SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, May 7, 2014—As most everyone knows by now, a funny thing happened to Wildcat Red on his way back from Kentucky: He got stuck in traffic.

Considering that he lives in South Florida, this, in and of itself, is nothing out of the ordinary. But this happened on the highway, long before he got home.

Not unlike the accident seen on national television Tuesday night when a bridge fire caused a six-mile backup in LA, a bridge was involved in Florida, too, and there was ‘Red’ in his van standing there in the heat with nowhere to run.

Fortunately, the talented colt was in good hands, Larry Kelly’s.
‘Laz’, the nickname ‘Turnpike Kelly’ gave him, aka T.J., properly known as Thomas J. Kelly, Racing Hall of Fame, class of 1993, knows something about horses as his father’s long-time assistant.

Remember Plugged Nickle? Remember Storm and Sunshine Test Stakes fans? Larry helped T.J. develop those runners as top assistant. Striking out on his own, Larry developed stakes winners of his own; Roving Minstrel and Night in Reno, among others.

Well, now, he has his own horse transport company and he picked up Wildcat Red in Louisville on his way back from Arlington Park.

Anyway, when a trooper rolled by, Kelly told the trooper he had a Derby horse in the van and was wondering how long the tie up would be.

“Who is he?” asked the trooper. He was told it was Wildcat Red. “I’ll see what I can do,” the trooper said.

About 20 minutes later, here come more troopers, several members of the local sheriff’s department and firemen, too.

Kelly already had opened the second section of the van to give the colt a little more air which was convenient when the firemen came along with a hose to cool the horse down.

“Who is that?” they asked. “It’s Wildcat Red.”

With that, they went back to their cars, grabbed bottle water, some of them grabbing cameras and they topped off ‘Red’s’ water buckets and took pictures.

“We bet on this guy, he was Florida’s Derby horse.”

The commotion attracted a few dozen motorists who got out of their guys to see what was going on. More photos were taken and highlights of the incident wound up on local TV, Palm Beach County News 25.

The message should be clear. The next time you ship your horse by van, you had better call Kelly. He’ll know what to do.

A Filly In The Preakness?

Not so fast my friends.

If it weren’t for second-guessing, poor Ria Antonia would have no direction at all.

Sprinted in Canada early in her career, she went to Jeremiah Englehart in New York. Englehart prepared the scopey filly to go a distance, giving her a run in the Frizette before shipping to Santa Anita where she finished second by a nose, but elevated to first via disqualification in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Easy-raced in her 3-year-old debut, she finished fourth in the G3 Rachel Alexandra behind behemoth Untapable. But before Englehart could ship her to Santa Anita for the Oaks, owners Ron Paolucci and Christopher Dunn sent her to the barn of Bob Baffert.

Paolucci later said he wanted her on the grounds rather than be shipped from place to place, which seemed a contradiction.

Ria Antonia was a good, albeit even-paced second to Fashion Plate after removing blinkers which were back on for the Kentucky Oaks. The filly finished sixth at Churchill but now will have another new home with Tom Amoss, who trains horses for Paolucci.

Amoss will make the final decision on a Preakness run. Paolucci seems to be thinking about the Preakness as a prep before running her back in the Ohio Derby. Hopefully, events will settle down, sanity will prevail and more realistic goals will be set.