martes, 9 de febrero de 2016

Shamardal la historia de un yearling sentenciado a eutanasia que desafió las leyes médicas para convertirse en un campeón...


Shamardal (Giants Causeway y Helsinki) que el pasado año 2015 volvió a llenar de luces su carrera como semental con 29 ganadores de stakes y 15 ganadores de Grupo, semental que ha dado campeones como Lope de Vega sire of sires y extraordinario caballo imbatido en Europa autor del doblete Poule y Jockey Club en Francia,  tiene una rocambolesca historia detrás que le llevo al borde de la eutanasia antes de ni siquiera haber llegado a la pista a entrenar, deshauciado por los veterinarios se convirtió después en un campeón repescado de Godolphin, historia que merece ser leída de la mano de este extraordinario artículo de ESPN por Randy Moss:

It is an inspiring story, told so often that by now it frays at the edges. As an excitable 2-year-old, Smarty Jones bashes his head into a metal starting gate so severely he fractures his skull and is nearly killed, yet he recovers to become a racing superstar.
A year later, along comes another 3-year-old sensation with a remarkable story, one that also could have ended tragically.

European juvenile champion Shamardal now is part of the Godolphin racing empire, and is ensconced in Dubai as he is prepared for a possible Kentucky Derby invasion. But Shamardal is more than a blue-blooded product of oil-wealthy sheikhs. His background also includes veterinarians who pronounced him as a case for euthanasia, a Santa Fe energy healer, a Michigan practitioner of ancient Chinese therapies, an insurance adjuster who gave him a second chance at life - and even a mysterious ownership switch suspected to involve roulette tables and heavy gambling losses.
And what gives the story special interest is that Shamardal -- like Smarty Jones -- is a horse of considerable talent.
An American-bred son of young stallion sensation Giants Causeway, Shamardal has won all three of his races decisively on grass courses in England, including that country's premier stakes for 2-year-olds. He has never been behind another horse in a race, and British bookmaking companies were impressed enough to make him the early favorite for next May's famed English 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
However, Shamardal may be headed to the Kentucky Derby instead. Because his parentage indicates he could be as fast on dirt, Godolphin has announced that if he runs well in their UAE Derby on dirt in March, he may forego the Guineas and head to Churchill Downs.
The subplot here is that the four brothers who rule Dubai and collectively operate Godolphin - Sheikhs Maktoum, Hamdan, Mohammed and Ahmed al-Maktoum - have already won the English 2,000 Guineas six times. But the Kentucky Derby is one of the few prized trophies that has stayed frustratingly beyond their global reach.

Helen Street: Bargain or bust?

 The most recent branches in Shamardal's family tree trace back to the Maktoum family's initial involvement in thoroughbred breeding and racing.
From all reports, Sheikh Mohammed was the catalyst for that interest. He has said he became enamored with racing while attending England's University of Cambridge, minutes from Newmarket. As oil wells off the coast of Dubai pumped more than a billion dollars worth of crude each year, Mohammed led his brothers on a spending spree beginning in 1980 in hopes of creating a thoroughbred breeding dynasty. Since then, the Maktoums have invested more than $1 billion in fabulously-bred horses, not including the huge sums they have put into breeding farms in Europe, the U.S. and Australia, and on a state-of-the-art racing facility in Dubai.
One of their many purchases was top-class filly Helen Street, a daughter of famed stallion Troy. Helen Street had won the 1985 Irish Oaks months after her legendary trainer, the late Major Dick Hern, was paralyzed in a hunting accident. The Maktoums paid big money for Helen Street, expecting that she would reproduce champions in the breeding shed.
Almost two decades later, Helen Street would become the grandmother of Shamardal. But breeding racehorses can be a fickle pursuit even for the fabulously wealthy, and by the early 1990s the Maktoums had decided that perhaps Helen Street's genes weren't as strong as hoped. They had introduced Helen Street to the best stallions, including Sadler's Wells and Danzig. But none of Helen Street's first six foals won even a minor stakes race. Two of her foals didn't win a race at all.
In 1992, Helen Street was demoted, in a sense, and bred to the Maktoums' own untested second-year stallion Machiavellian, a former French 2-year-old champion purchased from Greek billionaire Stavros Niarchos.
The resulting foal was a filly they named Helsinki, who turned out to be not much faster than her brothers and sisters, although she did finish third in a minor stakes in France. As a daughter of Helen Street, Helsinki had value as a broodmare, but her first two foals were also decidedly average.
And that is where a story of equine wealth and privilege takes a most unusual turn.

Helsinki meets a 'Giant'

 As hundreds of new horses are born at their breeding farms each year, even the Maktoums need to trim fat and sell off underachievers. Helsinki was an average runner, a seemingly average broodmare, and the Maktoums aren't in the business of average. Besides, Helsinki had a small defect -- a slightly crooked front leg -- and was rumored to have difficulties getting pregnant. The decision was probably easy to put Helsinki on the market in 2000.
Helsinki was peddled in the U.S. by bloodstock agents, and was brought to the attention of Kentucky veterinarian Dr. Phillip McCarthy and Delaware car dealer Fred Hertrich, longtime acquaintances in harness racing.
McCarthy and Hertrich had teamed five years earlier on a thoroughbred breeding enterprise, and together bought Watercress Farm, a small property in Paris, Ky., near Lexington. On a budget that is miniscule compared to Godolphin's, they already had enjoyed some notable breeding successes. McCarthy also is an equine fertility specialist who had boarded Cigar at Watercress for a year at the request of an insurance company in a futile attempt to solve that superstar's sterility.
The thoroughbred world can be a surprisingly small one, and at the time, Helsinki was being boarded at Ireland's Coolmore Stud, the main competitor of the Maktoum family in pursuit of global breeding domination.
McCarthy dispatched a veterinary colleague to Coolmore to examine Helsinki. The report was favorable. But what really caught their attention about Helsinki was her younger brother who was finally doing the family justice.
After Helen Street produced two more racing duds, she was again bred to Machiavellian. At last, something in the genes clicked. The resulting colt was named Street Cry, and the full brother to Helsinki was sent to Del Mar as part of Godolphin's experiment with American 2-year-old racing. As Helsinki was being offered for sale in the fall of 2000, Street Cry had not won a stakes race, but had just finished a courageous third to Macho Uno and Point Given in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Before that, Street Cry had been second in the Del Mar Futurity and the Norfolk Stakes, earning big speed figures.
"We probably look at 300 mares a year," Hertrich said. "In this case, Street Cry had already shown what he could do, and Helsinki was the only full sister to Street Cry in existence."
McCarthy and Hertrich bought Helsinki for a price they will not disclose, but for less than $500,000. They took in a third partner, John Fielding, a Toronto businessman who also had been involved in the harness sport.
Helsinki had been sent to Ireland because she was contracted to be bred to Giant's Causeway, the Coolmore sensation who had just been retired to stud after losing the Breeders' Cup Classic by a neck to Tiznow. McCarthy was a believer in Giant's Causeway - betting him in the Classic at 7-to-1 – and with the horses stabled only yards apart, the mating was convenient. Helsinki's $120,000 date with Giant's Causeway was honored.
Confirmed as pregnant in the spring of 2001, Helsinki was flown to Watercress Farm that summer. The next March, she gave birth to a colt.

A one-month old Shamardal poses at Watercress Farm in Paris, Ky. in April, 2002.
"He was the most beautiful foal we had on the property," McCarthy recalls. "He was a big, magnificent animal. People would come out to the farm and admire what a specimen he was."
And the young colt was increasingly valuable. Four days before his birth, his uncle Street Cry won the world's richest race, the $6 million Dubai World Cup. Street Cry then came to the U.S. and won the $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. At the same time, Giant's Causeway's first offspring were getting rave reviews from breeders. The decision to buy Helsinki was looking better each day.

A life or death decision

 Breeding thoroughbreds is expensive as well as speculative, and the partners saw an opportunity to take a fast profit against their expenses, or to "feed the beast," as McCarthy describes it. They put their magnificent not-quite-one-year-old son of Helsinki in a November auction at Keeneland in Lexington, hoping to immediately capitalize on Street Cry's reputation.
Prior to the sale, the youngster went through an awkward stage of adolescence and "lost some of his bloom," according to McCarthy. The top bid came in at $485,000; the partners had set a $500,000 reserve, and brought him back home with plans to sell him the next year instead.
But a few months later, the colt's awkward stage began to degenerate into disturbing episodes of clumsiness. Barely noticeable at first, the problem worsened. As a veterinarian, McCarthy knew of an ailment researchers have labeled Cervical Vertebral Malformation Syndrome, commonly referred to by horsemen as the "wobbles," in which horses lose coordination in their legs due to a compression of the spinal column against the spinal cord. Those most seriously afflicted are euthanized, since they cannot race and can injure themselves or step or fall on their handlers. In his advanced years, Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew was struck with the syndrome, which, after two spinal surgeries, eventually caused his death.
As a precaution, McCarthy had X-rays taken of the colt's spine, which showed a narrowing of his vertebral column at three locations.
In February, the colt became acutely ataxic, or uncoordinated. "Wobblers" are categorized by five levels of severity: Grade 1 cannot be detected by the untrained eye, and a Grade 5 means the horse cannot stand. The colt was diagnosed as having a Grade 3 affliction.
The colt was insured, and the company holding the insurance policy was notified. A Grade 3 affliction is serious enough to be referred to in equine insurance terms as a "destruction case."
One prominent Kentucky veterinarian said one-quarter to one-half of such horses are put down. A British insurer was more pessimistic, saying that a Grade 3 or worse diagnosis is "as good as being dead" in the eyes of underwriters, and that "99 out of 100" are put down.
To be certain, McCarthy shipped the valuable colt to Ohio State University for more definitive tests – not only additional X-rays, but a myelogram administered by wobbler specialist Dr. Steven Reed. In a myelogram, a dye-like fluid is injected into the spinal canal. Reed and a team of radiologists confirmed the colt had compression of the C5 and C6 vertebrae.
"They put him through the gamut," Hertrich said. "At that point, we had no options."
From an insurance standpoint, it was a textbook destruction case. The claim was paid. The breeding partners signed possession of the horse to the insurance company with every expectation that their once-striking colt would be euthanized with a lethal dose of barbiturates.
As hard-nosed as it sounds, the breeders also believed that euthanasia was the proper course of action.
"What if the horse goes down someday and kills a jockey?" Hertrich said. "That's the problem. We're talking about an unsafe animal."
For numerous horses throughout the world, even those with outstanding pedigrees, this is where the road meets the cliff. Insurance companies deal in percentages, and only a miniscule percentage of serious wobblers had recovered to be good racehorses.
But elsewhere in the American thoroughbred capital of Lexington, Ky., where rolling the dice on the vagaries of genetics is a way of life, another man was willing to take that gamble.

Saving the 'destruction case'

 Richard Ketch once trained show horses and put himself through college as a horseshoer. Ketch now applies his equine knowledge as a mortality adjuster, employed by insurance companies as their liaison when a horse claim is received.
Ketch has seen more than his share of wobblers.
"For a long time, I felt very badly about putting these animals down," he said. "I had a feeling there were other things that could be done."
Ketch's empathy for the downtrodden came from his gut, as a horse lover, but also because he is the primary caregiver for his wheelchair-bound wife, who is totally incapacitated from the ravages of multiple sclerosis. And it was through his wife that Ketch came upon a form of medicine that could best be described as unconventional.
Standard treatments for multiple sclerosis were doing his wife no good. At her request, Ketch contacted Herwig Schoen, a German-born "energy healer" in Santa Fe, N.M., who practices what he calls "reconnective therapy."
Schoen, who says he has a background in physics, describes high-frequency energy fields more complex than the human body that penetrate and encompass the body of every living being. These energy fields, according to Schoen, organize matter into the form and function of the body. And if something in the body goes amiss, Schoen says it is often because of a "disconnect" between the body and its energy field.
Schoen says he can visualize the energy fields, see the disconnects and transmit his own energy to reconnect them.
"Most people can't see these forces," Schoen said. "I can see lots of them."
In this case, "seeing" forces is an abstract term. Schoen does much of his work over the telephone. He says that is not a problem as long as the patient or someone next to the patient is holding the phone. In fact, Schoen has said he could treat patients "just as easily from the moon," because such energy is not confined by our simple understanding of physics.
This energy treatment of Ketch's wife was inconclusive. However, Ketch said that after one desperate phone call to Schoen late one night, his own excruciating pain from bruised ribs and a pulled thigh muscle had vanished the next morning.
Ketch said he is open-minded about so-called alternative medicines, having admittedly experimented with "healing arts" for 15 years. He steered Schoen to a website explaining the wobbler syndrome, and Schoen said his energy therapy could help afflicted horses. They worked out a deal. Ketch would provide the hopeless cases, Schoen would perform treatments, and the two would resell the horses and split any profits.
Ketch mentioned the idea to a few insurance adjuster colleagues.
"My plan was very quietly to go to a couple of underwriters in London," he said. "I would say, 'Look, there is something I want to try. Just give me a couple of wobblers, and if it works I'll tell you what I've done, and if it doesn't I'll save myself some embarrassment.' I wanted to do this slowly and carefully. But things didn't go that way."
After only two weeks, John Cornwell, another Lexington adjuster employed by Ketch, called with a message: "I have a horse for you."
That horse would be the young wobbler still at Ohio State, the son of Helsinki written off as a Grade 3 destruction case.
Cornwell and Ketch moved quickly to stage an intervention before the colt was euthanized. The insurance company agreed to turn him over to Ketch, who arranged for the colt to be boarded at a 700-acre farm, also in Paris, Ky., owned by Peter Kerwin, a friend of a friend. The yearling was sent from Ohio State straight to Kerwin's farm, where Ketch and Schoen were waiting to begin his treatments immediately.
"He was definitely uncoordinated," Kerwin recalls. "He couldn't put two legs together."
Schoen said that over a period of a few months, he saw the colt twice in person and treated him 17 times over the telephone.

Treating the colt at the same time was Carol Seaver Kowalski of Montague, Mich., an acupuncturist and massage therapist who also works on horses and has spent time in China studying ancient massage and pressure techniques.
Kowalski saw the colt shortly after his arrival at Kerwin's farm.
"It was so sad," she said. "He was a beautiful horse. But he couldn't trot. He couldn't jog. He was down-and-out miserable."
Kowalski was told of the wobbler diagnosis. But she thought that perhaps the colt's primary problem was elsewhere. Kowalski is not a veterinarian and does not dispute the findings that the colt had a narrowing of his spinal canal, but she thought his lower back was "out of whack" and triggering many of his coordination problems.
For four hours, Kowalski worked on the colt's back as Kerwin assisted her. Without a veterinary license, Kowalski cannot use acupuncture needles. But she used some of the pressure-point techniques she learned in China – pressure much lighter than chiropractic manipulation - that are based on the same physical principles as acupuncture.
"When we were finished, he trotted out of the barn," Kowalski said. "It was so much fun. It was exciting and heartwarming at the same time.
"It's hard to describe, but when you've been around a lot of horses, you can tell a good horse by the way he walks and carries himself. And when we were finished working on him, all of a sudden this horse was hot stuff. I've never met a horse with that kind of character."
Kerwin witnessed the transformation as well. Kowalski gave the colt five more treatments.
Ohio State's Dr. Reed says research indicates a small number of wobblers – about 10% - will recover in a year if left alone. Reed is a believer in acupuncture techniques, but said other studies have shown that a careful restriction of diet and exercise also can help significantly. He added that the colt was treated with such a regimen by his breeders at Watercress Farm.
"It's not impossible to have a horse return to normal," Reed said.
No one knows exactly who deserves the credit - or if a recovery was destined to happen, anyway - but the colt made a dramatic turnaround. He was entered and withdrawn from the Keeneland September sale, and then catalogued for England's prestigious Tattersalls Houghton Yearling Sale in October 2002.
Not wanting to take any chances, Ketch had the colt examined by numerous professionals, all of whom gave a thumbs-up.
One veterinarian was specifically chosen because he had no prior knowledge of the horse and thus no preconceptions. The vet couldn't understand asked why a neck X-ray was needed for an obviously healthy animal, then called back an hour later with his diagnosis: "Like I told you, there's not a damned thing wrong with him."
For more feedback, those X-rays were taken to Dr. Fairfield Bain of the prominent Hagyard-Davidson-McGee veterinary clinic in Lexington.
"We go into the viewing room," Ketch said, "and (Bain) throws the film up, and says, 'Well, there is one area I would find suspicious, but it's nothing to get terribly excited about. You mean this is the colt you were telling me about? Congratulations. You've got evidence of spinal cord regeneration."'
With that, the colt was off to the England sale, accompanied by X-ray proof of his rehabilitation and an additional clean bill of health from Rood and Riddle, another top Lexington clinic.

Back to where he started

 Ketch stayed behind to watch the sale over the internet. But hours before the colt was to pass through the auction ring, yet another potential roadblock developed – news that Coolmore had been interesting in buying the colt, but that he had flunked an endoscopic test of his breathing passages. Ketch was informed that Coolmore's veterinarian believed the yearling colt's airways were flawed enough that he would probably never make it to the races.
The colt had been given a virtual death sentence, only to make a miraculous recovery, and now this? Would it ever end?
Ketch was asked if he wanted to put a reserve on the colt, or perhaps withdraw him from the sale. Financially, that might have made sense.
"I've already put $30,000 of my own money into him," Ketch replied. "And I will not put any more. He's going to the sale, and whoever bids on him takes him home."
Watching on his computer, Ketch saw the auctioneer begin the bidding at 100,000 guineas, or about $175,000. No takers.
75,000 guineas.
Do we hear 50,000?
Ketch leaned closer to the computer.
No hands were raised.
"He kept going down and down and down, all the way to 10,000 (guineas, or about $17,500)," Ketch said. "At that point, all I wanted was to break even, and that didn't look good."
At 10,000, a bid was made by Michael Goodbody, managing director of Gainsborough Stud, owned by Dubai's Sheikh Maktoum. Ketch didn't know it, but Goodbody says Gainsborough had done its own endoscopic test of the colt with no breathing issues detected.
British trainer Mark Johnston also joined the bidding. With Goodbody and Johnston bidding against each other, the price reached 45,000 guineas. When Goodbody identified his competition, he approached Johnston and suggested Johnston drop out of the bidding, because Gainsborough's plan was to have Johnston train the horse, anyway.
So the colt with the roller-coaster history went to Gainsborough for 50,000 guineas, the U.S. equivalent of $87,650. Had Goodbody and Johnston been in communication earlier, the pricetag surely would have been much lower.
After everything that had happened, the full-brother to Street Cry, son of Helsinki and grandson of Helen Street would return to his family's Maktoum roots with a new lease on life.
"I was just glad we at least broke even," Ketch said. "I only found out later who bought him."
The colt's fragile background was unknown to Goodbody and Johnston at the time of the sale. In an e-mail, Goodbody explained that neck X-rays were included in the information packet, but no one knew why. It didn't matter, anyway, Goodbody added, because the X-rays were clean.
Gainsborough named the colt Shamardal, and in late June, 2003, Ketch called the farm in Newbury, Berkshire, England, to check on his former project.
"They said he was the best colt they'd ever had, and that he was scheduled to run in two weeks," Ketch recalls.
Ketch wasn't sure Gainsborough had yet learned of Shamardal's earlier diagnosis, and chose not to say anything until after Shamardal's first race.
"I'm just praying he doesn't hurt anybody, that he finishes the race and crosses the wire nose-first," Ketch said. "He won the race by eight lengths.
"So then I get a hold of Gainsborough again, and now they want all the history on him. I said, 'You know he's a wobbler.'"
There was silence.
"We had no idea.
"I said, 'Well, then, let me tell you the story.'"

The 'wobbler' shows he can run

 In the months following the auction, Shamardal was considered a hot commodity. Back at the farm, he had easily outrun another promising Gainborough colt who later won his debut race by five lengths, and when Johnston entered Shamardal in the July 12 six-furlong maiden race at Ayr, he was a heavy betting favorite.
Post-race comments from The Racing Post -- the English equivalent of America's Daily Racing Form -- said Shamardal was "as impressive a debut winner of a juvenile maiden as you're likely to see." His jockey that day, Joe Fanning, said afterwards, "He's doing nothing under you, and then all you have to do is give him a click and he's away."

Shamardal's next start was at Goodwood in the July 28 Vintage Stakes, a Group 2 race at seven furlongs that he won by 2½ lengths with "total authority," according to the Racing Post. Finishing second was Wilko, who three months later would register a stunning upset in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
In those two races, Shamardal's listed owner was Abdulla Buhaleeba, who has construction and real estate ties to Dubai. The Maktoums have so many horses, some are leased to "nominees" such as Buhaleeba that they want to introduce to the sport.
Following the Vintage Stakes, the lease arrangement with Buhaleeba was abruptly terminated; Shamardal and four other talented horses were transferred out of his name. No official reason was given. The Maktoums are notorious for privacy, even in matters considered public domain in other countries and especially in matters involving any hint of controversy.
But the Racing Post reported that stories were circulating in England of huge losses sustained by Buhaleeba at a London casino at which he was playing three roulette tables simultaneously. If true, such a public spectacle would be looked upon dimly by the Maktoums, since gambling is forbidden in the Muslim religion. Even at Dubai tracks such as ultramodern Nad Al Sheba, home of the Dubai World Cup, no actual gambling is sanctioned although prize drawings and handicapping contests are held.
At about the same time as the ownership switch, Shamardal suffered an unexplained training setback. He missed nearly three months of racing prior to Newmarket's Oct. 16 Dewhurst Stakes at seven furlongs, the country's most important test for juveniles.
But despite the layoff, Shamardal again went straight to the early lead and scored by another 2½-length margin under Gainsborough silks. Behind him in that nine-horse field – which included three other Maktoum-owned horses - were a Group 1 winner and four Group 2 winners.
And that brings us to the present, where happy endings abound, unless your last name happens to be Buhaleeba.

A Derby hopeful?

 Shamardal was named the top juvenile in Europe, and his ownership was transferred again, this time from Gainsborough to Godolphin -- a technicality since the Maktoums run both operations.
The Maktoums hope Shamardal will be the solution to their history of Kentucky Derby frustrations. Considering his checkered past, it is a leap of faith to assume Shamardal will progress that far, or even carry his speed the distance. And if he does, there is no indication he will have a prep race in the U.S. prior to the Derby. The precedent of heading straight to Churchill Downs from Dubai has been loudly criticized by American racing media.
Shamardal's breeders are doing a tap dance as well.
McCarthy candidly admits he wanted the colt to be euthanized for more reasons than just safety; he and his partners still owned Shamardal's dam, Helsinki, and an ill-advised attempt to race a hopeless wobbler would have made her sketchy record as a broodmare look even worse.
Thus it is ironic that when Shamardal defied the odds to become a champion, perhaps no one profited more than the breeders.
In September of 2003, when Shamardal was still a reclamation project, the partners sold Helsinki's next foal, a yearling colt by Maria's Mon, for $400,000.
But that paled in comparision to their score in last fall's November Breeding Stock Sale at Keeneland, only a few miles from the farms where Shamardal once struggled to walk a straight line.
On Nov. 10, the once-average Helsinki was led into the sales ring, pregnant with a baby by stallion Cherokee Run, and sold for $3.9 million. Her buyer was Coolmore, another irony, since Helsinki had been living at Coolmore when the breeding partners purchased her five years previously.
Helsinki was immediately followed into the ring by her latest foal, a weanling filly by Unbridled's Song, who sold for $1.15 million.
"It's like the stars were aligned the proper way, in every way imaginable," McCarthy said. "Everything fell right into place.
"We're proud of our role in this. We got the mare through her pregnancy and took good care of the foal. For us, this is a great story of hope. All of us have dreams and aspirations. You just have to keep hope and maybe a little bit of luck goes your way. Or, in this case, a lot of luck."
As a veterinarian, McCarthy has theories on Shamardal's recovery.
"It is pretty much unheard of," he conceded. "But with a wobbler, the call is that of the insurance company, and I don't blame them for trying. If I were in their shoes, I probably would have done the same thing.
"You just don't know with these things. It's obvious Shamardal has exceptional talent, and sometimes horses with extreme talent can overcome a lot of obstacles. If I were a betting man, I'd bet that maybe the spinal canal expanded as the horse grew older, and that remodeled some of the facets that were causing compression of the cord.
"I suppose it is possible (Schoen) had some impact with his treatment, whatever that was. But, like I said, if I were a betting man…."
Co-breeder Hertrich is less diplomatic.
"In the end, this horse has just overcome," he said. "The witchdoctor thing does not really appeal to me."
The third breeder, John Fielding, is so grateful to McCarthy and Hertrich for bringing him into the partnership that he is treating them to a Caribbean cruise on a yacht.
Meanwhile, Schoen is continuing his energy practice in Santa Fe on humans as well as horses, and is the author of a 2003 book, "Reconnective Therapy – A New Healing Paradigm."
Ketch and Schoen have split amicably. Ketch now is practicing a version of energy healing similar to Schoen's, and is working with about 20 wobblers. Most are so-called destruction projects he purchased for $1 each from insurance companies, but two horses were sent to him from Gainsborough. Ketch said he has gotten good results, and recently made a promotional CD.
Ketch says he is not sure he can see everything that Schoen sees, but his long-distance telephone bill is probably lower. Ketch claims he can treat a horse anywhere in the world, occasionally looking at a photo of the horse as a reminder.
One veterinarian called that notion "ridiculous," but Ketch defends the energy theories.
"There are a few veterinarians who really don't like what I'm doing," he said. "But for every one of those vets, I can give you 10 that think it's great.
"Horse people are very superstitious. And when they're desperate, if you can deliver for their horse, they don't care what you do. They don't understand it, but to tell you the truth, I'm not sure anybody knows exactly why it works."
Shamardal's recovery has helped Kowalski's standing in the thoroughbred industry. Last fall, she was asked to treat Funny Cide prior to his victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
"Godolphin has asked me to call them," Kowalski said. "Maybe I'll get to lay my hands on (Shamardal) again someday. I'd love to see him again."
And for hundreds of other young racehorses diagnosed with the wobbles, news of Shamardal's improbable rejuvenation might mean the difference between life and death.
Forty-one years ago, a young colt by Bold Ruler was stricken at a Kentucky farm with a sudden and serious case of wobbles, late on a Sunday afternoon when veterinary offices were closed. A decision was made to euthanize him the next morning. But when Monday morning arrived, farm managers were in a more benevolent mood. Let's just leave him alone and see what happens, they said. Owned by Wheatley Stable, Stupendous not only recovered, he finished second in the 1966 Preakness and set a track record in the 1967 Whitney Handicap - all because he was fortunate enough to begin wobbling on a Sunday instead of a weekday.
Anabaa, a son of Danzig born in 1992, was discarded by his breeders once diagnosed as a wobbler. Anabaa grew up to win eight of 13 starts, including Group 1 stakes in England and France. In still another irony, Anabaa was bred – and given away – by Gainsborough Stud.
There surely are more stories of inspiration, and perhaps better ones. Yet the successes are few and far between. The odds still aren't good, but thanks to veterinary advances and Shamardal, the chances may be getting better.
Ketch has read published quotes from Johnston saying that the industry opinion of the disease was so negative that if it had been known Shamardal was a wobbler, no one would have dared to buy him.
"That's okay," Ketch said. "If they want to send me the horse, I'll give them their money back."

miércoles, 14 de marzo de 2012

Bárbaro: el caballo de una nación por la NBC Sports

La NBC nos trae esta historia de Bárbaro un caballo que conmovió a todo un país en las pistas ganado el Derby de Kentucky del 2006 y fuera de ellas al lesionarse irreversiblemente dos semanas después en el Preakness y que luchó por salvar la vida sin que los mayores avances en materia veterinaria fueran capaces de evitar su trágico final...

viernes, 10 de febrero de 2012

Charismatic: de la gloria a la tragedia

Año 1999, Chris Antley jockey de 31 años trata de regresar a la competición tras haber tirado por la borda una exitosa carrera por culpa del alcohol y las drogas, sumido en una profunda depresión lucha por recuperar el tiempo perdido y en Mayo de ese año recibe una llamada que le cambiaría la vida, le ofrecían la monta de Charismatic en el Derby de Kentucky un caballo que partía con escasas opciones en la carrera ya que después de 13 salidas hasta la cita apenas había conseguido ganar un reclamar.

Esta es una conmovedora historia real contada de manera magistral por ESPN Films....

miércoles, 11 de enero de 2012

La increíble historia de "The Green Monkey"

Enero de 2008, en Alemania nace una potra de nombre Danedream por Lomitas y Danedrop (Danehill) que después saldría a subasta y se vendería por 9.000€ en Baden-Baden para año y medio más tarde ganar el Arco del Triunfo, la prueba más prestigiosa del planeta turf. Mientras en EEUU un caballo llamado The Green Monkey se retiraba de las pistas tras ser incapaz de salir de perdedor en tres pruebas menores en Belmont Park, esta podría ser la historia de un caballo cualquiera que se retira de la competición sin pena ni gloria, pero es en realidad la increíble historia de The Green Monkey...

28 de Febrero de 2006, Hipódromo de Calder en Florida, tras los breeze-up de la mañana se celebra la subasta de potros de 2 años de Fasing-Tipton una de las más prestigiosas subastas del país, quizas la más "chic" y con más glamur de cuantas se celebran. En el ring está a punto de entrar el lote 153 por Forestry y Magical Masquerade (Unbridle) un potro de majestuosa presencia y perfección que aquella mañana en el "breeze" de entrenamiento había hecho 9,4" en 200 mts casi perfectos, " tocaba el suelo, volaba" comentaban los galoperos presentes en Calder.

Criado en Kentucky el potro de Forestry salió a subasta de yearlings en Fasing-Tipton siete meses antes presentado por Taylor Made Agent, no es que su papel fuera de color púrpura ya que su madre era Magical Masquerade por Unbridle una ganadora a 3 años de carreras menores que nunca se acercó al máximo nivel y su padre Forestry era en aquel momento un semental nuevo sin probar, pero llamó la atención de agentes y compradores por su impresionante belleza y armoniosidad, alcanzó la no despreciable cifra de 425.000$ que pagaron los "pinhookers" locales Hartley/Di Renzo y comentaban entonces que era la perfección hecha caballo, que cuando lo veías lo único que acertabas a decir era Guauuu!!... pero nunca podrían haber imaginado que este yearling les iba a cambiar la vida a estos dos socios afincados en Florida  cuyo negocio principal es comprar yearlings y prepararlos en su yeguada para las subastas de 2 años montados.

Cuando salió al ring, el potro lucía perfecto y rápidamente alcanzó la extraordinaria cifra de 3 millones. A partir de ese momento se pudo presenciar la lucha más encarnizada jamás vista en un ring de ventas, de un  lado del coqueto ring Demi O´Byrne agente de los hombres más poderosos del negocio de carreras los irlandeses encabezados por John Magnier del imperio Coolmore y del otro John Fergusson agente del poderoso Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum regente de Dubai y excelso propietario de la cuadra Godolphin y del imperio de cría Darley.

La puja que alcanzó el caballo entre los gritos y aplausos del público fue de 16.000.000 $ y según cuentan las crónicas al firmante del potro record en subasta, Demi O´Byrne, nunca se le había visto tan nervioso en un ring de ventas, con las manos sudorosas se dispuso a firmar el boleto de venta y con la voz temblorosa declaró..."esperemos que salga bueno" y es que el mismo O´Byrne sabía que estaba firmando por 16 millones de dólares una compra que nunca podría rentabilizar para su cliente, ni en carreras ya que el caballo que más ha ganado en la historia es Curlin (USA) con 10 millones de $ y fue un extraordinario ejemplar, ni como semental ya que no tenía el perfil según los expertos para ser un caballo destinado a la cría.

¿Qué pasó entonces para que de Green Monkey alcanzara tan extraordinaria cifra?

La agresividad y determinación con que Demi O´Byrne pujaba era el fiel reflejo de que John Magnier quería el caballo a toda costa y lo quería por encima de todas las cosas, su objetivo era pasar por encima del Sheikh Al Maktoum y nadie le podía detener. Era una lucha de egos y el momento cumbre de la rivalidad Godolphin-Ballydoyle en la pista y de Darley-Coolmore en la cría, que durante los años anteriores compitieron de forma respetuosa  procurando no pujar los caballos que le interesaban al otro, pero que de un tiempo a ese momento de The Green Monkey algo debió suceder, nadie sabe oficialmente pero todo el mundo afirmaba en las carreras..."algo ha pasado entre ellos", porqué el Sheikh Al Maktoum ya no pujaba ningún caballo de los sementales de Coolmore en las subastas y Magnier había boicoteado el meeting de Dubai no permitiendo a su entrenador Aidan O´Brien mandar ningún caballo a las carreras de jeque.

Aquella rivalidad ente los dos imperios del mundo de las carreras viene de lejos, a mediados de los 70 el multimillonario propietario irlandés John Magnier tuvo una visión y junto a su entrenador y suegro Vincent O´Brien (sin parentesco con el actual Aidan) y un socio dedicado a la construcción de parques acuáticos Robert Sangster, idearon un plan para desarrollar un negocio en las carreras basado en la búsqueda de potros que convertir en sementales, para ello se fijaron en la línea principal de Northern Dancer que en aquel momento había padreado a Nijinsky el último ganador de la Triple Corona británica y para lo cual recorrieron las subastas principales en el mundo con un presupuesto millonario comprando los mejores productos de este semental, la idea era correrlos a dos y tres años bajo la preparación de O´Brien al máximo nivel y después retirarlos a la cría como sementales, una idea simple pero nunca hecha antes y para lo cual tenían un plan estratégico que incluía tres vertientes: un centro de entrenamiento extraordinario (Ballydoyle) donde entrenar campeones,  un centro de cría como parada de sementales en Irlanda donde la tributación por beneficios en la cría de sementales está exenta de impuestos gracias a la intervención de Magnier en el gobierno de la isla y una maquinaria de marketing y publicidad con presupuesto millonario.

Aquella estrategia fue dando sus frutos y con la aparición de Sadler´s Wells en los 80 el Imperio Coolmore pudo consolidar su propia línea de cría con victorias en la pista de sus hijos Montjeu y Galileo que en si mismos son líderes en su faceta de cría ahora mismo, con unos beneficios no declarados oficialmnete superiores a los 300 millones de euros anuales libres de impuestos, la visión de Magnier y el recientemente fallecido O´Brien se ha consagrado en líder de la industria de la carreras, se puede describir a Coolmore como la más profesional de empresas dedicadas a la cría del purasangre, con un staff dedicado en toda europa dificil es que se les escape algo en las ventas, intereses de todo tipo, defensa del nombre de sus sementales, foal-shares, etc son parte de una estrategia bien consolidada. La conocida en los círculos como "mafia Coolmore" tiene los tentáculos puestos en todos los posibles caballos que puedan hacer frente a su reinado y si alguno osa a desafiarlos, como fue el caso de Sea the Stars, pondrán en marcha la maquinaria de destrucción para bien derrotarlo en la pista o bien en la yeguada.

Pero aparte de los casos puntuales de un caballo que les puede hacer competencia,a principios de los 80 les salió un enemigo mucho más poderoso y con capacidad económica como para poner en duda su reinado, este enemigo el Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum regente de Dubai y vice-presidente de los Emiratos Árabes Unidos es el responsable de la asombrosa transformación de una aldea en el desierto en una de las ciudades más opulentas y ricas de Oriente Medio, Dubai. Proveniente de la familia de beduinos más poderosa de Dubai los Al Maktoum han gobernado esas tierras desde pricipio de siglo XX y si anteriormente regentaban un pueblo dedicado al pastoreo, los camellos y la pesca, la aparición del petróleo les dió la capacidad económica para desarrollarse y la pertenencia al nuevo país creado de Emiratos Árabes Unidos el respaldo para crecer con fondos ilimitados.

El Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum tenía también una visión para Dubai, su visión pasaba por convertir esta pequeña ciudad del desierto en un centro de negocios lider en Oriente, una ciudad líder en turismo y cuyo desarrollo inmobiliario más ha crecido en los último 20 años, para a base de inversión situar a Dubai en el mapa, Dubai es ahora la ciudad milagro...realidad o espejismo?

Los Al Maktoum como pueblo de pastores beduinos tienen fascinación por los caballos, desde sus antepasados esta adoración convertida casi en religión  les ha llevado a competir en carreras de caballos en el desierto y cuando el Sheikh Mohammed comenzó a ir a las carreras en el Reino Unido, durante sus estudios, la fascinación por este deporte se hizo aún mayor. De una forma menos profesional que Coolmore el Sheikh comenzó a invertir ingentes cantidades de dinero en caballos a principios de los 80 y pronto se vió con la necesidad de invertir en Centros de Cría para los buenos caballos que competían con sus colores, fue entonces cuando se creo Darley en honor a Darley Arabian uno de los tres sementales fundadores de la raza del purasangre, junto a Godolphin Arabian que os como rebautizo su cuadra y Byerley Turk.

En un crecimiento mucho más desordenado, con un gasto mucho mayor y menos cuidado Godolphin + Darley fueron ascendiendo escalones hasta llegar a competir con Coolmore en todos los aspectos, la operación del Sheikh Mohammed. como tantos de sus otros negocios (ej: Fly Emirates), no nace como idea de negocio sino como un hobby más de un hombre poderoso, pero a la imagen de Dubai una vez llegados a este punto, ¿por qué no hacer de ese hobby algo rentable? y en ese camino Darley se fue profesionalizando hasta el punto de formar su propia escuela de negocios  "Flying Darley Program" para nutrir de profesionales de 1er nivel las operaciones del Sheikh. Llegado a ese nivel y con Darley en plena ebullición Coolmore vió puesto en peligro su liderazgo y las hostilidades comenzaron.

The Green Monkey es un caballo que nunca podía haber valido los 16 millones de dólares que se pagaron si no fuera por lo antes mencionado, fue bautizado así por un resort con campo de golf en Barbados cuyos intereses maneja John y Sue Magnier, durante el entranamiento con Tod Pletcher el caballo comenzó a tener problemas físicos y su paso por la pista dejó en evidencia a su propietario.

A la hora de retirarlo sus afortunados antiguos dueños Hartley y Di Renzo se interesaron en recomprarlo como semental, pero Magnier herido en su orgullo sólo cedió a deshacerse de la mitad y el caballo ahora de regreso a Florida ejerce como semental a 5.000$.

Eso sí, en agradecimiento por lo mucho que les dió en forma de $ estos le han construido el box más lujoso en el que un caballo puede estar, un box cinco estrellas.

Esta es un historia más de la grandeza del turf, en la que una yegua de 9.000€ gana el Arco y un caballo de 16 millones de $ no es capaz de ganar un maiden...

domingo, 26 de junio de 2011

Crónica: Ascot desde dentro. Nova Hawk al asalto de la Coronation Stakes

Difícil relatar la jornada del Viernes en Ascot, difícil por lo emocionante de todo lo vivido allí y difícil porqué podría estar horas que no tengo para escribirlo, así que trataré de resumirlo con las mejores fotos que pudé hacer del día.

Anthony Forde y Ahmed Mouknass presentaban por segundo año consecutivo en la Coronation Stakes G.I un partant para la carrera más importante del día, la segunda favorita en taquillas Nova Hawk (Hawk Wing) en Ascot el meeting con más glamour y sabor especial de todos los que se disputan en el mundo de las carreras.

Royal Ascot celebraba su 300 aniversario, se dice pronto, pero son tres siglos de carreras en el Hipódromo propiedad de la Reina y todo lo que rodea a estas carreras está lleno de tradiciones unidas a la modernidad de la época. Amaneció el día lluvioso, después de varias semanas con poco agua en el Reino Unido, en los dos últimos días la tan ansiada lluvia apareció para favor de Nova Hawk que desde que deslumbrara en el Prix La Camargo en terreno pesado no había encontrado una pista blanda de su gusto donde desplegar su bonito final. Llegar hasta Ascot es un premio en si mismo para cualquier propietario y hasta algunos de los más importantes como el Americano Bobby Flay propietario de More Than Real una ganadora de la Breeders con el que pudimos conversar así lo confirmaban "to be here is a real prize".

El camino a Ascot desde Londres en coche lleva más de una hora y media de trayecto, los ultimos 30 minutos de atasco para entrar en el Hipódromo. Allí al llegar todo impresiona, lo primero es el estricto código de vestimenta exigido para entrar en el Royal Enclosure y para entrar en el paddock "Parade Ring", hombres con chaqué y sombrero de copa y mujeres con tocado o sombrero con hombros cubiertos y falda 2 inches como máximo por encima de la rodilla. Al recoger las acreditaciones significar que todas son nominativas y hay multitud de ellas para poder entrar en las diferentes zonas del recinto, la majestuosidad del nuevo Ascot impresiona ya desde fuera.

A las 12:30h asistimos a una recepción en la casa aledaña al Hipódromo, propiedad de la Casa Real y que es regentada por el Director del Hipódromo, allí varias mesas presididas por un cartel en forma de corona con el nombre de las yeguas participantes en la Coronation Stakes donde sirvieron un cocktail y almuerzo para lo invitados, la mesa de Nova Hawk estaba en la sala de estar principal donde en la televisión emitían imágenes históricas de Ascot. En las mesas repartidos los miembros del International Racing Bureau y del Astot Racecourse Ltd .Directores de Marketing y Relaciones con Propietarios figuras inexistentes en nuestro escaso turf, el International Racing Bureau como el FRBC en Francia fomenta la Internacionalización de las carreras y cuida los detalles hacía los propietarios que traen sus caballos desde fuera a participar en estos meetings.

Después del almuerzo y cuando anuncian la entrada de los carruajes reales en el recinto nos disponemos a entrar en el hipódromo directamente a balanzas para presenciar la tradicional apertura del día de carreras, la Reina Isabel II junto al Duque de Edimburgo más una serie de invitados que cada día van cambiando, el protocolo marca que al pasar por el grandstand suene el himno de Inglaterra y que las carrozas den la vuelta al paddcok ante el saludo de los asistentes, entre los que se encontraban diversas personalidades del mundo de la cultura, política y miembros de otras casas Reales sobre todo las árabes, pudimos ver al Sheick Mohammed Al Maktoum junto a la princesa Haya de Jordania, el Jeque Al Thany de Qatar y varios conocidos de la sociedad inglesa.

Una vez disputada la primera carrera nos adentramos en la zona del pre-paddock donde el ensilladero tiene arriba una ubicación especial para tomar una botella de champagne, desde las ventanas se pueden ver los caballos pasear antes de ensillar, una zona restringida para propietarios. Se me viene a la cabeza de nuevo que en Madrid ni siquiera hay un sitio separado para tomar una copa de champagne para propietarios y lo bien que les vendría a algunos dar una vuelta por algún Hipódromo de estos para enterarse de como se explota este deporte.

De ahí a la tercer carrera un G.II para 3 años sobre 2.400mts donde subimos a las tribunas del Royal Enclosure, por cierto el recinto es inmenso con tres plantas a las que se acceden por escalera mecánica, de nuevo hay tantos departamentos reservados que es dificil adivinar hasta que nivel de prioridad puedes entrar, es infinito, al final podemos acceder a uno de los boxes privados donde ver la carrera que gana el favorito Nathaniel.

La siguiente es la Coronation Stakes G.I para hembras de 3 años sobre la milla, en el ensilladero aparece la yegua de Tony y Ahmed que luce espléndida un color negro brillante y una presentación impecable de la de Rodolphe Collet, se acerca el Sheick Al Maktoum al que saluda Ahmed Mouknass y también se acercan Robert Collet padre del preparador de Nova Hawk que junto  a su esposa y propietarios le desean suerte a su hijo y a Tony. Desde el centro del ensilladero Anthony Forde no puede reprimir la emoción de verse en Ascot a punto de disputar con opciones un Grupo I de tanto prestigio como este, lo que están viviendo es un sueño.

En las órdenes Rodolphe Collet al que no notamos nada nervioso, su máxima es..."mi trabajo ya está hecho ahora debe rematarlo el jockey" procura decir lo justo a Stephane Pasquier, que tiene un cajón complicado y que intente tapar lo más posible a la yegua para venir de finales a rematar procurando no salir demasiado al exterior que es una zona muy complicada para atacar en Ascot. De camino a subirse al caballo pudimos saludar a Olivier Peslier y a Michael Barzalona que en breve se trasladará a Newmarket para enrolarse en las filas de la escudería Godolphin.

Anthony Forde y Ahmed Mouknass deciden ver la carrera desde el centro del paddock, la megafonía anuncia un favoritismo in crescendo de Nova Hawk por su buena aptitud al blando, de repente se pone a diluviar instantes antes de la carrera, la suerte está echada...

Explosión de felicidad en el paddock, Nova Hawk se comporta como una campeona y con valentía pasa entre yeguas para alcanzar la segunda plaza, Tony salta de alegría, es un resultado magnífico y aparece el periodista de Jour du Galop Detré para confirmarnos que la gemela francesa es padre e hijo, ha ganado la potra de Strauss Inmortal Verse de Robert Collet con la monta de Mosse que vino por todo el exteior como un avión para imponerse de tres cuerpos, pocos aplausos de la parroquia Inglesa por la afrenta tricolor.
Dentro se sirve el champagne que es arrojado por encima de Robert Collet, nos acompañan Mossé y Pasquier para seguir analizando la carrera con Rodolphe, Tony y Ahmed el resultado de lo que pudo ser y no fue, beben directamente del trofeo una inmensa ensaladera de plata, pero algo ya inamovible quedará en la memoria de los allí presentes, para ellos una carrera histórica el recuerdo de la jornada será imborrable...

Así es Ascot!!

sábado, 10 de julio de 2010

Hoy en el Week End de Francia De La Fuente Stud....Futbol y caballos!!!!

La traduccion al español del articulo publicado hoy en la revista francesa Week-End con el titulo Futboll y Caballos y firmado por el peridista Eric Brosselin:
Alvaro Gutierrez del Fuente

Caballos y fútbol, una formidable Synergy

El último invierno, pudieron seguir las aventuras de Synergy a Dubaï. Les proponemos hoy hacer conocimiento con el que se oculta detrás de la cuadra De la Fuente Stud. Alvaro Gutierrez de la Fuente nos recibio en Madrid, en las cuadras de de Yan Durepaire.

Con 34 años, Director de Sistemas de Información de una empresa Suiza que hace Consultoría para el sector automóvil, Alvaro Gutierrez de la Fuente es un joven proprietario apasionado que tuvo la oportunidad de caer rápidamente sobre un diamante en bruto. “Esta pasión viene de familia, desde la inauguración del hipódromo madrileño, en 1941. Muy joven, mi padre adoraba venir a las carreras, y nos lanzamos a comprar en el momento de la reapertura, en la primavera 2006. Tenemos actualmente cinco caballos en entrenamiento, todos con Yan Durepaire: tres potros de 2 años (American Ganster, Carlsson y Vodka Lemon), My Revenge (3ª de la Poule española) y John Fitgerald, también dos yeguas de cría, Synergy y Honeyblood.” Los colores de la cuadra De La Fuente Stud son para recordar los del Atlético de Madrid: “La cuadra se nombra De La Fuente, ya que es el nombre de familia de mi madre. Los colores rojos y blancos se dedican a mi padre, entusiasta hincha del Atlético Madrid. Es por otra parte “socio” desde hace 53 años, yo desde 25. Sabía que el primer día en que presentaríamos a un caballo bajo nuestros colores y con el nombre de mi madre, mis padres estarían muy orgullosos. Fue un verdadero regalo para ellos. Son ellos quienes disfrutan más. Yo, tengo más la presión. Tengo un único pesar en estos meses: tenía previsto que pudieramos ir todos a Dubaï para el Balanchine Stakes, ya que en desde el primer momento, tenía claro que Synergy iba a ganar esa carrera. La suerte nos fue esquiva.”

Mencionar a Synergy a Alvaro y es una pura felicidad, sus ojos se iluminan inmediatamente. “La primera idea era comprar un caballo con la repertura de La Zarzula, y despues un yearling. La cuadra es familiar con todos mis hermanos, nuestra elección fue Synergy, comprada en 17.000 euros a las ventas Arqana. En paralelo, buscaba un entrenador, y en seguida surgio el nombre de Yan Durepaire, que comenzaba en Madrid y tenía pocos caballos, pero todos “galopaban". Le encontré gracias a un amigo restaurador en Madrid, asociado del Sr. Salmean, el proprietario de Doctor Dino. Desde el principio hubo un buen feeling que se instauró entre nosotros, luego conocí a Olivier Peslier, el mejor amigo de Yan, y podemos decir que la historia de Synergy es una historia sobre todo de amistad.”
Nuestro interlocutor puede por otra parte estar orgulloso de haber ofrecido a Yan Durepaire su primer grupo. “Es verdad. En cualquier caso, cuendo le vi por primera vez, Yan era un hombre que tenía los ojos que brillaban por ilusion y sueños por conseguir, él sabe transmitir su pasión por este oficio, y tiene deseo de triunfar, simplemente. El éxito de Synergy en el Prix Fille de L´Áir significaba mucho para todo el mundo: Yan adquiría su primer grupo, con esta yegua un tanto especial y que es adorada por toda la cuadra, bajo mis colores, con Olivier Peslier en la montura, se imaginan el orgullo que pude experimentar!” Es el mejor momento de una yegua que demostró desde siempre que era especial. “Nos dimos cuenta muy rápidamente que se trataba de una potra que salía de lo ordinario. A partir de su primer trabajo, tenía un moral de ganadora, quería dominar siempre a los otros, y nunca dejarse pasar, pero estaba físicamente muy atrasada a dos años, siendo muy redonda. Es por otra parte de allí que viene su apodo afectuoso: la gorda”.A tres años, carecía aún de fisico, y la verdad se ha destapado el año siguiente. No obstante, a partir del final de sus tres años, había probado su calidad en Fontainebleau en el Prix Solitude (listed, 2ª). Progresaba sin cesar, tenía una gran capacidad de aprendizaje, era competitiva de 1600 a 2400 metros, y no se conocían sus límites. Pienso que habría tenido su palabra que decir en un grupo I esta temporada sin su lesión.”

Vino a continuación la gran aventura dubaití de Synergy. “Teníamos varias opciones: venderla, enviarla a criar, o proseguir una temporada suplementaria. Es lo que elegimos arriesgar. Fuimos a Dubaï ya que las dos carreras correspondían perfectamente a sus criterios: la velocidad, la voluntad, la dureza al esfuerzo, el hecho de viajar bien. En el Cape Verdi, Olivier tuvo la misma sensación que en su éxito del Listed Prix La Pepiniere, en julio pasado, hasta el momento en que se lesiono. Terminó como pudo. Fue una experiencia especial para Yan, sus primeros pasos entre la élite. Synergy, era también la historia de la primera yegua ganadora en España al nivel de grupo. Por todas las estas razones, Dubaï era un sueño para nosotros, y no lamentamos la experiencia. Se eligieron bien las carreras y, en toda franquicia, habría sido la favorita del Balanchine Stakes. Pienso incluso que habría podido colocarse en la Sheema Classic G.I, vista la forma que tenía… Para volver de nuevo a su lesión, pienso que la pista nueva de Tapeta es buena para correr, pero quizá habría sido mejor para los caballos que no se entrenaran allí a diario.” Synergy pasa en adelante días felices al otro lado del Canal, en Newmarket (Chevington Stud): “Esta preñada desde el 23 de mayo cubierta por Zamindar fue en dos ocasiones, y por fin a la segunda se quedo llena. El año que viene, irá a Francia y despues la cubriremos con Galileo. Me gustaría que el primer producto sea una potranca, y si tiene un 50% del corazón de Synergy, y un 50% de la calidad de las hijas de Zamindar, eso me convendría perfectamente (risas). En cuanto al dinero ganado por Synergy, se volvió a invertir todo en los caballos. Buscábamos una base sólida, tuvimos la oportunidad de obtenerlo rápidamente gracias a Synergy.”
Para los que desean seguir las aventuras de Synergy a lo sumo cerca, Alvaro Gutierrez del Fuente actualiza regularmente su blog (é diciendo la vida de la cuadra y nuestros caballos. Por último, intento seguir lo mejor posible la actualidad hípica. Sé que a los españoles les lo gusta, hay muchas visitas.” Si se interesan y si hablan la lengua de Cervantes, serán bienvenidos.
Eric Brosselin

viernes, 28 de mayo de 2010

El hombre que ganaba apuestas sin apostar

Tal y como están los comisarios franceses lo mejor es no tirar nunca tu boleto....

El desangelado personaje que véis en la foto se llama Jesús Leonardo, está casado, tiene 57 años, dos hijos adolescentes y reside en Wanaque, New Jersey. Te aseguramos que raro es el día que no vuelve a casa con un buen puñado de dólares en sus bolsillos, a raiz de su peculiar profesión como "stooper" (en inglés, jorobado).

La historia laboral de nuestro amigo comenzó en 1.999, cuando tras hacer una apuesta y ver la correspondiente carrera, tiró su billete al suelo. Justo cuando salia del local miró la pantalla por última vez y se dio cuenta que habían pedido una revisión de la prueba por posibles infracciones. Los resultados cambiaron y en ese momento se convirtió en ganador virtual de 900 dolares. Por supuesto el pobre Jesús Leonardo trató de localizar su billete por el suelo, entre la multitud, sin éxito.

Ante la desesperación decidió preguntar al encargado si podía llevar toda la basura a casa para tratar de localizar su ticket ganador. En ese preciso momento, casi sin quererlo, estaba firmando su nuevo contrato de "stooper". Entre la basura no encontró su ticket ganador pero a cambio localizó otros dos billetes que juntos sumaban unos 2.000 dolares.

Desde entonces, se pasa la vida en una casa de apuestas legales del centro de Manhattan con una tarea tan aguda como reconfortante: recoge los billetes que otros tiran y después los comprueba meticulosamente para recibir su premio con intereses. La estadística no falla y uno de los stoppers más famosos del país asegura que su jornal le reporta entre 100 y 300 dólares diarios, habiéndose embolsado desde entonces casi medio millón de dolares.

Al igual que los cientos de stoopers que deambulan por hipódromos y casas de apuestas de todo el mundo, nosotros diariamente buceamos en la blogosfera para rescatar historias tan curiosas como esta que hemos encontrado en la bitácora Un ejemplo más de que la suerte no llega por sí sola; hay que buscarla.

viernes, 5 de febrero de 2010

Memorable carrera de Synergy en Dubai....deja su marca inigualable en las pistas ya que entró en meta lesionada de gravedad

Montaña rusa, así se resume las carreras de caballos para el que se embarca en esto...
Synergy dejó de nuevo su impronta en las pistas, cogió la punta en una carrera corta para ella y que era una preparatoria, pero ella no entiende ni de preparatorias ni de nada se fue lanzada a por la victoria y en la recta lanzó su ataque habitual para intentar aguantar con corazón pero a ciento cincuenta metros se vió superada por el dolor y aunque quiso volver a por la victoria haciéndose fuerte al pasar la meta se paró dejando claro que algo iba mal...

Ahora mismo está en el Hospital Equino de Dubai donde ha sido trasladada de urgencia y su vida no corre peligro, lo más importante en estos momentos es eso, pero las placas reflejan una fractura en el menudillo, va a ser operada esta noche si se deja y si no por la mañana para fijar la fractura con unos clavos y no volverá a correr, desgraciadamente esa es la cruda realidad...cuando un caballo o una yegua en este caso como Synergy, salen a la pista con ese ansia de vencer los riesgos de lesión se multiplican exponencialmente, nos quedaremos con la imagen de ella dándolo todo en los hipódromos convirtiéndose en la mejor yegua entrenada en España de la historia por resultados en el extranjero y seguro que en el futuro aún mejor madre de cría.

El video de sú última carrera quedará grabado para siempre en nuestra memoria, gracias Synergy de todo corazón por habernos llevado tan lejos y por habernos hecho soñar y vivir la gloria, eres de G.I y tu recuerdo en las pistas permanecera imborrable para nosotros.


Visitas en 2011

Mucho más que un deporte...

Estas palabras le dedicaba un niño a su abuelo antes de recibir la insignia de oro y brillantes por 65 años de socio del Atlético de Madrid

“el mayor homenaje que se te puede tributar es darte las gracias por lo que has hecho y me has enseñado, y sobre todo por lo que me has hecho disfrutar viendo partidos del Atleti juntos. Nuestra grandeza nos convierte en especiales y te quiero dar las gracias por traerme a la que siempre dices es nuestra casa. Quiero recoger de ti la mejor de las herencias, que es ser atlético de corazón”.