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Sorry, I'm a little horse.... - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Sorry, I'm a little horse....
Western New York doesn't fall into Major League for much. We have a top-level NFL team (somehow) and one in the NHL (barely), but our other sports teams are either minor-league or non-existent. Even the Sport of Kings largely passes us by: while top tracks draw thoroughbreds with majestic names like Secretariat and California Chrome, the only such track within 90 miles of here is Finger Lakes- best known for one named Zippy Chippy, legendary for being the losingest horse in thoroughbred history.

Still, this week brought news of a death, but also of a birth, from the world surrounding that lowest-rung of the races just outside of Rochester.  I'll just reproduce the tale as told by Bob Matthews, a former newspaper columnist and still-nightly sports talker, who I've read and listened to with respect for over 30 years- of the death earlier this week of longtime Finger Lakes horseman Tim Snyder:

Snyder met his future wife in the summer of 1991, when a stable pony he was aboard accidentally knocked Lisa down on the Finger Lakes backstretch. He apologized and helped her to her feet. They shared a passion for horses, fell in love and married.

Shortly before Lisa died in 2003, she told her mother and Tim that she would be reincarnated as a race horse. When Lisa passed away, Tim was distraught and vowed to leave the only life he ever knew – on the backstretch.


In the winter of 2010, in Florida, he was offered an unraced three-year-old filly for $4,500. She was blind in one eye, had a clubfoot and a bad shoulder. She had solid bloodlines and was a very tall and good-looking horse, but previous attempts to train her had failed. Wise horsemen wrote her off.

But Tim Snyder took a chance. He shelled out all the money he had -- $2,000 inside a boot – and negotiated to pay the $2,500 balance from the filly’s first winning purse – assuming she ever had one.

He named her Lisa's Booby Trap, mostly in his late wife's honor- but the accolades had just begun:

Tim and his filly vanned up to Finger Lakes, where he continued to experiment with assorted special horse shoes to help her front hooves. She began to show signs of becoming a race horse. She burst onto the scene at Finger Lakes, winning her first three races by 36 ¾ combined lengths. At that point, Tim turned down the first many offers to buy her – for many times her purchase price.

After Lisa’s Booby Trap demolished the competition at Finger Lakes, Snyder decided to test her a vastly higher level of opponents at Saratoga Race Course, She became the instant hit of that great track’s summer meet by winning the $68,000 Loudonville Stakes by six lengths, on Aug. 6, 2010. It was to be the highlight of her (and Tim’s) racing career. She was suddenly a national media sensation and the darling of Saratoga fans. Offers to buy here were higher than ever.

But, after the first and only stakes victory of Snyder’s career, he again said, “I won’t sell her. I will take her home and breed her, and if I live long enough, I will get to train her babies.”

That didn't happen- exactly. But something close did, just this week. The filly ended her racing career with no more wins other than at her native low-rent Canandaigua track, but she succeeded at Snyder's other dream:

In the last two years, Tim hoped to turn Lisa’s Booby Trap into a broodmare. Freud and 2008 Kentucky Derby champion Big Brown were among the potential sires.

In his final days, Tim’s sister and daughter said he was fighting to hang on, awaiting word on whether or not his 8-year-old mare was in foal for the first time. Sadly, he died on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Tim’s daughter, Sierra, posted on the Lisa’s Booby Trap Facebook page: “I received a phone call (Wednesday) that Lisa is in foal. It gave me chills and Cheryl (Tim’s sister) and I jumped for joy…It’s kind of amazing how one life leaves and another comes...Circle of life, I guess.”

And that's the tail of a horse. Of course, of course.
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