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Backstretch with Gordon

September 29, 2006

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Once again, what a difference a day makes. Cold and wet yesterday but not a cloud in the sky today as I walked the backstretch at The Red Mile this morning. What an afternoon of upsets on yesterday’s card, starting off with a surprising John Campbell payoff of $89.60 in the first race.

The best sight of the day to me was outside the paddock between races when I spotted Ron Pierce and Mike Lachance hosing the mud off each other. Where was my camera when I needed it?

Speaking of Lachance, I went out to dinner last night and Mike was sitting at a table with his family when I arrived. I thought his twin was next to him, but it was his older brother Gilles. Gilles is still driving on a part-time basis in Montreal, and he’s just 56 wins shy of 3,000 for his career.

“Doesn’t he look great? He’s going to be 68,” Mike said to me this morning.

My first stop this morning actually was at the Dan Shetler barn as I wanted to congratulate his daughter, Kristin, on her first pari-mutuel win which came at Indiana Downs Wednesday night. I told Joe Kyle I couldn’t remember the last time we had a photo of a woman on the website, so why not now?

Kristin, who’s 29, has had just 10 pari-mutuel starts, and she won with her 3-year-old Donerail filly Orixa over a “sloppy” racetrack in 2:00, a career best for the trotter. She currently holds only an amateur driving license, and she has two Billings starts planned for next week at The Red Mile.

“It was amazing,” Kristin told me of her first-ever win. “But as excited as I was, it was nice because my mother (Jo Anne) was there and she was even more excited.”

“I know Kristin was screaming—but I was screaming even louder,” Jo Anne said with a laugh.

Bobby Stewart’s barn is right next door to the Shetler’s, and I walked over to talk to him for a moment, discussing primarily the Kentucky Sire Stakes scene. Last night Bobby’s late brother, Tom, was inducted into the Kentucky Harness Racing Hall of Fame, along with Jack Baugh. It was a nice ceremony held in the gorgeous and historic Round Barn.

My last stop was at DeWayne Minor’s barn as I wanted to get some information for my magazine story next week on the colt trots from yesterday. It was DeWayne’s horse Operation Lindy that Campbell drove in the first race, and it was the first time he had turned the lines over to someone else.

“The week before wasn’t a very good week; I started four and all four ran,” DeWayne said. “I thought maybe it was time to find another hand and see what happens. Plus, I like to watch once in awhile, just step back and see what’s happening. Sometimes you can see a little more from the side. And a lot of times the colts get used to you and start doing stupid stuff.”

Also, the high today is supposed to be 62, and with clear skies should be a terrific day. Finally, $2.16, $2.18, $2.18 and $2.19. Y’all know what I’m talking about.
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