Lucky To Cope

No, that’s not a description of how I’m feeling these days (though this upcoming long weekend is a welcome prospect). No, Lucky To Cope is a six-year-old Florida-bred gelding whose “acquaintance” I made on March 3rd, 2007, courtesy of simulcasting at the Meadowlands.

My sister-in-law was throwing a surprise party for my brother there that night, so several of his friends and I took advantage of the opportunity to head out early for the racing from Gulfstream, Aqueduct, Tampa, et al.

It was a great time—one of those days where we were picking up winners left and right, throwing out crazy tips to each other that were improbably working out.

Scott to Teresa: “Hey, T, bet the five in the next race at Turfway.”

Teresa: “Who is he?”

Scott: “Don’t ask; just bet him.”

I do; he wins.

In some mid-card turf race from Gulfstream, my eye keeps going back to this 35 – 1 shot; I can’t figure out why I like him, but I do, and I stop trying to talk myself off him when Pete, a far better handicapper than I, says, “I kinda like the two here.” Shocked, I say, “Me, too,” and off we go to the machine to bet…and back we go to collect when Lucky To Cope gets to the wire (it was a close finish as I recall), handing us a $72 winner.

I put Lucky To Cope in my DRF watch list, and paid attention as he raced through last year, at Calder, mostly, I think; his odds dropped after that win, and then drifted back up; in those first few months, I’d bet a few dollars on him, to no avail, of course, and then I’d barely take note when the workout, entry, and notification results came in. He moved around a little, from Calder to Tampa, and more recently, northward, to Delaware, even as his conditions dropped, from AOC to $16,000 claimers, to $5,000 for his last three races, non-winners of a race this year. Gulp. Since December 22nd, the shortest odds at which he’d gone off were 15.40 – 1.

I long ago stopped thinking that Lucky To Cope had another big score in him, but I was always glad to see that he was still active, because I figure that the eventual alternative won’t be pretty.

Doing a perfunctory e-mail review last night, the result of Lucky To Cope’s race in yesterday’s seventh at Delaware comes in, proving me completely wrong, as Lucky To Cope definitely had at least one more big score in him…he won by a diminishing ¾ of a length, paying an even $60.00 and topping a $620.20 exacta. Nope, didn’t have a dime on him, but I hope that somewhere, at Delaware, or an OTB, or a simulcasting facility somewhere, the six-year-old made someone as happy yesterday as he did me a year and a half ago.

9 thoughts on “Lucky To Cope

  1. Great story!I saw that race. He was gasping—sweet desperation!The race before, first-timer Locata ($9.80) rallied wide and powerfully for Graham Motion and Domniguez. Watch Ramon—one whack at headstretch, ONE, then all hands. I’m gonna start a highlight reel of these rides.

  2. Ernie, I’m so sorry I besmirched Ramon with accusations of excess whip use — what happened, I’m sure, is that I saw one race, long ago, and have been carrying about a terribly wrong idea of him ever since. I’ll pay more attention from now on …

  3. EGADS, Jess. I might’ve missed the races you’ve seen!I’m sure we can each find many instances of each jockey getting whip- crazy.Ramon also has an advantage (he’s earned with fine riding): he’s atop many favorites (at Delaware and on inner dirt).His whip reminds me a bit of Mig’s 20 years ago, but not quite as exaggerated–windmilly. Not economical, but unintentionally more humane in that it results in fewer strokes.I’m wrong at least 67% percent of the time. Know-it-alls give me a stomach ache.How long would you have given Jeremy?

  4. That’s a fun and seldom-mentioned aspect of the sport – those journeyman geldings / horses that just move around and race at various venues and claiming ranks. Sometimes winning (with good payouts!) but most the time never hitting the board. I have a variety of those horses on my watch list, and being the true emotional bugaboo that I am (whatever a bugaboo is, I just like the word), I usually make an effort to put a little $2 Win on them when they pop up.

  5. I found this googling my horse, as I believe my barn owner did–just FYI, Lucky To Cope wound up in the low claimers at Finger Lakes, where he was a barn favorite (his last trainer liked him enough that if he didn’t have five other ponies to winter over, he would have kept him as one.) Lucky got listed on the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Trainer Sales page and last December he moved to Michigan. I bought him with an eye to making him a foxhunter, but so far his disposition (and very un-OTTB like reluctance to grab the bit-I can ride him off the pelham curb rein with a pinky finger) suggests he harbors a secret ambition to be a Western pleasure pony. He’s currently sharing a pasture with a Gypsy Vanner and acting like a martyr if I suggest we MIGHT try thinking about a canter today. (“I’m RETIRED. Retired means sitting on the beach drinking mai tais, not WORKING.” Though when I hand-walked him around the barn’s training track, he did show that he knows how to jog for the post parade still.)

    I wish I’d had money on him when he was racing, especially that win at Delaware! That exacta would have paid his purchase price plus half the vet exam. BIG props to Jared Schoenman, his last trainer, for recognizing he was at the end of his racing career and letting such a smart horse go for a song (and sound as a bell to boot), and to the FLTAP folks for giving trainers a way to reach buyers like me.

    Lucky’s got a blog now, with pictures, if you’d like to see one of those old-campaigner geldings living the slow life:

    • Thank you SO MUCH for writing with this update–you have no idea how happy I am to hear this. My only regret is that he’s not closer, so that I could go visit him. I will definitely check out his website. Thank you, thank you!

  6. Pingback: Well, Good Grief « ReRider Who's Lucky To Cope

  7. Pingback: Well, Good Grief « ReRider Who's Lucky To Cope

  8. You’re in Brooklyn? Maybe next time I visit my brother in Westchester we could meet up at the track, and I’ll bring more pictures and some video! (The brother goes to Belmont whenever he gets the chance.)

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