The theme of this year’s Equinics is Memorial, and much of what makes memorials significant is the memories that surround the events, people, places (and horses) which are remembered long after the actual events have faded. We are defined by our memories and how they shaped our lives. I am reminded about a line from a movie in which Death asks someone “Do you have enough pictures?” Do you have enough memories, enough moments in time that you will always recall and that helped form who you are.
For our Equinics Diary this year I asked our members to list some of their favorite memories from their time in the SIM. Here they are in their own words:
Meeting amazing people and developing as a trainer. I first met Deyoto at Moonee Valley in early 2006 at a race meeting and have been addicted ever since! We have become exceptionally good mates and talk every couple of days. I was part of his wedding party in 2015.
Getting my first G1 winner in Freeze. I knew nothing and thrust him into G1 competition way too early. He battled on and was a fair horse and eventually got a G1 win through volume of G1 races he was entered in not ability LOL
Training Miss Timoshenko. 2011 HOTY winning the BB juvy filly turf after beating the boys in the worlds biggest G1 race for 2yo. After three G1 wins as a 2yo she also added the G1 1000 Guineas to her record as a 3yo.
Meeting for the first time in Chicago for the Arlington Million and watching us get trounced in the 2004 Equinics
The 2006 real life Kentucky Derby meet up and all the coinciding shenanigans that took place (derby initiation, meeting Chris Tucker, UFT, winning the 1000 Guineas with a Vindication)
Having my 1000 Guineas winner Tenacious V produce a 2000 Guineas winner Tenacious Heat
Benchian Fingers' entire undefeated 2yo championship campaign
Winning the 2010 Equinics Coming off a loss in the 2008 Equinics, the GR Simsters had a lot to prove including that we weren't a onehit wonder. I personally had a lot to prove, never having won an Equinics race and entering the 2010 rendition as the president of the rez for the first time. My horses registered three Equinics wins (Dead Zone, The Beggar King, Tatsu) and the GR Simsters registered a massive victory returning to Golden glory.
Winning the 2006 Equinics After only having one horse win any type of medal in 2004 (Ziklag), the GR Simsters took the Sim by storm in 2006, winning the Equinics and establishing ourselves as a force to be reckoned with!
Winning the 2014 Equinics After losing in 2012, the GR Simsters again faced doubters saying that we were done as a residency. Our member numbers had dipped some, and interest had waned, but we rallied as a group and demolished the 2014 Equinics to tally our third Gold Medal!
Getting my first ever G1 win in 2008 with BOODHA (Steadhemp Handicap). Been a long time waiting as I've been playing the sim since its early stages.
Second G1 attained a year later, 2009, with SHOWBIZ BOUND (End Of The Line Futurity). Also, he was my first and only Bluegrass Derby runner to date. He didn't fare well at all, but being there was such an awesome treat.
Simply finding the sim, so long ago. I looked recently, and found I have mares I bred in my breeding stable dating back 20 years....... Wow!
Without question, my best memory of the Sim is meeting Todd, Brian, and Dan in Chicago Arlington Million Weekend in 2004. That happened to also be the GRSimster's first official participation in the Equinics. Needless to say, we got literally slaughtered. If not for TM's old turf sprinter, Ziklag, who nabbed a 3rd place finish for us, we would have been without any points. It was at that first get together that we each decided to beg, borrow, and steal for the next few years and win the next Equinics. The rest is history..... Second is meeting some of our friends down under when Dan, Robby and I travelled to Australia in late 2014. We met up with Rob (Deyoto) eventually and made our way to the track. Rob was blown away that somehow we had secured tickets to the BirdCage a part of the track no one gets into. We were rubbing elbows with Miss Australia and former AussieRules Football monster star Barry Hall. We didn't know any better but had a blast anyway. Ended up meeting Magoo at the track that day and he knew a guy who worked a door....and eventually we were in the owner's suite for a race being treated like absolute royalty. I never had more fun losing money than I did that day. Also on that trip, we were lucky enough to grab a fabulous dinner with Mick (Lado) which was really awesome because we'd talked so much to him over the years. Those fellas in Australia are first rate! Lastly, I think from a horse or race point of view, I most enjoyed watching Creepshow win the Arlington Million way back in 2008. It was his last, and 8th, GI win. It was really cool because that was a race I wanted to win above all others and Creepshow was an old warrior who had been written off for dead twice during the prior 2 years. Great way to go out, Champ.
What strikes me is all the personal memories that people have. The SIM has functioned as a conduit for bringing together people who become friends and will likely stay in touch for the rest of their lives. They say that people have so much nostalgia for high school and college because you stop making friends after you leave that part of your life, but the SIM has defied that line of thinking in bringing people together over a common bond. For myself I remember Transylvania who was my first good horse and backed up some trash talk for me in a big race or Bush Wins Again and Max California who were among the best horses in the SIM at the height of their careers. Mostly though, I remember the pictures I got to see because of the SIM and my friends in it: I got to see A.P. Indy, Storm Cat, Afleet Alex and More than Ready and dozens of other stallions in multiple visits to the horse farms I got to see the Kentucky Derby from the infield in a Superman shirt and the Grandstand in a sports coat in different years.
I got to see Barbaro win the Kentucky Derby
I got to eat one of the biggest prime rib’s you’ll ever see at Saratoga with Dan and a bunch of Jets fans who looked like Rex Ryan’s cousins.
I got to meet John Velasquez in the Jockey’s room at Saratoga and talk to him about Rags to Riches
I drank Russian Imperial Stout with Dan in minor league hockey towns like Flint and Port Huron and we went out one night with a couple hockey guys like a scene from Slap Shot.
I had an epic Chicago weekend with Brian, Lenny and Dan and I think as you may have read above, there isn’t one person in the original GR Simsters Residency that will ever forget Ziklag. He saved us from a shut out!
I got to drink three finger glasses of whiskey with Lenny out of leather chairs in the Gault House after the Kentucky Derby till we finally got a table in the hotel steak house.
I got to hang out on the backside of Keenland at 6 am learning the ins and outs of Training and what goes into making a horse run.
I would never have read the Game of Thrones books without the GR Simsters (though I quit after the Red Wedding and the series is better anyway!)
All these memories and more were made possible in large part because of the SIM and the relationships that it formed.
These are the memories of the GR Simsters. These are the memories of us.
Written by GR SIMSTERS