Mount Pleasant Meadows in photos

The Mount Pleasant Meadows 2010 meet is off and running; as is Thoroughbred Sweet at Best, ridden by Nate Alcala.

The first two weeks of Mount Pleasant Meadows’ 2010 meet are in the books.

I’ve been telling a lot of long-winded stories lately, so for the beginning of Mount Pleasant’s season, I’m going to let the photos do most of the talking. Between stakes races and general goings-on, more than enough will be written about the central Michigan track in due time.

For those interested in a written description of the track, my review of last year’s opening day can be found here. A few names and faces may have shuffled since last year, but the general feel of the place remains the same.

Before we commence with the photos, this seems as good a time as any to once again plug the Mount Pleasant Meadows Facebook page, to which I have been contributing. Readers interested in learning more about the track are encouraged to become “fans” by visiting the page and clicking on the appropriate button.

Now, without further ado, behind the jump are photos from the last two week’s worth of races at Mount Pleasant Meadows. Enjoy!

MPM Grandstand

The Mount Pleasant Meadows grandstand. This is where I learned the game.

MPM Toteboard

The tote board.

Ilkos Expres - Mike Holmes 3

One of the more interesting aspects of the track is the multiple roles its horsemen play during the live races. Trainers and their assistants often bring their horses over to the paddock aboard a pony horse, hand the pony off to an awaiting bystander (often a child), saddle their charges, then lead it through the post parade. Then, the trainer hops off the pony one more time to head his or her starter into the gate and hold them in place until the start of the race. Quite often, horsemen go through this process with horses from stables other than their own. Little things like that are what make the track special. Trainer Dave Gates ponies Ilkos Expres with Mike Holmes in the irons.

Sweet At Best - Nate Alcala 7

Nate Alcala flicks his whip in victory aboard the first winner of the 2010 meet, Sweet At Best.


Achoiceforthecash is led around the paddock with a pony horse’s saddle in the foreground.

Achoiceforthecash - Richard Rettele 1

Richard Rettele and Achoiceforthecash go through the post parade. A recent Daily Racing Form article declared Rettele, 69, the oldest active jockey in North America. Last year, he won six stakes races, including a $38,000 futurity at Beulah Park. On opening day, he led all riders with three wins. It’s just a number, gang.

MPM 5-30 Race 2b

A field of Quarter Horses charges to the wire. The race was won by #6 An You An Eye and Juan Delgado.

MPM 5-30 Race 6

A field of Thoroughbreds leaves the starting gate.

Beduinos Cat - Oscar Delgado 3

Oscar Delgado guides Beduinos Cat back to the grandstand after the nightcap on opening day.

MPM 6-6 Race 1

A field of (mostly) paints splashes through the stretch in last Sunday’s opener. The race was won by #5 Uno Machine, ridden by Lee Gates. Paints, especially colorful ones, are often fan favorites at the track.

Shestheone - Nate Alcala 3

Mount Pleasant is one of only a handful of tracks on this side of the Mississippi River to offer Arabian racing. Shestheone takes a commanding lead in the stretch under Nate Alcala.

Oscar Delgado

A muddied Oscar Delgado heads to the scales after unsaddling from a Thoroughbred race. Delgado was among the leading riders at Hialeah Park’s Quarter Horse meet over the winter and was featured on the cover of January’s American Quarter Horse Journal.

Real Phantom - Juan Delgado 1

Real Phantom (a Real Quiet gelding!) is led through the post parade with Juan Delgado aboard.

Josh Ritchards 2

Last Sunday was a day of firsts for many at Mount Pleasant Meadows. Among them was jockey Josh Ritchards who rode his first three starters on Sunday.

Roaring Scout - Jose Beltran

Another notable first belonged to Jose Beltran, who rode his first pari-mutuel winner in last Sunday’s nightcap aboard Roaring Scout.

Be A Pal - Nate Alcala 1

Nate Alcala takes Be A Pal through the post parade for the last race on the card.

MPM 6-6 Race 8

Roaring Scout (a Lion Heart gelding!) and Jose Beltran enter the stretch with the lead, and will hold on to it for Beltran’s first victory.


Filed under Mount Pleasant Meadows, Pictures, Racetrack Visits

6 responses to “Mount Pleasant Meadows in photos

  1. Bill

    Get pics as always Joe, I might have to head up the MPM this year. Joe do you know why Richard Rettele doesn’t ride any mounts at Pinnacle? He had a pretty good opening week on the training end, just curious about the mounts. Thanks

  2. mibredclaimer

    Thanks! I’ve been told it’s because a trainer can not be his or her own jockey (or one would figure ride against one’s own horses). Because Rettele is the trainer of record for his Thoroughbred stable, the rules say someone else has to ride. However, Rettele’s Quarter Horse stable is under his wife’s name, so he is allowed to take the saddle in those races.

  3. ragman

    A better explanation might be that Rettele the trainer and Rettele the jockey are not the same person.

    MPM for 6/13/10
    If I am wrong with any of the following please correct me.
    Total purse distribution $24,080.
    Cost of racing officials $5,923.
    TOTAL simulcast tax generated at MPM Jan 1 through May 2. $20,600.
    Total handle $3,627($31.50 per person).
    This seems a little screwy.
    Would stopping the wagering eliminate the cost of the officials?
    Could these races be run at Pinnacle giving them an extra race day a week?(Survival of the fittest?)
    Something is badly broke here and it seems to weigh on the thoroughbred industry as a whole in Michigan.

    This whole rant came about because of the MPM bettor who wagered $2 on the late double thus creating a minus pool and making me wonder. Why bother?

  4. great pics as always Joe! LOVE the Sweet at Best!

  5. mibredclaimer

    There has been rumblings of moving all flat breeds to Pinnacle since the track opened up, but I’ve gotten the impression track management isn’t that interested in doing it. Unless they do as you suggested and hold the QH and Arabian races on their own day (which I don’t see being terribly successful), it would probably mean running into the night, and the track has run into monetary and legal obstacles in getting lights put up anytime soon.

    As for the strain on Thoroughbred racing, that was lightened recently, when the subsidy going to the GLQHA was cut to 7.06%. This is where the track makes up much of the deficit between handle and purse distribution.

    Thanks a bunch! I got a lot of nice ones of Sweet at Best.

  6. Joe, great pictures! Enjoyed talking to you at MPM. Keep up the great work, Racing needs a front man, with an open mind who’s main goal is to keep communications open and moving forward,
    and the super pictures add to excitement that
    Michigan racing needs.

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