Jockey Court puts Foyt on win­ning track

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE - Com­piled by Jeff Krup­saw

Colonels­dark­tem­per, a 3-yearold thor­ough­bred colt rid­den by 56-year-old jockey Jon Court, made two older gen­tle­men real happy Satur­day by win­ning the $750,000 West Vir­ginia Derby.

Court steered Colonels­dark­tem­per to the lead in of the 11/8-mile race at Moun­taineer Race­track in New Cum­ber­lands, W.Va., and never looked back en route to a 1-length vic­tory in the Grade III race.

It was al­most an old-timers day cel­e­bra­tion. Court was greeted in the winners’ cir­cle by the horse’s trainer, 77-year-old Jinks Fires, who also hap­pens to be Court’s fa­ther-in-law.

Not at the track but watch­ing on TV was the colt’s owner, 82-year-old auto rac­ing le­gend A.J. Foyt, a four­time Indy 500 win­ner who dab­bles in horse own­er­ship while still over­see­ing A.J. Foyt En­ter­prises.

Talk about horse­power.

Foyt, who did all his rac­ing on four wheels, has owned four-legged run­ners on and off for more than 30 years.

He knows a win­ner when he sees one.

“Once he got the lead no­body re­ally went with him, and it looked like it was no con­test,” Foyt told rac­ing writer Tom La­marra. “Ac­tu­ally my horses are run­ning bet­ter than my race cars.” Maybe he can say that now. Foyt’s most no­table equine run­ner, Rare Brick, did his rac­ing 31 years ago, and was on track to run in the 1986 Arkansas Derby and Ken­tucky Derby be­fore a bone chip ended the colt’s ca­reer while un­de­feated in eight starts.

Colonels­dark­tem­per is what horse rac­ing peo­ple call a lat­ede­vel­oper.

The son of 2008 Travers win­ner Colonel John broke his maiden in his ca­reer de­but at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs in Fe­bru­ary, but didn’t win again un­til his fifth start, an al­lowance race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. on May 29.

He en­tered Satur­day’s West Vir­ginia Derby hav­ing fin­ished sec­ond in back-to-back stakes races.

Fires, win­ning his first graded stakes race since Ar­char­charch won the Grade I Arkansas Derby in 2011, joked that Colonels­dark­tem­per is a bit ornery, much like the auto rac­ing le­gend.

“The horse is com­pet­i­tive like his owner,” said Fires, who has trained 1,448 winners dat­ing back to 1968.

Court, a win­ner of 4,056 races and more than $100 mil­lion in purses, con­curred with Fires.

“This horse is all busi­ness,” Court said.




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