Krantz Stable Updates

What is a Rainmaker?

The Random House Webster's College Dictionary (the one we bought to help with the kids' homework) defines a rainmaker as: An American Indian medicine man who by various rituals and incantations seeks to cause rain. Rainout is defined as: The cancellation or postponement of a sports event, performance, etc., because of rain. Let there be known there is no diagram, picture or description of a chestnut Louisiana bred, Thoroughbred racehorse, bred by Vickie or Bryan Krantz, named Coach Rags. Someone at Webster's is asleep on the job!

Coach RagsRags' first race of his career was on the main track. His best footing is on the grass. His mother was a superior grass performer and his sire was a champion on the grass. His only attempt on the main track he looked like he wanted catch a bus on the Gentilly horseman's gate stop at the clubhouse turn as he tried to bolt around the turn. As a grass runner he has done quite well. However, we began to notice an odd phenomenon at the end of his 4-year-old year. If he was going to run, storm clouds would start forming, literally.

I guess it started during the summer at Louisiana Downs two years ago. He had some time off and was ready for a prep race or two to get ready for Louisiana Champions Day. We got a prep in at Louisiana Downs and he had a troubled trip, finishing second on Champions Day. Then it started. He was scratched six times during a meet where he only made half as many starts, the most dramatic scratch coming on New Orleans Handicap day as the riders deemed the turf course unsafe to ride on after overnight rain, which forced a number of late scratches in the Dixie Poker Ace Handicap.

The next summer it started over again. The Shiskabob Stakes at Louisiana Downs is run in mid-October and a logical step for the race on Champions Day. Everything looked great when we entered. Not a cloud in sight. Sitting in Louisiana Downs racing secretary Pat Pope's office the morning of the race we were amazed at how hard and fast the rain came down. Pat joked we could loan Rags to desert areas to jumpstart their irrigation systems. Rags got his prep in Houston, then was beaten 2 1/2 lengths to run seventh (that's right, seventh) on Champions Day. This past winter wasn't quite so bad but the Dixie Poker Ace was almost transferred to the main track after overnight rains.

Well, we tried the Shiskabob again this year. Five minutes after the van arrived on race morning it started to rain. Pat's door was closed and I'm sure it was a sign we should take that damn horse back to where he came from. We thought about a race in Kentucky at Churchill Downs but decided to pass because of the hardship of so long a trip. It's a good thing because it rained and forced a rare occurrence in Louisville, the races were taken off the turf (just by thinking about running in this race).

This past Saturday was our last chance at a prep for this year's Champions Day. The forecast was for beautiful crisp, clear weather through the weekend. Friday was cloudless and Saturday promised to be the same. About 6 a.m. Saturday morning I went out to get the paper and there it was. I was getting wet. Well, it was light rain and it wasn't supposed to last long ... just long enough to cancel turf racing for the day. It's a good thing Rags runs well fresh off works because were out of time to prep. Fair Grounds racing secretary Mervin Muniz is just a little superstitious so I know he has his doubts about the Champions Day forecast. Pat Pope called yesterday to let me know he has the name of an Indian medicine man who will pay big bucks for a proven commodity. My thought is we should buy the horse an umbrella to keep next to his stall. Rainmaker, rainout or whatever, Rags makes you shake your head from all the stories.