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Cinderella

It was 1999, a good horse named OLD TRIESTE, was pointing for the Breeders Cup Classic, at old Gulfstream Park, pre-Stronach era.


Big chestnut was trained by Mike Puype, the owner a bit eccentric, but he put a lot of monies in the game, ridden by Chris McCarron.


Old Trieste had won 4 in a row in the spring and summer of 4yo year, including the Affirmed Handicap and Swale.


A pair of thirds, as he seemed off form that fall going into Breeders Cup Classic.


The word was he had a bad foot. He had a decent work, after third place finish in the Goodwood at Santa Anita but before sending across country, owner, wanted assurance he was OK, so they put McCarron on, in a gallop, to test the foot.


Shades of later in 2008 of Big Brown, foot problems do not go away overnight. I had learned the hard way with my own horses.


I get a 'tele' from Andy Beyer: "Bruno, I need to hear what is your opinion on Old Trieste", said Andy without even saying 'Hello'.


At that time Andy was very engaged in trying to get the scoop. I was on his 'fave 5'.


I told him exactly what I wrote above, that the mere fact they had to get McCarron to get on his back to test, they were concerned. He was a toss for me.


Guess after some arm twisting, they geared up to ship and run.


I explained to Andy that I wasn't going to get within a furlong of Old Trieste in the classic at the betting windows.


"Then why would they run?" asked Andy, a fair question that demanded a good answer. "Because even Cinderella Step sisters wanted to go to the dance!" I responded.


We chuckled. I forgot about it.


Fast Forward to Friday before Breeders Cup, it was a one day event back then, I am clocking in the old cavernous Gulfstream grandstand and here comes Beyer.


(if I close my eyes I can hear Andy's voice) "Bruno, I have gotten more responses to my column today than I can count.'' I had zero clue, I had not read or seen the Friday form.


Fast forward to the races, I am hanging out with the Carlsbad millionaire club, Mr Big, Kelly Michaels, and others, I was looking at the past performances, when I hear Mr Big, two seats down: "You idiot!"


I hadn't seen the Beyer DRF column, and it was about Old Trieste, he had quoted me about the Cinderella's Step Sisters wanting to go to the ball.


"You idiot", said Mr Big, "we do a lot of business with that guy [the owner]."


The rest of the day Mr Big and friends made sure they stood on the opposite side of the paddock from me, that's why we called him Mr Big.


Old Trieste ran poorly, 8th in the classic and never raced again.


Even today, everyone wants to go to the dance, they push horses, go straight from maiden wins to Grade 1 races, sometimes even a week after.


That's the Triple Crown, Breeders Cup, sentiment in a nutshell.


Some trainers have millions and millions of dollars worth of horses, don't have a Derby horse ?no worries, throw everything at the wall, destroy horses and hope something sticks because they need to be standing next with Cinderella's Step Sisters at the ball.





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