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View Full Version : The passing of two racing greats



Equus34
Jan. 8, 2008, 12:31 PM
I can't imagine Mountaineer with out Dale Baird, and I can't imagine Tampa Bay Downs with out Don Rice. Both of these trainers were outstanding in their fields, and I am priveledge to say that I had the oportunity to ride for both of them at one time many moons ago. This was back when Don Rice used to also race at Mountaineer. Rice even gave Baird a run for his money on several occasions.

It's just so hard to imagine Dale's passing and right before Christmas too, the family was just devistated. I'm not sure if Dales son Bart will be taking over his horses, or maybe Dales brother Charles might.

As for Don, maybe one of his daughters possibly Kim may take over training for her father, God knows she knows the business inside and out.

I'd love to know if Dale's and Don's family's are going to take over and follow in there great fathers footsteps. If any one has any information I'd love to know.

Blessings, to the Baird and the Rice family, may these two training legands still be training horses in heaven.

www.cmmbarnbrats.com

Texarkana
Jan. 8, 2008, 12:52 PM
I head about both of those. :cry:

Also, from the breeding world, Tammy Samuel-Balaz passed away from cancer at the age of 47. Her family bred Dance Smartly and Smart Strike.

My thoughts go out to all the families.

DeeThbd
Jan. 8, 2008, 01:22 PM
That`s a shocker about Tammy S-B....one of the key figures in Canadian racing through both her father and her own merit. Wow.
Dee

el insider
Jan. 8, 2008, 10:26 PM
not to speak ill of the dead..........dale baird's specialty was to take whatever he had that couldnt race anymore and take it straight to the killers and that is a fact.it seems that it is our responsibility as owners/trainers etc to see that our tbs get a second chance. check out horse show diva dot com they have a racing section

Equus34
Jan. 9, 2008, 09:33 AM
El, I know what you mean. Several times when I used to ride for Dale, I'd ask him about selling certain horses to friends of mine whom I knew could retrain them as nice riding horses. And his answer was always the same, NO...

He was always afraid that if he sold it to someone they would give the horse the much needed time off, and then it would come back to racing and make him look like an ass.

No matter how much I tried to persuade him, that they would NOT be coming back to the track. He just loaded them up and off to the killer they went. It broke my heart. One reason I didn't ride for him long, I didnt like the way he treated his horses.

My agent at the time thought I was nuts. Here was one of the leading trainers in the country asking me to ride for him, and I didn't want to ride for him because I didn't like how he treated his horses. I knew in my heart I just couldn't do it. So after riding for him about a month I walked a way from him and never looked back. I did very well for myself with out ever riding for him again.

www.cmmbarnbrats.com

texang73
Jan. 9, 2008, 12:27 PM
Good for you, Equus. I have no respect him or for how he treated his horses. None.

Laurierace
Jan. 9, 2008, 12:58 PM
I feel for Dale's family, his passing had to be a horrible shock. I think it is a victory for the horses however and pray that whomever takes over his stable does so with a higher regard for their lives.

alexbrown4
Jan. 9, 2008, 06:21 PM
If his only fear was others improving his horses, could he not have sold the horses, once he was done with them, without papers ? cheers, alex


El, I know what you mean. Several times when I used to ride for Dale, I'd ask him about selling certain horses to friends of mine whom I knew could retrain them as nice riding horses. And his answer was always the same, NO...

He was always afraid that if he sold it to someone they would give the horse the much needed time off, and then it would come back to racing and make him look like an ass.

No matter how much I tried to persuade him, that they would NOT be coming back to the track. He just loaded them up and off to the killer they went. It broke my heart. One reason I didn't ride for him long, I didnt like the way he treated his horses.

My agent at the time thought I was nuts. Here was one of the leading trainers in the country asking me to ride for him, and I didn't want to ride for him because I didn't like how he treated his horses. I knew in my heart I just couldn't do it. So after riding for him about a month I walked a way from him and never looked back. I did very well for myself with out ever riding for him again.

www.cmmbarnbrats.com

Beenthere
Jan. 9, 2008, 06:44 PM
What about Frank Gomez from South Florida who passed away just before Christmas...he was an exceptional trainer and he loved his horses....godspeed Frank you were a class act!

event1
Jan. 10, 2008, 12:10 PM
Again-not to speak ill of the dead-but a horseman-HE WAS NOT. I galloped horses for K. McPeek and fell in love with a horse that he trained that could not run...while on vacation-he was sold with three others to D. Baird in a package deal. I was so heartbroken that I was never offered to purchase the horse so I called Baird to ask him if he would sell him to me-I got a big, fat NO. OK fine with me-I'll just claim him-we are talking a 5K claimer here. So-what does he do-enters him at Mountaineer and Thistledowns (I didn't know he entered him at Thistledowns too), I am all set to drop the claim slip that evening-and he scratches him from Mountaineer and runs him at Thistledown (where I had no idea and was not set up for a claim). Then he doesn't enter him for about 4 months and I finally claim him at Mountaineer out of a race he wins. I get him shipped to me the next day and when the van door opened-I almost died! The horse was missing 3 shoes-was skin and bones, had an old red halter on that was 3 sizes too small that was imbeded in his face- and furazone spray all over him like a Christmas tree covering upteen bite marks from being at "his farm". If it wasn't for the unusual white marking on his forhead-I would have NEVER thought it was the same horse that was just at Gulfstream five months prior. The van driver proceed to tell me all of the crap that went on with Baird up at Mountaineer and that my new horse actually looked pretty good compared to some of them. I never actually met the man and after that experience...never wanted to. I am sorry, but when you have that many horses win for you-you can do better than that.

el insider
Jan. 10, 2008, 12:13 PM
yeh it made me sick when they made such a big deal about him breaking the record for amount of races won. karma has a way of finding its way back......

el insider
Jan. 10, 2008, 12:15 PM
i had one who was not so fast and was told that dale and bart baird would be in town to buy horses and i said no thanks!!! it was always common knowledge that he could give a rats about the horses.

alexbrown4
Jan. 10, 2008, 12:42 PM
wow, good on you for following up on the horse and getting it back. i was at churchill recently and heard a "prominant" trainer recently sold some horses to Baird (via a trader). I was disgusted these guys don't know (or care) who buys their horses.


Again-not to speak ill of the dead-but a horseman-HE WAS NOT. I galloped horses for K. McPeek and fell in love with a horse that he trained that could not run...while on vacation-he was sold with three others to D. Baird in a package deal. I was so heartbroken that I was never offered to purchase the horse so I called Baird to ask him if he would sell him to me-I got a big, fat NO. OK fine with me-I'll just claim him-we are talking a 5K claimer here. So-what does he do-enters him at Mountaineer and Thistledowns (I didn't know he entered him at Thistledowns too), I am all set to drop the claim slip that evening-and he scratches him from Mountaineer and runs him at Thistledown (where I had no idea and was not set up for a claim). Then he doesn't enter him for about 4 months and I finally claim him at Mountaineer out of a race he wins. I get him shipped to me the next day and when the van door opened-I almost died! The horse was missing 3 shoes-was skin and bones, had an old red halter on that was 3 sizes too small that was imbeded in his face- and furazone spray all over him like a Christmas tree covering upteen bite marks from being at "his farm". If it wasn't for the unusual white marking on his forhead-I would have NEVER thought it was the same horse that was just at Gulfstream five months prior. The van driver proceed to tell me all of the crap that went on with Baird up at Mountaineer and that my new horse actually looked pretty good compared to some of them. I never actually met the man and after that experience...never wanted to. I am sorry, but when you have that many horses win for you-you can do better than that.

AnotherRound
Jan. 10, 2008, 01:11 PM
How could he have won a race at gulfstream with a halter imbedded in his face?

el insider
Jan. 10, 2008, 01:31 PM
he was at gulfstream way before she had the chance to get him back the halter in the face was after. read it again.

Barnfairy
Jan. 12, 2008, 11:38 PM
Nice article about Don Rice:


from the DRF

Rice's influence went beyond races (http://www.drf.com/news/article/91567.html)

There's an empty spot on the rail by the Tampa Bay Downs paddock these days. The space was occupied most live racing days over the past two decades by a rugged-looking fellow dressed in a work shirt and blue jeans, for this was trainer Don Rice's afternoon office. He was fond of this spot because he could keep a close eye on the horses, and as anyone who knew Rice here could tell you, horses and
family were what mattered most to him.

...

(Trainer/rider Paula) Bacon recalled that Rice and his wife, Maxine, "made me an unofficial member of the family, and he started giving me a foundation as a trainer even while I was still riding. He taught me that you didn't have to drill horses all the time, that once they got to a solid fitness level you should work on keeping them happy and sound. He always said a happy horse will give you more for a longer period than a sore and sour horse. (emphasis mine)

"He was devoted to his family and his horses. He and Maxine raised five kids while making a living on the track, and all of those kids have grown up to be solid citizens, which is a credit to their parents."

Joe Waunsch, who led the trainer standings here at the 1989-90 meet, is semi-retired these days and gave another example of how much horses dominated Rice's life.

"I'd go to some mixed-bred and Quarter Horse sales around Ocala and see Don there, just looking at horses," he said. "Sometimes he'd buy something and I'd ask what he wanted with that one. He'd say, 'Oh I just figured I'd take him to the farm, break him, and make a riding horse out of him, then give him to one of the kids in the neighborhood.' "

That was Don Rice.

Equus34
Jan. 23, 2008, 09:52 AM
Don was definatly more respected than Dale. While Dale did win a ton of races, he did so with out a second thought for the horses in his care. That is one reason I just couldn't ride for him more than a month.

Don on the other hand did care a lot for his horses, and their welfare. He was a good man and a hell of a horsemen.

www.cmmbarnbrats.com

alexbrown4
Jan. 23, 2008, 06:52 PM
just curious why you refered to Dale as a "great". just seems the wrong label for a someone who appeared to simply exploit the horse. cheers, alex