ERRANT TEENAGER

John’s Knight Out (John) was claimed by us in November 2011 when he was a 3-year old.  An easy horse to deal with, he adjusted well to the new barn.  Our trainer, Drew Fulmer was happy to have him.  We had some troublesome horses and John seemed to be easier than most.  Much to our surprise, we came to the realization that John might be a little too relaxed for the horse racing world.

Although John’s Knight Out continued to be in the money for the most part, he just wasn’t winning.  He had come from a very “forceful” trainer and maybe Drew was being too lenient with him.  Maybe he really needed a “task-master”.   John seemed like a teenager who would only do what was demanded of him.

I think he is really very talented and probably more intelligent than most, however he also seems to wander and gets bored.  It took seven races before we finally got a win out of him.

It was in June 2012 when Drew Fulmer took him to Sunray Park in Farmington, New Mexico that John finally made it to the winners’ circle.  John’s Knight Out won the 6-1/2 Furlong race by three lengths.

johnny2He chased the leader from the outset, responded to take over after a half, kept to mild urging in the drive and drew off in late going.

Finally, he seemed to be focused.  The jockey Alfredo Juarez, Jr. did a good job and kept him to task.  Or maybe John just needed a change of scenery.

I know that this horse is smart.  John was my pick so I always feel responsible for him.  I was thinking that he was not a very good claim and it might be time to part ways.  And there you go, the teenage knew he had better shape up.

Back at Turf Paradise we went through another period of poor performance from John.

As a matter of fact, I went to the barn one day and John was sitting down in his stall.  He wouldn’t respond to my calls.  I was certain something had to be wrong with him and immediately called the trainer.  Of course there was nothing wrong.  John was just being a little lazy.  Again, our errant teenage would only put out minimal effort.

Unfortunately, it seemed he was getting worse.  He didn’t even want to work good, let alone win a race.  With that, Drew Fulmer decided to have him scoped to see if there was a problem.  As I previously reported, it is necessary to have a trainer who understands the health needs of  the horses.  Once again, Drew showed his talent for maintaining the health of this horse.  Drew knows when it is necessary to get the intervention of a veterinarian.

Apparently it wasn’t John who was at fault this time.  It appeared he had an ulcer.  The vet immediately corrected the problem.  John had a follow-up veterinarian visit and he was cured.

Shortly thereafter,  his racing improved, although John still hadn’t won a race.

On April 20th, 2013, friends of mine were spending the day at the track with me and John’s Knight Out was running that day.  I was somewhat concerned since my friends all said they were going to bet on my horse.  Of well, I was sure they could well afford to loose.  But what about my reputation as a “horseman”.

Well my errant teenage did the unexpected.  He stayed focused and won!!  johncropped

I must admit that the jockey, Geovanni Franco had something to do with it.  He gave us a great ride.  Jockeys can make or break you, but Geovanni Franco is one of the best.  I hope Geovanni will ride John’s Knight Out again for us at Turf Paradise this fall.

John’s Knight Out raced close to the pace off the rail, angled out on the turn, closed steadily, got up near the sixteenth pole and drew clear.

I worried for nothing, but that’s what happens when  you have to deal with a teenager.  It truly was a fun day for my friends and me as we made our way to the winners’ circle.

Maybe John has finally outgrown his teenage ways — all we can do is keep our fingers crossed and remind the jockey that this horse needs a little urging to stay focused.  Look for John’s Knight Out in the winners’ circle at Turf Paradise in October!

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