Sweet Cat is back!

Winning at Gulfstream

Sweet Cat blazed to victory Friday over five furlongs on the turf, clocking a blistering 55-second time to come out on top of a ten-filly field at Gufstream Park.  Her win was especially gratifying after her disappointing showing in February at the same race track, which made the trainer and the managing partner of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners (the ownership syndicate we’re part of) wonder if our filly had lost interest in racing.  That clearly isn’t the case, as she proved yesterday.  Her next race hasn’t been decided upon yet, but it might be a graded stakes race at Keeneland on the synthetic track.  Or she might run in a stakes race on the grass instead.  We’re very proud of her and thrilled that she is back in the game as a three-year-old.

Laurie adds 2 year old colt FIFTH GEAR to Smith/Shaikun stable

Today, Team Valor International offered 2 year-old colt Fifth Gear, a son of Derby winner Animal Kingdom’s sire Leroidesanimaux, for syndication. Sold out in two hours, we snatched up 5% of his shares, largely using our contest winnings of $5,000 from last year’s “Guess the Winnings” competition, sponsored by TVI. We came within $6,000 of predicting the total purse winnings for the syndicate, which won over $3,000,000  for 2011.

The colt, who has a late March birthdate and just turned an “actual” two (all horses born in the US turn a year older on January 1, regardless of actual birthdate), is bred for both dirt and grass. Presently in Ocala, he will be trained at Fair Hill, Maryland by Graham Motion, and may be running as early as this summer.

This marks the third colt we are involved with, including State of Play actively campaigning and Pluck, likely to retire to stud this year. We also have three fillies, all three-year olds, all actively racing.


For more details about Fifth Gear, link here.


Laurie and Gerry

Three horses scheduled to race for us in coming two weeks



We will have horses entered in three races in the next eleven days.

Leading off on Friday, March 30, Sweet Cat will run in an allowance race at Gulfstream.


She will be going five furlongs on the grass for $49,000.( See right). She will be trying to get back on track after a listless run in her last outing, still unexplained. She will leave from post position 3 with 12 entered. This is the 9th race and should be televised on TVG. Of interest is that my cousin Kenny has a horse entered in the same race – Peggy Joyce – and neither of us was aware until the entries were posted.

Vapour Musing

Then, on Saturday, the 31st, Vapour Musing (left) is entered in a maiden race at Pimlico, in Maryland. She will go a mile and one sixteenth on turf for a $32,000 purse. She was injured most of last year and has only run once, as a two-year old. So we don’t know what to expect from her, as green as she is.

Finally, State of Play, who is coming off a Stakes win at Gulfstream last outing, is entered in the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland on April 6. This will be run at a mile and a sixteenth on turf as well, for $100,000; $62,000 to the winner.

State of Play winning the With Anticipation Stakes

The stable has decided that his future is on the grass rather than dirt or polytrack, and therefore he is not under consideration on the Triple Crown trail.(See State of Play right). Nonetheless, there are plenty of big distance races on turf, so stay tuned. This race will probably be televised nationally on one of the major networks.

Hargis boys visit; take Sarasota by storm

Hunter and Nathan Hargis, along with their mom Marcy, paid grandparents Gerry and Lolly a spring break visit last weekend.  Sarasota rolled out its very best weather for the occasion, with bright sunshine, cool breezes, and warm temperatures.  We spent one full (very full) day at Busch Gardens, our favorite theme park just up the road in Tampa.  We can attest to the fact that the Cheetah Hunt, the park’s newest roller coaster, is as exciting as it looks in the advertising — three minutes of non-stop high-speed loops, twists, turns, climbs, and plummets.  At age nine, the boys weren’t tall enough to ride SheikRa, the most extreme of the coasters in the park; but we’re pretty sure the next time they visit we’ll really be in for it.  Just visualize a ninety-degree drop from 300 feet above the ground, feet dangling in midair, followed by an endless series of loops and rolls and one breathless rush through a pool of water.  We all enjoyed the wildlife safari experience, where we became very good friends with a pair of romaine-loving giraffes and saw the park’s resident rhinos, wildebeest, impalas, kudus, zebras, elephants, and other African creatures in their free-roaming habitat.

The next day we went on a two-hour cruise in Sarasota Bay aboard LeBarge, a big tour boat with four big palm trees growing in pots on the upper deck.  An onboard marine biologist served as our guide, and we saw several of the bay’s bottlenosed dolphins fishing for their lunch, as well as three manatees swimming over beds of seagrass near shore. We preceded this with a visit to the Saturday Market, just outside our door, where  Gerry bought shrimp and fish, while Nathan and Hunter scoped out the ubiquitous dogs and the market pastries, opting in the end for Pastries as Art offerings, just around the corner on Main. (Good choice!). Coming home, they spotted Mattison’s City Grille, an open air dining spot, and it was decided that Saturday night’s dinner choice was made, especially after Nathan learned that there was dancing with a live band every night. Also, there was an Arts and Crafts Fair along two blocks of Main, which the boys perused after the boat excursion, buying custom visors  and foam coasters, while Marcy and Laurie were unable to resist a Tennessee vendor’s ingenious grill cleaning tool.

Back at our condo, late Saturday afternoon, we spent an hour or so at the pool, but cut it a little short to watch our horse, In Lingerie, run in the Bourbonette Oaks Stakes on NBC ( see previous post). Much cheering and screaming ensued as In Lingerie coasted to a 6 length win that probably sends her to the Kentucky Oaks, the filly equavalent of the Kentucky Derby. Look for posts related to the Oaks, which we will attend if possible.

The dudes finished off their visit with dinner at Mattison’s City Grille Saturday night, a downtown outdoor venue with a band, dancing area, bar, and many, many tables for dining. After our dinner, Nathan proceeded to the dance floor, where he wowed the assembled crowd and danced the night away, carefully monitored by his mother. His grandparents faded back home with Hunter, who finished off his visit with a killer poker game with Lolly.

For more photos of the visit link here.

Ask Hunter who won the poker game.

Gerry and Lolly


We’re going to the Oaks! (Probably)

IN LINGERIE                  photo courtesy ETP

In Lingerie won the Bourbonette Stakes today by  six lengths, which means she may be running in the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 4.  Her share of the purse was $60,000, but 25% of that goes to the jockey and the trainer before the partners receive anything.  We hadn’t planned to go to Louisville for Derby weekend, but I think we’ll have to hop on a plane for the Friday races.  She broke to the front and led wire to wire in a very good field.  John Velazquez, her jockey, rode a perfect race.  He never touched her with the whip, and she just put her ears back and blew everyone else away.  He will almost certainly ride her again in the Oaks, which is great for us, since he knows her very well.  Gerry asked me if I’ll need to wear a hat to the races, which I hadn’t thought about, but I guess I’ll take my Royal Ascot hat (see the picture on our “About Us” page) and hope it will be seen in the winner’s circle.  If we get pictures of the Bourbonette we can post, we will.  We’re so excited we can hardly breathe!


In Lingerie goes in $100,000 Bourbonette Stakes

In Lingerie, a three-year-old daughter of Empire Maker, out of Cat Chat by Storm Cat, is our latest thoroughbred purchase. We are part of a syndicate (a really small part) who bought this promising filly after an impressive maiden win. She finished second to a wonder horse in her last outing, after a near-disastrous experience in the gate. She is listed among the top fillies in the early betting pools for the Kentucky Oaks, which is the big race run the day before the Derby each year at Churchill Downs.

As noted above, she will run in the Bourbonette Stakes this Saturday at Turfway Park, outside Cincinnati. Should she run well, she will move on to the Oaks in May. The Oaks is the biggest race in America for three-year-old fillies, the “girl” equivalent to the Kentucky Derby and the race that was won so spectacularly a couple of years ago by the great filly Rachel Alexandra.

But, as Robert Frost wrote, ” I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”  We’ll keep you posted (no pun intended). Fingers crossed.




Photo contest gallery

We’ve been taking private photography and Photoshop lessons for the past few years, and this year our teacher sponsored a contest for all his students.  Each of our photos had to relate to one of four themes — Curves, Reflection, Repetition, and Empty — and our fellow students were the judges.  It was a terrific learning experience for us, and we were very pleased with our own efforts, as well as impressed by what our classmates achieved.  Gerry’s entries won in two categories, a real thrill for him since he has generally left the picture-taking to me in the past.  I can see a second good camera in our future.  If you’d like to see our contest entries, this is a link to the gallery.  Click on any individual photo to enlarge it.  See if you can match the pictures to the categories (since we haven’t yet figured out how to put captions on the photos) and identify which two photos won in their categories.  For example, the photo in this post is entitled “Fishing Fleet at Cochin” and was entered in the Reflection category.



Welcome to Laurie’s Blog, our way of entering into the twenty-first century — after our digital cameras, iPhone and iPad.  (But no texting, “friending,” or tweeting.  This is as far as we go.)  Instead of sending out individual emails to people we think might be interested in something we’ve seen or done or learned about, we thought it would be easier for us and less intrusive for you if we posted our words and pictures on this site and let you know how to access it.  We hope you will comment on anything you find interesting, and add something about your own experiences, too.  Ideally, this will be a dialogue rather than a monologue, a way for us to stay in touch with people we see seldom — if ever — and to exchange news and ideas.  We’re excited about this new chapter in our life, and we look forward to sharing it with you.