Life after Skip Away a little slower for C. Hine

On Horse Racing

July 25, 1999|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

For Carolyn Hine, there is life after Skip Away. It's just not as glamorous as life with Skip Away.

"It's been somewhat of a downer," Carolyn said by telephone from her home in Florida. "Skip lit up my life. I can't stop talking about him. I get an inner glow.

"I wish everybody could have experienced the happiness and thrills I did. I loved Skip so much. In my heart he's still my horse. Financially, he belongs to Rick Trontz. But in my heart, he's still mine."

Skip Away, the 1998 Horse of the Year, stood his first season at stud this year at Trontz's Hopewell Farm in Kentucky. Neither Carolyn nor her husband Sonny, Skip Away's trainer, has visited the gray warhorse since delivering him there upon retirement late last year.

Carolyn said they're planning a visit soon. She and Sonny remained in Florida this winter instead of relocating as usual to New York. Sonny's horses are stabled at Calder Race Course. Carolyn said that Sonny, after some medical problems, is doing very well.

She said people still stop her to talk about Skip Away. And reminders come often. In May, Monmouth Park inducted Skip Away into its Hall of Fame. Next month, Monmouth will conduct the Skip Away Stakes, and New York's racing writers will honor the Hines and Skip Away in Saratoga.

Carolyn, a noted coupon clipper, said she has been clipping overtime. Although she owns 10 horses, including six 2-year-olds, her focus is on the future.

"I'm busy clipping coupons so I can buy as many of Skip's babies as possible," she said.

Up and down for Motion

For H. Graham Motion, the Maryland trainer, horse racing's roller coaster soared last weekend and then crashed.

The 3-year-old colt Mythical Gem, whom Motion trained for Dogwood Stable, won the Grade III $150,000 Lexington Stakes on turf last Sunday at Belmont Park. But then, after the finish line, he apparently took a bad step and broke his left-front ankle.

At first, the injury seemed similar to Charismatic's. After winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Charismatic broke his ankle in the Belmont Stakes. Surgery was performed, and the colt, although retired, is recovering well.

The same surgeon, Dr. Stephen Selway, operated Monday on Mythical Gem. But after discovering more damage than suspected, Selway euthanized the colt.

"He felt the horse would be crippled the rest of his life -- even if he could save him," Motion said.

A son of Jade Hunter, Mythical Gem won four of eight races.

"He looked like he was turning into one of the top 3-year-olds on grass," Motion said. "This game will humble you. Last Sunday I won three races at three different tracks within an hour, but I never felt as low as I did after his race."

Around the tracks

The rift between Alan Foreman, a Baltimore lawyer, and Philadelphia Park's horsemen escalated last week when the horsemen, through a member of management, asked Foreman not to attend next Saturday's MATCH race at the track. The dispute involves Foreman's role with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and its support of Television Games Network, a telephone-betting channel that will compete with Philadelphia Park's network.

"I have not been barred from the track," Foreman said. "But I've been told I wouldn't be welcome. So I'm not going to go where I'm not wanted. That would be counterproductive."

The Virginia Racing Commission voted 3-2 Wednesday to accept part of the thoroughbred horsemen's contract with Colonial Downs, clearing the way for the thoroughbred meet scheduled Sept. 6 to Oct. 11.

John Toffan, one of the owners of Free House, says the 5-year-old horse who injured a ligament in the Pimlico Special will probably not race again. Silver Charm, Free House's nemesis, will stand at stud at Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky.

Bob Baffert says that Forestry will run against 3-year-olds Aug. 8 in the Haskell Invitational Handicap at Monmouth Park and that General Challenge will race against older horses Aug. 29 in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. He says he hasn't made up his mind where to run Silverbulletday, although he's considering the Haskell.

Carl Nafzger says Vicar will likely make his first start since the Preakness in the Haskell or the Jim Dandy Stakes the same day at Saratoga, whichever is easier. Nafzger's outstanding filly Banshee Breeze, unbeaten this year at 4, has an outside chance of being named Horse of the Year.

In a spotlight in front of 1,525 patrons, Mike Brannan, a 33-year-old sales representative from Abingdon, got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend, Darlene Mullaney, Thursday night at Bally's at Ocean Downs. A June 10, 2000, wedding is planned.

Pub Date: 7/25/99

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