Greetings Race Fans,
Strike Out King:
True Story: Nearly 60 years ago I played on my first organized baseball team in the Khoury League. Excited, but nervous and intimidated, I struck out more often than not. When parents, family or friends were in the stands I would freeze up. It was a difficult first season as teammates referred to me as the “strike out king” every time I stepped to the plate. It was embarrassing and dejecting. When playing ball with kids in the neighborhood I was at ease and a hot commodity, but the pressure to perform on game day was just too overwhelming. Mechanical things and construction projects did not interest me. I knew that I wanted to be an athlete, and our coach, Mr. Paul Schwemmer, never gave up on me. I don’t recall the exact moment I was able to rein in my emotions and compete comfortably, but the following season I was the starting 3rd baseman and selected to the All-Star team that played at Busch Stadium, home of our beloved St. Louis Cardinals. What a relief to play ball, excel and not be intimidated no matter how good the competition.
Monday at Delaware Park Summer Classic appeared to be the “strike out king.” Probably the most talented athlete in the race, our 3 year old gelding fell well short of expectations. Classic broke quickly, showed early speed and was second in the eight horse field. He was in a stalking position, still close to the leaders, when the field turned for home. Instead of reaching down for something extra, SC was intimidated by the horses to his outside and faded in the drive.
Classic finished a disappointing 4th, not from being tired, but because he lacked the heart and confidence to upstage his rivals. Trainer Tim Ice likes the way Classic moves and trains but we must find a way to give him the confidence he needs to be successful on game day. Our handsome chestnut has now “struck out twice” but we have not given up on him. He may be a “grinder’ and we will experiment with keeping him loose on the lead, in a longer race, or at least to the outside of horses. His pedigree also suggests he may prefer a turf course. I can empathize with Classic’s struggles but am optimistic that he will eventually find his groove. The better equine athletes seem to find a way to win, stay tuned, an All-Star game awaits!