Fowlerville’s Arrigenna brings on his next crop of winners
Did you hear? Are you in the loop?
Okay, on the local Valley Horses scene there’s foxhunting, eventing, hunter paces, Pony Club, 4-H, a bit of dressage, hunter/jumper shows, the Hemlock Fair Mounted Patrol competition (coming up on Wednesday), and other various and sundry horsey happenings of which I am marginally aware and always seeking to learn more.
In the latter category, I only connected with the local standardbred world of trotter/pacer harness racing a couple years ago when Caledonia’s Patrick Keefe, Esq., sent a letter to the LCN about this guy Peter Arrigenna from Fowlerville who had a homebred three-year-old filly, “Tuesdays With Mom,” who was showing great promise under Peter’s ownership and tutelage of possibly going the distance to win the New York State Sire Stakes award in her division for the year. And indeed she did!
What a night it was going up to Batavia Downs with a couple friends for a bit of fine dining while watching the remote broadcast of the finals at Yonkers. With live racing going on before us, our primary interest was seeing “Tuesdays With Mom’s” race from afar. When she crossed the wire in first, the cheer that went up in the clubhouse was testimony to the fact that we were not alone in our reason for being there.
As sadly happens from time to time in the world of horses, Tuesday’s With Mom came to an untimely end from colic shortly after her racing retirement.
Arrigenna frankly admits that she was his all-time favorite, and his struggle to hold back tears as he spoke of her was a very genuine and heart-felt testimony to that truth.
But life must move on.
That same year (2010) Groveland’s Alan Hainsworth, while in Lexington, Ky., for the annual standardbred auction, also happened to stop by Diamond Creek Farm to take a look at their youngsters and noticed a particularly impressive yearling who was consigned to the upcoming auction in Harrisburg, Pa., the largest in the country.
Hainsworth had been attempting for some time to get Arrigenna to take in a few of his horses for training, but Arrigenna always declined, saying his barn was full and he only had so much time.
In the meantime, Arrigenna had been flipping through The Black Book catalog (www.theblackbook.com) for the Harrisburg auction, and happened to notice #104, a particularly well-bred colt – “a dream horse” – by the same sire as Tuesdays With Mom – Credit Winner.
Although relatively nearby, Arrigenna had only attended the Harrisburg auction once because he always raised his own horses; plus it was the same time as his wedding anniversary. (Note to horsefolk: it’s probably smart to keep things in a certain perspective when it comes to major events in your marriage and family.)
The sale runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or later over four days. The yearling catalog alone is over two inches thick with easily 2,000+ consignments.
Hainsworth stopped by Arrigenna’s on his way home from Lexington to say he had looked at a horse that might peak his interest. “It wasn’t the Harrisburg auction hip No. 104 by any chance?” Arrigenna inquired.
Hainsworth already had a regular partner on board, Clare Semer from Florida, but invited Arrigennna to consider a piece of the action, in the hopes of getting his foot in the door with him as a trainer.
The trio consulted on how much they would be willing to pay, and agreed on a price of $120K as their limit.
They say timing is everything, and a wee bit o’ luck was on their side as the colt came up as the first major offering to go on the block on the morning of the first day when buyers still didn’t quite have their blood up, driven by the adrenaline rush of auction fever from fear of missing out.
The gavel fell at their agreed upon price, and the handsome black colt Archangel came home to Fowlerville.
Arrigenna took his time with the horse, putting mileage on him in his two-year-old year by doing nine of the New York Sire Stakes races, but not pushing him.
This year started off slowly when the Saratoga track was quarantined with an outbreak of strangles. Arrigenna decided to play it safe and miss a few of the early race meets, just in case an infected horse had made it to another track before the quarantine was imposed.
He drove Archie in his first prep race, for which Arrigenna states he wasn’t really ready, but finished second nonetheless, and went on to win all his other seven races this year with professional catch driver Jim Morrell from the Buffalo area, who drives regularly for Arrigenna.
He had two schedules in mind for the horse depending on how things went: either the New York Sire Stakes races or the Grand Circuit of races in several states leading up to the Triple Crown of the harness world comprised of the Yonkers Trot, the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands, and the Kentucky Futurity in Lexington.
Long story short, on Saturday, July 7, Archangel scored an upset victory in the Yonkers Trot, starting only third in the betting. Not only did he win, he broke the record for that race, for Yonkers Raceway, and set a new world record!! Yowza – Triple Crown here we come!
“He’s earned it,” states Arrigenna. “He’s not only fast, he’s smart and easy to manage.”
Replays of the race can be viewed online at empirecitycasino.com and fumbling your way to the sixth race on July 7.
There’s a full page color ad in last weekend’s Pennysaver with Archangel’s winning photo from the race, inviting people to sign up for a bus trip to the Meadowlands for the August 4 Hambletonian.
That’s still a ways off, and anything can happen with horses, but Arrigenna states that if Archangel doesn’t run for some reason, he may just sign up for the trip and go down on the bus anyway.
But Archie’s isn’t the only star in the barn. Arrigenna also has a two-year-old out of his Princess Diana, dam of Tuesdays With Mom, who is part of the first crop of trotters by Crazed, a son of Credit Winner. Timothy Patrick won the second race of his career and broke the track record at Buffalo on July 13 with Morrell driving.
The Timothy part of his name comes from Arrigenna’s farrier who works for Crazed’s owners, who gave him a share in the horse which allows for two breedings a year, one of which he gave to Arrigenna.
And Patrick is in honor of Patrick Keefe, who first alerted me to Arrigenna and Tuesdays With Mom. Keefe was a dear family friend who passed away last year before learning of the horse’s naming, which was to be a surprise when the horse first ran.
There are a lot of ups and downs in the horse world, and the downs make the ups that much sweeter. It’s fun to have some local stars to cheer on.
I’m definitely becoming a real groupie of Arrigenna and his horses. It could be quite a year. See you at the races!