Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Links: Cats, Cash and Eurico

My recent posts have dealt with the Woodbine Weekend Wrapup and the field for the 2010 Prince of Wales Stakes. But today is a day for links.

Racing at Saratoga returns this week - I'll see you at The Spa in August!

Fortunately, there are plenty of good stories to pass along.

In a recent post, I mentioned the excellent Brooklyn Backstretch piece outlining Belmont Park's Cat Colonies:

But it’s not only the downstate horses that will require care through the Saratoga meet; scattered around Belmont’s mammoth landscape are three feline colonies, and as it has every day for years, a small and anonymous group of volunteers will make sure that they, too, are taken care of during the summer exodus.

If you’ve ever taken a tour of the Belmont backstretch, you might have paused not far from the barn of trainer Dominic Galluscio, where more than two dozen well-fed, well-cared-for cats live in a mostly enclosed fenced-in area. Each morning, an SUV pulls up near this area, and out jumps Laurie, armed with bags of dry food and multiple cans; the nearly feral animals who live here turn practically domestic as they approach and meow, knowing that their human guardian angel has arrived.

The cat treats continued with a story from the Montreal Gazette entitled, Montreal cats get 'daily dose of love'

When the horses, grooms and trainers reluctantly vacated Hippodrome de Montreal almost two years ago, they left behind more than memories.

Half-a-dozen cats living in the suddenly deserted barn area of the Decarie Blvd. racetrack were abandoned - or would have been, if not for the intervention of Francine Boudrias.

She knew many of the cats from her years training horses at the track - in fact, she adopted two from there - and always took their plight to heart, as did fellow racetrackers Paul Charbonneau and Joyce Brown.

Years earlier, when the backstretch had experienced a feline population explosion, Boudrias went into her own pocket to have dozens spayed and neutered. Over the years, she figures she's paid for 50 to 60.

Kitty The Cat and B.I.G waiting patiently for me to return from Woodbine...

A melancholy end to this feline trifecta makes one paws and reflect on the joy these kittens bring to our life. This story, clawed from the homepage of Greenhill Racing, is a tribute to their dearly departed barn cat El Flaco:

I guess it was the spring of 1998. Tracie Smith talked me into adopting a small orange fur ball. Her barn cat had given birth to several kittens and she was looking for good homes for them. Not being much of a "cat person" I was very reluctant to take on the extra mouth to feed. In hindsight I'm glad she persuaded me to do the right thing, otherwise I would never have had the privilege of sharing time with El Flaco. I planned to name the new stable kitten something "horsey" like Blinkers or Furlong, but while I was searching for just the right name, Doc Phillip Tripp, DMV, walked into the barn, saw the kitten, and uttered "El Flaco."
"El Flaco?" I asked. He said it was spanish for "skinny". The cat was skinny and the name stuck.

He sounds like a lovely cat and companion. R.I.P El Flaco.

I encourage everyone to click on the links above and read the full stories.

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There was a heartwarming feature in the Globe & Mail today of the spirit raising jock Eurico Rosa da Silva and his friend Alexandrea Tersigni.

Everyone needs a little sunshine in their life

The piece is entitled, A day at the races and a new chance at life

As the crowd’s roar dissipated over Woodbine Racetrack, Eurico Rosa da Silva appeared good and ready to call it a day.

The jockey had more than earned the right, having just ridden to his second straight victory at the Queen’s Plate, Canada’s most storied horse race. He’d topped off the win by meeting the Queen herself, Elizabeth II, immediately afterward.

Even then, one thing troubled Mr. da Silva: He hadn’t yet seen his biggest fan, a 17-year-old girl named Alexandrea Tersigni, the one who was always there after each race, win or lose.

Alexandrea soon appeared in her fancy race-day dress, tears of joy streaming down her cheeks, to give her jockey a hug.

A few years ago, such emotion had all but gone out of the girl from Bolton, Ont., a town of 26,000 northwest of Toronto. She had withdrawn from a life that began prematurely and has been beset by relentless complications – cerebral palsy, seizures, learning difficulties, circulatory problems, Tourette’s syndrome, lupus and anxiety among them.

Determined to draw Alexandrea out, Enzo and Rose Tersigni took their daughter to the races in 2007. When she read the program, one exotic-sounding name, Eurico Rosa da Silva, caught her eye, so she approached the jockey post-race to offer a furtive “hello."

Eurico and Alexandrea - A video by LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation

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If you simply must have a bit of proper news, then high-stakes handicappers will be happy to know that starting Wednesday, July 21, the Pick 4 on the Woodbine Thoroughbred card Wednesday nights will be guaranteed at $75,000. This is in addition to the $50,000 guarantee on the Race 4 Pick 4 offered Saturdays and Sundays on Woodbine Thoroughbred racing. So click into your HorsePlayer Interactive account and start clicking.

Keep track of the latest goings on in the world of horse racing by clicking into TripleDeadHeat's Woodbine News page.

Stay tuned for more original material later in the week or click into the vault of Feature Stories to read some golden oldies!

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