JC / Railbird


Still Hot Stuff

If a horse ever looked the part of champion, it was the gorgeous Mr. Hot Stuff. Unfortunately, looks and ability weren’t coupled in the full brother to Colonel John, who never won more than his maiden in 18 chances on the racetrack. He’s doing better in his second career as a steeplechaser, reports Joe Clancy:

Much like his flat career, Mr. Hot Stuff started slowly … but got it together for back-to-back wins in May and June. Then he missed 2012 with a tendon injury and returned in 2013, as a 7-year-old, to win the $75,000 Marcellus Frost Stakes for novices at Nashville last month.

He starts on Saturday in the David L. Ferguson Memorial Hurdle Stakes, four years after he finished eighth in the 2009 Belmont Stakes.

Susan Salk has another story of an OTTB who’s learned to love the jumps: “Once he started to know his job, he started to think he was Superman.”

6/9/13 Update: Mr. Hot Stuff finished fourth in the Ferguson (PDF).

Rider’s Eye View

The late John Oaksey’s bittersweet account of the 1963 Grand National:

It was, I think, setting out on the second circuit that the thought of victory first entered my head. Carrickbeg had long since made the fences look and feel like hurdles and, after jumping the water well behind, he moved up outside his field turning away from the stands with a surge of power that warmed my heart.

At Becher’s second time round he made one of the few mistakes I remember, and for an awful moment his big brave head seemed to rest on the quarters of another horse stumbling in front of us. But then, somehow, we were clear, and at the Canal Turn, as Ayala blundered badly, Carrickbeg nipped inside him like a polo pony.

Now there were only a handful ahead, and as the fences flicked by we pulled them back, one by one, until four from home, when for the first and only time in this hectic, wonderful race, fate took a hand against us.

He was denied the win. “I know who you are,” a man said to him on the street years later, “you’re the b—– who got tired before his ‘oss“.