Tag Archives: Richard Rettele

A Midwest Thoroughbred double feature

I have a pair of stories in the latest news cycle of The Midwest Thoroughbred magazine.

The print edition features a preview story for the upcoming meet at Indiana Downs. The Shelbyville, Ind. track had a banner year in 2010, and faces the unique challenge of keeping that positive momentum going. To find out how they plan to do it, I spoke to racing secretary Raymond “Butch” Cook and trainer Randy Klopp, who is also president of the Indiana HBPA.

Click here to read my preview of the 2011 Indiana Downs meet.

On the publication’s website, I have a feature on Michigan’s breeding industry. The story discusses the impact the state’s flagging business has had on its breeding operations, and highlights five of its top stallions. To get some insight on Michigan’s breeding industry I spoke to Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association president Patti Dickinson, trainer/breeder James Jackson, McMaster Farm manager Dan Boik and breeder EJ Hubel.

Click here to read my story on Michigan’s breeding industry.

Also, if you’ll notice on page six, I have been added to the publication’s masthead as a contributing editor. I’m honored to be part of the team.

This is not the first time I have had work published in The Midwest Thoroughbred. Back in September, I interviewed jockey and trainer Richard Rettele for the magazine’s “Jockey Shorts” section.

The Midwest Thoroughbred is a fantastic publication for readers interested in horse racing in the region, and the effect its native sons and daughters have on the national scene. Though the magazine focuses its coverage on the business in Illinois and Indiana, it frequently covers topics pertaining to racing in surrounding states, including Michigan, Ohio, Iowa and Kentucky.

The publication is getting better with every issue, and is definitely worth the time to check out. And I’m not just saying that because I write for them. The feature writing is creative, entertaining and covers topics that the national publications may overlook.

I’d like to thank The Midwest Thoroughbred for having me on board, and I look forward to working together in the future.

If you like what you see, click here to subscribe to The Midwest Thoroughbred.


Filed under Commentary

Meadow Vespers voted Michigan’s Thoroughbred of the Decade

Four-time Sire Stakes winner Meadow Vespers took 39.76% of the vote to earn Michigan's Thoroughbred of the Decade title.

The readers of The Michigan-Bred Claimer have voted Meadow Vespers Michigan’s Thoroughbred of the Decade, from 2000-2010.

The nine-year-old Meadow Prayer gelding drew 33 of 83 total votes (39.76%) to hold off second place finisher Tenpins for the top spot. Full results from the poll can be found at the end of the post.

Meadow Vespers is campaigned by owner John Mack and trainer Richard Rettele. He was bred in Michigan by James Arnold, Marcia Arnold and Deb Miley.

One of his barn’s stars for over a half decade, Rettele listed Meadow Vespers among the best horses he has trained.

“He’s sound, tough and has longevity,” Rettele said. “He’s good to train and goes to race. That’s the kind you need.”

Meadow Vespers won 13 of 42 career starts for earnings of $489,066. Five of those victories came in stakes company, along with nine other stakes placings. He is Michigan’s ninth leading male by lifetime earnings.

Meadow Vespers’ racing career often mirrored his running style – A slow build-up to a big finish.

The gelding’s late kick often led to minor awards in early-season stakes races, but became dialed in as the season, and the race distances, grew longer. Prior to the 2009 season, Meadow Vespers’ only stakes wins came in the longest blacktype contests at the end of Michigan’s racing calendar, the Sire Stakes.

After one start as a two-year-old, Meadow Vespers’ run of Sire Stakes victories began in 2005, when he won the three-year-old males division of the race at Great Lakes Downs. That victory, along with on-the-board finishes in the Dowling and Spartan Stakes, helped secure his division’s title for the year.

Meadow Vespers stepped up into older competition the next year and won that division’s race twice before Great Lakes Downs was closed in 2007. However, year-end awards eluded him both times.

In 2008, Meadow Vespers showed he could translate his success on GLD’s five-furlong track to a mile oval with an award-winning inaugural campaign at Pinnacle Race Course. His fourth straight Sire Stakes triumph, and three other in-the-money stakes efforts, helped wrap up Michigan’s older male title.

Meadow Vespers had another solid year in 2009 and even notched his first non-Sire Stakes blacktype win; a rallying half-length score in the Michigan Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Pinnacle. However, his signature late move could not overcome traffic problems in the Sire Stakes, and his streak was snapped with a fifth place finish.

Despite showing some flashes in 2010, including a half length runner-up finish in the Frontier Handicap and a valiant effort against graded stakes-level competition in a Hoosier Park allowance, Meadow Vespers failed to find his timing last year and again finished off the board in the Sire Stakes.

Most horses spend their entire careers trying to hit in just one big spot, and most never get there. Meadow Vespers made hitting in the big spot an annual event. In an industry where many horses that show success are quickly retired, even geldings, there is something to be said for a horse that manages to compete at a consistent stakes level over a seven-year racing career.

Thanks to his longevity, lethal closing kick and status as Michigan’s alpha male for the latter half of the 2000s, Meadow Vespers is Michigan’s Thoroughbred of the Decade.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Here are the full results for Michigan’s Thoroughbred of the Decade poll. Thanks to everyone who voted and commented on the poll, and to everyone who campaigned the horses that showed off the best Michigan has to offer.

To view the original post with information on each entry, click here.

TOTAL: 83 Votes

1. Meadow Vespers – 33 Votes (39.76%)
2. Tenpins – 23 Votes (27.71%)
3. Secret Romeo – 8 Votes (9.64%)
4. Cashier’s Dream – 5 Votes (6.02%)
5. Valley Loot – 4 Votes (4.82%)
6. Born To Dance – 3 Votes (3.61%)
T7. Rockem Sockem – 2 Votes (2.41%)
T7. Weatherstorm – 2 Votes (2.41%)
T9. Sefa’s Rose – 1 Vote (1.2%)
T9. That Gift – 1 Vote (1.2%)
T9. Other (Starlit Hour) – 1 Vote (1.2%)

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Filed under Great Lakes Downs, Pinnacle Race Course, Polls

Rettele featured in Cincinnati local TV news story

Jockey Richard Rettele and Fearles Fred won their second straight stakes race in Tuesday's Queen City Dash Stakes at River Downs.

When Richard Rettele wins a stakes race at Mount Pleasant Meadows, hardly anyone bats an eye. In fact, it’s usually expected.

When Rettele does it at River Downs, it makes the local news.

Then again, Rettele’s win aboard Fearles Fred in Tuesday’s $15,000 Queen City Dash Stakes was his first since turning 70 on Aug. 8. Even more impressive is the fact that he missed the track record for 350 yards by just .055 of a second. It was the second race in a row won by Rettele and Fearles Fred where the pair came within a fraction of a second of setting a new mark.

Rettele’s appearance alone garnered attention from the track, including an interview prior to the race with track announcer Pete Aiello and various promotional photos (for those of you with Facebook accounts).

The race, and its outcome, drew the attention of WCPO Channel 9 in Cincinnati, who did a feature on Rettele for its Wednesday evening news. Included in the piece is an interview with River Downs’ Director of Publicity John Engelhardt, the video of the race itself and clips of Rettele’s interview with Aiello.

To view the TV feature, along with a write-up on the channel’s website, click here.

Daily Racing Form reporter C.A. Shoemaker also did a story about Rettele’s 70th birthday and his continued success in the saddle. That story can be read here.

The Blood Horse put a story on its website Thursday about Rettele’s win, which can be read here.

The Associated Press has also gotten in on the story, with a video based largely on the footage provided by River Downs. I have been told the video was featured on the front page of Yahoo News.

I’m working on a story of my own about Rettele for the Midwest Thoroughbred magazine, so to avoid the risk of scooping myself, I’m going to let the above pieces do the talking for now.

However, I will go as far as to say I am a big admirer of his work, and he provided a fantastic interview when I spoke to him for the aforementioned article. Rettele is a class act and great at telling his fascinating story.


Filed under Commentary, Mount Pleasant Meadows

Fearles Fred wins Don Boyd Memorial Challenge Handicap

2010 Don Boyd Memorial Challenge Handicap
Fearles Fred (#7) holds off pressure from Royal Wicked (#3) to win the Don Boyd Memorial Challenge Handicap at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

Fearles Fred wrapped up the 2010 live meet at Mount Pleasant Meadows on a winning note with a score in Sunday’s $15,000 Don Boyd Memorial Challenge Handicap.

The three-year-old Fredricksburg gelding broke cleanly and angled inside once he was clear of his nearby rivals. He soon hooked up with Royal Wicked and the pair battled for the lead heading onto the main track. Royal Wicked held a head’s advantage as the field came down the stretch, with Fearles Fred continuing to pressure from the outside and Ethics Aside challenging on the rail. With about 50 yards to go, Fearles Fred drew even with his rival and carried that momentum to win by a neck over Royal Wicked. A late moving Hez Fastforthecash closed for third.

Fearles Fred and jockey Richard Rettele finished the 350 yard race with a time of :17.519 seconds. His time was just under four hundredths of a second off the track record of :17.480 seconds set by Cash Maid Pledge on Sept 18, 1994. Fearles Fred was the post time favorite in Sunday’s race at odds of 0.50-to-one.

Homebred in Texas by Walter Harrison, Fearles Fred is trained by Carol Rettele. The race was his ninth win from 14 starts, and his third stakes victory. He improved his career earnings to $69,742.

Sunday’s card was a successful one for Fearles Fred’s dam Precious Debutante. The Heza Fast Man mare also foaled Mr Corona To You, who won the GLQHA Stallion Service Sale Futurity earlier in the day.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

7 – Fearles Fred (Richard Rettele) 3.00 / 4.oo / 2.40
3 – Royal Wicked (Gerardo Garrido) 40.40 / 6.20
5 – Hez Fastforthecash (Jose Beltran) 3.40

350 Yards
Time: 17.519 seconds

Fearles Fred - Richard Rettele
Your winner, Fearles Fred; Richard Rettele, up.

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Mr Corona To You prevails in GLQHA Stallion Service Sale Futurity

2010 GLQHA Stallion Sevice Sale Futurity
Mr Corona To You (#3) keeps on top of the field to win the GLQHA Stallion Service Sale Futurity at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

Mr Corona To You ran straight down the rail and outlasted a late rally to win Sunday’s $21,226 Great Lakes Quarter Horse Association Stallion Service Sale Futurity at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

The two-year-old Corona For Me gelding broke cleanly and was roused to the front with right-handed urging by jockey Richard Rettele in the race’s opening strides. He held a head advantage over Montis Grand Concept and Out An About as the field entered the main track. Mr. Corona To You stretched his lead out to a neck with about 100 yards to go before the wire, then dug in against a charging field under a steady right hand whip. Rettele put the whip away in the final strides and hand rode Mr Corona To You to the win by a neck over Out An About. Montis Grand Concept missed the head bob for second, but grabbed third place by a head bob over Dials Jumpn.

Mr Corona To You stopped the clock in the 350 yard race at :18.146 seconds. He was the post time favorite at odds of 1.30-to-one.

Homebred in Texas by Walter Harrison, Mr Corona To You is conditioned by Carol Rettele. The futurity final was his second win from five starts and his first in stakes company. His career earnings now total $11,280.

Sunday’s card was a successful one for Mr Corona To You’s dam Precious Debutante. The Heza Fast Man mare also foaled Fearles Fred, who won the Don Boyd Memorial Challenge Handicap later in the day.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

3 – Mr Corona To You (Richard Rettele) 4.60 / 3.40 / 2.80
1A – Out An About (Gerardo Garrido) 3.40 / 2.60
2 – Montis Grand Concept (Nate Alcala) 2.20

350 Yards
Time: 18.146 Seconds

Mr Corona To You - Richard Rettele
Your winner, Mr Corona To You; Richard Rettele, up.

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Filed under Mount Pleasant Meadows, Stakes Races

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!

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Filed under Mount Pleasant Meadows, Pictures, Racetrack Visits

Opening day at a glance

Later Version and Richard Rettele (blue, inside) battle Luckys Rambler and Amanda Keller (red, outside) in a Quarter Horse race at Mount Pleasant Meadows. Later Version emerged victorious.

With all the activities that comprise Memorial weekend, there is little time right now to look back on opening day at Mount Pleasant Meadows (and finally get around to discussing my Kentucky Derby day. It’s in the works, I promise). Hopefully the photo above will suffice until everything settles down.

While we are on the subject of Mount Pleasant Meadows, be sure to check out the track’s new fan page on Facebook. I have been recruited to contribute to the page, which features updates, photos and discussions regarding Michigan’s only mixed breed racetrack. It sure is fun to watch the fan count rise, so Facebook users are encouraged to add it to their lists.

Have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day, gang.

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Filed under Mount Pleasant Meadows, Pictures

Retteles take two on Mount Pleasant’s getaway day

Fearless Fred much the best in Budwieser Futurity

Fearless Fred (4) pulls clear to win the Budweiser Futurity at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

Fearless Fred took command in the stretch to win Sunday’s $38,360 Budweiser Futurity at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

The two-year-old Fredricksburg gelding broke cleanly and challenged for the lead with Alley Rose 123 and Which Wich 501 in the race’s early goings. After a quick initial burst by Which Wich 501, Fearless Fred took control of the lead and never looked back. He was clear by a length in the middle of the stretch and extended his lead to a length and a quarter as he crossed the finish under an intermittent right hand whip by jockey Richard Rettele. Post time favorite Uno Corona dueled with Which Wich 501 and nipped her rival at the wire to take the runner-up spot.

Fearless Fred won the 400 yard race with a time of 20.446 seconds over a fast track. He left the gates as the second choice at odds of 1.90-to-one.

Fearless Fred was homebred in Texas by Walter Harrison and trained by Carol Rettele. The Budweiser Futurity was his fourth win from seven starts, as well as his first win in stakes company. His career earnings now total $20,899.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

4 – Fearless Fred (Richard Rettele) 5.80 / 3.20 / 4.40
7 – Uno Corona (Oscar Delgado) 2.80 / 4.80
5 – Which Wich 501 (Tasha Fritz) 5.00

400 Yards
Time: 20.446 seconds

Your winner, Fearless Fred; Richard Rettele, up.

To see results from the rest of Mount Pleasant’s closing day stakes races, just click the link below.

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Filed under Mount Pleasant Meadows, Stakes Races

Juvenile favorites hold, veterans upset in Michigan Breeders Championships

Hustle Now hustles in the stretch to win Sickle’s Image Stakes


Hustle Now (7) pulls away from Top Touch (1) to prevail in the Sickle’s Image Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

Hustle Now took charge at the top of the stretch and held off the begrudging early leader to take Saturday’s $50,000 Sickle’s Image Stakes at Pinnacle Race Course.

The two-year-old Creative filly watched from third on the outside hip of Q Ginger Snap as Top Touch shot to the lead from the inside post. Top Touch held a 1 1/4 length advantage after the first quarter mile as Hustle Now moved into contention. That advantage was whittled down to a half length as the lead duo entered the turn. Hustle Now continued to close the gap on the outside and entered the stretch with a head in front.

Top Touch refused to waver after being passed and continued to pressure the leader throughout the stretch, but she could not regain her advantage. Hustle Now began to separate from her rival in the final furlong and crossed the finish 1 1/4 lengths in front under a right hand whip by Angel Stanley. Creative Lite turned in a ground saving third place effort 5 1/2 lengths behind Top Touch.

Hustle Now completed the six furlong race in 1:14.13 over a fast surface. She was the second choice at two-to-one behind post time favorite Top Touch.

Homebred in Michigan by Sheffield Farms, Hustle Now is conditioned by Larry Uelmen. Hustle Now improved her career record to two wins from three starts. The Farer Belle Lee was Hustle Now’s first stakes victory. Her career earnings now total $40,208.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

7 – Hustle Now (Angel Stanley) 6.00 / 3.40 / 3.60
1 – Top Touch (Federico Mata) 3.80 / 3.40
2  – Creative Lite (Alexis Ortiz) 5.20

Six Furlongs
Time: 1:14.13


Your winner, Hustle Now; Angel Stanley, up.

Recaps of rest of Saturday’s stakes action from Pinnacle Race Course can be found behind the jump. Just click the link below to see more.

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Sunday stakes recap from Mount Pleasant Meadows

Paint Me a Bono pulls away in Michigan Paint Horse Futurity

Paint Me a Bono (2B) shakes off I Do One Two Three (5) to win the GLQHA Michigan Paint Horse Futurity at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

Paint Me a Bono benefitted from a clear trip and won easily in Sunday’s $14,165 Great Lakes Quarter Horse Association Michigan Paint Horse Futurity at Mount Pleasant Meadows.

The two-year-old Bono Jazz gelding broke cleanly and held an ever-growing advantage throughout the stretch and to the finish. Paint Me a Bono was hand ridden to the wire by jockey Richard Rettele for a 1 1/4 length victory in the 350 yard race. Post time favorite I Do One Two Three stayed in pursuit throughout the race and finished 2 1/4 lengths ahead of See Me In Your Dreams for the runner-up position.

Paint Me a Bono and Rettele stopped the clocks at 17.782 seconds over a fast track at odds of 3.50-to-one.

Owned and trained by Renee Wilson, Paint Me a Bono was bred in California by Reese, Theresa and Alan B.. The victory in the Michigan Paint Horse Futurity improved Paint Me a Bono’s lifetime record to a perfect two wins from two starts for career earnings of $7,710.

For an Equibase chart of the race, click here.

2B – Paint Me a Bono (Richard Rettele) 9.00 / 3.00 / 2.20
5 – I Do One Two Three (Oscar Delgado) 2.40 / 2.10
1A – See Me In Your Dreams (Nate Alcala) 2.20

350 Yards
Time: 17.782 Seconds

Your winner, Paint Me a Bono; Richard Rettele, up.

Lots more races and photos can be found behind the jump. Just click the link below.

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Filed under Mount Pleasant Meadows, Stakes Races