One of the most fascinating people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting was Eddie Logan.  He operated the shoeshine stand next to the racing secretary’s office at Santa Anita Racetrack, in Arcadia California.  I started to work at the track when I was 17 and at that point, it was a big deal that Eddie had worked at Santa Anita for so long…….since  it opened for business in 1934.  I met him in the spring of 1978.    He only missed one day of work in all the seasons of racing there.  Can you imagine having the same employer for 75 years ???   The magazine the Blood Horse ran an article on him in December and I was absolutely floored that after another 31 years, Eddie was STILL WORKING THERE  !!! He worked into January of this year…….when he had a medical problem and then passed away at home about three weeks later.  He was 98 years old.  He still drove to work every day.  He was there when Seabiscuit ran.  Anyone ever asked him who the best horse he had ever seen, there was never a bit of hesitation and Eddie would reply “Seabiscuit”.   When I worked there,   I worked for long time old trainers, who had begun their careers at Agua Caliente Racetrack in Mexico, then came up the coast to Southern California to try their luck training in California.  Some of the best trainers in the US.   Amazing people,  even more amazing stories of fantastic horses, back when Thoroughbreds were “Iron Horses”,  nothing like the shell of a breed in todays racing.   Now training styles differ as greatly as do the horses themselves from the old days.  Gone are horses who can carry weight,  who are physically sound at the end of their careers.   My favorite horse,  who I was lucky enough to work for his trainer when he was in the barn, was the last, and still currently reigning Triple Crown Champion,  Affirmed.  He won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes in 1978.   He was amazing,  he never ran any faster than he had to in order to win.  We had to wake him up to get him ready the day of the Hollywood Gold Cup…..ha, the KING was napping, and then he was crabby we would bother him (he won that day too).   Intelligent horse with a wicked sense of humor.  I visited him at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Kentucky  in the mid 1980’s and his groom led him out, and I called to him,  (we all had called him “Red” in the barn here at home),  and he tried to come over  to me.   That fellow handling him was one confused groom  !  It was great.  Seattle Slew the Triple Crown winner in 1977 was also at Spendthrift,  then I went over to Claiborne Farm to visit with Secretariat, the Triple Crown Champion in 1973.   Such an exciting day,  so very long ago.   Affirmed never replicated himself as a stallion,  Seattle Slew sired a number of winners, and is the grandsire of my horse here.  Wonderful lot of history – I am proud to have been a  part of  it.  Here is one of my favorite photos.  While it is copyrighted, it is incorrect, as I was with the track photographer that day, and it was Bob Benoit who took this shot.

Affirmed winning Santa Anita Derby 1978

Affirmed winning Santa Anita Derby 1978

 A very exciting day for the Laz Barrera barn indeed !  The next day, after having been to the track,  Affirmed dumped his exercise rider and ran back through the stable area………giving everyone fits until we found him, caught him up and took him home.  That horse thought it was HILARIOUS !  In case you had heard the term “horse laugh”,  it does happen, and this horse was the master !  I swear he was eyeing everyone for days,  like we’d  forget what he did !  Lots of great memories, I am so glad to have been there then.

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