Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Saturday, June 23, 2012

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/23/2012 #
  • Here Comes Frazier wins at first asking on Labor Day 2011

  • An emotional winner's circle after Here Comes Frazier's maiden victory

In Today's Notes: Here Comes Frazier Arrives at Retirement Home in Arizona; Arlington Season Completes One-Third Mark Friday Evening; Stonestreet Stables Adds to Arlington Presence Saturday

When Magdalena Racing's Here Comes Frazier won the first start of his career at Arlington last Labor Day, it turned out to be one of the classic feel-good stories of the local summer racing season.

The 3-year-old gelding had been partially-owned by Bruce Frazier, a Park Ridge, Illinois, resident horse owner who had raced his horses primarily at Arlington for many years but had died less than two weeks earlier after a short illness.

Trainer Ken McPeek had managed to have the horse's name changed to Here Comes Frazier in honor of his friend during that short span of time.

"He was a real special man who touched a lot of lives," McPeek said at the time. "I only trained for him for five or six years, but mine was one of those."

Out of respect for her husband – once a pitcher in the New York Yankees minor league system who never got to see his dream horse run – Donna Frazier was on hand for Here Comes Frazier's successful debut.

"I remember that race like it was yesterday," Donna Frazier recalled Saturday morning. "It was such an emotionally-charged day. We were very happy, very sad, and grieving at the same time. I remember the way that announcer John G. Dooley (very aware of what had happened as were the fans in attendance) shouted out the horse's name when he took the lead and went on to win. Several other part-owners of the horse had flown into Chicago to be there.

"I also remember that the crowd was so much behind the horse when he won," Mrs. Frazier added. "I remember that vividly. That surprised all of us, but because of that the race just took on a very special flavor that day. It was the ultimate best scene ever."

Unfortunately, in Here Comes Frazier's next start in Keeneland's Grade III Bourbon Stakes a month later, he was leading the way when he suddenly ducked in, hit the rail and went down. The incident resulted in a fractured rear hock that ended his racing career.

"Fortunately, the miracle workers at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital performed surgery to repair it," Mrs. Frazier said. "If it weren't for their skills he wouldn't be here today, and Kenny McPeek and his caring staff at Magdalena Farm also played a huge role in his recovery.

"Here Comes Frazier left Lexington by van yesterday," Mrs. Frazier concluded. "He should be arriving at his new retirement home, a horse rescue organization called "Heart of Tucson" sometime this weekend. When the director of the facility, Judy Glore, heard the story of Here Comes Frazier she immediately said they would be happy to welcome him to their family of rescued horses, and the warmer weather in Arizona will surely help him because arthritis can often be a problem for horses who have sustained serious fractures."

(Heart of Tucson has many dedicated volunteers but also relies on donations for feed, hay, medicines and such. People wishing to make donations can visit their website at and click on the "How You Can Help" section.)

Arlington completed the first third of its 2012 racing season at the conclusion of Friday's twilight racing program.

At that juncture, Francisco Torres held a nine-win advantage over defending champion James Graham in this season's jockey standings. There was a three-way tie for the third spot, 11 wins farther back, between jockeys Seth Martinez, Rosemary Homeister, Jr. and Julio Felix.

In the trainer standings, defending champion Larry Rivelli had registered 17 wins, with Mike Stidham in second with 14, Roger Brueggemann holding down the third spot with 13 and the always dangerous Wayne Catalano fourth with 12.

Following the running of Saturday's Grade I Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park, Amy Kearns, digital media manager for Stonestreet Stables, will announce the sex of Rachel Alexandra's second foal, but she will do it on the Arlington Park television signal.

Rachel Alexandra won the 2009 Mother Goose on her way to Horse of the Year honors after winning the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks and Grade I Kentucky Oaks earlier that year.

Brereton Jones' Believe You Can, who won this season's Fair Grounds Oaks and Kentucky Oaks, is a contestant in Saturday's Mother Goose.

Stonestreet Stables' two-time Horse of the Year Curlin's first foal to race – a filly named Evoluntionary owned by Pin Oak Stables – finished third in a race at Arlington June 13, but Curlin's first two foals to win – Lucky First and Zimniy Dvorets – won races at two different race courses in Russia on June 17.