Singletary races to victory in the Academy Road Stakes.

Singletary races to victory in the Academy Road Stakes.


Miler Singletary Carries Gridiron Pedigree

If ever a horse was aptly named, it is the well-muscled and broad Singletary, whose namesake is Hall of Fame Chicago Bears linebacker Mike Singletary. The equine version seems well prepared for his own battle at hand in the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) Saturday, having taken a small bite out of one of his owners two days before the race.

Trainer Don Chatlos Jr. is, not surprisingly, a native of the Windy City who has followed his father and three uncles onto the backstretch of racetracks. When he traveled to Florida to buy a few horses two years ago, he noticed a big-fleshed horse nobody else was paying much attention to, and insisted he be thrown into the deal for two other horses. The throw-in is now a Breeders' Cup contender.

A group of Los Angeles friends formed the Little Red Feather Racing syndicate that owns Singletary. Billy Koch, who is in the film business, organized the syndicate, and has been doubling as a hotwalker Breeders' Cup week, which has gotten him a couple of unexpected teeth marks over his ribs, courtesy of Singletary. It has not dampened Koch's enthusiasm at all. He is storming around the Lone Star backstretch like a kid on Christmas morning, pointing his video camera at the dozens of equine stars who pass by.

Koch should be used to stars, as he is a grandson of famous Hollywood film producer Howard Koch, who partnered with actor Telly Savalas as owners of Telly's Pop, an honest horse back when Billy was a child. Billy never had a chance not to love racing. His syndicate numbers about a dozen, all of whom will be hitting North Texas for Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships..

Singletary will certainly be a square price in the Mile. The son of Sultry Song has won five of his 15 lifetime starts, and an ultra consistent performer in stakes events. The winner of the San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT), Singletary was a game second in the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Hollywood in May, and after a summer break, ran a bang-up third, missing by just a head, in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile (gr IIT) three weeks ago, in a race he definitely needed to round into top form.

Mike Singletary is currently an assistant coach for the NFL's Baltimore Ravens. Although he has never seen the horse run, the syndicate keeps Singletary up-to-date on the horse's progress, including winner's circle photos.

If the equine Singletary proves as tough as the gridiron star, his foes in the Mile had better be prepared to bring their game faces with them on Breeders' Cup day.