By EDDIE SEFKO / The Dallas Morning News email@example.com |
GRAND PRAIRIE - Heath Taylor is the trainer of Stolis Winner, who is on the brink of becoming the best quarter horse in history, at least in terms of money earned.
The animal is a flat-out stud.
But he arrived at Lone Star Park for the 26-date Fall Meeting of Champions for American Quarter Horses that begins tonight on the heels of probably the worst race of his career.
That gives Taylor a lot in common with Tiger Woods' swing coach. He's certainly not going to panic over one bad season. Or in Stolis Winner's case, one bad race.
"In his world, I guess he's coming off a really bad race," Taylor said. "In hindsight, it was a Grade 1 race and he [stumbled] at the start, and sometime in the post parade he got his tongue over the bit and didn't have any air at all. He ran a horrible race in his terms and got beat a neck.
"Anything short of a win every time in some sort of spectacular time gets to be a letdown. The expectations are so lofty."
That will be the case again Oct. 2, when Stolis Winner, who has won 12 of 19 lifetime starts, runs next in the $100,000 Grade 1 Refrigerator Handicap. Stolis Winner could make history with a win, which would push his career earnings past $2.15 million and make him the richest quarter horse ever.
The horse he would pass? Refrigerator, for which the race he runs next is named and whom Stolis Winner trails by a mere $28,578.
"It would be nice to do it in Texas and in the race that's the namesake of the only horse ahead of him - maybe it's fate," Taylor said. "Nothing's a given. Just because you've made $2 million, they're not going to give you anything."
2010 Fall Meeting of Champions at Lone Star Park
Racing: Begins tonight and Saturday and continues every Thursday through Saturday night through Nov. 13.
Post time: 6:35 p.m.
Key dates: Oct. 2, Grade 1 $100,000 Refrigerator Handicap; Oct. 9, Grade 1 $500,000 Dash for Cash Futurity; Nov. 13, Grade 1 $1 million Texas Classic Futurity.
Top 2009 performers: Jockey, Ricky Ramirez (32 wins); Trainer, Trey Wood (20 wins); Owner, Debra M. Gotovac (nine wins).
More information: lonestarpark.com or 972-263-7223.