By Ray Paulick
Woodbine outrider Robert Love and his pony Clyde, a retired Thoroughbred formerly named Ada Storm (by Stormy Atlantic), performed some outstanding work right after the start of Sunday's fifth race, a nine-furlong maiden claiming event on the Polytrack. Tequila Max, breaking from the six post under jockey Betty Williams, reared coming out of the gate and tossed the rider to the ground and then ran off in an attempt to catch up to the field.
As the following video shows, outrider Love and his pony quickly came into the picture and caught Tequila Max before he could cause any trouble.
If you are unable to view the video, click here for the direct YouTube link.
According to Steve Koch, Woodbine Entertainment's vice president of Thoroughbred racing, Clyde isn't even Love's “first-string” pony. That honor goes to a gray named Grouch, who is said to be the fastest horse on the grounds up to an eighth of a mile. Grouch is currently getting a vacation, but he might want to come off the bench once he sees how good his competition is. He doesn't want to suffer the fate of Wally Pipp after he took a day off and let Lou Gehrig enter the New York Yankees starting lineup.
“With all of the emphasis on safety at the racetracks of late–such as the NTRA's Safety and Integrity Alliance–an overlooked component that is actually crucial to racetrack safety is the outriders,” Koch told the Paulick Report. “A good outrider is worth his horse's weight in gold as an accident preventative. The value of a great outriding horse? Priceless.
“A little noted feature at Woodbine for some time now has been the extreme talent of our outriding team and its horses,” Koch continued. “Robert Love, head outrider, has assembled a truly gifted and dedicated team of riders. Even more than this, his horses' instincts and talents are honed to perfection. Robert is obviously a gifted horse trainer as well as rider. We have much evidence, both video and anecdotal, that our outriders may be the best in North America. Don't just take my word for it, ask some of our most notable trainers for their opinion. The outrider team at Woodbine is Robert Love, Larry Dagg, Darren Fortune, Eddie Dyer and Amanda Bell.”
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