank Kirby in his kerchief And Uncle Bob in his cap,
Had been rendered unconscious By a thunderous Joe Snap
When out on the turf course There arose such a clatter,
I remembered our last race And couldn’t be much sadder.
So away to the mutuel window I flew like a flash,
Ripped open my wallet Betting Charley with my cash
The Moon on the Breast Of announcer Jessica Pacheco
Gave the luster of mid-day To my object below.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature jockey, With his head bobbling in the mirror
With the little Irish jockey So Lively and quick,
I knew in a moment He used no humane stick.
More rapid than eagles, Peggy’s coursers they came,
And she whistled, and shouted and called them by name.
Now ‘Marion!, now ‘Salt’, now ‘IOSilver’ and the rest,
On ‘Mr. Tipsy’ On ‘Lenny’ But oh ‘Charleys’ the best.
To the top of the stretch, Graham ‘s flying like a fool,
‘Now Dash Away, dash away! Dash away you mule!
James was dressed like a Rabbit, from his toes to his face,
And our silks were all muddy, as he had won from off the pace.
A bundle of Rabbit Cash Charley had just won us this day,
And he looked like a warrior Saying “Where’s my cut of the pay?”
Charley’s eyes how they twinkled With his ears laid back straight
Seamas Haran smiled from the rail, As he pulled on beer eight.
And as victor Charley exclaimed As he walked to Neil’s Stall
“Where The Hell Are My Carrots and Happy New Year To All !”