Good luck at the Belmont, Art Sherman and California Chrome!
Dear Monty and Pat,
Art was a jockey for 21 years prior to becoming a trainer, and I was fortunate to have ridden with him for 7 or 8 of those years. He has been a trainer since 1976. When Monty and Pat directed me to ride in the bay area, I met Art right after I made my comeback. While riding with him, he was often like a mentor to me as I began riding as a journeyman. I learned a great deal from him.
I rode with Art at Golden Gate Fields, Bay Meadows, Santa Rosa Fair, Stockton, Pleasington Fair, Vallejo, and Sacramento Fair. I am almost positive Art’s son trained a winning horse for Monty. We have had many encounters over the decades. In 2009, Art invited us (while we were in California to see Uncle Bob) to his barn at Santa Anita. We couldn’t go, but is was a nice gesture.
When we first met, Art was 33 years old and I was only 18. He was a miracle man to still be an active jockey, having gone down in a horrific spill (when on the lead in a race and having been trampled by a whole field of horses). We rode together from 1970 to 1976 or 1977. He nicknamed me “Slip-thru LaGue” because I’d sneak through on the rail and beat him once in a while.
He also rode with Nanci’s cousin, David Kassen (former jockey and current Chicago/Florida trainer) who was born and raised in Cincinnati. Nanci and her cousin (Kassen) both graduated from the same Cincinnati High School. Art and David go way back as best friends. They rode together near our home here at old Latonia and other local race courses, during which time they hung out together with hall of fame jockey Donny Brumfield. According to Nanci, those three frequently hit the strip clubs in Newport, KY in the 1960’s right across the river from downtown Cincinnati together!
Nanci & I reunited with Art at Churchill Downs in November, 2006. He shipped in from California with his Breeders’ Cup sprint horse, Siren Lure. He requested that I perform the “officially timed workout” for the Daily Racing Form on ESPN for him prior to the event. It was a great honor and my workout was viewed world wide.
Art, Nanci, and I finally realized we had much more in common. Nanci and I were involved with various projects at Churchill Downs at the time we spent two weeks showing Art around Louisville. We spent every afternoon together in the Silks Room at Churchill and had a wonderful visit while reminiscing about the olden days. MOST OF THE MEMORIES LED BACK TO MONTY & PAT AND MY BEGINNING INTO HORSE RACING AT THE FARM. Art is like family to ALL OF US!
We have been sure to stay in touch ever since, exchanging Christmas cards, calling on the phone, and communicating via other correspondence. We spoke with Art after he won the Santa Anita Derby by 9 lengths which guaranteed him a spot in the run for the roses. We also spoke to him at 5 AM Pacific time for half an hour as he was training California Chrome at Los Alamitos (He trains for the owner of that track, so his horse had the track all to himself) just prior to shipping to Louisville in late April for the Kentucky Derby. Art is on cloud nine.