By Ken Weingartner, US Trotting Association — It was Rose Run Ulysses’ color that first attracted Kim Dailey to the pacer at the 2017 Buckeye Classic Yearling Sale. And it was his color that nearly cost him a place in the Dailey Stable that same day.
But the chestnut pacer found a home for life when Kim’s husband, Bill, ended up purchasing Rose Run Ulysses for $19,000. Bill passed away in May 2018, but not before preparing the horse for his 2-year-old season and stating he was a special one.
The now 6-year-old Rose Run Ulysses, better known by the nickname Big Red, has won nearly $300,000 in his career as he gets ready to compete in Thursday’s (Feb. 3) $30,000 Open Handicap at Miami Valley Raceway.
“I’ve always been fond of red horses,” Kim said. “I spotted (Rose Run Ulysses) at the sale and I texted Bill. I told him he had to come and look at this horse. He walked around the corner and said, ‘No Kim, he’s red. I’m not training a red horse.’ He liked your bays and your dark ones.”
Kim continued with the story, laughing, “He looked in (the stall) and said, ‘Don’t pull him out because I’m going to like him.’ When they pulled him out, he said, ‘We have to have this one.’ I remember it like it was yesterday.
“I don’t think we had him marked in the book. If it wasn’t for his color, more than likely I would have passed him by.”
As a 2-year-old, Rose Run Ulysses was a three-time winner on the Ohio Sire Stakes circuit, plus was a winner in the Ohio State Fair stakes. At 3, he was second in divisions of the Circle City and Pegasus stakes as well as the consolation division of the Ohio Sire Stakes final. Last year, he won the Signature Series final and finished third in the Ohio Sire Stakes championship for older male pacers.
“He’s special because he’s the last horse I’ve got, that I kept, since Bill passed,” Kim said. “I’ve had people call wanting to buy him, but I tell them no. There is no price tag on him. People probably think I am crazy because I wouldn’t sell him. They bugged me and bugged me, but finally quit. I think they finally got the hint.
“Sometimes (drivers) say he cheats, but I think he gives it his all mostly. He’s just been a nice horse for me. I’m glad I kept him. He’ll stay here for his entire life.”
Rose Run Ulysses has been a workhorse of late, racing 111 times since turning 3. When the son of Western Vintage-Alcyon Semalu goes behind the gate Thursday it will mark the 22nd consecutive month he has made a start.
For his career, he has won 16 of 118 races and earned a paycheck 77 times.
“He’s not hard on himself,” Kim said. “I turn him out a lot. Sometimes, he never hits the racetrack through the weeks. My daughter has an old barrel horse here and (Rose Run Ulysses) will stay in the field and eat grass with him. He’s always raced good that way for me. He’ll tell me when he’s tired. Until he tells me he wants a break, I’ll just keep racing him.”
Among Kim’s favorite moments with Rose Run Ulysses, last year’s Signature Series triumph at Ohio’s Delaware County Fairgrounds on Little Brown Jug Day stands out. Rose Run Ulysses and driver David Miller were seventh heading to three-quarters but went four-wide up the backstretch and powered to victory by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:57.
“Everybody wants to win at Delaware, whether you’re going for big money or no money,” Kim said. “When Dave pulled him four deep, I thought I wasn’t getting a check, but he went on and kept going. That was pretty exciting.”
Kim hopes for more exciting times with Rose Run Ulysses. The gelding enters Thursday’s start with two wins and a second in four races this year. He will leave from post eight in a 10-horse field with Kayne Kauffman in the sulky.
“He’s been really good lately,” she said. “You have to be careful with him; he’s got his own personality, his own temperament. But he’s feeling good, acting good. I wish I had five or six like him.”
Racing begins at 4:10 p.m. (EST) at Miami Valley. For complete entries, click here.