Michael Blowen Interview - September 19, 2020
Well Michael Blowing is now with me to kick off the second half of the program, Michael Good morning my friend. Good Morning Mike good to hear from you. Yeah great to have you on the program. Again, hear your voice and you know I reference at the top of the show when I was talking about Green Mountain. There is so much history they're going all the way back to. Right after Lou Smith bought the place course, the owner of Rockingham park he founded and ran thoroughbreds there for the first time in nineteen, sixty three. But in nineteen, Sixty, eight, green mountain became the first track on the east coast to host Sunday racing, and that was just the start of the history that track would make. Yeah looseness was a great guy I got to know him towards the end of his reign at Rockingham Park and new was just a greatest guy and no green mountain such a beautiful little little track. You know when you you called, it asked me to be on started thinking about it when I was a kid growing up, there were seventeen in. thoroughbred race tracks in. New England. Glued in. Great. Barrington great and Green Mountain and three county fair and all those tracks along with Suffolk and Rocky Ham and Narragansett always there were seventeen of them and now there are none. Zero. Zero It is it's hard to believe but Green Mountain for anybody who's ever driven by their even when it was even when it was abandoned. And the whole place is falling down It's such a beautiful beautiful location, I mean. It's such. It was such a gorgeous little place and. The only thing I can add to what everybody Mike Welsh is written, and and a lot of other people have written their their worked at Green Mountain. Remind me a P coolest when I listened to the program earlier, you know you know Pete is to go there and miss. You know he was really he was really a great guy and then he P P was a marvelous man and and I know he looked green mountain but it was such a gorgeous setting at the bottom of the mountains, the green mountains their. One. Personal. Recollection that I have is I didn't really get involved with raising until after green. Mountain woes. And every year when we drove back from Sharon Toga after opening weekend Saratoga. Diane I would go by and we drive the back way home instead of taking the Massachusetts turnpike and always go by. Green Mountain Park, and every year was. Looking a little more desperate, little more desperate, little more desperate. Well in the late. Ninety I think ninety nine or two thousand Howard Dean was still governor Vermont and they wanted to have simulcasting at. Green Mountain Park. Put It in a nice restaurant have simulcasts, and so a friend of mine and. A group of people together a plan. to have simultaneous to have live racing at Green. Mountain. the. The weekend before Saratoga Open and the weekend that Saroj after Saratoga. So people on their way to Saratoga or back from Saratoga would have the opportunity to do this and the concept was we would have green racing. You know no, no drugs go whips only racing on the grass. And make it into six day. You know really cool little meat and And and then Vermont could ask simulcasting and they could open up the restaurant all year round and do all that kind of thing and. Pretty much had the deal put together. But at the end, the the price kept going up. Every time we turned around and we thought we had made arrangements to purchase that detract the. The the price kept going up until it got out of sight, and then that was the end of our involvement with it and I don't know how many people try to open it up since then but that was we came pretty close Howard Dean really to do. Yeah. Yeah, you know it's it's. It's sad that that didn't come together. Michael I know that there were many attempts over the years censoring mountain had closed in the early nineties to try to revitalize the race track and people look to getting involved and it just for whatever reason want one reason or another it never materialized but you know going back to its heyday. Back, after the Rooney family took over, which was right around nineteen seventy-three I guess and of course, people will know the Rooney's is the owners of the Pittsburgh steelers. They bought the track they've been very involved with not just green mountain, but with several race tracks in our co in the country and. So many people that I've talked to over the years they have worked at Green Mountain couldn't say enough good things about that family and the efforts that they made to make racing successful at that track and all the other tracks. No I totally agree I mean when they talk about what's happening was racing now? oftentimes, people don't mention that but the people that ran racing. You know when when Suffolk was in his heyday and when Rockingham was in his heyday really loved racing. and. You know there's the Rooney family and the gold race you can go on and on and on. But they were really dedicated to. To racing. And now there's a lot of absentee ownership and you know just there's not the personal attachment where you know when. When used to walk around places like Green Mountain and even great Barrington the up to people that own the track would be at in the backstretch every morning walking around talking to trainers wars. How're you details at the emily? You know they've been coming back for years and a lot of people in New England in particular I. Thought these places as almost like a summer camp for adults. Where people could get away from the city and take their vacations and go to go to Green Mountain in Great Barrington and all the little tracks and the little places where you know most of the people that were there really doors the sport. We. Missed that a lot isn't it and I think I think it's I think it's starting to hit home that these smaller tractor beginning to evaporate at even higher rate and and we've got to do something to to help them because I, think the county fairs. and. The little tracks are extremely important to the overall health of the sport. Speaking of helping the industry I'm visiting by the way with Michael Blowing from friends retirement centre here in Kentucky and Michael. You have done Yeoman's work over the years to help the sport and a help horses that have competed in our sport at a high level and even some that have not competed at a high level but you have taken them in with open arms at old friends. Give me an update on what's happening old friends right now. Well it's been. It's been really great. We're very grateful to John Hendrickson, a state of Mary Lou Whitney they just retired Bridgestone to us. And he's here now we've picked up the pizza man and work all week. recently. stormy, liberal and Patch I mean it being national pirate pitcher patch. Doing really, well together and we just made a really nice arrangement with L. N. J. foxwoods to be their official home for retiring their broodmares. And they just delivered to. Pay, for the. Construction of new paddick running waters looks really nice. I to The broodmares delivered last week so and. One of them is really amazing. Horse her name mystery trip. And she was the last ball by weekend surprise. WHO everybody probably knows one of the greatest broodmares in history. Babies like AP. And so. I. Hope that you know they're being more organizations more partnerships more. Owners that would Think about what happens these courses once they're done racing and breeding and make some make some provisions because I think it's it makes a lot of fun and you know. Except for the virus now, which is cut down a lot and we limited our tours. Now you know we reopened when the. shapely. It'd be really nice to see all the people coming back and seeing all these horses I still have a horse. I had. WHO One racist for us. Trade. I claimed him in nineteen ninety nine summer attraction. He's still here with me. So wow. So the. Site, from the travers winners and Belmont winners and silver charms doing well. Derby winner It's like, no, you're right. We do have a lot of horses that. Didn't really grid wanted. Thanks races they deserve a dignified retirement as well. How about my old friend Zippy chippy is he still around? Yeah Jiffy chippy is Is that our farm up in church hope we have a vision of his territory that's run by John Pepper who doesn't marvelous job up there and should be chippy up there. He's I think sippy just turn like. Twenty eight. The like that. Of course was the big star, the fears because he could never win a race. And and believe it or not. That was the hardest negotiation. I ever had to try and get a or stole friends. Felix be looks leased to take into used car lots after after racing career was over for like a couple, hundred bucks and. He. Stand around the. used. Car Lot Western Massachusetts. And, be the celebrity. The celebrity guests so people would be drawn into hike used cars. Felix was not interested in giving up to too early but eventually, it worked out well and and he's He's really great up there with drained and all her wonderful cruised outside Saratoga. Yeah it's great to hear according to Wikipedia his official race record was over a hundred with eight seconds and thirds he earned about thirty thousand dollars in his career but I. Would race. against. Like Minor League baseball players to he would show up as a stunt there, and he would race against and and was beaten by by a human being by Major League Baseball player if I remember correctly, right Yes eventually he He he raised I think they didn't start the distance gave the baseball player big head start but. I'm trying to remember his name, his name was McDonnell, and he he played played for the Red Sox the Yankees. Yeah. Yeah it it yeah. Jose Herrera I think is is according to the wikipedia. Here I think it was Jose Herrera. In Rochester New York actually and he beat Zippy that day. and. I can't Michael Tell you real quick pilots. You go my claim to fame was Zippy chippy and I think we can go back and look this up I was handicapping the races and I was going through the racing form and I saw the names Zippy chippy he was going to make his debut and if I'm not mistaken I'm pretty sure he was firing bullets for his debut as a man this horse looks like he can really run I like Zippy chippy on top in this race. necessarily. What kind of Cap Ryan he goes over one hundred You're not the only one because when we we make glasses with the horses names on the list are conferences boat we couldn't listen any zippy's because WHO's, OPRAH HUNDRED And so I went back and we ended up. We ended up listening to the names of every all twenty, six jockeys that road. And he went from Mike. Smith. and Richard Meekly Ori all the way down to WHO and who you know. and. So That's all I'll twenty six names running the Undergrad glass nobody could get them to. Nobody. Could get into win one race but this motto is good. My motto is winners don't always finish I. Love that it and now he's. zippy. Chippy I mean. We're wonderful book that they wrote about the guy in Canada wrote about Zippy I mean. He's famous people come from all over the country to see. So, maybe this is the apex. Now, he's the jurist trashing these raising a lot of money up the a cabin, creek updrafts or friends and. And maybe that's what he was always meant to. Be. It'd be a silence superstar. Good for him and people can go to old friends, equine dot org. If they want to see all of the horses at old friends, there are so many of them. So many of the names that you become familiar with and fallen in love with over the years old friends equine dot org. Of course, you can support old friends. Michael has not why I brought you. On this wasn't a stunt to raise money for old friends I want to look back on green mountain but we encourage everybody if they're gonNA do something, they wanna make a donation. Why not old friends a wonderful organization you get all the credit in the world my friend for for bringing these horses home and giving them a home after they're done racing so well, done and. Can't wait for things get back to normal as we can get out there and see him again. My thanks so much.