Updated on 09/16/2011 6:36AM

Thar He Blows - yet again


Hallowed Dreams, who won the first 16 races of her career, may not hold the most unusual race record in Louisiana. That distinction arguably could go to Thar He Blows, a 14-year-old who will make his seasonal debut Friday night at Delta Downs in Vinton, La.

* has raced every year since he made his career bow as a 2-year-old in 1990, and on Friday will attempt to start his racing season the same way he did last year - with a win. In his 13-year-old debut Jan. 7, 2001, the gelding was a 5 1/2-length winner of a $3,000 claiming race at Delta.

That race was over 6 1/2 furlongs, the same two-turn distance he will travel Friday when he starts for a claiming price of $3,000. "I expect him to do well," said trainer Ray Gary. "We gave him a race in November, just to see how he would handle it, and to help get him ready for this year. I don't know if he's quite fit enough, but if he doesn't win this time, I expect him to win his next out."

Although records about the oldest horses to race are spotty at best, the Guinness book of horse racing records, updated in 1988, says that the oldest horse to win on the flat was the 18-year-old Revenge, who beat the 14-year-old Tommy in a 1790 match race at Shrewsbury, England. Another horse, Jorrocks, recorded his last win in February of his 18th year in Australia in 1851.

Delta Downs, also home to 14-year-old runner One Eyed Prince, requires that horses over the age of 10 win at least one race each year to be eligible to compete the following year. Gary hopes to see Thar He Blows race at 15.

"He loves the competition," the trainer said. "He hates it when he's put in a pasture. You can see a big mood change in him when he's in training. We plan on running him as long as he is healthy."

Thar He Blows has recorded 18 of his 30 career wins at Delta. To date he has started 163 times and earned $84,187.

Norman sets up shop at Oaklawn

Cole Norman, who won the training title last year at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., shipped 40 horses to that track Sunday, and began training there Wednesday. The meet opens Jan. 25.

Among the stakes winners Norman is preparing for comebacks are Royal Spy, Explosive Truth, and Dancing Dreams. Royal Spy, who has not started since finishing fifth in the $500,000 Super Derby on Sept. 23, could make his return in the $200,000 John B. Connally Breeders' Cup Turf at Sam Houston Race Park on Feb. 23.

Last year the colt won two turf stakes at Lone Star Park near Dallas: the $200,000 Diamond "A" USA by 9 1/2 lengths May 28, and the $125,000 Grand Prairie Turf Challenge by seven lengths July 3.

Norman's top 3-year-olds, Explosive Truth and Dancing Dreams, could both return to action opening weekend at Oaklawn. Explosive Truth, winner of the $100,000 Middleground at Lone Star, is training toward the $50,000 Mountain Valley on Jan. 26, while Dancing Dreams, who won five straight races last year, including three stakes at Louisiana Downs, is pointing for the $50,000 Dixie Belle on Jan. 25.

Also pointing for the Oaklawn meet is Kettle Man, who could make his next start in the $50,000 King Cotton on Feb. 2. Last year the colt won the Cajun and Island Whirl stakes at Louisiana Downs before finishing second in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint.

Clark to winter at Retama

Dick Clark, a perennial leading trainer at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, will winter at Retama Park near San Antonio for the first time this year. The horseman plans to ship 40 horses to the track later this month, and while in Texas could start a few horses at Sam Houston.

"We're going to train down there to get ready for up here," said Clark. "Down there, the weather won't freeze me out."

Retama operates as a training center between meets. The track is becoming a popular place to winter among Iowa-based stables.

More than 400 horses were stabled at Retama as of Wednesday morning, said general manager Bob Pollock.

* Sam Houston will put on a charity golf tournament for jockey Terry Stanton on Monday. Stanton fractured his left leg and ankle in a spill Nov. 17.


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