The Notebook January 30, 2014

Voices From The Grandstand

  • Wes Welker, wide receiver for the Super Bowl-bound Denver Broncos:

    I have always been a racing fan. I go to the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby every year with a group of eight or ten close friends, several of which play in the NFL.

  • Denver Broncos Head Coach John Fox at the NFL Super Bowl Media Day after being told it was the Chinese New Year:

    I'm happy about the Chinese New Year, and I'm happy that the animal is a horse.

  • Owner Willis Horton on Will Take Charge’s preparations for his 4-year-old debut in the Donn Handicap on Feb. 9 at Gulfstream Park (The Blood-Horse):

    Wayne [Lukas] says he's in the best shape he's ever been; he's just continually getting better. We gave him a little time off after the Clark Handicap and then we've just been getting him back in shape, ready to run.

  • Jose Arias, winner of the $750,000 first-place prize and an Eclipse Award as Handicapper of the Year at last weekend’s 15th annual Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship:

    It was very hairy. I just made it. I’m still just walking on air. I can’t believe it. There are so many great handicappers here, and I just did what I always do and tried to get a winner.

  • Winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin after his promising 3-year-old Cairo Prince won the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25:

    There’s no question he’s the best one. We haven’t been in this position before, ever. The most important thing is he doesn’t have to improve. He doesn’t have to do anything but stay the way he is, and that’s all we hope for is for him to stay healthy and happy. This horse, he even makes me say things that I don’t normally say because I like to let the horse do the talking on the track. He’s a really, really nice horse, the kind everybody gets up early every day to come out and train. He makes our job easy.

  • Trainer Jorge Periban, who saddled his first stakes winner in the U.S. since he started training in 1983 with Susans Express, a $132.40 winner in the $200,000 California Cup Oaks, reflecting upon the highs and lows on his training career:

    For nearly six years [1998 until 2003, during his life as a ‘stooper’], I had no work and I made my living picking tickets from the floor at Los Alamitos, Hollywood Park, Del Mar and Santa Anita. The first ticket I found was worth $2,390. They were tough times. That was my toughest moment.

  • Nineteen-year-old apprentice jockey Trevor McCarthy after a four-win day at Laurel Park in Maryland:

    I rode a lot of good horses today. I have the bug until April 20. The goal right now is to ride the best races I can and prove to trainers that I can continue to win after becoming a journeyman.

  • Apprentice jockey Taylor Rice, the niece of trainer Linda Rice and who is riding her first winter in New York at Aqueduct on how it felt to win four races on a single card on Jan. 27:

    It’s awesome. Nothing is better. God is good.

  • Sports On Earth contributor Mike Tanier proposing that men and women should dress up for the Super Bowl (Sports On Earth):

    One of the things that makes Triple Crown horse racing so much fun is the fashion. Women who dress like normal 21st century adults for 364 days of the year reach deep into their closets and emerge with the kinds of bonnets that caused two of Audrey Hepburn's vertebrae to fuse during the filming of My Fair Lady. As if to counterbalance these scalp-topping dioramas of the Battle of Chancellorsville, husbands/boyfriends [at least at the Belmont] dig through the garage rags for scuzzy old Jeff Hostetler jerseys, down the front of which they promptly spill a red cup full of Southern Comfort and lemonade.

Fan Photo of the week

Congratulations to Marlice McDaniel, winner of this week's Fan Photo Contest!

From Marlice: "Just a little Summer Bird lovin'!" Want in? E-mail a .jpg and brief caption to photos@NTRA.com!

Photos of the week

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