06/21/2013 4:44PM

Letters to the Editor June 23


Namesake horse makes Father's Day a memorable one

I am a partner, with my father and brother, in the Terranova Racing Stable. We are family-owned, and exist solely to race (and occasionally win). People may know of Meese Rocks, the best who has passed through the stable. The horse I am writing about, however, is an otherwise nondescript low-level claimer.

We purchased There Goes Vinny as 2-year-old in April 2011 in Ocala. He is named for Vincent Governale, a very dear friend to the family (and the stable) who at the time was very ill. Over the past two-plus years, while our friend Vinny fought his declining health on a daily basis, we fought to get his equine namesake into the winner's circle. Finally, on July 14 of last year, There Goes Vinny won a maiden claimer at Belmont and we thought our mission, if only symbolic, was complete.

Several weeks later, There Goes Vinny was claimed. As we have had many horses come and go, normally one claimed away would simply fade from view. Given the circumstances, however, we've followed Vinny, and watched him toil in low-level claimers at various tracks. Meanwhile, our friend Vincent's health steadily declined. On Tuesday, June 11, he finally succumbed to his illnesses.

Among the many friends and family members that Vinny left behind were his two daughters, Lori and Geri, both as dear to the family as Vinny himself. When I received notification that There Goes Vinny was entered to run in the second race at Monmouth, one particular detail stuck out -- it was Sunday, June 16, Father's Day. To Lori and Geri the fact that "Vinny" was running was something to look forward to in an otherwise impossible week. Maybe, just maybe, "Vinny" had a run in him.

Having seen his recent form, I did my best to temper expectations. We had to be careful in pinning hopes on a horse who was 1 for 15 and uncompetitive in most races. Well . . . what began as a low-level claimer at Monmouth ended as a sign from above. There Goes Vinny won, beating three other rivals by four widening lengths, a fitting Father's Day sendoff to our departed, dear friend.

Jamie Terranova - Oyster Bay Cove, N.Y.