Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Horse Racing [Print without images]

Thursday, April 12, 2012
A guide to NYRA's personalities

By Bob Ehalt

Aside from seeing an exciting renewal of the Wood Memorial, there was another nice aspect to last weekend’s visit to Aqueduct.

I picked up the 2012 edition of the New York Racing Association Media Guide.

The truth be told, on a dusty shelf here in the Shelton abode, there sits a copy of the 1980 NYRA Media Guide, which was my initial passport to all of the vital information about the many personalities, be they vibrant or dull, that gave New York racing its distinct flavor.

Back then, NYRA was a pioneer among racetracks in producing a publication with comprehensive biographical and historical information. And in those long ago days before Al Gore (or someone) invented the internet and put every trivial fact at our fingertips, it was cool as a racing fan to peruse through the pages of a book that gave horsemen the kind of star treatment that had been reserved for professional athletes.

Admittedly, 32 years later, the media guide has become somewhat old hat for me, yet another trip down memory lane uncovered some great information that once again informed, surprised and even humbled this longtime improver of the breed. There’s quite a cast of characters at NYRA.

Thanks to the internet, you can download a copy of the guide at www.nyra.com, but to save you some time, allow me, with tongue in cheek at times, to point out some of the many nuggets of information at your disposal.

For instance:

-- Owner Henry Terranova “spent 22 years working as a WWE referee and also was a baseball scout for the San Francisco Giants.”

It must have been quite an adjustment for him seeing a bat used to hit a ball instead of someone’s skull.

-- Ed Bowen, who operates Drawing Away Stable, is the retired director of pensions for the New York City Transit Authority.

Guess he just can’t pry himself away from pensions.

-- I was eager to find out more about Funky Munky Stable, which seemed the creation of someone who, like me, devours Chunky Monkey ice cream or at the very least a guy who loves crazy dancing -- another passion of mine (I live to do the Disco Duck). Instead it’s owned by a guy named Richard Munk. Munk -- Munky, Funky, get it?

That’s pretty deflating. Sort of like finding out Madonna has actually been a librarian in Bayonne for all these years.

-- Was glad to read that Kiaran McLaughlin has been doing so well as a trainer. Previously, he was the “agent for the late Chris Antley in 1992-93.”

Now I know there are a few trainers out there who are not the brightest bulbs on Broadway, but I’m thinking it had to be hard to book mounts for a jockey who had passed away. Excellent career change, Kiaran.

-- Among the notable accomplishments of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum is “Responsible for the modern development of Dubai.”

Yeah, I’ll admit that tops the line in my resume reading “Participated in Times Mirror’s Frontline Leadership and Building Management Skills and Techniques seminars.”

-- Chester Broman owns Chestertown Farm which is located in Chestertown, N.Y.

Way to go, Chester. You own a farm AND a city. That’s neat. Don’t think the world is ready for Ehaltville, though.

-- Winning Move Stables is owned by Steven Sigler, whose daughter is Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who played Meadow Soprano on TV.

I’ll bet he knows if Tony got whacked.

-- Owner Landon Robbins III is the founder and chairman of Service Net, a leader in the extended warranty industry.

My 12-year-old toaster is in the mail, Mr. Robbins.

-- Jockey Maylan Studart, in her native Brazil, “Grew up around horses and rode jumpers.”

I got jumped walking home from school in 1967. Went with the territory when you grew up in Queens.

-- John Parisella has trained for actors James Caan, Jack Klugman and Telly Savalas.

That’s great, but he’s not the trainer of the stars in my book until he adds ALF to his client list.

-- Trainer Eoin Harty is a “die-hard New York Yankees fan.”

Eoin, 20 years from now, you have my Hall of Fame vote in your back pocket.

-- It was written that trainer Shug McGaughey has “childhood friend and former fellow Cub Scout ‘Buzz’ Tenney” as his longtime assistant.

Sorry, folks, I’m not buying that one. If Shug and Buzz ever wore Cub Scout uniforms a picture would have surfaced in the “Indian Charlie” newsletter by now.

-- Owner William S. Farish III is the Former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to Great Britain.

Wow, that pretty much trumps me being the thrice-impeached past president of the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.

-- Jockey Rosie Napravnik is married to a gentleman named Joe Sharp.

You figured some Sharp guy would scoop her up.

-- Trainer David Donk, when he was 24 started working as an assistant to Woody Stephens.

Now I’m jealous. Woody was a hero of mine. Loved his personality and the way he brought out the very best in so many great racehorses. I won’t get into some of my old bosses, but let’s just say at the same age as when Donk had the good fortune to work with Woody I had the “steadily depressin’ lowdown mind messin’ working at the car wash blues.”

-- Jockey Jorge Chavez said he had never ridden a horse until he was 20 when a friend brought him to the races in Peru. “I started galloping horses the next year,” he said.

Ah, there’s still hope for my riding career. All I need is a trainer willing to accept 143 pounds of overweight and an agent to secure mounts for me. Wonder if Kiaran McLaughlin has some free time.

-- Billy Turner, the only trainer left on this earth with a Triple Crown sweep to his credit. His introduction to racing came from growing up with Burley Cocks’ son, Winky.

Not even I am going to touch that one.