06/25/2009 11:00PM

Brother-sister team on track


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Trainer Alan Love Sr. spent Father's Day last weekend celebrating with half of the outriding staff at Lone Star Park. Love's son, Pete, and his daughter, Christie, are among the four outriders working the current meet. Their role is to look out for the safety of jockeys and horses during both the races and morning training hours.

"Racing's usually a family industry, but it's very seldom that you have a father that's a trainer and two kids that are outriders," Alan Love said. "It means a lot to me. It's satisfying to see them out there dealing with the horses.

"My kids have been very fortunate. A lot of people wonder how you could get in that position, to be an outrider, and most don't realize the years of work that it takes, growing up around horses, learning how to ride and do things, just to be able to do what they do out there."

Pete, who will turn 33 on Sunday, and Christie, 23, have a job that can be dangerous. A loose horse barreling around the track at a high rate of speed puts the safety of jockeys and other horses at risk. It is up to the Loves, as well as fellow Lone Star outriders John Brown and Ben Wayne Scott, to catch such horses as quick as possible. It puts their riding skills to the test, and being siblings can help, Pete said.

"Christie can read my action, what's fixing to happen," he said. "It helps when your partner knows. We all click together and we work good together, and that's the main deal. It's a team effort."

"It helps that he taught me what I need to know," Christie said of her brother. "So, when we have a loose horse, I can help him herd the horse back in the chute, or catch it if he's not in the right position. You also have a radio at all times when you're working, and your channel is set up where you hear the starter, the stewards, and the paddock judge, and anything that involves a horse."

Pete and Christie are not the first outrider siblings at Lone Star. Pete said a few years ago, Wayne Scott, Wayne Scott's two sons, and his nephew worked together as the outriding staff. He said Christie is the second woman to hold an outrider position at Lone Star.

Pete has been an outrider for six years, getting his start at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston. He was recommended for the job by a friend when he was ponying horses to post at Lone Star.

"I guess he saw I was ponying bad horses and hanging on to them," Pete said.

Christie was offered was her position at Lone Star when an outrider from last year did not return this meet. It is a summer job for her, and then she will return for her fourth year of college. Christie plans to become a racetrack veterinarian.

"My main role here on the track is the test barn escort," Christie said. "I sit in the tunnel waiting for the race to run, then go hand the trainers or the grooms a tag to take them to the test barn."

If she is needed to assist in catching a loose horse, the radio communication comes into play. Both of the Loves said an outrider is only as good as the pony he or she is aboard. Pete has six, which he alternates for morning and afternoon duties while Christie's main pony, Movie, was trained by Pete.

Later this year, Pete will work the Quarter Horse meet at Lone Star while Christie will head back to school. She will soon be applying for vet school at Louisiana State University and Texas A&M.

Louisiana sale expands to two days

The Breeders Sales Company of Louisiana has announced plans to expand its fall yearling sale to two days because of increased interest in the auction from consignors. The sale will be held Sept. 28-29 at the Ike Hamilton Center in West Monroe, La.

"We believe that the success of last year's sale and our breeders' incentive program are contributing to the large number of yearlings being entered in our sale," said Tom Early, sales coordinator for the Breeders Sales Company who also is the CEO of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association.

The total number of yearlings to be cataloged to the sale is still being determined.

Quarter Horse stakes are cut

Sam Houston has canceled three of its Quarter Horse stakes and reduced its overnight purses because of a decline in handle, the track announced this week. The Grade 2, $50,000 Sam Houston Classic on Aug. 22, the Grade 3, $35,000 Governors' Cup Marathon on Aug. 21, and the $15,000 Spring Stakes on Aug. 7, have all been cut.

The move was made "in an effort to minimize the purse cut to overnight races," said Eric Johnston, vice president of racing for Sam Houston.