At Clocker’s Corner in October, a big Jim Cassidy-trained horse caught my amateur eye and captured my heart.
It was late on a gloriously clear and warm October morning.
Most of the work was complete and I started to make my way to the car from my finish line perch. Earlier I’d seen G.I winners THE FACTOR, EUROEARS, and COIL for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. They are three of the most attractive horses on the grounds and was convinced there was nothing more to see.
Then he appeared, standing at mid-stretch like he owned historic Santa Anita Park. I was sure he was an older horse because of his size and relaxed manner. The signature red saddlecloth with a yellow border and two Redskins-stlyle feathers told me it was trainer Jim Cassidy’s horse.
By the time I got near, horse and exercise rider were being ponied toward the finish line. I fumbled to extract the camera from the case.
A striking bay with a flowing mane and a beautiful head, he traveled a two minute lick with his ears pricked. His eye conveyed that he understood his purpose. He moved without wasted motion and his stride showed pent up energy this exercise was not meant to unleash.
I asked the female exercise rider with an Australian flag on her helmet what his name was. She didn’t know, only that she knew he had never run and was a “baby.”
Could that be right, a juvenile racehorse with size and focus that belied his age?
I looked for Mr. Cassidy to confirm his age and discover his name. Clocker’s Corner was nearly empty and the venerable trainer was nowhere in sight.
A week later I greeted the affable Mr. Cassidy and inquired about the colt. Unsure which of the many horses in his barn it was, he kindly called the exercise rider.
After receiving a description, I was informed that indeed he was a two-year-old colt bred in California. Cassidy confirmed what I thought, that the young racehorse appeared to have some quality but he’d yet to work officially.
I thanked him for being so kind and wished him luck for the remainder of the Oak Tree meeting.
I’m proud to introduce you to FLYING JIB, a son of the DANZIG stallion VRONSKY out of a SEA HERO dam.
Whether he succeeds or fails remains to be seen. What isn’t a mystery is how attached I’ve become after just one encounter.
He’s working like he’s close to his first race. Stay tuned!