Charley is now a
FIVE STAR GENERAL!
That's right Red Rabbit Racing's hero steed, General Charley, laid it all on the line this past Sunday and won his 5th in a row! CAN YOU IMAGINE! Five times this summer! Hell, my brothers-in-law collectively haven't seen 5 times this summer with my sisters - if you know what I'm talking about!
Setting the scene, we were the Odds On favorite at 4-5 in the 3rd race at Arlington this past August 22nd. A $27,500 claimer at a mile and a 16th on the Polytrack in a field of 6 following a late scratch.
We broke out of the 6 hole with Prime RRR jock Eddie Perez riding the irons masterfully toting an assigned weight of 124 pounds - highest in the entire field - highest on the ENTIRE card! (What's the damn Racing Secretary going to do in the next race? Assign Charley to carry Eddie and a Piano? Eddie and an Anvil? Eddie and Me? Come on Damnit - Keep it Fair!)
Sizing up the race, we saw that there is a bit more speed in this race - so we thought it likely that Charley would be challenged for the lead. We were right. As they broke, Charley zipped right out to the lead and Southern RRR jock James Graham swung his mount Mr Soul out - flanking Charley on the right shoulder. Together the two of them raced round the track with the other 4 in Hi-Speed pursuit, not unlike Buford T Justice chasing the Bandit.
When they hit the stretch Mr. Soul was toast and starts backing up like the Johnson Sisters at a seafood buffet. Mr Soul was going to heaven cuz he was dead.
BUT THE OTHER 4 WERE CLOSING ON US LIKE RUNAWAY FREIGHT TRAINS
So Charley draws deep, very deep, upon his vast well of Texas bred heart & character. Majestically he re-grips the track on his left lead, responds to a withering lashing from Eddie, and defies the other mules from overtaking him.
Frantically, I'm watching Charley rip down the lane and screaming "Where's the Wire? WHERE'S THE WIRE?" with them gaining on us with every jump. And then in a flash you see the Wire, Charley's head, and then 4 horses almost on top of him - now all vying for second. We won by a short neck.
Check out ALL the links below and make sure that you look at Brett's Video of the Paddock, Race and Winners Circle Celebration all the way on the bottom of the page.
Bro-in-law Steve Gallo, pictured right as the monkey Whiplash, is the husband of Red Rabbit Racing Partner & Chief Bean Counter Jean. Steve had again graciously offered to take pictures of raceday.
Usually he is a family embarrassment, but I must grudgingly admit that he adds a small, snippet of value recording these photographic moments for posterity. Alas, he uses my camera and I must admit does a great job.
Well, on this day he is snapping pictures of Charley banging out of the gate and when Charley flew past him, Steve turns and takes an absolute header, falling down flat on the Track Apron. I mean a total Face Plant - Ordering a Concrete Burger for Lunch.
Even though his whole life he has been incredibly awkward and uncoordinated, he unbelievably protects my camera perfectly on the way down, even as he takes a tremendous jolt to his forearm and leg. I was almost proud of him. Great work Steve!
Sadly, Partner Jeff Rabbit was unable to make the historic day as he was vacationing in beautiful Rhinelander, Wisconsin at the world famous Lake George Spa & Luxury Resort. Johnson's have been making the trek up to this piece of paradise for almost 50 years. In fact, when I notified Jeff of our victory, he said this was a great day because just that morning he had landed a trophy Northern directly out of bountiful Lake George, where the fish are so plentiful they happily leap into your boat.
So again, for the 5th time this summer, over 50 of us pile into the Winner's Circle for the picture. All of us, except Trainer Block and Jockey Perez, were holding up 5 fingers for the camera signifying our 5th victory.
Should there be a 6th Victory, I wonder if our Trainer and Jockey will decide to show the camera their fingers? If not, perhaps there might be others eager to train and ride a possible 6 in a row WINNER! Hmmmm, I wonder? Food for thought Chris & Eddie!
(Apperared In Arlington Barn Notes On August 25, 2010)
GENERAL CHARLEY JAZZES THING UP WITH TAKE FIVE
Red Rabbit Racing’s General Charley did it again Sunday – winning his fifth straight races at Arlington Park this summer.
Once again, after accomplishing his Sunday mission, General Charley posed in the winner’s circle next to a fan club that rivaled Donegal Racing’s ownership group that appeared in the winner’s circle following Paddy O’ Prado Secretariat Stakes score last weekend.
“Yes, we are hoping to get one more race for General Charley before the end of the meeting (Sept. 26),” trainer Chris Block said Wednesday morning. “We like to run him about once a month so we’re hoping that will work out for us. Of course, we’d also love to get another win for all the horse’s fans that come out to watch him. That kind of loyalty is great for horse racing.”
Has six wins from six starts ever been accomplished before at Arlington Park?
Yes, during the 2001 Arlington session. Peter Abruzzo and George Todaro’s The Lord’s Tune began a six-for-six run on June 20 that summer and concluded it with a 1 3/4-length tally on Oct. 18.
The Lord’s Tune was trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, and that was also the year that Hollendorfer brought much of his West Coast-based operation to Chicago to capture Arlington’s leading trainer honors that summer.
FINALLY, AS CHARLEY WAS LED INTO THE WINNERS CIRCLE, YOU COULD SEE THAT HE WAS CLEARLY SPENT
VEINS POPPING AND BREATHING LIKE A LOCOMOTIVE.
BUT HE WAS STILL EYEBALLING ALL THE CONTESTANTS IN HIS RACE.
NONE OF WHOM WOULD LIFT THEIR EYES TO MEET HIS STARE.
MEEKLY, THEY FILED PAST HIM, UNPHOTOGRAPHED.
THEY WERE EXHAUSTED, ASHAMED, BEATEN
IN THE PRESENCE OF A GREATNESS THEY WILL NEVER ATTAIN.
NEXT TIME WE RUN FOR HISTORY