Trainer Graham Motion announced via social media that his first graded stakes winner, Gala Spinaway, had to be put to sleep on Saturday. The 31-year-old son of Star Choice gave Motion that hallmark victory in 1993, and lived out his days under Motion's watchful eye at the Fair Hill Training Center.
“He was the horse that got me going and without him I may not be where I am now,” Motion wrote on Twitter. “My wife was particularly close to him, she would drive several hours a week to go and 'leg him up' at Glade Valley Farm to prepare him for his return to the racetrack when we first started training together.”
Gala Spinaway played a major role in launching Motion's career, who now ranks among the nation's top trainers. As a young employee of Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, Motion had traveled the world as groom to the great steeplechaser Flatterer. When Motion turned his attention to flat racing in 1991, Maryland-based trainer Carlos Garcia recommended that Motion approach legendary conditioner Bernie Bond at Pimlico.
Bond was then in the market for a new right-hand man – as the infamous Gala Spinaway had severely injured his longtime assistant, Earl Begley Sr., prompting Begley's retirement. Graham served as assistant trainer and was Bond's appointed successor upon his retirement in early 1993. (Bond died a few weeks after turning over the stable to Motion.) The Levitons, owners of Gala Spinaway, were among several owners who elected to keep their horses in training with Motion. By then, Gala Spinaway was a star of the stable, as a multiple stakes winner and champion Maryland-bred 3-year-old male of 1991.
Find the rest of Motion's tribute to the horse below.
Today we lost Gala Spinaway, there is not enough room here to explain what he meant to Anita & I so I will try below. pic.twitter.com/H7B9Gan4O1
— GrahamMotion (@GrahamMotion) June 15, 2019
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