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John “Mickey” Martin takes prized claim to Gulfstream; Filly Mended shooting for tenth consecutive victory

By Warren Eves

Quite some time ago I wrote an opinion that the Thoroughbred Racing Commentary site is the best anywhere!

When they ran a story on trainer John Martin and I felt compelled to write something about one of the most productive trainers in my lifetime.

Trainer John “Mickey” Martin has his prized $12,500 claim Mended entered in the second race at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Dec., 2. What a story!

All this filly Mended has done since John claimed her is to win nine races in a row for owners Troy and Maritza Onarato.

It’s an awesome card and the Claiming Crown Glass Slipper with a purse of $110,000 lured the Martin-trained filly all the way from Golden Gate in Northern California to Florida.

Wow! Great to see “Mickey” Martin getting the ink he deserves. I knew he’d won a ton of races, but 1,808 is mind boggling. I knew his father well. We go back so far I’d forgotten about his days with the quarter horses and the appys.

This I do know, all those wins on his record, did not happen by accident. Can’t tell you how gratifying it is to see John continuing to do so well. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for claiming trainers who are able to take horses with issues and with proper care get them back to their potential.

I’ve seen many superb claiming trainers in my time. Wish my recall were better but a few of the best were “Fabulous Pete” Maxwell(46-47-48), Neil Boyce(Lucky PJ & Escadal), Mike Mitchell, Bobby Frankel and David Jacobson. Don’t throw stones at me because I know I’ve forgotten many other deserving claiming trainers.

Over the years I held great respect for the likes of Richard Maitlow, Jack Carava and Kent Molinaro. The latter never has had more than a few horses at a time. That’s the same reputation “Mickey” has earned over a great number of years while based in Northern California.

Those who know me are well aware of the love I had for Appy and quarter horse racing, and the county fair racing circuit.

Aside from those summers sitting at the head of the stretch at Hollywood Park on a warm summer afternoon, there was nothing close to the Pomona Fair when it was an enchanting half-mile bullring. I was in action in a lot of races daily when it was mixed breed county fair meet, the way things should have remained. But greed, in my opinion, ruined the best venue on the planet.

I don’t recall like my life-long buddy Eddie Burgart, but I still remember the day I had a goodly portion of the pool after they ran an appy race at Pomona. Let’s just say I had a fistfull of hundreds. Who cares? It was an awesome day. I do remember one thing, however. That’s when Ron Hansen was still riding at Pomona. Those were the days.

One thing I know. When and if you see a horse trained by Johh “Mickey” Martin, you can bet your last dollar he’s been well prepared.

I love this sort of thing. A former claimer. Gets on win binge. Goes for a $60K first place purse. And the rest of the card looks awesome also with full fields. Bravo!

I’ll be watching for sure.

Notes scribbled on my program--Chief’s Little Pearl was all over the racetrack when second in race six at Golden Gate Nov., 10. It was a better than looked second place effort……………Say it isn’t so. The word around town is Jack Liebow will be running the show at Los Alamitos Race Course now that Brad McKenzie has passed on. Liebow was in charge of Hollywood Park before it’s fateful end…………Hard to believe the track William B. Kyne built in 1934 has been gone since August of 2006. We are fortunate to have interviewed his publicity man for our book “Hold All Tickets” so all is not lost. That publicity man was none other than Bob Wuerth, and boy oh boy does he tell some great stories about Kyne and the once great racing surface in San Mateo, Ca……………….Carl Broberg claimed the 3yo filly Maline for $30K for himself and she graduated in a maiden special ranks in good order on Nov., 10 at Delta Downs. Looks like Broberg made a great claim for himself…………….It’s always great to see a huge effort for an owner trainer like Charles Hukill. He switched to jockey Emanuel Nieves and his five-year-old gelding named Kiss Him Twice came home strongly to win at a huge price on Nov., 10 at Delta Downs. Looking at the past performances the only reason we could look to for the huge run was the rider switch…………….Had to like the maiden special weight score of first time gelding Pool Playa on Nov., 12 at Woodbine. The second time starter by Pool Play was away well, set the pace and then in the lane he needed only two taps of the crop to graduate for trainer Bancroft Desouza………………Kris Katolak continues to be a poster boy for what is oh so lacking too often when it comes to pre-race factions who offer their or selections. His 1-2-3-4 “picks from the Remington Park paddock are not going to aid viewers. Katolak has never grasped what it takes to gather and form reasons worthy of pre race comments. I’ve watched him for years. It’s obvious he does not spend much time watching video tape of prior races. Katolak seldom brings anything to the table that one cn find in the past performances. Worthy prognosticators are hard to find because it takes hours of preparation. Those who have scrutinized videos of prior races  keep tedious notes in a ledger, can be worth a listen.  Not the 1-2-3-4 “picks” format that is the case with Katolak…………..I couldn’t believe my ears Saturday night when I heard Steve Desomer was still driving at Cal Expo. I did a search, and sure enough Desomer was driving the trotter Sliverlode who was 17-to-1. He went right to the front, set a fast opening quarter of 28 3/5 and held sway for second. And pray tell, how old is Desomer?  He’s 80 years young. Back in the days when I was doing publicity in at Southern California harness meets at Los Alamitos, Hollywood Park and Santa Anita you could bet Desomer would have a strong stable. Now? He’s limiting his driving to a few trotters…………..Chantal Southerland rode a winner at the Fairgrounds on Friday. She figures to do okay in New Orleans.

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About The Author

Warren Eves
Warren Eves is a senior turf writer from the state of California who calls Pearl River, Louisiana his home. The one time editor of the Pasadena Independent Star News moved on to handle publicity for racetracks coast to coast. Eves gained his first exposure to the racetrack through a school buddy the late Art Lerille, Jr., who eventually became a trainer in California. Warren worked as farm manager for crack two-year-old trainer Ray Priddy, before holding on track jobs at the racetrack. He worked for Hall of Fame trainer M.E. "Buster" Millerick, Allen Drumheller, Jr., and Dick Moon. Eves has a well rounded background in all breeds. He developed Quarter Horse Report in 1979 with Ed Burgart, track announcer, at Los Alamitos Race Course. It was an innovative publication which revolutionized the industry with actual descriptions of the workouts. While handling publicity at Saratoga Raceway in upstate New York Eves was named employee of the year in 1970. He also handled publicity for Sunland Park, Centennial Park, Ascot Park, Thistledown, and two harness meetings in California. Eves then went into the 900-line business with his best plays and has compiled his own Kentucky Derby ratings for many years. In 1997 he began going back and forth to Las Vegas teaming up with Ralph Siraco to create the long runining radio show Raceday Las Vegas. Eves has produced and directed many horse racing shows on both radio and television. In 2010 he got a call from Mark Geiger. That's when he began writing Eves, with a reputation of a trip handicapper, is known for his video tape scrutiny. He currently monitors horse racing in for a major horseplayer. While writing for Ridder Publication at the Pasadena Star News his investigative reporting was highly regarded by his peers. Often on the cutting edge, Eves has been given the green light to write about what issues he sees fit to cover. Have a question. His book "Hold All Tickets" is soon to be made available for those who come to this site. It's a factual account of actual events and happenings that took place in the 70s, 80s and 90s. If Warren doesn't know the answer to a question you may have, he'll tell you up front. Eves won't drop it there, however, he'll find someone who knows the answer and get back to you.


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