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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Go Mercantile! Paid for himself 3X in a month!

By now almost everyone has congratulated Dallas Keen for his $10,000 claim for BK Racing. Mercantile has paid for himself three times this month.

Brad Kyles of BK Racing actually picked this gelding that was purchased just last year for $2,000,000 as a two year old in training. We claimed him at The Fair Grounds for the discounted price of $10,000. I am not sure if his previous trainer was playing liars poker to get him eligible for $10K starters or if he was sacrificing him for the win but either way we are glad to have him in the barn.

I wrote about Mercantile in a blog entry just a couple of weeks ago but now he has an allowance win to add to his 2nd place finish in the allowance race two weeks ago. Mercantile has now earned over $32,000 for his new connections in just 5 weeks after being claimed.

I am not sure where we will go next with Mercantile. Maybe a 10K starter, maybe go for the big purse on the NW2OT, but rest assured he is not through making waves for BK Racing. He seems to be getting better and better.
Good Luck Brad and Bradley Kyles!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Looking for Thoroughbred Owners wanting to Claim...

Purse Structure at the Fair Grounds makes it easy to recoup claiming investments.

The first week of the meet we claimed a horse named Mercantile from Tom Amoss for BK Racing, LLC for $10,000. Now this would have been just like any other claim except for the fact that Mercantile was purchased just last year from the Florida Fasig Tipton 2 year old in training sale for $2,000,000. OUCH!!!

Even though Mercantile looked good in the paddock the day of the race we were pleasantly surprised that evening when we went over him. He had no major issues and had a good throat. BK Racing was thrilled with the good news since claiming horses always carries some risk. Mercantile trained well over the next two weeks and had a nice half mile work.

Mercantile was entered back but not for $10,000 like we claimed him for. Dallas and Brad Kyles of BK Racing discussed trying him at an allowance level. It turned out to be a good choice. Mercantile ran second that day in the allowance race and nearly paid for himself on his first start for his new connections.

Other horses we have claimed for other owners have moved up as well. See the stories of Kinoko Man and Perfecty Seatle, both owned by Bob and Pat Sheetz at as well as a few other claiming success stories.

Anyone that has known Dallas for any length of time remembers when he trained for Bob McCaslin. Bob and Dallas became good friends and successfully claimed hundreds of horses. Unfortunately, Bob passed away in 1997 but not before he became Lone Star Park's first leading owner and Dallas the first leading trainer of the inaugural Lone Star meet. Dallas went on the be leading trainer again the next year.

Dallas won the Bob McCaslin Memorial Stakes the year following Bob's death. The horse that won it was at one time owned by Bob but was claimed. One of Bob's friends, Charlie Lewis, claimed the horse back and he went off at huge odds. He won the stake despite not being the favorite. (not really related to the subject but a neat bit of info anyway)

With all that said we are looking for a few folks interested claiming horses at the Fair Grounds. The purse structure makes it easy to return your investment when you carefully select and claim horses that are competitive and can be ready to run back quickly after being claimed. You can watch the barn live on the web cams anytime by clicking here and using the word 'guest' as your login and your password and then choosing a network type. Please feel free to call Dallas and discuss claiming options. We have horses on a watch list but like input from owners too. If you see something that looks like a good claim we will be glad to help you in the process. Good luck and have wonderful Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A neat story about our adopted daughter, Ne Ne

Two years ago Dallas and I took 2 horses to a little auction by our farm in Burleson, Texas. Since the horses had to be at the sale for several hours we took hay nets and water buckets for them. During the sale we stayed with our horses but I couldn't take my eyes off this poor skinny paint mare with a new black and white colt at her side. It was a very sad site. She was several hundred pounds under weight, covered in black mud, and had several abrasions all over her weak bony body. Fortunately her colt looked healthy and bright eyed.

As the sale went on and our horses were auctioned off to new owners I snuck out the back door and moved our horses hay nets and water buckets over to the pen with the mare and foal. A few minuets passed by before Dallas noticed they were missing. At first he thought someone had stolen them and then, (like a light bulb lit up above his head), he turned to me and said, "You are gonna buy those horses aren't you?"

Needless to say we bought the skinny paint mare and colt on her side. To our surprise both horses were registered and there was a breeders certificate with the mare who was bred back to the black and white colts sire. Pretty good buy for $500 I thought.

The colt turned out great and the mare, Sky Jets Babe, had a big healthy filly the next spring. We bred Sky back to our thoroughbred stallion, Oro Negra, for a 2007 foal. While the mare was nursing the filly we noticed on several occasions she would nurse other foals in the pasture too, sometimes two at a time. We started calling her our milk cow.

We were devastated this spring when she lost her foal. The beautiful colt was born but died shortly afterwards. While crying my eyes out I remembered an email I had received a few days before from a lady in Denton, Texas who had lost her mare moments after delivering a healthy filly. She was inquiring about a nurse mare. I picked up the phone at nearly midnight and called her. Her filly was doing well and was drinking powdered milk from a bucket but that is no substitute for a mother. We thought is was worth a try so she brought the filly to our farm early the next morning.

Sky knew it wasn't her baby. She squealed but never offered to kick the filly named Ne Ne but she would give her a little shove with her nose to move her away from her. That wasn't our biggest obstacle. Ne Ne was very independent. She would pin her ears at Sky and had no urge to nurse, she was a big girl and wanted to drink from a bucket.

We lifted the water bucket to high for Ne Ne to reach and didn't offer her the milk supplement for a couple of hours. Then we patiently showed her where the goods were while holding the mare to build the fillies confidence around her. We had to hold Sky for Ne Ne to nurse for the first day.

The next morning I took my 13 year old son Michael down to the barn to hold Sky but when Sky and Ne Ne heard us coming they went to work without any assistance from us. From that moment on that filly was Sky's filly and no one could tell her otherwise. Ne Ne was still independent but under a very watchful eye of our wonderful milk cow.

Well, the time has come and we weaned Ne Ne last month. Now it is time for Ne Ne to go back to her owners in Denton to live her life as a Western Pleasure horse. We are very sad we're loosing her but so happy that in our loss something was gained. Ne Ne is a big beautiful filly and could never have developed socially or physically without the gift of Sky Jet's Babe.
Sky Jets Babe is bred back to Oro Negra for an April foal. I can't wait to watch her at work again the pasture doing her favorite thing, being a milk cow.

You never know who you might run into at the races...

I was at Sam Houston Race Park on December 1st with Moody Jones when Dallas called me from The Fair Grounds and said, "You won't believe who is at the races, Donald Rumsfeld!" Our friend Dawn Theriot, wife of jockey Jamie Theriot, approached Mr. Rumsfeld and asked if they might have their picture taken with him. He gladly excepted and posed with each of them. Goes to show you never know who you will meet at the races.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Roger Sofer's Moody Jones in the Groovy Stakes

Martha Claussen wrote a nice article in the Houston Chronicle, interviewing Dallas Keen and Roger Sofer about his horse Moody Jones. To view click on link below...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Our day with the President of our United States

I never thought the day would come where I would be in the same room with the President of our United States of America. I had anxiously awaited this day for several weeks after Roger Sofer, one of our owners, invited us to meet the President at a fund raiser for Texas Senator John Cornyn. I washed out for an entire week in anticipation of this day. Being the big conservative republican Bush fans that Dallas and I are, getting this chance was definitely a high light of our lives.
We arrived at the home of a prominent Houston couple who hosted the fund raiser about 9:30 am. The security was unbelievable. Every policeman in Houston must have been there as well as what seemed to be hundreds of secret service. As we walked in we were directed to a large room where we visited with Texas Governor Rick Perry and Senator John Cornyn, along with some of the most influential people in the state of Texas. I felt incredibly insignificant in retrospect to the company I was in.
A woman walked through the room and asked everyone to form a line for the photo opportunity with the President. We waited nervously as the line seemed to move rather quickly. All I could think about was 'please don't say anything stupid to the President of the United States'.
All of sudden we were in the room with George W. Bush. The first thing I noticed was he was just a real person. He was laughing and kidding around with everyone in the room and has an incredibly real smile. Not a phony one that you see on most politicians. Dallas leaned towards me and said, "I thought he was ten foot tall, he's not." I was too nervous to say anything but of course I tried to act cool.
I kept looking at him thinking, wow, he is just a normal guy like everyone else but then suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks... "OH MY GOSH, this is the PRESIDENT OF THE UNINTED STATES OF AMERICA, THE MOST INFLUENTIAL MAN IN THE WHOLE WORLD". As we approached the President I thought I might faint. My heart was racing, my head was spinning, and I got a little light headed.
When Dallas and I were the next in line for our photo op the President looked at Dallas and said, "Finally, about time someone came wearing a cowboy hat!" And Dallas replied, "I thank God every night that you are our President." All of a sudden I felt better. He warmly embraced the both of us in his arms. He looked us right in the eye and in our short conversation with him we felt like President Bush really cared about us and our future as Americans. He asked us about our life and we truly felt appreciated by the man who runs our country. What an overwhelming experience. When we left the room with our President we were ushered outside for a speech from Governor Perry followed by Senator John Cornyn.
Senator Cornyn gave a short speech about what he wanted for Texans and thanked everyone for their support. During Senator Cornyn speech he stated that George W. Bush is a man of his word, and that is a rare commodity in Washington. Senator Cornyn truly admires President Bush and supports his decisions and beliefs. The Senator introduced the President and the crowd applauded as he took the podium.
I stood in aw as he looked directly into our eyes as he spoke. President Bush loves this country. He has a strong belief in God and mentioned how much he appreciates the prayers of the American people and asked people to continue to pray for him.
During his speech he made a lot of important statements but was incredible funny as well. He mentioned he spoke with his mother, who lives in Houston, earlier during the morning. She complained about the traffic and he told her he didn't see what the problem was. He didn't see any traffic during his trip from the airport. Of course he is in a motorcade and traffic was held for him. He spoke a lot about the Oval Office and the history of it along with the first picture you see when you walk in of the "first G.W.", George Washington. Then the speech became serious as we discussed terrorism and about keeping our country safe. He told us a sugar factory was the latest place to be bombed and 25 children were murdered by the cowards that hate us. With that comment his friendly voice turned to extreme seriousness with a touch of anger that gave me goosebumps. President Bush means what he says when he says he will do whatever it takes to protect our country and keep those murders off our soil. I have never felt more blessed to be an American than I did right then.
I went to bed that night thanking God for our President and asking for his protection and wisdom in making the decisions that are so important for all of us. I know we are good hands with President George Bush watching over our country. I pray that whoever succeeds him in the Presidency will have the same passion for the safety of the American people that he has for all of us.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Claiming horses and Winning Races

We had a big day yesterday when our newest clients, Bob and Patricia Sheetz, watched the second horse they have ever owned win the 8th race yesterday at Louisiana Downs. The Runaway Groom gelding named Kinoko Man was claimed 2 months ago for $10,000. The day he was claimed he ran a very game second.

After claiming Kinoko Man we realized he had some issues. He had a few white hairs around the back of his knees that usually indicate some type of bandages have been applied, like the ones they use after surgeries. Not only that but he didn't have the kind of ankles that you would like to see on a lightly raced horse. Unfortunately you don't know these things until after you make a claim. We went right to work on him with a Low Frequency Ultrasound machine for the ankles and an Infrared Blanket for the body soreness. Within a week he was going better, and better the following week.

About three weeks after he was claimed Dallas tried to enter Kinoko Man back in a non winner of three for $15,000 but it didn't have enough horses to go. He had been training so well Dallas and Bob discussed trying him in an Allowance Race. He ran second, closing with a rush. Kinoko Man came back from that race better than he went into it and seemed to be gaining weight and confidence.

Three weeks later we had a choice to make. There was another allowance race like the one he finished second in or a non winner of 3 for claiming price $30,000 that he should be able to win. We take the chance and run in the allowance race even though it is an optional claiming and we know there will be some tough to beat horses in that spot. We were right, it came up a little salty.

Kinoko Man pulls off the win coming from dead last in the turn and closes with unbelievable speed. Bob and Pat go nuts. Screaming, hugging, and jumping up and down. I have to admit being the quiet celebrator that I am I was a little embarrassed. Dallas took off to congratulate John Jacinto for the brilliant ride and left me there to walk to the winners circle with people that you would have thought just won the 300 million dollar power ball. Bob and Pat are two of the funnest people I have ever met, and two of the luckiest too.

We claimed their first horse this summer at Lone Star Park. A filly named Perfecty Seattle was entered in a non winner of two races for $10,000. She looked great on paper and was lightly raced. She easily won that night, circling the field and drew off down the stretch. We were thrilled when we went over her after the race to find out she was 100% sound and was a sweetheart to work with. We ran Perfecty Seattle back in about 3 weeks in a non winner of 3 races for $25,000. She made winning for fun look easy.

So far we have started 5 times for the Sheetz's and have won 2 of those races. Bob and Pat would like to own more horses and have a dream of going to the Claiming Crown with one of their claims some day. Who knows? Maybe Kinoko Man is up for it.

I just want to wish Bob and Pat all the luck at the Fair Grounds. Not to mention Kinoko Man will love the long stretch there. So if you see a hysterical couple screaming at the top of their lungs check you program and then congratulate them. Although if you have a problem with hugs be sure to quickly stick out your hand for a shake!

Congratulations to Bob and Patricia Sheetz!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

An Owners First Win

As I was going through some paperwork in my office I found this writing from our owner Roger Sofer. He sent it to us shortly after his filly Enchanted Landing won her first race. Roger was brand new to horse racing. He purchased Enchanted Landing from the Fasig Tipton 2 Year Old In Training Sale at Lone Star Park in April of 2005. Roger has not only purchased several more horses since his beginning but has become a close friend as well as a business partner. This story should be read by anyone thinking of buying their first racehorse. Enjoy.

The First Win, by Roger Sofer

Having been an avid fan for almost 40 years and being a limited partner in several horse partnerships with friends; I can assure you the first win with your own horse is beyond comprehension. I purchased Enchanted Landing, my first 2 year old filly at the Fasig Tipton sale at Lone Star Park under the watchful eye of super trainer, Dallas Keen. He liked the way she strided and her confirmation was excellent.
After a few days of getting her acclimated, she was ready for her first work. Dallas has an excellent reputation with young horses and is very cautious with their development. So after giving the jockey strict instructions to take it easy, he proceeds to take her 3 furlongs in 35.3. Naturally, two things happened; Landing shin bucked and the jockey was fired.
Rather than pin fire her, Dallas decided to put her on a very light schedule and to let her heal under his constant attention; which she did. We knew that we had a fast horse with competitive attitude, but what we did not know was that she hated the mud, would displace, and would stop if you touched her with the whip.
We started in Remington Park on a night when the jockey fell asleep missing the break, then to Louisiana Downs for the substitute Fairgrounds meet. Top purses for top horses. We ran against an offspring of Silver Charm and maidens of that breeding class. We did reasonably well but no winner’s circle. Oaklawn brought us bad weather, bad luck, bumps in the stretch, and a nose lose to a 4 year old daughter of Menifee.
Now to Lone Star Park to run against Texas Bred Maidens. First race we run against fractions of 21.4, 44.3, 57.0 and 1:10. The fastest time of the entire night. We ran 5th, 8 lengths back. The next race we got a muddy, sloppy track and got slammed on the turn for home while racing on the lead. Dallas is concerned, the breeder is nervous, my friends are muttering but my wife and I think she will break through. I make my only training decision since the original purchase. Landing will not run in the mud again!
Last Thursday, June 22, 2006 the magic moment happened. On a dry track, in a 14 horse field, we break on top, fight off challengers and win on a very game effort. Our jockey, Larry Taylor rode a great race. As I write this, the jubilation inside of me has still not subsided. Owning race horses for me is not about winning money; it’s about your team getting highly intelligent, competitive, and magnificent athletes prepared for top performance. I wanted this win for Ellie (Enchanted Landing) and for Dallas who worked so hard to try and get us in the winner’s circle. It had been a very long and frustrating year up to that point but I am good to go and ready to build a successful stable and to take many, many, more pictures.

Riders up!

*As a side note, my other horse Posey Joe won the 9th race on the same card. So in a 3 hour period I take my first 2 pictures as an owner.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fair Grounds Racing and Huge Purses

For the average race horse owner the overall cost of purchasing a yearling or a two year old at the sale is a risky investment. Even with the best of care and training the risk of loss is overwhelming. Claiming a horse directly from a race is sometimes a more cost effective way with an faster route of return.
The purses at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, Louisiana were unreal last year. The purses will start back up right where they left off when $5000 claimers were running for $30,000 purses. And that's at the bottom. They only go up from there. Horses that are accredited Louisiana breeds run for even more money than horses bred in other states with the huge incentives offered to horseman supporting the La Bred Program. You don't have to live in Louisiana to qualify for the incentives, just own a Louisiana Bred horse and reap the benefits.
This year at the Fair Grounds a minimal investment starting $5000 for a horse from a claiming race along with a couple of weeks worth of training and you could be enjoying watching your own horse race at the track.
We are currently stabled at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, Louisiana and looking for horses to claim that will be competitive at the Fair Grounds meet. We are also looking for a few new partners and individual owners to claim horses for the Fair Grounds meet which starts on Thanksgiving Day. Go to our informative website at and visit the Claiming Horses page. There is a link there to email if you have any questions. We offer competitive training rate as well as live Internet accessible web cams so you can keep an eye on your investment. Please use the email link on the website if you have any trouble logging onto the web cams.
Donna KeenFair Grounds Race Course
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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dallas Keen Racing Stables

Dallas Keen Racing Stables Live Web Cameras
To see what's happening at Dallas Keen's stable right now click on and login on by using 'guest' as the user name and as the password. This will take you to the live webcams at Louisiana Downs. You may also watch the live farm webcams by visiting the Breeding Program page and clicking on the link.
(A download will be required to watch the cameras. Just install the Active X control when prompted and be patient. It takes a couple of minuets to come up. Enter the password then choose a network type and the cameras will activate.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My Thorougbred Blog Beginning

I am starting this blog to invite people to ask questions about thoroughbred racing, how to go about buying a horse, (racehorse or riding horse), and any question about horse training. I will do my best to answer questions quickly and I invite anyone with other experiences or ideas to join in and let us know what you think. No question is too dumb to ask. Please visit our website at and check out the live web cams at the track and at the farm .