Golden Ticket is a speedy, red horse that roared like a beast as he burst into the spot light on the stage of one of our sport’s greatest theaters. It was Saratoga 2012. The Grade 1 Travers is the premier race for 3 year olds at the Spa. What happened that day was another chapter in the lore of the Graveyard of Favorites as long shot Golden Ticket tied the heavily favored Alpha. I was fortunate to meet Carter Stewart at the Breeders’ Cup in Santa Anita a couple months after Golden Ticket’s dead heat in the Travers. We agreed to do two paintings of Golden Ticket. As we talked about the details of the painting, Carter asked if we had to show the other horse. I informed him it was his painting and he could do as he wished. “In that case, leave him out!” So, this is Golden Ticket winning the Travers all by himself . . . the second painting we planned on showing both Golden Ticket and Alpha approaching the finish line; but for the sake of art and the power it has to color history – here is Golden Ticket flying along the historic architecture of Saratoga Race Course.
It was an exciting Opening Day at Saratoga when The Saratoga 150 Celebration Painted Horse (aka ‘Emjay’) and I were part of the Opening Day Ceremonies. R
epresentatives from NYRA and the Saratoga 150 Committee along with the winning jockey and trainer of the first race were photographed with ‘Emjay’ and I in the winners circle!! An announcer in the grandstand informed everyone of the plans for Emjay to live as a permanent fixture just inside the Clubhouse entrance and for the general public to participate in a naming contest for the horse, as well. I temporarily named the horse ‘Emjay’ so he would have a name while I painted him. ‘Emjay’ is phonetically the first initials of Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson.
Congratulations to Kiaran, who is actually pictured on Emjay, and also to Hardest Core and his owners with Ghostzapper Racing, for winning the first race of the 2013 Saratoga Race Season.
Reflecting on the photo of Emjay and I….. It Felt like I finally made it to the winners circle in Saratoga with a horse of my own! Thank you ‘M’ and ‘J’ for inviting me to be a part of Saratoga and it’s rich history.
To learn more about and participate in the naming contest visit www.timesunion.com/namethehorse
On July 18th, the eve of the Saratoga Race Meet Opening Day, we were finally able to let the secret out! After six long months of keeping a very special project a surprise for the racing public, John Hendrickson, the Chairman of the Saratoga 150th Celebration, and Rodnell Workman, VP and Chief Marketing Officer for NYRA, helped me unveil my Saratoga 150 Anniversary Painted Horse, marking in art the 150 years of racing history at the Spa. This special piece of artwork was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to blend my love of horse racing, fascination with history, and dedication to Thoroughbred Art. I was honored to be asked, excited to create and execute the making of this piece of art, and thrilled with the reception the horse has already received. The naming of the horse will be a contest hosted by the track and the Times Union newspaper. Here is a link to an article with more details and pictures, plus the entry form for the naming contest: http://blog.timesunion.com/saratogaseen/contest-name-the-horse/19061/ Please be sure to enter before July 25th! The horse was presented to the media today and will be a fixture at the track during the annual race meets going forward. Off season, the Saratoga 150 Horse will be on display at the National Museum of Horse Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs across from the track.
Former Baltimore Raven, Ray Lewis, was the speaker at the annual Race For Grace the week of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Ray told his personal story from his birth to his latest Super Bowl victory. His talk was one of the spell binding and inspirational programs I’ve experienced in any venue. The painting of Ray Lewis was auctioned off at the event and went home with high bidder, Kenny Troutt of WinStar Farm.
“Bradshaw to Clark” was how this former high school All State receiver imaged hearing the PA call across the stadium as a kid. At the Race Track Chaplaincy event at Churchill Downs it was Clark to Bradshaw as the artist donated a portrait of the Hall of Fame quarterback to the event’s auction. Bradshaw was the keynote speaker at the event last year before the KY Derby. He is a Thoroughbred owner with a few of his long time friends at Twin Creeks Racing. “I never thought I’d use this photo in a post, but with Twin Creeks winning the G1 Donn Handicap today with Graydar; what the heck ,’Are you ready for some football?’ Congratulations Randy and Kim Gullatt and all of Twin Creeks Racing.”
Old baseball fans remember the great Cubs shortstop Ernie Banks; who loved the game so much that every day when he came onto the field for a game would say. “It’s a great day, let’s play two.” I guess that is how Double Diamond Farms’ owner Don Dizney feels about his Grade 1 winning stallion First Dude. It was my honor as the artist chosen by Mr. Dizney to portray his homebred in both a conformation painting at the farm and in a scene with him capturing the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup. First Dude stands in Ocala at Double Diamond where he covered a full book of well over a hundred mares and appears to be on course to do the same again this year.
The phone rang and the first thing I heard was “Gretchen Jackson asked me to call you”. When a call starts like that, the correct reply is “What do you, I’ll do it”. And that is how I got to know Susan Wagner and her organization, Equine Advocates. The result was that I did a painting specifically for their event in Saratoga honoring George Strawbridge, Roy & Gretchen Jackson, and Edgar Prado. The painting was from a source photo taken by my brother of Edgar and Barbaro in the post parade moments before their dramatic victory in the Kentucky Derby. The connection between the horse and rider is so subtle and yet so strong. Over the years I’ve painted Barbaro live at several charity events. Those paintings have raised over $50,000 for various charities. Equine Advocates is aggressive in the rescue of horses from slaughter. This painting went home with Victoria McCullough who said she was not going to leave without it.
Robert Clark was pleased to be able to use two prints of one of his commissioned pieces to help benefit two charitable organizations that assist the families of kids with a variety of challenges. Home Safe offers at risk children a better environment for them to live, learn, and grow up. Home Safe the beneficiary of a special event hosted at Wellington. The other event was hosted by the former Boston Red Sox star Tim Wakefield for the benefit Space Coast Early Intervention. Thank you Dr. and Mrs. Greg Bonen-Clark for their permission to reproduce and donate a print of their painting to both of these charities.
George Strawbridge’s Augustin Stable’s Eclipse Award winner Informed Decision was the horse that was brought to life on canvas at this year’s Keeneland yearling sale. The gray Monarchos filly is shown winning the Grade 1 Vinery Madison at Keeneland. This was the ninth Keeneland Sale that Bob has painted at over the years and is again grateful to people at Keeneland for their wonderful hospitality during the September sale.Informed Decision painting finished
This is Cedric and Laura Kraut who were part of the USA gold medal Olympic Show Jumping Team in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games held in Hong Kong, China. Cedric is a bit of a new direction for me as I have declined severalopportunities over the past decade to paint breeds other than Thoroughbreds and in other sports in addition to Thoroughbred Racing. I was able to see Cedric in Wellington last year and meet his rider Laura Kraut. The duo recently teamed up again to win the 2012 Global Champions Tour event in Lausanne, Switzerland. This painting is actually set at the scene of his 2010 Global Champions Tour victory in Chantilly, France. As an artist when picking the setting for the painting I was intrigued by the possibilities of what could be done in the background. Painting Cedric in front of the Chateau de Chantilly for former owner was a pleasure and it has already opened other doors that may pull me to other events and paint other great (non-racing) horses. This painting was commissioned by his former owner Cortright Wetherill whose family has been in sport of kings for nearly a hundred years; so there is a connection.