Kentucky Derby entrant Ride On Curlin holding Louisiana tutor Billy Gowan for … – The Times
April 29, 2014 - box office
Louisville, Ky. – A portrait
of nation strain fable George Jones hangs on a wall of a bureau in trainer
Billy Gowan’s stable on a behind side here during Churchill Downs.
Gowan’s mentor, Hall of Fame
trainer Jack Van Berg, found a portrayal during an estate sale a few years back
and sent it to his protégé as a gift.
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One of Jones’ biggest hits,
“I Always Get Lucky With You,” would offer as wise thesis strain for Gowan and his
Kentucky Derby entrant Ride On Curlin this week.
Ride On Curlin and Gowan are
two of a longest shots here this week, their tour to a Run for a Roses
an extraordinary story of fate, happening and fortitude.
“It’s a flattering amazing
story,” pronounced Gowan on Monday, as sleet peppered a roof of his barn
and slimy on-lookers straggled by to snap photos of a chubby brook colt in
Gowan, 48, routinely stables his
modest fibre of horses during Churchill Downs for a summer meet, though he’s never had a horse
come tighten to using in a signature event, a Kentucky Derby.
The Winnsboro, La., local will perform a lifelong dream when Ride on Curlin breaks from a starters embankment in a margin of 20 3-year-olds. Truth be told, it’s a idea Gowan substantially suspicion he’d never comprehend when he graduated from Louisiana Tech’s now-defunct equine
studies module in 1988.
Winnsboro is famous for being
the Catfish Capital of a World. It constructed former LSU and Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Anthony “Booger” McFarland, who Gowan’s mom taught in class school. It is not famous for producing quick horses or folks
that sight them.
Gowan schooled a equine game
from his father, George, a veterinarian who once owned and raced horses at
Louisiana Downs and still runs a use in Winnsboro. The younger Gowan
landed a gig with Van Berg and eventually became an partner trainer, working
in California, Kentucky and Illinois before rising his possess training business
In his 20-year tenure, Gowan
has lerned mostly hard-knocking claiming horses. His many successful horse, Starspangled
Gator, won 7 races and warranted some-more than $229,000 though never finished better
than sixth in a stakes race.
Then along came Ride On
Gowan identified and
purchased a equine for owners Daniel Dougherty, a Louisville, Ky., furniture
dealer during a Keeneland Yearling Sale in Sep 2012. It was Day 9 of the
11-day auction, or as George Gowan put it, “When a guys with a jets leave
and a guys with a cowboy hats and boots come in.”
A handful of horses sole for
more than $1 million progressing in a session. Fellow Derby aspirant Medal
Count went for $360,000. But Gowan and Dougherty landed their equine for a mere
$25,000, a discount when we cruise a horse’s founder was two-time equine of the
year Curlin and his dam, Magic Ride, was out of mythological founder Storm Cat.
Ride On Curlin had the
breeding. What he lacked was a conformation. He was innate “toed-in,”
veterinarian tenure to report a slight central fixing of a front legs
commonly referred to as pigeon-toed.
Gowan suspicion he was a “damn
good-looking horse” though also “a small crooked.” Nevertheless, he thought
enough of him to buy but even carrying veterinarian oldster a colt for soundness.
When Gowan eventually turned
the equine lax during his Shepherdsville, Ky., plantation only south of Louisville, he
couldn’t trust what he saw.
“I incited him out, and he
looked like a strain going opposite that patch,” Gowan said. “I ain’t never seen
a equine run opposite a patch like that. we knew afterwards that son of a gun was
Ride On Curlin showed just
how quick when he won his lass competition during Ellis Park in a time of 1 notation and 3
seconds, a lane record for a 5 ½-furlong sprint.
“And (jockey Calvin) Borel
was only petting his neck a final sixteenth (of a mile), personification with
him and he still got a record,” Gowan said. “I knew afterwards we was gonna have a
lot of fun with this horse.”
Since then, Ride On Curlin
has finished no worse than third in 7 of his 8 races, including a
second-place finish in a Grade we Arkansas Derby final month, and earned
$414,687. And along a way, he’s resuscitated a career of Gowan, who still
lives out of a mobile home in Arkansas during a Oaklawn Park meet. Just a year ago his
stable was down to dual horses during Louisiana Downs. One was late with an
injury, a other was claimed for $5,000.
“It’s a fairytale deal,”
said George Gowan, who will make a seven-hour expostulate from Winnsboro on
Friday to support his son on a large day. “It’s something that’s not supposed
to occur to small-time trainers, as a rule. But he’s a good horse. He didn’t
get there by unctuous in a behind door. He’s warranted his approach in.”
Ride On Curlin will have
another thing going for him on Saturday. Few jockeys know a Churchill oval
better than Borel, a Lafayette, La., local who won a competition in 2007, 2009
“He was feeling his oats,
because he ate each one of them final night,” Gowan pronounced Monday, one day after
a seven-furlong examination in 1:29. “I worked him 7/8ths (of a mile on Sunday),
holding him genuine tight, and following we had to travel him in a mouth chain. He’s
fit. He’s bucking and playing, giving we all a signs that he feels good. I
think we’re ready.”