Friday, September 29, 2006

Precisionist & Michael Blowen

Crozier–Excellently by Forli - ch, h 
Trained by Ross Fenstermaker
Lifetime: Starts 46; Wins 20

Obit:    September 29, 2006      Precisionist’s racing credentials were impeccable. $3,485,398 in lifetime earnings. 17 stakes wins. 1985 Eclipse Award winner as champion sprinter after beating Mt. Livermore and Smile in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.  He swept the Strub series. He is a Hall of Famer. During his racing career, I got to see our Big Red win that Breeders' Cup at Aqueduct and saw him run nose-to-nose with his great rival, Greinton, in the Strub at Santa Anita. As great as he was as a race horse, it can’t compare with his other qualities – intelligence, patience, stoicism and bearing. On Wednesday afternoon, his final day, he proved he didn’t leave his class on the race track. He held his head high and didn’t whinny once as he led us from his stall to the gravesite. He stopped once to nibble at the grass and gaze over at Bonnie’s Poker and Narrow Escape. He knew it was his time and he did everything in his power to make this most painful task easier on those he left behind.
Due to the extraordinary generosity of Dr. Siobhan Ellison who donated this great Champion to Old Friends in June, we were honored to have Precisionist in our care and humbled by the trust she put in us. We all wish he could have stayed a little longer. But, in those brief four months, punctuated by frequent visits from his great jockey, Chris McCarron, Precisionist taught us a lot. Not just about how he liked his stall fluffed and where he liked his neck rubbed but about dignity and, of course, class. During several trips to Hagyard Medical for uncomfortable procedures with Drs. Aldinger, Hunt and Gomez and Mason, he never balked. I didn’t realize how great he was until he allowed me to be his friend for the last few months of his extraordinary life. He taught me a lot. And that’s not easy, especially if you talk to my other teachers. He even told us when it was his time. We did our best to measure up to him and we never quite made it. But he didn’t hold it against us. And there is nothing I can write that will convey the depth of my love for this spectacular creature.

The old guy put up with a lot as we tried to help him with a series of ailments that often afflict the elderly…both human and equine. Dr. Holly Aldinger and our farm manager, Janet Beyersdorfer, worked diligently together to keep his quality of life at a level he so deserved. When it was time, he made it easy. He looked at me with the same unmistakable stare he gave McCarron every time they entered the starting gate. He lifted his weary head and, for the first time, refused a carrot.

Both Precisionist and Taylor’s Special have received some remarkable tributes over the past few difficult days. And, while we all gave them a lot, they gave us so much more. Once again, thank you for allowing me to serve these great Champions.



History: “All is ephemeral,” said Marcus Aurelius, “fame and the famous as well.” At Old Friends, we beg to differ. Just look at Precisionist.

Campaigned by the legendary Fred Hooper, the dynamic Florida bred was a boldface name on the racing scene from 1983 to 1988–a career span that makes him sort of stretch-running George Burns. During his five seasons he captured 17 stakes wins, including the triple play Strub series at Santa Anita (the Malibu Stakes, the San Fernando, and the Charles Strub), and a two-length win in the 1985 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, which helped him seal the title of Champion Sprinter that year. Other notable wins include the Swaps Stakes and the San Miguel, where he faced off against another Old Friends retiree, Fortunate Prospect. Even a cannon bone fracture in 1987 couldn’t suppress his track dominance. Retired to stud, but determined to be infertile, Precisionist returned to racing in 1988, winning three more starts and setting a track record at Del Mar for one mile.

Eighteen years later, he was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame.

Following Hooper’s death, the stallion was cared for by veterinarian Siobhan Ellison in Fairfield, Florida until she donated Precisionist to Old Friends in the spring of 2006.



Photos of Precisionist arriving at Old Friends in June 2006

(click thumbnails for larger image)

Photos of Precisionist Arriving at Old Friends - June, 2006

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