by Kim Thomas
Just before the Kentucky Derby, I noticed that PAPA CLEM was spooked by the crowd before the race. Of course, any creature would be shaken by 100,000 people taking photos and hollering at them, but PAPA CLEM's reaction was worrisome to me. However he came in fourth in a field of 20, and would've come in third place had his head bobbed a little quicker, so apparently the throngs of loud folks didn't bother him all that much.
What I love about this horse is that Bo Hirsch named him after his father, Clement Hirsch.
PAPA CLEM is by Preakness winner CURLIN’s sire, SMART STRIKE, and his mama is MISS HOUDINI. He is trained by Gary Stute, who has a close family affiliation with the Hirsches.
(Photo of PAPA CLEM courtesy of Photos by Z)
PAPA CLEM was a Derby favorite after winning the Grade II Arkansas Derby and placing in two Grade II Stakes races (Louisiana Derby and Robert B. Lewis Stakes. His lifetime earnings total nearly $900,000. That'll buy a lot of hay, oats and water!
Hardworking jockey Rafael Bejarano has been compared to Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay. He's ridden in the Preakness before, but he has yet to bring home the Blackeyed Susans. Maybe all his hard work will pay off this time around the Pimlico track.
pray for peace in the Preakness, y'all,