Preakness Stakes special: Interview with Kate Tweedy
This do podcast is brought to you by Blake. Lbj Thoroughbred Services Blake. Delvina is a full service. Bloodstock agency and consignment company representing clients at every major wholesale in the country. For MORE INFORMATION CALL RUN. Blake at eight five nine three nine six four eight three six or Hensley Albena at eight five nine six to one zero eight zero zero whether an experienced owner or newcomer to the Game Blake. Albina has the knowledge and experience to help you achieve your goals in the third grade industry. The horse right hit the name is Paul Revere. And here's a guy that says foam is clear. This is built on cliff. I want to welcome you back to this special. What should have been preakness week edition of the Candu horseracing? Podcast the podcast about all things horse racing some history some handicapping and some humor the genesis of our two interviews. This week goes back to a visit. I made to claiborne farm. In April of two thousand sixteen we were waiting outside the farm office for the tour to begin located nearby the office where the graves of some of the famous horses. Who made their marks on the track in the breeding shed at claiborne? Pick your area. You'll find a favorite Gallon Fox as Rula Roundtable Mr prospector and many others. But it was too side-by-side grapes that caught my attention more than any others on the right secretariat on the left Riva Ridge. I remember thinking that were it. Not for sloppy track in the preakness. These guys would have held remains a back to back triple crown winners for the breeder owner trainer jockey the entire team remarkable and. I remember thinking how sad it was that but for that rainy track and Baltimore That Day River Ridge might be the most celebrated horse of his generation instead perhaps due to unfortunate weather almost certainly do a secretary at smashing performances in the triple crown series. The following Year River Ridge has been somewhat dare. I say forgotten overshadowed at the very least and that's a shame what I find so enjoyable when I do. These history focused podcast is how many fascinating threats come out as I begin to pull on them K. Tweedy pennies daughter was gracious enough to spend time with me talking about Rear Ridge. We talked about the horse. Of course. Pardon the rhyming there but we also ended up talking about a hellacious forgotten battle of World War Two the birth of the recreational skiing industry in the United States. How some biographical movies out of Hollywood can get some very essential things wrong about people. How patients true teamwork can provide the correct answer to the question. Do you want a champ are claimer and sometimes horse? We try to teach teach us some things too. I really enjoyed this discussion with Kate. Tweedy and I'm so grateful for her willingness to bring river her mom Lucien Laurin Elizabeth Ham and those times back to such vivid life. Thank you kate. I really appreciate you making time for me. I don't know I know I mentioned to Leon. I don't know if I mentioned to you but you know I was visiting claiborne farm a few years ago and waiting waiting outside waiting for the tour to start and this you know you're more with it. I'm sure there's little graveyard offices. And looking at these headstones I see River Ridge and secretariat side by side. And it hit me that you know. We're not for sloppy track in the preakness. We're looking back to back. Triple Crown winners for your mother. Able Lucien Laurin right. Yeah and you know it. It was and still am and always will be a huge secretary of fan but you know re was remarkable horse really two three and four but you know understandably. I guess but sadly been overshadowed by the horse whose name. Maybe we won't mention again. Yeah it's it's interesting. How just that you know that? One year following his and all of a sudden he's Kinda backstage or offstage a little bit right. Take well interesting. I don't know In your reading you The Mama was felt bad about Nathan because he was so talented and one secretary came along the Senate took their you know sort of give him support team needed the good. You know I mean. They made some bad choices about him I did. She felt that there was He works with Cirque well and it was because there was so preoccupied you know with with other recent. Certainly I mean no one. You know. It's like yeah place. It sure but she felt like he he had they not taking him to California and had they not You know shouldn't have been pushing. They should've let him rest and he would have had a much better four-year-old well three year old year You know and and would have had a better reputation as a whole you know. I mean I love the comment. Look to read it but Bill Mack. Said you know. He's talking about the Well cut and how it's said from the you know that's what century wanted but the you know something about how we came in second and how was to know and it's like it's it's really great to have you said the best source of his here or. I should look that up. It's in. It's in the documentary read but Just to keep up the great horse and then he's not as well Remember you mentioned the cup. And really kind of like Sham and and secretary Easterby Riva broke the track record as well in the Marlboro Cup. I mean don't check a track record. Also which is pretty pretty remarkable Pretty remarkable things. I love about doing this. I think I mentioned you. I'm a I'm a history buff and I love to dig into the history of the sport and when I do. I often find a lot of things that I hadn't even expected to encounter and Riva was one of the first horses. I remember as a young man really kind. Get my attention and you know it's a it's an alliterative name. It kind of rolls off the tongue river. But you know when you start digging into the name you know this the ski run unveil that. Your Dad helped develop. It's a huge story behind the name. Riva Ridge right true. It's true and it's a wonderful story and and I people know it but You know it's funny. We we used to sit around. The family and mom failed cable. We have this new full here just the mother and the side. Damn now we need the man and we'd all sit around and kind of talk that names and sometimes you know and when we were teenagers. Right now You know sometimes it was like no. We're not do that. And then and then other times it was like. Oh that's great and so I. I just remember sitting around looking at the table kitchen table and somebody said and she went. Oh that's a great name and of course you know. We have had a lot of cleaning truck family. Not just because that was our favorite rented but also that he actually now he did not serve in the battle of leverage but he trained with the Tenth Mountain Division Corrected Division trained to them in Colorado and was there they were unfortunately it was looked like they weren't gonna Sir because they they were trailing so long and he just got frustrated and said okay. I'm GonNa you know I'm GonNa join some other 'cause we're never going to see action. And so the came true. And we're we're recruiting and he went and I guess probably a friend of his was also when okay so just about the time Committed and then the sensitive issue was called up and then we go to Italy and there's something very brutal action though in some ways. Yeah we're really glad and and Taught me so fascinating is that all guys came back to Colorado after the war. And they were buddy and they all together and they all together and of course. They're the ones who who really founded with three. There had been some historic You know African had been a mining town in certain other places have been around for a long time but the scheme the streets we know. Now that's really developed by the division in the you know in the sixties that yeah yeah really responsible for the growth of Ski Recreational Sport in this in this country that you know They had a great scares buddies and they had this vision. You know this sort of oxygen vision about the future and so very cool story of that. Derby winner. And you know of course that really I don't know I just remember when when when we win the Derby with mom article in Rocky not move which said then housewife wins and and and of course look this like Denver housewife and got an MBA Columbia University. Right whose father has been breeding great horses well headline away characters in the night. Yes right so there you go and of course that made destroy that. She was just a Denver housewife. Now that's what I thought was great. That of course. Well you mentioned it was interesting you mentioned. I hadn't even thought of this but I had done a little bit of research and and you know thank God. Dad wasn't involved in the in the battle that tenth amount was at Riva Ridge because Encourage anyone who's listening to this. Who's a history buff to go? Take a look at some pictures of Riva Ridge and you're looking at fifteen hundred two thousand feet sheer cliffs that these guys climbed and the reason why they were successful in that battle is because the Germans never expected that they would come from that direction. And and really like twenty five percent of them were killed or wounded in that in that battle horrifying thing and they were so brave and they were. Yeah I I don't know how it was that they they must have just said okay. We're going to do this at whatever. Cost Yeah Yeah if. They came out alive a lot of antenna without legs or various other. Let's talk a little bit. You know secretary and now we're GONNA mentioned the secretary of big red. The Beautiful Chestnut Horse Riva was really kind of the opposite of the striking horse as a youngster. Particularly I guess right you know he was he was also a little bit but like Trick and he won in Kentucky Unlike Secretariat Ship Tom Pretty quickly with his mom. And you know the scholars You know which meant that he he he wasn't he wasn't eating well a fever. And you know some trouble but he furniture Howard Gentry Fattened up and you know took the cabin took especially under his wing and pretty soon he was he was doing much better and But he grew up tall and skinny little gangly. He wasn't the big beautiful horse. That of course his stablemate was flop eared by any uncle but just an impasse and he was no great shakes to be as fatal investigate. I guess always right to be compared to Secretariat. Unfortunately backhoe follow active but But yeah he he and he he was he was fast. I don't know probably Ron talk about how he was fast timid and how it is an interesting story because it you don't scores. How intuitive run was and also An -lution And by listening to run and The whole team really working together. Jim Gaffney and and Charlie crist because you know Noticed that ran away from other horses. He he likes to be fun but it wasn't because because we WANNA win which is more like secretary it was it was like he wanted to get away from the other courses and so run thought well. This country really talented. He's got a lot of speed but he needs to be a little more comfortable running the side horses and through them and so he he asked me should for mark to take him out of training and work with him and so he he worked them. He worked with In by having courses come up alongside having questions behind questions ahead and that requires the cooperation of you. Know a Jimmy Gaffney and the whole program and it's sort of been down it got more comfortable and then from then on he was you know he can speed through which is really great. Well Eh. This is jumping ahead a little bit but I was struck when I read. Dance Story 'cause I had watched just a little bit earlier His his Belmont which was actually in many ways kind of remarkably similar to in some ways remarkably similar to secretariats in that they went very fast. He was being was pressed by two other horses to his outside. And you think about this was a horse who is timid and afraid of the horses to be pressed right on the rail like that and you haven't pulled away and won by open links. Didn't win by thirty one but one by convinced seven. That's pretty remarkable piece of insight by Ronnie to say he needs this because I think what Romney said. Yeah you can have a camper. Claimer was when he said Lucien Right. That's great place. Yeah exactly and and because he he clearly had the speed and the end with desire. I mean you know it takes more than just ability for picks you know sort of a desire to women so I think. That's you know wanting runny very experienced a lot of great horses. You know. Really he's had. This is the best choice I've ever ridden in that fan lot. At that time I think even the day the Derby wanted to make a change right. That Lucien was a little bit hesitant about but he trusted Ronnie to breakers. Yeah that what you mean. Yeah yeah well you know in both cases for well together runny and Lucien You know they they. Both were very intuitive about their versus. They knew their horses. And the way we communicate in such a way as say oh you know. I think we can do better. I think this is going to help and the team. I really great game and that that really that was great for the press so you mentioned a couple of times and I have to ask and I know I asked you about this note over by email. Last night I watched. The many people have watched the movie and quite frankly. Lucian comes across play by John. Malkovich almost cartoonish kind of character. Right yeah so I have to ask you what was what was the real was. He really liked that if he was he was okay so absolutely not and that was the thing about the movie. I regretted the most. And I think we're on to. It's not fair to portray mission like that and he definitely wasn't like that he was He was he comedian. He's firing you know strong opinions about things but he was Not was goofy. This was like when it came to horses and I don't think he you know the other thing that really drove me crazy about the movie. It's where they have him. You know news you know. Just before the burnings bad press notices that he'd came around with him in a in a barn importance and hey and lots away from the plane that you know anybody knows what choices to put cringe horribly but But anyway no with not like that never would have done it. I don't know what golf with like He's did where you didn't have some sort of funny looking close but so that everyone. Everybody had terrible. I mean those fashions were awful in the seventy That wasn't unique to him. The other person who wasn't at all like choose fraternise Elizabeth hands. She's yeah she was far more dignified and refer. She was not holyoke graduate and very great writer. New Courses Loved loved the business but she's pretty formal. I don't think she ever walked into a kmart and their entire life. Aren't done Kate Right. Well you know who knows? I don't really know she she was. She was married professional informal. She wasn't down home fun character that we talked about. Lucien team and in your mother you know two and obviously Eddie Sweat. And all the People Elizabeth him around the horse and around the stable So he you know he. They make these adjustments. The horse training and the blinker is all these different things. He wins the Derby. Now we come up to the preakness and unfortunately the wet track. Which had been his undoing before at highly. I I Comes UP THAT DAY. Right and he just he he was one of those horses never liked a wet surface. I think correct. Well Ron explains it to me. One and I thought very interesting. Yeah Well I mean we've had smaller homes. He had he had sort of little delicately deep chest and waist You know it's not a small horse by any means but Somebody got so much wrong. Who said he he looks like a deer ran like he shortage delicate I and he just couldn't get purchase. A good solid purchase and when secretary had big powerful lakes and big airports and he could just pound through anything. But you know it slide around the nervous so he wouldn't give all but he was so I think that and I don't know how many other horses have that problem. But that was particularly things. Oh No that they're they're out there you can look at past performances over on the West and then you'll see went four four wins three seconds. You know some handle it and I think a lot of it has to do with their frame and how much they can power three or not or skip over it in some cases I guess you know. Get over it. Yeah and I think it was interesting. said that and You know just just the way the body was built in. Yeah wouldn't that have been amazing? You know to triple Christmas You know Of course leading into the Belmont which we already talked about. I'm jumping around a little bit here. But then to know me I mean that could lead to a little bit of doubt about him coming into the Belmont but he quite all the doubters I think with that performance and completely yeah into take much for people to go he. He's for Real Yeah he's real deal and You know but but the other thing was after You know after the Belmont and then he went to California anyone's but then never really want again for the rest of that year a three hundred year or he it was like mom says he lost all respect. Everybody Kinda went okay. Then let's talk about this other big beautiful horse and and really bad for him because she knew what a great host he was and and how much he deserved you know to be respected fired And yet you know you know. Strapping younger comes along and steals the gun. Then and of course then when he loses that the course of the year honors after winning thirty and the bell. Yeah so he was not three year. Old of the key to them ended up being three year old champion. His younger stablemate go ahead. Of course all of that is like what I'm GonNa Happen. I wouldn't you know I wouldn't argue with the decisions but it it was just a shame and of course reader with also knocked ham. That secretary was secretary when people kinder- stable to visit him. You Know Secretariat with you. Know would get all the attention. And and of course. All persons like attention You know he's been sort of you know pose and you know he wasn't the glamour boy and And I think mom sat about that too because you know. If you haven't had secretaries he would have been started stable. He saved the farm to. Let's face it right absolutely. Yeah you know one of the things in you. Do you want me to talk about that. And do you think yeah? No no no please no please go. Well you know mom had She ran stable but she went on behalf of the board of Directors of metal on Metal Stud and that was basically Elizabeth him her brother and sister and and a few other folks and the they really. My aunt and uncle just really thought you know Granddad. Seen is not aware of course The haven't been making many for a while. The farmers should have been declined to Granddad. Let's you know took it been neglecting And so they're saying we'll sell it and put the money in the stock market and you know mom and sister that they keep it going you know and she said no you know this was his dream. He's still alive. We don't actually have the right to sell it out from under and then and so they should have said okay. But you know we're not going to allow this to go on forever. You want to try for a while. You know to keep this thing going go ahead. You're there has sort of had on the show and she'd had a few months of successes. But you know it was seventy and She'd been at for Several years and we were saying okay. We're done and she's going more just one more year. I had this this good. You know good feeling about religion so they finally said okay We'll let you hang on a little bit longer. Then so then starts winning and seventy one and that changed everything all of a sudden they go all right You could try it for a little bit long. So you know if that hadn't happened if we hadn't come along and and made the levers of the rest of the board members you would've told US secretary would probably still have been born because well was born by seventy but But you know without that team that I was talking about nutrition and run and and Eddie and Shimmy and and mom you know the whole them they were the no secretary would have been. Dorsey was I mean. I think you know We're Kalat that goes into a champion and even as much power. The secretariat had. You just don't know So who knows what he would have been. But we certainly wouldn't have had him so that would have been mad. You certainly first of all. That's a big bet that your mother had to make their which. I'm sure it was not done without a lot. As you cited a lot of a lot of pressure from family and the board and so you begin to understand why she felt such a special bond with Riva and one of the things that I read. It was really interesting to me. Was that you know. Secretary of course was that was a ham and over time. I think he had so many visitors. He just put on the same act probably for everybody but I want to confirm this Riva always knew when your mother was visiting would always come over to see her right. That's always yeah absolutely and and so on so many visitors and it's like you can always tell he was responding to you but we but yeah absolutely and a couple of things about we've been She she allowed her. The SORTA cut our teeth and make mistakes and learn. And and so that when Secretary Kim along she was ready. Because there's so much pressure for example that the Derby And but she didn't throw at so she knew how to do it and then she also had earned respect among her fellow owners. So you know. She had a lot more courage in making those decisions but she had to and And so she always should love because it's almost like they grew up together and he he. He convinced her sister that you know that she was. She knew what she was doing. They should keep trying so you know they're they're still palace in that way on the way that she didn't really feel the Yeah so so fine with him. Great identity with thought about the fact that he took her through that learning curve that prepared her for the next year right which was. Yeah wow well talk about the about I Dunno member the allegations that getting drugs. You go ahead with that. Yeah Yeah Yeah I did know this by the way. I was not aware that so this is an interesting story. Go ahead interesting story Partly because with another element of MOM getting You know cutting hertie learning how to You know because she she felt like he had been at then drugs and she She took him Well she commit allegations in the press and and remove him from the track. And I'm I'm sorry to Monmouth. Remember the name of the four name of the race but so So she she took him back to them on and they just and got roundly criticized by the leadership of Jockey doing let because she didn't quite understand it but she's done break the chain of evidence that they couldn't actually Test him on site and and so she said undermined her l. but fail said took her or the leadership. Said you know you. Own intrigued by coming up to half Have prepared you know doing making allegations but not being able to back them up with evidence. And so that was a than she was. Okay all right And so you know it's better to have that happen early on then later when you're in the national spotlight and feel that have been drugs and I don't think that was that unusual in this case. But they couldn't prove it Improvement because of the blocks of time between You know when when the Kurt and since and But it also made her really appreciate it you know. He he yeah. He achieved against a lot of Oz out. You know he get a lot of heart you know as I said When I was that claiborne that day and I was looking at the headstone. Day really struck me. How he's been relegated to second place you know Just kind of off the stage they are and it really made me sad just looking down at them because I remembered what a remarkable Orsi was watching that The Derby and the Belmont and those beautiful silks by the way just Just classic check. I think that going back in the day and and it's really nice to like I said I love the history of the sport and I like to bring back some of these names that we tend to forget about sometimes and I appreciate it because most people don't want to talk about I mean they they like me you know they really wanted to talk about the of course. That's not. Yeah that's right. Let's let's Riva. Did have a remarkable for your old year. We won the up here in Massachusetts when the Brooklyn when I mean he he. He showed his stuff that he was he was made of. He came made a comeback after drugging incident which was great. Well he did and also I think Given more was like having seen mistakes sued within the call of the three they were much more careful and selective and also I think we should pay more attention and training. So that he was reading the relations they put him in and and you know just came back stronger than ever and often four year olds have more More ability mortality. Understand what they're doing. And if we could have seen what secretary that would have been really special and and I'm really glad we would get the chance to redeem himself as a on because she'd say means great tomorrow we'll have an interview with Leeann Laden. Who until recently was the secretary of Tourism Manager? What is now called Middle Event? Park almost literally. Just a stone's throw off of interesting. Ninety five Leeann has authored with Cape tweedy books about Secretariat and the famous Metal Stud. You'll learn as I did that. What by all appearances was a blue blooded operation that have been handed down from generation to generation was anything. But and how the grit and determination of boy who grew up in dire poverty. Be at a man who left his mark on horse racing. Many many ways. Thanks for listening. We'll look forward to you joining us again tomorrow. In the meantime of course may the worst be with you.