It's not that anyone ever intended to run Golden Man on consecutive days. It's just that the 3-year-old, who had been entered in races on July 16 and 17, came out of his third-place finish in Saturday's Long Branch at Monmouth in great shape and the Leonard Richards run the next day at Delaware looked like an easy spot.
The question was no longer why, but why not?
"You had to enter the Delaware races six days out and when we did that the race was looking very tough with Sun King, High Limit, Scrappy T.," co-owner Sandy Goldfarb said. "We were putting our toes in the ground about running there. Then we saw the race at Monmouth Park and we supplemented him for $5,000 and decided to go there instead.
"During that process, there were two scratches at Delaware and they were down to five horses. We started thinking that if he ran decent at Monmouth we should run him back at Delaware the next day. Even if he just galloped around the track and ran last we'd make $10,000. If you had to enter both races on the same day we never would have entered both. Also, Golden Man has a lot of silly tendencies, a lot of head stuff. We figured this horse might love doing something like this."
Golden Man did his part. Running for Lawrence Walters, an assistant to Richard Dutrow Jr., who is in the midst of serving a suspension, he ran third in the Grade III Long Branch, earning $13,750 out of the total purse of $150,000. Afterward, he looked and acted like a horse who had another round in him.
"We called down to the boys at Monmouth and they said he cooled out good and said he ate his dinner up," Goldfarb said. "We sent him over to Delaware, where they said he shipped in good and ate all his lunch. I couldn't come up with a reason not to run him."
With Tony Dutrow, Richard's brother, now listed as the trainer, Golden Man was sent off at 7-1 in the Leonard Richards, but may have been higher had people known what transpired a day earlier. Delaware Park officials said there is no rule preventing a horse from running on consecutive days, but it did cause some inconveniences. They had to print out a new set of past performances for the horse for on-track fans. It's likely that many simulcast bettors had no idea Golden Man had run the day before.
When Scrappy T and Papi Chullo were scratched, the $300,000 Leonard Richards was down to five horses, topped by Louisiana Derby winner High Limit. With John Velazquez riding this time, Golden Man was fourth entering the turn as second choice Sun King and High Limit started to pull away from the field. He seemed to be going nowhere, but there was something left in his tank after all. He never threatened Sun King, a 5 3/4-length winner, but he got past a tiring High Limit in deep stretch to finish second. He earned $60,000.
"I was very happy with both his races, Monmouth and Delaware," Goldfarb said. "We never would have pointed him toward races like that if we didn't think he had that kind of talent. I can't say I was surprised. Delaware Park is the type of racetrack you have to like in order to run well. He probably just liked it and a couple others might not have had their day. He just wound up beating a few of them."
Based on speed figures, Golden Man's two efforts were almost identical. He earned a 92 Beyer figure in the Long Branch and a 91 in the Leonard Richards.
A horse racing on consecutive days is very rare, but not unprecedented. Trained by Carlos (King of the Fairs) Figueroa, a horse named Shannon's Hope did it when winning five races over an eight-day span in 1963 at the Weymouth and Marshfield Fairs. Rushaway won the 1936 Illinois and Latonia Derbies on consecutive days. Trainer King Leatherbury probably holds some sort of record for getting the most out of a horse in a short period of time. He once ran a horse during the day at Laurel and later the same night at Penn National. The two races were about six hours apart.
"He came out of the Delaware race great," Goldfarb said. "We'll keep him there for another week and then send him back to New York. We didn't learn anything by this. It wasn't something we really wanted to do. But we have had a lot of success running horses back in three, four, five days. I like doing that and running horses back in 45 days. I don't know what's in store for him, but we'll look for a race in about 45 days and run him then."
Forty-five day puts him just about on schedule for the Travers. Of course, there is the Iselin to think about the next day at Monmouth. Or maybe he can just run in both.