It was August of 2000. I had come out of retirement the year before to ride basically just my horses. I was at Saratoga at the Oklahoma track from early spring getting my 3-year old filly and my 4-year old gelding ready to run. The gelding, named Makes More Sense (stable name Junior), was a New York bred and I was pretty sure he had the talent to run at Saratoga, at least as a maiden anyway.
As talented as he was, he was plagued with back and hock problems. Basically, I galloped horses for several other trainers including Bill Mott to make money to train my own two horses. I loved Junior to the moon and back! He was a huge 17-hand full bodied horse. A true gentle giant. I bought him as a yearling and broke and trained him myself. He was a complete pleasure to work with. Easiest horse I ever started. Just a sweet and quiet guy from the start, which was a really good thing considering how big he got!
He was a joy to gallop on the track. Big, powerful, smooth and well-behaved. I spent every spare penny on acupuncture, chiropractic and hock injections to keep him sound. The meet started and for those that have been to Saratoga to train, you know when the meet started if you were not a wel- known trainer, they ousted you from the Oklahoma track to a local farm, from which you had to ride your horse about 2 miles to get to the main track.
He was like a pony to ride through fields, traffic and gawking people. If you have ever trained at Saratoga you know what a circus it is during the meet. People everywhere, banners flapping, kids running up and down the outside rail. My Junior never flinched. This was the first race track he had ever been to and it was no big deal to him! Struggling along money-wise to get to a race with him, I finally got him in a New York bred Maiden race going 6 furlongs. Junior was quite speedy from the gate, especially for such a big horse. I was so excited to be riding my sweet big boy for my first time at Saratoga! What a thrill!
Coming out of the jock’s room and having so many people ask for autographs and wishing me luck; the walk out of the paddock and onto that iconic track was a dream come true. I was in heaven. Best of all, I really thought I had a shot of coming in the money. Maybe even win! (That kind of stuff never happens to me!) Well, we warmed up, got in the gate and out we came IN FRONT! Around the turn another horse hooked us, but we blew him off. Coming down the stretch (an extremely LONG one it seemed) I was still in front and running easy. About the eighth-pole, another horse hooked us and went by. We were still second with nothing coming at us. Under the wire we went together. Beat by only one length and the horse that ran third was 4 lengths behind us! What a thrill! Not a win but what an amazing feeling.
Me and the sweet baby I brought up, broke and trained, ran second at Saratoga!
I don’t even remember what happened from galloping out to getting back to the jock’s room I was so excited! Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, when I drove into the track that morning, my truck died. Yup, dead. I needed a new transmission. Guess you know where some of that very nice purse went!
Jockey, Owner and Trainer Sherry with her amazing horse, Makes More Sense, in the paddock at Saratoga in August 2000.