John Servis has seen every side of horse racing. He has been in the valley and to the mountaintop.
Yesterday, the trainer won career race No. 1,000 when Love for Pleasure won the 10th race at Philadelphia Park. In the fourth race on the card, he looked as if he had 1,000 with One Slick Chick, a filly owned by the Someday Farm of Pat Chapman.
That would somehow have been perfect, but horse racing often winks at perfect. One Slick Chick tired late and lost by a neck.
So 1,000 came with a horse that had lost 10 of 11 starts and was in a $5,000 claiming race for horses that had never won two races.
"I've come full circle," Servis said with a laugh. "I won the Kentucky Derby and won my 1,000th race in a never-win-two-life for a nickel."
Three years ago, Smarty Jones won that Derby for Roy and Pat Chapman. It was, as Servis said, "the dream of a lifetime." Smarty easily won the Preakness that year, too.
The wins have been harder to come by in recent months, but that is the nature of the sport.
"There's been a whole lot of those [cheap races] in that 1,000," Servis said.
There is also that Derby, that Preakness and Smarty Jones. *
- Dick Jerardi