Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Orphan says 'Thanks a 1,000'

Trainer gets milestone win from horse whose life he saved 3 years ago

  • Print

Don't go believing everything you hear about thoroughbred horse racing being a cold, calculating business where little or no feelings exist for the magnificent animals that provide the speed.

While it is definitely a business, and no one in the back stretch denies that fact, it does have its share of tender moments. It's just that the people who work in the business, the owners, trainers, jockeys, grooms etc., are a tight-knit group, and don't often open up to outsiders.

Ardell Sayler had a short story to tell on Wednesday. It had to do with his 1,000th lifetime win in the fifth race on July 6, with a three-year-old filly named Menyata, who it could be suggested was saying in her own equine way, "thank you," to the 59-year-old who saved her life.

"Milestones mean we're getting older," said Sayler, regarding the big win, "but that story is really special, because we foaled that filly at the farm (in South Dakota), and when she was 12 hours old her mother bled to death.

"Me, my wife Janet and my daughter Nicole bottle fed that baby every two hours for weeks. So for her to win my 1,000th race was sort of a soft spot because of all of the work we did with her from a baby, to a little orphan with no mamma, to my 1,000th win."

Bottle feeding wasn't the end of it. Sayler said that as she grew to be a yearling Menyata also treated him, his wife and daughter as her own family. "We'd lead her around the yard, and with no momma, she'd follow my wife and daughter around like a little pail calf, so it was really touching to have that filly win the race."

There is more to Sayler's milestone win.

"What I also thought was really nice was to have Rohan Singh win it on Menyata. He won my 700th race, I won his 1,000th race (with You Darn Right) and he came back to win my 1,000th race. He's a professional. When he comes to my barn in the morning, he's all business. I'd say Rohan has probably won 350-400 of my races. Oh we argue and we fight sometimes, but we come to decisions. You have to be open-minded, because every situation is different. One time he's wrong, the next time I'm wrong. If you work on it long enough, you'll find the answer."

Another horse Sayler has a soft spot in his heart for is Hey Hey Renee. Purchased for pocket change of $3,300 at a yearling sale in 2004, the three-year-old filly went on to win three stakes races. Sayler told the Free Press in 2006 that Hey Hey Renee was the greatest find of his career.

Sayler has won the leading trainer title at Assiniboia Downs more times than anyone else. With nine notches on his belt, he's in contention to add his 10th title this season. But it isn't going to be a runaway.

Sayler leads the standings with 29 wins going into today's program. Right behind him is Chad Torevell with 28, Jerry Gourneau with 20, last year's winner Tom Gardipy Jr., with 18 and Jared Brown with 17. With 24 race dates left on the calendar, Sayler says anything can happen. "This is a business. Whoever wins what is not going to ruin our friendship. We have respect for one another, but when you get into the race it's dog eat dog. Everyone wants to win."

Sayler says it doesn't matter to him who wins the trainer title.

"I have a lot of respect for Chad Torevell, Tom Gardipy and Jerry Gourneau," he said. "They'll run them at you."

Post time today and Saturday is 7:05 p.m.

allan.besson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 5, 2011 C6

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

    No

  • 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 winnipegfreepress.com. 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 winnipegfreepress.com. 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.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Cheap summer weekends

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada Goose cools off in a water pond Monday afternoon at Brookside Cemetary- See Bryksa’s Goose a day Challenge– Day 27-June 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A red squirrel peaks out of the shade in a tree in East Fort Garry, Sunday, September 9, 2012. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How surpised are you by the Bombers’ 4-1 start to the season?

View Results

Ads by Google