Tag Archive | "Dickie Small"

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Legendary Maryland horse trainer Small dies at 68

Posted on 05 April 2014 by WNST Staff


BALTIMORE, 04-05-14—Prominent Maryland trainer Richard (Dickie) Small, who conditioned 1994 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Concern, died late Friday night after a battle with cancer. He was 68 years old.

Born in Baltimore on December 2, 1945, Small attended the Gilman School, played lacrosse at the University of Delaware and served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War as a Green Beret before launching his training career in 1974.

He finished his career with 1,199 wins with earnings of $38.9 million, according to Equibase: http://www.equibase.com/profiles/Results.cfm?type=People&searchType=T&eID=25701

“Dickie was the consummate horsemen,” said Maryland Jockey Club stakes coordinator Coley Blind, a friend of Small for more than 40 years. “Horses came first. He put everything into the horses. He knew everything about his horse right down to the pimples. He was a good man and very easy to deal with from the racing office perspective.”

“I had a conversation with Dickie last week via text and he spoke of looking forward to us catching up in the spring,” jockey Rosie Napravnik said. “He stayed so positive all the way to the end and I admire him for that and in so many other ways. Dickie was a great horsemen and a great man. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had him in my life.”

Small won 36 graded stakes during his career, including Grade 1 scores by Caesar’s Wish, Broad Brush and Concern.

Small considered Caesar’s Wish the best horse he ever trained. The Maryland-bred won five stakes as a 2-year-old, had four added money victories at three, including the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) and Mother Goose (G1), where she broke Ruffian’s record.

Broad Brush, who retired at age four in 1987 as Maryland’s all-time money winner, was Small’s next star. The son of Ack Ack finished in the money in 24-of-27 career starts and earned nearly $2.7 million for owner-breeder Robert Meyerhoff. As a three-year-old Broad Brush won the Wood Memorial (G1) and finished third in both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1). He came back the next year with two G1 victories: the Santa Anita and Suburban Handicaps.

“The best stories about Dickie involved Broad Brush when he would take him for a ride in the van before races to get him to relax,” added Blind. “He just drove him around the Beltway and brought him back to the barn and the horse performed.”

Broad Brush’s son Concern won the 1994 Arkansas Derby (G2) and finished third in the Preakness (G1) but peaked later that season, capturing the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs beating Tabasco Cat by a neck at the wire at odds of 7-1. He finished in the money in all 14 starts that year with earnings exceeding $2.5 million.

Small, who also conditioned multiple graded winners Tactile and Valley Crossing, won a stakes race in Maryland every year but one from 1974-2013.

“That is an amazing statistic,” Blind said. “I remember the year he didn’t do it (2003). He was so disappointed that the streak was broken.”

Small was known for helping launch the careers of female riders such as Andrea Seefeldt, Jerilyn Brown, Rosie Napravnik and Forest Boyce.

“As far as I’m concerned, the Dickie Small School of Racing is one of the best in the country,” Blind said. “For as gruff as Dickie could be, especially when he was younger, he had a knack of working well with female riders. Dickie knew what to look for in horses and people. He was a great teacher.”

Small’s father, Doug, and uncle, Sid Watters, were both well-known Maryland trainers.

Services for Small are still pending as of Saturday morning, according to his assistant Dylan Smith.

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Dylan Smith

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Meet Dylan Smith, On-Air Guest Handicapper on Thursday at Laurel Park

Posted on 20 March 2013 by Gary Quill

This is Part 2 of my 4 part series to provide thoroughbred horse racing fans a glimpse at the four (4) candidates the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) has selected to be Frank Carulli’s replacement as the on-air television host during Laurel Park and Pimlico Meets. If you’ve already read “Part 1”, feel free to skip down to “Now let’s meet…”. If not, on read. The candidates are Ryan Fogelsonger, Dylan Smith, Jacqueline “Jackie” Savoye and Gabrielle “Gabby” Gaudet. Kudos to MJC for seeking to allure the “Gen Y” crowd as the average age of these four finalists for the job is 25½.

Since 2002, Carulli has been the Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park handicapper and racing analyst, but will leave MJC at the conclusion of the Pimlico spring meet (June 8th), relocating to Las Vegas. Considered one of the best in the business in making the Morning Line (Odds), those duties will be handed over to Equibase chart caller Keith Feustle, when live racing resumes in September at Laurel Park. Feustle can be seen on the “Today At The Races” pre-race show on the Maryland simulcast signal with his co-host, track announcer Dave Rodman.

The brain-trust at MJC decided to give each candidate the opportunity to showcase their talent on-air as part of the interview process. So this week (March 20-23) at Laurel Park, each have one day to prove themselves worthy of filling Carulli’s shoes. On Thursday, Dylan Smith gets her chance to wooo Maryland horseplayers with her handicapping prowess. Then on Friday (Mar. 22nd) it’s Jackie Savoye’s turn and Gabby Gaudet completes the on-air superfecta on Saturday (Mar. 23rd). Ryan Fogelsonger completed his “audition” on Wednesday (Mar. 20th).

This past Saturday at Laurel Park, I spent a few moments with each of the contenders, to get to know a bit more about them, so I could introduce them to you. All were very impressive and enthusiastic to face the on-air challenge ahead of them. One shared, “It’s kind of weird, this live on-air audition and knowing the other applicants that you’re up against for the job. It feels like American Idol”.

Not quite American Idol because the decision on who will be hired as the new Racing Analyst is solely an internal (MJC) one. There will be no fan voting, but your feedback is welcomed and should be directed to Mike Gathagan, MJC’s V.P. of Communications at mike.gathagan@marylandracing.com.

I don’t envy the MJC decision-makers. It will certainly be a tough call. I wonder if they would entertain a co-host format? It seems to work at other tracks having two people banter about versus one speaking directly into the camera. Just some food for thought.    

Dylan SmithNow let’s meet…

Dylan Smith, 24, has been working as an assistant for trainer Dickie Small since graduating from Kennedy High School in the Washington D.C. suburbs in 2006.

“(I’m) definitely a track-oholic and horse-oholic”, Smith proudly declared. “I am at the races all day, every race day. I gallop in the morning, then shower in the girl’s jocks room where I then get scratches, study, and make my final picks for the day. Next I listen to Talking Horses in NYRA then watch Dave (Rodman) & Keith (Feustle) at Laurel and jot down their opinions. I’m at the races for the full card. Afterwards I go home where I watch more races from across the country until I fall asleep”.

When asked at what age did she catch the horse racing bug, Dylan reflected, “I learned when I was very young, couldn’t have been older than 6 or 7, how to read a program and (Daily Racing) Form from my Dad. He started bringing me to the track when I was little…and I was obsessed even then. My Dad really gets the credit for bringing me to the track and getting me hooked. He always answered questions and just watching what he looked at on paper and how he bet taught me so much”.

Not only does Smith understand horses physically and the art of handicapping, but she also has strong opinions on what horseplayers want from a track handicapper. With The Form tucked under her arm, the slender blonde explained, “I hang around and learn from the people that bet a lot of money. I see firsthand where they like to put their dollars and what they look for when making their selections. I think it is a huge advantage to know how to bet because the ultimate goal for the track handicapper is to get money into the bettor’s pockets (giving them the ability to play more races, which increases the tracks handle). I can dig up useful information that I know a lot of people would be interested in hearing when putting together a ticket. People don’t want a repeat of what you can see in The Form. They want you to go the extra mile to find what they can’t see”.

Though she’s short on media experience, Dylan has certainly done her homework in preparation for Thursday’s on-air debut. “I watch Frank (Carulli) very closely and have been working with him for months trying to pick up on everything he does. He’s very good at morning line odds, and he really takes a lot of time and does lots of research when making his picks”. Smith sought assistance outside of Maryland, adding, “I also got to spend a day with NYRA’s Andy Serling who was great. He is just fantastic and does all his homework. He’s prepared every day and gave me some good pointers”.

Dylan Smith breezing

To describe Dylan Smith in one word, it would be Horse-oholic. By her own admission, “It’s a little obsessive, but I literally watch all tracks and all types of horses (Harness and Quarter, too). I don’t like to miss any action at any track in the country. I have a non-existent social life outside of the track because I am so wrapped up in the racing world. It may sound pitiful, but I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way”. Not so pitiful from my point of view because she seems to be a terrific asset to the Maryland horse racing community.

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