“Never look a gift horse in the mouth,” mothers say – but that didn’t stop Dad’s jaw from dropping when his daughter presented him with a racehorse at Arlington Park on Father’s Day weekend.
Mike Kappos, 79, a Chicago native who has been coming to Arlington Park most of his life as a racing fan, has always dreamed of owning a race horse someday. Now he does.
Pat Beauvais, Kappos’ daughter, and her children made his dream come true with a surprise public Father’s Day weekend presentation in Arlington’s paddock after Saturday’s second race.
Following a meticulously coordinated effort with Arlington Park’s staff, Beauvais arranged the surprise scenario for her father as he attended Saturday’s races with his family.
“We took him to the paddock, supposedly to say ‘hello’ to his friend, trainer Mike Dini,” said Beauvais. “However, we had contacted Arlington earlier and they had arranged for Arlington television hostess Liane Davis to be in on the surprise. He thought he was going to be interviewed as a father attending the races with his family on Father’s Day weekend.
“When Liane came up to him with a microphone, we all gathered around and brought out a framed photograph of the yearling we had bought for him,” Beauvais said. “Then Liane explained to him that this was a picture of the horse he now owned.
“He was completely and totally surprised,” Beauvais said the morning after the presentation. “He said, ‘Oh my, I can’t believe this.’
“To be honest, I don’t think it’s really sunk in for him yet,” said Beauvais Sunday. “He kept calling us with additional questions about the horse all last evening. What made the surprise even better was that Dad always attended the races with his lifelong friend Gus Nicholson.
“Gus died last year, and we all miss him terribly,” she explained, “but Gus’s wife Mary Nicholson flew up from Florida for the presentation, and she told us that if Gus had been alive, he would have enjoyed this just as much as Dad did. We’ve named the horse ‘Mike’s Gust O’ in honor of both of them.”
Mike’s Gust O, a yearling son of Yonaguska, was purchased at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky February sale for $10,000. He is out of Trumpet's Blare, a daughter of Vice Regent who won the 1989 Arlington Washington Lassie Stakes (gr. I) at Arlington.