Frazee's Folly, at left, and companion share a moment together on the farm.

Frazee's Folly, at left, and companion share a moment together on the farm.

Inside Track: Folly Good Fellow

Frazee's Folly retired at age 12, fittingly going out a winner in his final start.

When Ruberto Racing Stable Inc. claimed Frazee’s Folly in January of 2005 he was already a 9-year-old who had been through 11 different owners and won 10 of 65 lifetime starts. For most Thoroughbreds, that is a full career, and then some.

But Frazee’s Folly was just getting started.

Over the next year and a half, the gray/roan gelding won seven more times for owner/trainer Louis Ruberto Jr. while racing at mainly Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, and finished in-the-money in the first 12 starts he made for his new connections. In 2008, racing as an 11-year-old, the horse won only once in eight starts, prompting Ruberto and his family to make the difficult decision to retire him at age 12.

But first, the Rubertos decided to race Frazee’s Folly one final time at Mountaineer. On Dec. 9, he went to the starting gate for the last time in his remarkable career. And fittingly, he won a $10,000 claimer by a nose.

“It was a perfect way to end things,” said Jen Ruberto, who exercised the horse for her father-in-law. “He won the way he always did, at the wire. If you watch all his wins, he usually would get a big lead, wait for other horses to head him, and then stretch his neck out at the wire.

“We almost didn’t retire him after that last race because he loves competition so much. Be we all agreed he had done enough.”

Of his $537,602 in career earnings, Frazee’s Folly garnered more than $85,000 for the Rubertos, who run their family operation in West Point, Ohio, which is just 17 miles from Mountaineer. Louis Ruberto and his wife Sharon bought the 40-acre farm at the beginning of the decade, and along with help from Jen and her husband, Lou, they train all of their horses there.

“The only time we go to the track is to get published works in and when they race,” Jen Ruberto said.

The Rubertos, who have about 10-12 horses in training, had their eye on ‘Folly’ for a while before they claimed him. The hard-knocking horse had raced all over the East Coast throughout his career, hitting nine different racetracks before settling into the claiming ranks at Mountaineer in 2003.

The son of Beau Genius—Been Dazzled, by Broadway Forli was bred in Kentucky by Dr. Brian Davidson, George De Bendedicty and Vinery, and originally owned by Edward Frazee, who bought him for $35,000 as a yearling in 1998.

Folly was a somewhat highly-regarded 3-year-old, as he won three straight races entering 2000 West Virginia Derby, where he finished sixth. After that, his claim to fame was when he won a $7,500 claiming race at Mountaineer in 2004 for Dale Baird. It was the 9000th career victory for Baird.

“He had been all over the place, but we liked him because we claimed a horse by the same sire twice before and we liked the bloodline,” said Jen Ruberto. “We liked his work ethic and he always seemed to be knocking at the door. He was a sound and good-looking horse.”

The Rubertos never expected Folly to win as much as he did in the three years they raced him, but he seemed to respond to a new method of training.

“We put him in a swimming pool and it helped him a lot,” Ruberto said. “It kind of rejuvenated him. We also spaced out his races more; gave him four to six weeks between races.

“Some people would feel bad for him to be racing at his age, but we never made him do anything he didn’t want to do. He loved his job and was sound. He loves competition. You would never know he’s 12 years old. He acts like he’s 3.”

The Rubertos say the best part of Folly’s story is where he will be going for retirement. As soon as a stall opens up, the 12-year-old will be off to New Vocations, a racehorse adoption program in Hilliard, Ohio. Founded in 1992, New Vocations offers horses a safe-haven, rehabilitates when needed, teaches them a new vocation and eventually places them in a caring home.

To date, over 2,000 Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds have been placed in qualified homes through New Vocations, which has two Ohio facilities.

“It’s a wonderful place,” Ruberto said. “They have a careful screening process and keep lifetime contact with the horses. Sometimes, you never know where a horse can end up. These horses are guaranteed a place to come back to if they need it. We have two horses there currently.

“Folly deserves a good home. He’s enjoying his retirement but he needs a job. This way, we know he’ll find a good place to live.”