Robert Schaedle III's Honor Glide, one of only three horses to sweep Arlington Park's Mid-America Triple, vaulted his owner from relative obscurity to national prominence on the Thoroughbred racing scene in 1997.
The late Ogden Phipps, who owned Buckpasser, the previous Mid-America Triple winner 31 years earlier, came from a family that had been prominent in racing for more than a century.
Now comes a new unfamiliar ownership duo named Jerry Givens and Jack Gullatt with a horse named Seainsky trained by Wesley Hawley. Together the group has a dream to start their son of Sea Hero in the ArlingtonClassic (gr. II) on June 29.
The Arlington Classic, the first grade II event of the 2002 Arlington season, is also the first leg of the Mid-America Triple. The series continues on July 21 with the American Derby (gr. II) and concludeswith the Secretariat (gr. IT) as part of the International Festival of Racing on Arlington Million Day Aug. 17.
How good is Seainsky?
"He's easily the best horse I've ever had," said Hawley, a new face on the Arlington backstretch currently splitting his stable between Arlington and Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie, Texas. "He's only started five times, with two wins and two seconds, but those seconds came behind a colt by A. P. Indy and a colt by Danzig."
Not that Seainsky needs to apologize for his own parentage. By the 1993 Kentucky Derby winner, the gelding is out of a Nijinsky II mare and seems to have ideal bloodlines for a career over the lawn.
"He almost died on us Christmas Day," said Hawley, explaining his sophomore's light campaign to date. "Luckily, he seems to have as many lives as a cat. When he got pneumonia this winter, we came within a couple of hours of having to make a decision, but I kept giving him medicine four times a day -- I'd have my wife wake me up in the middle of the night -- and he responded to it. Thirty days later he was acting good again, and by the beginning of March he was racing again. He's looking great now and if things continue to go right, we'll run him in the Classic, and I'll be making a good bet on him."
Hawley, 39, from Beaver, Okla., "a small town in the panhandle," started out as a classmate of Doug Bredar, now the Churchill Downs racing secretary, when together they attended the University of Arizona race track program in Tucson, but Hawley couldn't afford to stay through to graduate. He began to do physical therapy on horses for other people, working on such good ones as Dispersal, Rockamundo, and Shot Gun Scott.
"I've been around trainers like Bud Delp, when he had Dispersal, and J. R. Smith when he was around Oaklawn, as well as Richard Hazelton," Hawley said. "I've learned something from each of them, not the least of which was that there might be two or three ways to do the same thing. It's not so much that there's a right way or a wrong way - it's what works best foryou. I've learned a lot in my career by just watching people like that."