By John Manley
Jockey J.D. Bailey finished off the board in last week’s $111,100 Palisades Stakes at Keeneland on the 6-5 favorite Pico Teneriffe, as Wild Heart Dancing, bred by J.R. Cavanaugh, wired the field of 3-year-old fillies. Rather than trying to beat another Cavanaugh-bred the next day, Bailey enlisted to ride Marquette in the $112,100 Forerunner Stakes and rode the colt to a five-length victory.
Cavanaugh bred both winners at his Wicklow Farm in Ocala, Fla. He and his wife, Marguerite, own Marquette, a son of Spectacular Bid, while Robert Firth’s My Jo Lee Stable owns Wild Heart Dancing. The farm is named for the Irish county from which Cavanaugh’s grandfather emigrated. He gravitated to Detroit, where he took up with horses, but as a mounted policeman.
Cavanaugh, a graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, later settled in Miami Lakes, where he ran an autograph gallery. A combination of increasing rents and his wife’s employer, Pan Am Airways, going bankrupt brought about a change in direction. Seven years ago, the couple bought a 10-acre property in Ocala, where, with their daughter Erin, they foal their mares and raise the offspring, selling some and racing the others. Cavanaugh said that of the 18 horses they’ve produced that have made it to the races, nine have been stakes winners.
Both Marquette and Wild Heart Dancing now have earnings in excess of $100,000. Mike Doyle trains Riviera Colleen, the runner-up in the Palisades, a neck behind Wild Heart Dancing. And how did Bailey rate Marquette’s performance?
"He whipped them," Bailey said. "He didn’t just beat ’em, he whipped them today."
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Bolchina’s Prize, by Breeders Cup winner Prized out of a Bolger mare, Bolchina, has amassed a bankroll of approximately $125,000 during the first 12 months. He is owned by two local Irishmen, Derry Carey and Ian Conroy. Carey is a native of the Curragh, Co. Kildare, and is a member of the Carpenters Union Local 609. Conroy, a former Tipperary star hurler, is one of the principals in the Mustang group of pubs in midtown Manhattan. He is a native of Borrisokane.
Bolchina’s Prize has won four races and finished in the frame nine of 11 races. He is a versatile horse, winning sprint and distance events, also dirt and turf. He has won on three different race tracks. The horse is trained in Los Angeles by Strabane, Co. Tyrone, native Pat Gallaher. In 1998, Gallagher won 33 races on the tough Southern California circuit.