Saturday, June 10, 2006

Farrier Memorial Planned for Saratoga Racecourse

Some kind people in the New York racing scene are planning a memorial for farriers who live on in the memories of many. Jim Brummit, Bruce Scott and Charlie Campbell were three friends of Hoofcare & Lameness who shod on the NY tracks and had many happy times at Saratoga each August.

In fact, the last time I saw Brummit was next to the Oklahoma Track when he pulled up beside me one day. I'd just been taking pictures of Ray Amato shoeing at Todd Pletcher's barn. How Brummit knew I was there, I'll never know. I think that they have spy pigeons or something at that track. His last words to me were some sort of a curse about the magazine being late again. Now, he's gone; cancer, of course. Ditto for Charlie.

You can read more about Charlie here:
Charlie was the paddock farrier at Saratoga. I just saw today that they named a race for him; it was run at Saratoga on Labor Day, which I think was the last day of the meet in 2005.

If you've never been to Saratoga, the racetrack is a beautiful park-like place; Oklahoma is the training track, dating back to the 1800s, and the barns around it are wooden. The horses are bathed or walked in the shade under huge old trees. I always think that I have taken beautiful photos there, but they never do it justice when I see them afterwards. The place is beautiful to look at, but part of it too is the sounds, and the smell, and the way you feel because it's only 7 a.m. and you are already so hot. I've been going there since I was 13. I couldn't go to the races in the afternoon until I was older, but in the morning, the backside was all mine.

"Oklahoma" is a perfect place for a memorial. Every track should have a farrier memorial.

I hope they raise a lot of money and I also hope you'll go there and see it. I am sure that contributions would be very welcome but I don't have any details yet.

Watch Hoofcare & Lameness for more details sometime this summer. I plan to be in Saratoga on Tuesday and Wednesdays this year. How about you?