The Notebook March 21, 2014

Voices From The Grandstand

  • Katrina Vassilieva, 31-year-old trainer of Spiral Stakes entrant Big Bazinga, on her path to working at the racetrack (Louisville Courier-Journal):

    I always loved horses when I was little. I always thought they were beautiful and intelligent. I stumbled on the racetrack one summer. I was trying to make money for tuition for university. I knew some people who worked on the track and they said, ‘You know something about horses, you could probably get a job there.’ I started hot-walking and grooming, learning the ropes. I was just hooked, hooked on the excitement of the sport and that I could make money off doing what I loved.

  • Calvin Borel, the on-screen and real-life jockey for Mine That Bird in the 2009 Kentucky Derby, after seeing “50 to 1,” the movie about the gelding’s unlikely victory in the run for the roses (Daily Racing Form):

    It brought back some awful good memories.

  • Actress Lea Thompson (“Back to the Future”) to KRQE on attending the “50 to 1” movie premier, where Mine That Bird was on display to meet fans:

    I can tell you I’ve never been to a red carpet with a Kentucky Derby winner, never!

  • Retired jockey and television personality Richard Migliore on 25-year-old apprentice jockey Taylor Rice, currently fifth in the Aqueduct jockey standings:

    She's already got down the hardest thing to learn, and that's patience and how to position your horses. She puts her horses in good position and sees a race well; that's a very hard thing for a young rider to get. Now she just needs to work on her physical strength and how she finishes on horses. When [her strength] catches up to her intelligence, she's going to be the complete package.

  • Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito on the next race for Spot, surprise winner of the Grade 2, $150,000 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 1:

    I guess you could say I have to find the right spot for Spot.

  • Southern California clocker Gary Young on dominant San Felipe Stakes winner and Kentucky Derby prospect California Chrome:

    I thought it was a pretty deep, talented field and he absolutely blew them away.

  • Prominent Southern California handicapper and 2009 National Handicapping Championship runner-up Dennis Decauwer on how he fell for betting on horses:

    Originally, for me, it was the exhilaration, the rush of going to the races and the action of playing every race. I discovered 25 years ago that I could make a profit by making selections where my opinions were strong.

  • Trainer Bret Calhoun during his induction into the Fair Grounds Hall of Fame:

    I still hear from my parents after every race to give me their opinion of how my horse performed, but I also get great help from everyone on my team – guys like ‘Peaches’ Geier and Tom Morgan. Without all of them, there would be no Calhoun Racing.

Fan Photo of the week

Congratulations to Melissa Bauer-Herzog, winner of this week's Fan Photo contest!

From Melissa: "Wise Dan prepares for his 2014 debut by going for a morning jog over Keeneland's main track on March 8." Want in? E-mail a .jpg and caption to Photos@NTRA.com for consideration!

Photos of the week

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