by | 11.17.2010 | 12:47am

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.”

  • txhorsefan

    Thanks for this article and video, Paulick Report! The outriders and ponies are seldom given the attention and appreciation for the great work they do. This video presents a wonderful example. Thank you.

  • “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,”

    With all the emphasis on safety…
    When will these Starting Gates be revamped to provide clean-fair-safe starts ?

    Four of the eleven horse in this video broke awkwardly and proceeded to run the race
    while losing positioning and/or running on aches and pains the rest of the way.

  • Jessi P

    AMAZING save, well done Bob and Clyde! And thank you for posting this, it was a pleasure to watch.

  • Awesome work from the outrider and pony.

  • Slobah

    That was a fabulous pick up–I’ve had to do that before and it is a lot harder than it looks. It’s tough to catch the horse and make sure your mount doesn’t get the running bug or pull up faster than you can slow the runaway–or have the loose horse suddenly prop and turn, which can rip you right off your pony. Clyde and Bob are one stellar team.

  • So glad you’re sharing this. What he did was spectacular and close to heroic (if not impossible). I’ve always been a fan of the ponies and their outriders. So many potentially serious/deadly outcomes have been thwarted by these hard-working, under-appreciated workhorses (I’m including the “people” too).

    I’ve seen situations where the ponies would, as a “herd” slowly move towards a panicky horse, subtly reminding him that there’s no danger, no need to flee, no predator to shy from. You have to look closely to see these situations, and know a little about herd dynamics and body language, but it happens every day, and its the lack of compelling footage (as above) that is evidence of their importance and impact.

  • dray33

    spectacular. give that man a raise!

  • yo

    The horse didn’t rear coming out of the gate and toss the rider. The rider was off balance and caused the horse’s head to come up, then she just flat fell off. Jockey error, not the horse’s fault.

  • jordan

    Ada Storm rehabbed at my farm after racing. A very kind horse. It’s great to see him succeeding post racing.

  • South of the Border

    Very Cool! That outrider should replace Terry Finley in tonight’s b-ball game at Saratoga.

  • lisanky

    from one outrider to another– Fantastic!!

  • secondroll7

    I saw this race live.,amazing job.

  • NYC Horsefan

    Awesome work.

  • David H.

    Very well done Robert Love and Clyde!!! And kudos to the track announcer for recognizing the feat.

  • Lexington

    Well done!!! (And Clyde looked like he could have won the race, too)

  • Matt S.

    Amazing! That is a highlight worthy of Sports Center. The Lou Gehrig reference is appropriate. That horse made the “racers” seem like they were just jogging.

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