By Warren Eves
Former trainer Bobby Rose takes issue with one of horse racing’s best turf writers Tim Osterman.
Osterman wrote in his “Sick of the Whip” column for Today’s Racing Digest: “In a sport that is in dire need of more folks in the seats, racing continues to not only support, but generally demand, that jockey’s beat up horses during each and every race even if it turns off untold members of potential fans.”
“Yes, there are a minority of horses that resent the whip,” Rose comments. ”but he(Osterman) is clueless about those that actually reach their full potential through the use of the whip.”
Osterman is critical of whip use by jockeys. There are many who agree with his stance. Rose worked for famed Sunny “Jim” Fitzsimmons and R.L. “Bob” Wheeler.
“I’ll go no further than to name the 1988 Breeders Cup winner at Churchll Downs,” says Rose, who went on to train in California on his own. ”The horse’s name was Great Communicator, with Ray Sibille up. That horse wouldn’t have been worth a dime if Ray didn’t stay after him the final three-quarters of a mile, with his stick.
“I’ve known, and been aboard many, many of them that only extend themselves through the use of a whip. Of course, when a horse is spent, and has no chance of saving a pari mutuel payoff position, the whip should not be used excessively, as there is no reasoning behind that. Martin Garcia was fined for exactly that by the Stew’s at Santa Anita. Justifiably so, I might add.”
Rose continues to make his case. ”The key is for the riders and trainers to learn their individual horses and realize every detail that will bring out the best performances in each. I inherited a filly named Celery from northern California that never ran a jump up there in her races. I freshened her, and when time came to breeze her 5/8ths before I ran her, I was on her myself. She went every eighth in 12.0 for the half-mile, and I drew my whip and showed it to her with intentions of tapping her with it. She pinned her ears and damn near propped! Ahah!…….I had found the key to what soon was to be a win in a straight maiden race at Santa Anita and paid $97.
“I selected a Panamanian jock that was here from New York, where I had witnessed what a strong hand-rider he was. His name was Angel Santiago, and he had attended the jockey school in his homeland that sent us so many outstanding strong handriders. I informed him that I didn’t even want him to show her the whip(I could “never” take a jock’s whip away from them), so I allowed him to carry it in case of emergency!.”
“So, I have given an example here of both ends of the stick, pun intended, as to why in my humble opinion, Mr. Osterman does not know from where he speaketh.”
Osterman wrote in his column: “Trevor Denman(Santa Anita’s announcer) has been advocating banning the whip for decades. When it comes fo announcing races, he’s revered in the game. When it comes to speaking up for the horses, he’s pretty much treated like the invisible man. Let’s face it–some jockeys just brutes who like to take their frustrations out on the “dumb” animal beneath them.”
This debate about whip use is not going away any time soon. Years ago when I was covering the racing action in California on a daily basis there was the Ismael “Milo” Valenzuela debate. Milo was often criticized for leaving welts on his mounts–and the complaints were valid. The other side of the ledger? Milo got there first a lot of times.
You can liken this debate to the ongoing back and forth argument on Lasix. Everyone knows I have opposed the use of Lasix and give strong reasons why. Many strongly believe my stance is wrong. Guess we’ll always have these sorts of issues in horse racing.
Notes scribbled across my official program–Just thinking out loud but maybe they gelded Brassy’s Blessing when dropping him in for maiden $5,000 in his last start. The reason we think this might be the case is the way the Oklahoma-bred son of Brassy Wells finished after a troubled beginning on March 11 at Will Rogers Downs. The four-year-old, who was listed as a four-year-old colt in the Daily Racing Form, ran probably his best race for new trainer Jose Ibarra. We also noted his first registered work at Will Rogers was a bullet best of 17 half mile move of 49 1/5 breezing…………………Gotta stop being so cranky but would someone please tell me why every race caller on the planet is now using “from front to back” in every call? Where oh where did originality go in the world of race announcing? Thank God for Eddie Burgart at Los Alamitos Race Course who has not copied anyone that I know and he was around the best of ‘em when he took over for Bobby Doyle.……………After watching the fifth race at Will Rogers on March 12 I had to wonder how in the world B.J’s Legacy was still a maiden. She lost enough ground to lose two races and once headed in the lane she battled back at the maiden $15,000 level. I’ll have to key on her next time out for sure and maybe that’s when I’ll understand why this four-year-old filly has had so much trouble breaking her maiden for Cabin Creek Farms and trainer Shad Seaton.………………As of March 13th still no movement of any kind on HB0995 in the Illinois General Assembly. The lengthy written bill as was to have given a 6-month extension to factions like TVG to take bets in Illinois. In fact, the governing body went right on past the bill the other day. I won’t even attempt to explain what the dispute entails. One has to conclude TVG factions are not interested paying the state what they are asking for. Nothing has happened on this issue since January 29 so maybe it’s dead in the water…………….Hard to believe Tony Dutrow would tell a license review committee that he continued to train horses while suspended in two other jurisdictions. We know this sort of thing has gone on in the past but it appears Dutrow’s arrogant attitude is just about at the end in Kentucky. Reportedly he continued to train Wild Desert and officials discovered he had fraudulently had a bogus workout for the same horse………………..Sometimes the apprentice jockey should not be faulted for a losing ride. That would be the case when Pablo Canchari rode favored Front Line Lawyer for owner-trainer Ray Cannon at Will Rogers on March 13. To say there was no tempo in this $15,000 claiming mile is an under statement. The half was 52 and they reached the 3/4 mark in 1:17 3/5. Canchari and Front Line Lawyer were last and made this wide move on the far turn to loom. The only problem was Robbytyme had been on the lead all the way. When crunch time came Robbytyme prevailed due to a kinder trip………………If you happened to be watching the races from Gulfstream Park on March 15 then you saw yet another promising young colt from the barn of Todd Pletcher. Zaikov was second over early, took the lead in 45.77 and once in the straight he drew out under John Velasquez without the need of any urging. He covered the distance in 57.66 while covering the final fraction in less than 12 seconds…………….Kudos to the Santa Anita stewards. They fined trainer Hector Palma $1,000 for failing to announced Indian Classic had been gelded prior to his winning on March 1…………….In case you don’t follow the action at Hawthorne, Clay Brinson continues to win at an amazing clip. He’s always been one of the most successful small stable trainers in the land. On March 17 he sent out Jimmy Got Even to win the eighth race. Most of his horses are well backed but it’s hard to leave them out of the mix when they do run……………Sometimes, despite our extensive experience in replay, we are left a bit puzzled. That would be after the three-year-old filly Cactus Dawn vied early for the lead and once she got command on the far turn she won off. It was a one-mile maiden special weight race for fillies and mares and she made it look easy. Cactus Dawn had not been seen since a second place try at Sunland Park last December. Visually she was impressive, but after considerable thought, we did not add her to our “playback” list………………….Financially Secure won the second at Will Rogers on March 19. He was coming off the bench for Boyd Caster but did not make my playback list despite a better-than-looked win for $5K. He broke straight and was not quick early. Financially Secure then caught hold and raced up only to check off heels of horses, moving to the outside. Third to the top the six-year-old responded to right-hand urging to win a driving finish.