From re-up to riches, racing responds

ON HORSE RACING

September 23, 2001|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

After watching terrorists attack the United States, Richard W. Small did not rush out to Kmart to buy an American flag. He rushed to Fort Meade and tried to re-enlist.

A Green Beret in Vietnam, Small has trained horses at Pimlico since leaving the Army 30 years ago. He is an independent-minded, 56-year-old former lieutenant with an outlook grounded in duty and obligation.

"Everybody has a responsibility," Small said at his barn Friday morning during the renovation break. "It's a free country, but it's not free. There're bills that come with it, and this is one time the bill is coming due."

Small served in the U.S. Army Special Forces during Vietnam, leading covert, classified operations -- "stuff you can't even really talk about," he said.

He figures that the battle awaiting American soldiers will not involve missiles and bombs as much as it will guns and knives. That kind of warfare would suit Small.

"I've always been way out of step," he said, laughing. "I don't know why, but I have been all my life. Maybe there's something I can do to help. I can't imagine what use the Army would have for a 56-year-old lieutenant. If it's digging ditches, I'll dig a ditch. If it's washing pots and pans, I'll wash pots and pans."

Small said that after the attacks he contemplated what to do. The only thing he could come up with was to try to re-enlist. He has begun filling out the extensive paperwork that could lead to his return to duty.

"I've just got a different perspective from everybody else," Small said. "Everybody waits for somebody else to do everything. I looked around, and I wondered, `Who's going to go into the Army?'

"It's not always somebody else's job. `Somebody else' is us. ... Everybody should be required to do something if they're going to live here. I don't think that's too much to ask."

Money for relief effort

Representatives of the racing industry have shown enormous generosity toward the victims of the attacks in Washington and New York City and the crash in Pennsylvania.

The Maryland Jockey Club, Maryland Horse Breeders Association and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association will donate proceeds from Maryland Million day to relief efforts at the Pentagon.

Initial plans call for a donation of a portion of gate proceeds and other revenue from the $1.05 million, 11-race program for horses sired by Maryland stallions. Other initiatives associated with the 16th annual Maryland Million Oct. 13 at Pimlico will be announced soon.

Joe De Francis, president and chief executive of the Maryland Jockey Club, Richard Hoffberger, president of the horsemen's group, and Tim Capps, executive vice president of the breeders' association, issued this joint statement:

"Our Maryland racing industry operates in the shadow of the nation's capital. With Maryland's second largest day of racing coming up, we wished it to have particular significance by honoring the innocent victims of last week's tragedy. We proudly join together to support the families affected by this horrific attack, as well as the on-going relief efforts by the many heroic rescue workers."

Other notable contributions:

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, one of the world's foremost owners of horses, pledged $5 million to a fund Keeneland is collecting for the Red Cross Relief Fund. The crown prince of Dubai and defense minister of the United Arab Emirates promptly condemned the attacks while attending a Keeneland (Ky.) auction.

"We think it was a cowardly act against civilians, and we are 100 percent against it," Mohammed was quoted as telling The Blood-Horse magazine. "We are 100 percent with America, and we will do anything we can to get these people, to get justice."

Said Nick Nicholson, president of Keeneland: "His donation is a wonderfully generous display of leadership and humanity. The unmistakable conclusion is simple, yet profound: Across the planet, despite our differences, those things we have in common are much greater than those that separate us."

Tracy Farmer, a Kentuckian who owns Albert the Great, pledged 5 percent of Albert's winnings in the upcoming $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup and $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont Park to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Charities-New York Heroes Fund for families of the victims of the attacks.

John Magnier and Michael Tabor, major European owners, pledged 10 percent of their horses' winnings in the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships to the NTRA fund. Their horses expected to compete in the Breeders' Cup Oct. 27 at Belmont include Galileo in the Classic, Mozart in the Sprint, and possibly in the Juvenile, Johannesburg.

Florida owner and breeder Harry T. Mangurian Jr. pledged $1 million to the NTRA fund.

Gerace a MATCH standout

New Jersey trainer Janis Gerace could become the biggest winner in the five-year history of MATCH (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships) next weekend, when her charges, Sea of Green and Loaded Gun, run.

Sea of Green, a runner in the 3-year-old sprint division, has clinched the overall championship, and Loaded Gun could win the 3-and-up sprint division with a victory Saturday in the Wilmington Handicap at Delaware Park. Stabled at Philadelphia Park and the Meadowlands, Gerace trains and owns both horses.

She could collect $190,000 in MATCH bonuses -- $100,000 as winning overall owner, $50,000 as winning overall trainer, $25,000 as owner of a divisional winner and $15,000 as trainer of a divisional winner.

The MATCH series concludes next weekend with races in each of its five divisions at the Meadowlands, Pimlico and Delaware Park.

Maryland milestone

Veteran Maryland jockey Mark Johnston has won 200 races for the eighth straight year.

"My career has been consistent, and I owe it to the Maryland horsemen," Johnston said.

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