Re: RIP John Forbes (250 Views)
Posted by: richiebee
Date: February 08, 2021 10:40PM
Too many memories, from back in the day when I was a dual threat, live racing
at both whatever downstate NYRA track was open and nights at the Meadowlands
flat meet, three or four days a week, four months a year.
Hey, you're young, you're healthy, what do you need a real job for?
Back then John Forbes and JJ Crupi ruled the Jersey roost, and before Krone and
Antley arrived on the scene the top riders were Bill Nemeti, "Hollywood" Herb
McCauley, and Jake Nied.
The John Forbes story I remember was from opening day of the Monmouth meet,
1984. I was working for Bob Scanlon, an Irishman who had a string of horses at
Monmouth for Robert Sangster, one of the dominant Euro owners at the time.
A friend of mine had told me that he had breezed a horse for John Forbes, a
horse that was to be entered opening day, and that the horse had gone super
fast, super easy. He told me the name of the horse.
When the entries came out I was surprised to see that super fast super easy was
entered in race one, a bottom claimer. The horse as I recall had run for 30-20K
claimers in Florida and was getting beaten consistently, but had enough form
that there may have been a lot of interest in him at the claim box.
Therein lies the rub. A leading trainer can always expect certain
accommodations from the racing office, and that was what happened here: the
race that super fast, super easy was in "somehow" came up as race one of the
meet. Under the old rules of claiming in NJ, which may have been revised, an
owner could only claim a horse if they had started a horse at that meet. Claims
have to be dropped before post time -- so how many owners have started a horse
at a meet that hasn't officially begun yet?
The Forbes horse was 2/1 ML and went off at 4/5. Drew off in the stretch. The
jockeys were on strike at the time so the winner was ridden by a "replacement"
jock with a rather unforgettable name....J.C. Penney.
There is a brick pillar on the second floor of the Monmouth Clubhouse where
there is a "wall of fame" which is set aside to honor some of the great people
that made Monmouth what it was in its heyday. The wall is dedicated
to top horseman Virgil "Pop" Raines. John Forbes is on that wall, and will
certainly be honored in some way by Monmouth...maybe a graded stakes
race to be named for him?