07/22/2007 11:00PM

Tom Bohannan: Back with John Ed Anthony


Tom Bohannan is back training for John Ed Anthony, the Arkansas lumber manufacturer whose Loblolly Stable bred and owned such important winners as Cox's Ridge, Little Missouri, Temperence Hill, Vanlandingham, Pine Bluff, and Prairie Bayou from the late 1970s through the mid-1990s.

Bohannan, 52, moved from his native Alabama to Lexington, Ky., as a child, where he owned and rode Quarter Horses. He went to work as a hotwalker for Rusty Arnold in 1982, and went out on his own in 1989 to train the Loblolly runners.

Bohannan called that his first career turning point.

"When I got the job with Loblolly, it was a great honor even to be considered," he said. "It was a little scary at first, but I always thought I could do it."

Loblolly had an excellent run under Bohannan, who during a 10-year association developed stakes winners Aztec Hill, Dalhart, De Roche, Fenter, Foresta, Lost Mountain, Sand Lizard, Totemic, and back-to-back Preakness winners Pine Bluff (1992) and Prairie Bayou (1993).

Pine Bluff won a $1 million Chrysler Triple Crown bonus for most points earned throughout the series, to go along with a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby and a third in the Belmont.

After winning multiple stakes during the winter in New York, Prairie Bayou ran second in the Kentucky Derby, won the Preakness, but then broke down on the backstretch during the Belmont Stakes. He was posthumously voted an Eclipse Award as top 3-year-old.

That year proved to be pivotal for Bohannan.

"In racing, things happen in cycles," said Bohannan. "In 1993 I had as good a group of 3-year-olds that a trainer could have. Then the next year, I had nothing."

Anthony dispersed his stable shortly thereafter. Bohannan opened a public stable for a while, but left the game in 1998 to help his brother run a golf-course construction business in Kentucky.

When Anthony decided to get back into racing in 2006 - this time as Shortleaf Stable - he called Bohannan to see if he'd be interested in taking his old job back.

"The timing couldn't have been better," said Bohannan. "I hadn't been doing much of anything. I jumped at the chance."

On Dec. 9, 2006, Bohannan saddled first-time starter Richland Creek ($17.60) to a debut victory at Turfway Park, and the partnership was back in the winners' circle once again.

Back in the early 1990s, Bohannan was especially adept with second-time starters stretching out from six furlongs to seven furlongs. But as shown by Richland Creek, and more recently by Snowstalker ($52.50), who lit up the Belmont Park tote board to win his debut in a turf sprint on May 12, he is dangerous with new shooters as well.