Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Marathon men

Nelson loves to race over a route and he's found a willing runner to guide to victory

  • Print

Tyrone Nelson thinks there's something a little bit crazy about Thunderclap Newman -- and he should know.

Afterall, Nelson's the guy who was on the horse's back when the Kentucky-bred gelding won the second and third legs of the Assiniboia Downs Marathon series. The Jamaican-born jockey will be in the saddle on closing day (Sept. 22) when the fourth and final leg goes to post.

Nelson is also of the opinion, however, that a little bit crazy isn't always a bad thing.

"He's a little bit on the crazy side sometimes but I really like him," said Nelson. "He can run but he's a little bit head shy. When you go to hold him, he'll just flip right over on you. As soon as I see someone try to get on his head, I jump off.

"But this horse was bred (Thunder Gulch, out of Silent Siren) to run all day and he's been training really well since Tom (trainer Gardipy Jr.) claimed him."


"This is what we claimed him for," said Gardipy, who paid $2,500 on Aug. 2 on behalf of the horse's new owners, Lynn and Marie White and William Bochinski. "We wanted a horse for the marathon series."

With the option of having to run in only one of the first two races of the series, Gardipy chose let the chestnut horse sit out the first race. The 2009 ASD trainer of the year turned him loose on Aug. 9 in the second leg, and with Nelson in control he won handily over a mile and a quarter in front of Swift Progress and Sir J. Windsor. On Labour Day Monday, he won the mile-and-a-half third leg, again ahead of Swift Progress and Sir J Windsor.

Both Gardipy and Nelson are confident that, crazy or not, Thunderclap has what it takes to make it three in a row in the final leg, which stretches out to a mile and three quarters.

In his two marathon wins, Thunderclap trailed the field early but took over in the stretch to claim the lead. That style doesn't worry Gardipy.

"He likes to be way off the pace," said Gardipy, "but it also depends on what horses will be in the race. I believe he will win the final race, but Swift Progress and Sir J Windsor could still be a factor. With the right trip, either one of those two horses could win. You can't overlook last year's winner, Farm Hand, either. He likes the added distance but I noticed on Monday that he didn't have a very good trip. I think he broke away too early but that's just my opinion, so I'm not ruling anything out. Long shots do come in."

Nelson, who got off to a late start this year due to problems with his immigration paperwork, has made up quite a bit of ground with 36 wins, including stakes victories in the Wheat City on July 6 (on Pleasant Closing), and Aug. 16 in the CTHS (on Zdeno).

It's the longer races he feels are his specialty.

"I think I do much better in route-of-ground races," he said. "A lot of the riders here, they ride the same way, but the route races are more of a patience game, so the more you keep patient and save ground, that is the key (to winning)."

In dealing with Thunderclap Newman and his "craziness," Nelson says, "The most important thing is to keep him relaxed and try to save as much ground as possible. The first day Tom claimed that horse he was a little bit on the rough side and I tried to get him to settle in. He's doing better now."

In actuality, a mile-and-three-quarters takes about three minutes and 16 seconds. The last minute, however, can sometimes, seem like hours. Nelson says when that happens, he has no problem sticking to his game plan.

"The further the races go, the more confident I get. I think I am really good at that."

Gardipy says he is already looking into other marathon events for Thunderclap Newman.

"We're looking for another track that has marathons to send him to after this season ends. What he likes is the distance and he has run for $2,500, which is what we claimed him for. For most marathons you have to have started for a cheap tag and he would be eligible for that."

One stakes race is scheduled this weekend at Assiniboia Downs. The $50,000 Winnipeg Futurity for two-year-olds over six furlongs goes tomorrow. Post times tonight and tomorrow are 7 p.m.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 6, 2013 0

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Selinger addresses stadium lawsuit

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JJOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-Postcard  Day-Horror frost and fog created a most beautiful setting at Assiniboine Park Thursday morning in WInnipeg- Enviroent Canada says the fog will lifet this morning and will see a high of -7C-  JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Feb 18, 2010
  • A mother goose has chosen a rather busy spot to nest her eggs- in the parking lot of St Vital Centre on a boulevard. Countless cars buzz by and people have begun to bring it food.-Goose Challenge Day 06 - May 08, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Do you plan to watch Saturday's boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google