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Smalltownman heads to the winners’s circle with Jackie Acksel.

She wins $200K on beloved t’bred, later buys him

Borrowing a friend’s old jockey saddle, Jackie Acksel, a middle-aged mother of two, swung onto the back of the luckless racehorse and folded into traffic heading toward the starting gate at Delaware Park. Ignoring the gentle ribbing of stewards yelling, “Don’t fall off!” the one-time jockey set her legs into an unnaturally cramped angle caused by leathers that were too short, and piloted Smalltownman to the scene of his comeback. It was August 2011 and just a month earlier, Smalltownman had put in a poor performance at Parx Racetrack in Pennsylvania. And as she watched from the sidelines as the […]

Be Bullish crosses the finish line at Belmont Park. He will now enjoy retirement at Old Friends. Photo courtesy Joe Labozzetta

Be Bullish retires to Old Friends, group effort

Million-dollar earner Be Bullish was retired this week after sailing to victory for the fourth consecutive race, and then hitting the jackpot with a long-planned retirement at Old Friends. The beautiful gray, who has knocked in 19 wins and 26 second place finishes in his mighty career, was claimed at the end of Race 3 at Belmont Park May 17 by former owner Mike Repole, and retired immediately. “All great athletes have to retire some time and not too many great athletes get to retire at the top of their game,” Repole says in a published report by the Daily […]

Marcie Freeman, 59, of Massachusetts and her OTTB Runaway Song often patrol the Blue Hills Reservation outside of Boston.

Photo of the Week: Runaway Song fills her heart

An out-of-practice equestrian who hadn’t been in a saddle for 40 years, and an OTTB mare who never made it out of the starting gate, are living proof that life’s unpredictable paths know no bounds. And to underscore that point, Marcie Freeman, 59, of Massachusetts and her 9-year-old mare Runaway Song have forged a strong partnership on 6,000 woodsy acres of the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, Mass., where they hack and even occasionally ride “boot to boot” with the Massachusetts Park Ranger Mounted Unit. “We’ve passed the test to patrol with the Park Rangers, who write tickets and promote […]