Racing: A special time of the year.
crispness in the air
greets the morning sun,
A feeling of
new day has begun.
winter is drawing near,
between is surely the
most special time of year.
They call it
and it seems to fit the bill,
For it's as
if the Lord took
a feathered brush and painted all the hills.
by Julie L.
special time of year for horse racing. The legendary race tracks:
Keeneland, Santa Anita Park, and Churchill Downs host prestigious meets
the fall that feature some of the best horse racing from around the
world—including the Breeders’ Cup Thoroughbred
In Love With Racing
admit it—I’m a
fall racing fanatic. I love horse racing in October and
can’t help it. Some of my best racing experiences happened
autumn leaves were on the trees.
In fact, the most adoring racing memory that I have is from a first
Churchill Downs with my then girlfriend, Julie, during the Fall Meet in
The leaves had changed, and the trees were awash in brilliant red,
gold. The air that day was cool, crisp, and fresh. And, the
afternoon sunshine was warm and welcome. The conditions were
perfect for both the horses and the fans.
In the fourth race, there was a horse named Boothby’s Jig that I
with. He was a campaigner that had fared well during the previous
Meet at Churchill Downs; but, since then, his results over the summer
very good. This was his first race back at Churchill, and he was
reunited with jockey, Charles Woods, Jr. who rode him in the
Even though his odds were 12 to 1, I told Julie that Boothby’s
win. And, I knew if he did, that would cover dinner for the
So, with hope in one hand and $5 in the other, I placed the bet.
Being slightly vested with my meager wager, we took our seats in the
Floor Clubhouse and waited for track announcer Mike Battaglia’s
“They’re at the post.” As we stared across the
infield while the horses were
being led to the gate, I was thinking how lucky I am to be under the
Spires, on a glorious fall day, with a lovely young lady by my side
that I had
met just a month earlier in my college algebra class. Julie was smart,
good sense of humor, attractive, and we seemed to be interested in the
things, which is what brought us to Churchill Downs in the first place.
“And, they’re off. For the lead…”
The frisson of excitement when
the horses sprang from the gate leavened my preoccupation and refocused
attention upon the horses as they raced along the backside. They
bunched together around the turn heading toward the quarter pole and,
time, it was difficult to tell how the race would turn out. The
eventually freed a few horses and allowed them to move away from the
That’s when Batagllia called out those encouraging words:
stretch, it’s Boothby’s Jig out in front”.
In any race, when the horses reach the top of the stretch, the fans
instinctively rise to their feet and shout out to the horses on which
placed their bets. “Stay up, baby.”
it.” “Get to the wire!” “Come
on!!” These are tribal-like
battle cries of pent-up, short-term, nervous energy and emotion.
kettle has reached the proverbial boiling point. It's an
step outside of your otherwise collective self and cheer for the sake
cheering. Of course, Julie and I were no different that afternoon.
As luck and, perhaps, fate would have it, Woods guided Boothy’s
victory—he won by a little over a length. The win returned
provided a couple of ragtag freshman with a good meal later that night
great conversation about our wonderful day at the races.
Julie and I were married five years later, and every year since our
Churchill Downs, Fall Racing has held a very special place in my heart.
The Breeders' Cup
addition to Boothby’s
Jig's victory at Churchill Downs that autumn afternoon, I’ve been
witness other amazing moments in Thoroughbred racing history during the
fall. The Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships
special to me in this regard.
Founded in 1982, the Breeders’ Cup was created to be a year-end
for the major Thoroughbred racing divisions; and, based upon the
money and generous incentive programs, the event now attracts the best
horses from around the world.
Perhaps, one the most exciting horse races, ever, happened in the 2000
Breeders’ Cup Classic—the feature race and grand finale'
for the event.
That year, it was held at Churchill Downs (the Breeders’ Cup
venues) and in the Classic was the winner of the Kentucky Derby, the
Classic Champ, and other well known winners of graded stakes races.
the 17th running of the Classic came down to the “Iron
Causeway, for Ireland and a late-blooming, lesser-known colt that was
nails named Tiznow.
From the moment the gates opened, Tiznow went to the front and never
back. Giant's Causeway stayed close to Tiznow and was positioned
his hip for the entire race. As the field turned for home,
by Hall of Fame jockey, Chris McCarron, was on the lead at the top
stretch. Giant’s Causeway drew even with a furlong to
go. For what
seemed like an eternity, the two battled head-to-head down the
And, at the wire, Tiznow held his ground to prevail as the
went on to repeat the following year at Belmont Park, and is the only
win the Classic twice.)
What makes watching this race so exhilarating is that the NBC Network
experimental camera technique that followed the horses stride-by-stride
the stretch. You can watch the heart-pounding, pulsating race
Breeders’ Cup Classic.
This horse race is what Thoroughbred racing is all about—I get
every time I watch it, and I can’t help myself to root for the
horses over and
over again. It is a Classic, and it is fantastic!
I’ve also been lucky to see other great champions in their own
Board winning the Filly & Mare Turf twice: 2004 at Lone Star Park
in 2006 at Churchill Downs. Goldikova winning the Mile for the
consecutive year in 2010 at Churchill Downs. And, in another
heartrending) stretch run under the Twin Spires, I saw Blame defeat
a nose in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic ending her undefeated
preventing her from becoming the second horse to repeat in the
The following year, I was on the winning side of the ticket when the
backed, Drosselmeyer, won the Classic in 2011 (held again at Churchill
hindsight, what seems
like fate more than coincidence, the first horse that ran for Mojo
Partners actually raced at Churchill Downs on a blustery, but
thrilling, November day in 2007. This must have been what the
had in store for us because it certainly was not what we had planned.
Earlier that year, we were going to launch the inaugural Mojo Racing
during the Spring/Summer Meet at Lone Star Park. In spite of our
efforts, things just didn’t work out the way we planned; and,
like all good
horsemen, we regrouped, shifted gears, and doubled down—setting
our sights on
the Bluegrass State instead.
In April 2007, we purchased a somewhat small filly named Not In My
Doneraile Court out of Overcame It All from the Fasig-Tipton Texas
Two-Year-Olds In Training Sale for $3,500. Our goal at the time
have some fun with our little filly at the Lone Star Spring Meet while
other horse, Hollywood Pegasus, who was a stout, dark bay colt by
Pegasus out of Hollywood Princess, was waiting in the wings and growing
his rather hulkish body.
Even though Not In My Court was kind and gentle in the barn, she had
conformation and was actually a very determined race horse when she was
track. She was also known to be a bit stubborn and intentional
way she liked to do things. In fact, in our joint debut at
Downs, she was hesitant to load in the gate. And, I remember Luke
Kruytbosch (Churchill’s track announcer at the time…God
bless his soul) saying
in his distinct, resonating voice: “Waiting on Not In My
Court…Not In My
Court backs out…(then a long pause while the gate crew moves her
up and jockey
Miguel Mena climbs back in the irons)…In the
gate...Theeeey’rrre off and running!”
Not In My Court didn’t disappoint—she ran off the pace for
the opening quarter,
made her move around the turn, and showed good speed in the stretch to
to finish fourth. As you would imagine, we were all proud of her
pleased with the result, and elated with the way she represented Mojo
Not In My Court went on to win three races and came in second
raced another year before being retired to become a broodmare.
foal is now a two-year-old filly named She’s Not Guilty by Mauk
She’s Not Guilty recently ran her first race at Louisiana
Downs, and just
like her momma, she finished fourth in her debut too!
(for future articles)
for signing up to receive Mojo Mail—we're
pleased to share our insight with you!
Each month we'll dive deeper into the categories that shape the sport
Thoroughbred racing and the best ways to become part of the action.
Mojo Thoroughbred Holdings, LLC (which conducts its racing
operations as Mojo Racing Partners) is based in Fort Worth, TX and was
formed in 2006. Since then, Mojo has raced at Arlington Park,
Churchill Downs, Indiana Downs, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Lone Star
Park, Remington Park, and Turfway Park.
can also follow Mojo on Facebook and
get the latests Mojo Tweets