09/16/2011 3:06PM

Murphy's gift horse keeps on giving

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Tidal Volume has earned more than $116,000 since Robin Murphy (right) nursed him back to health.

When Tidal Volume won his fourth straight race in last weekend’s $50,000 Temperence Hill at Louisiana Downs, it brought Robin Murphy to tears. The horse was given to her after he fractured a knee at 2 and has now given the small business owner a sense of financial freedom. Tidal Volume, who was making his stakes debut in the Temperence Hill, picked up $30,000 for the win, which pushed the 5-year-old’s earnings to $116,956.

“I call him my little sugar daddy,” Murphy said. “He has helped me be more financially secure. Financially, he has relieved some stress for me. I appreciate every stride that horse makes.”

Murphy, 48, owns and operates Poplar Creek Horse Center in Bethel, Ohio. She trains Quarter Horses for the show circuit, and boards the occasional Thoroughbred layup. Her clients have included Preston Stables, which races the top older handicap horse Flat Out. Murphy said Preston Stables gave Tidal Volume to her as a gift. The horse is a striking gray who now stands about 17 hands tall. He is by Murphy’s longtime favorite stallion, Tapit.

“They told me when I put him on the trailer, ‘You give this horse time, he could be any kind of horse,’ ” Murphy said. “I actually didn’t expect him to run. I wanted him to heal completely, whether he ran or not, so I took my time with him. I started swimming him after a lot of turnout, just bringing him back slowly.”

Murphy eventually put Tidal Volume in training on her farm, which has a half-mile track, and with the help of a client ran him four times off her farm. Tidal Volume’s best effort was a maiden special weight win at Hoosier Park in July 2010. Murphy then decided it would be best if she sent the horse to the racetrack, which she knew would be expensive.

“I’m on a normal income, work month to month to pay my bills,” she said. “All winter I saved my money, and saved up enough for about three months of training. At the same time, I’m researching trainers, and Tom Amoss’s name kept coming up.”

At the end of March, Murphy sent Tidal Volume to Amoss.

“It was 10 weeks before his first race, so it was right underneath my financial wire,” Murphy said. “I didn’t want to have to bring the horse home, so I just hoped and prayed he would do well. His first out was at Churchill Downs on June 12, and he won.”

Tidal Volume took the $30,000 conditioned claiming sprint by 3 1/2 lengths. Amoss then moved the horse into a first-level allowance at a mile on turf at Indiana Downs, and Tidal Volume won again, by more than five lengths. The horse then returned to the main track for a $40,000 optional claiming sprint at Hoosier, scored, and turned up in the Temperence Hill. Tidal Volume cruised in the six-furlong stakes run Sept. 10, and for the effort earned a career-high Beyer Figure of 100.

“Every one of his races has been a progressive race,” Amoss said. “Every race has been a little better. He’s stepped forward each race. Where will the cycle end? We’re going to test that.”

Amoss said the plan is to run Tidal Volume back in a stakes, probably in October.

Tidal Volume is the third racehorse Murphy has had after about three years in the industry, and he is her first winner. She hopes to eventually stand him at stud at her farm.

“I’m so thankful to Tom Amoss for bringing this horse so far,” Murphy said. “I couldn’t have done it without him. Tears came to my eyes right before the horse went across the line in that stakes race. I just cried. He’s mine. He’s my boy.

“This is a rich man’s game. I have a rich man’s style horse, but I’m not rich. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about this horse. He’s just been wonderful.”

Golden Yank to either Hawthorne or Turfway

Golden Yank, the winner of the $100,000 Unbridled at Louisiana Downs, could make his next start in either the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup on Oct. 8, or the Grade 2 Kentucky Cup Classic on Sept. 24, said his trainer, Gary Thomas. Thomas said a longterm goal for the horse remains the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25.

* Ide Like a Double, a seven-time stakes winner, returns to the allowance ranks in the fifth race at Louisiana Downs on Sunday.