Thursday, January 20, 2011

Todd Pletcher Wins Eclipse Award for Best Trainer, Gives Kudos to His Horseshoer, Ray Amato

I didn't see it live, but thanks to the wonders of YouTube and the NTRA's channel, I can share with you a magic moment at Monday night's 2010 Eclipse Awards. As Todd Pletcher accepted the Eclipse for Trainer of the Year, he made a little speech about the team behind  him. In particular he pointed out our friend, horseshoer Ray Amato, who was sitting at the table with him, and looking great in his tuxedo. I won't spoil it and tell you what Todd said; watch if for yourself. Suffice to say, it's the highest praise I've ever heard in a speech about a living horseshoer, let alone on national television. How about that!

Here's Ray at one of our Hoofcare@Saratoga events last summer. He's getting a hug from Ada Gates as he recalled how she came to him looking for an apprenticeship early in her career. Ada said he was the only horseshoer who'd even talk to her. She had to go to California to break into track shoeing; no woman had ever done it before, and few have since. Ada and Ray could have a comic speaker act. Like Todd Pletcher, Ray Amato won his first Kentucky Derby this year when he shod Super Saver for Pletcher. That night at Saratoga, he recalled how he had thought he had his first winner in 1973, when he shod Sham. But Secretariat had other ideas. The stories that these two can tell are amazing, as are their skills as storytellers!

 © Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to
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