December 23, 2009

This Ones For Phil (Dad)

One of the fastest three-year-olds of 2009 returns to stakes racing this Saturday at Calder in the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap. This Ones For Phil, winner of the Sunshine Millions Dash and the Swale Stakes, had been away from the races since the Spring, before returning after nearly six months to win a sharp allowance at Laurel. Trained by Rick Dutrow, the chestnut son of Untuttable flourished for Dutrow in Florida last Winter. I expect This Ones For Phil, a gelding, to be a major player in the big sprints of 2010 and possibly for years to come, but today’s column is not about This Ones For Phil the racehorse.

This Ones For Phil. This column is for my Dad, Phil Zipse.

My father nearly passed away on Sunday. Fortunately, he was already at the hospital with symptoms, when his heart stopped. He was revived and diagnosed in need of bypass surgery. Sunday afternoon he underwent quadruple bypass surgery and is currently in the early stages of recovery. The prognosis is good. At this time, I can not put into words what suddenly, almost losing him felt like. Nor am I skilled enough a writer to completely explain what he means to me, so instead, I will tell you a little about our connection together with horses.

The original Zipse at the Track, my father instilled a love of horses and racing into his two sons. My brother and I were good athletes and Dad always spent time to help us improve at certain sports. We were both pitchers and I can’t tell you how many times he got into a catcher’s crouch for us, but it was the trips to the racetrack that I remember best. Because of my Dad, we went all the time. He would rarely ever go without his two boys. Many of my best childhood memories, were at Belmont, Saratoga or Monmouth Park. I love racing today, as does my brother, solely because of Phil Zipse. I remember Secretariat, Sham, and Stop the Music. I remember Forego, Wajima, and Ruffian. These horses ran when I was very young and I remember them because of my Dad.

My father did not become a fan until his late teens, but he made sure to teach his sons at a young age. He taught us how to read the Daily Racing Form. He taught us how to appreciate the horses physical attributes in the paddock. He taught us how to dismiss the underlay and how to spot the live longshot. He taught us how to appreciate the great athletes in motion through our eyes and our ears (he used to love to take us to the far turn for the day’s final race for the sound of the horses spinning out of the turn). Most of all, though he always made it special. Although we went to the races hundreds of times in my youth, It was always an event. I cherish those times.

When he was part of a small partnership that owned broodmares, we would make the long drive to the New York farm to visit and get to know our Explodent mares. Feeding carrots to a racehorse that we owned was something that small child will never forget. We never bred any stakes winners, but seeing one of our mares’ daughters win a state bred allowance race at Belmont was amazing.

To this day, horse racing is a mutual bond for the Zipse men. Something we will always have in common and something that will always bring us together in ways that I am sure many families will never know. It can be a catalyst for a family get together or just an opportunity for an extra phone call. I thank my Dad for all of this. Horse racing is only one of the things, I have to be thankful for from my father, but it is a big one.

I ask my readers, if they have any well wishes or prayers to spare, please send them on to my Dad. And to my Dad…I love you and I will forever be grateful for everything you have given me, and continue to give me throughout my lifetime. I know that you will recover and be back to yourself in no time. Get well soon Dad.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

GODSPEED,PHIL(DAD)looking forward to phull recovery...horsemen have one thing in common...long life,i guess its the passion thats the common thread and of course the therapeutic factor as soon as you are up and able get to the surrounding environs that perpetuates the passion and will to enjoy life and treats it has to offer all in all wishing you and your family a meaningful holiday and a speedy recovery and thanks for BRIAN and all that you have instilled in him our thoughts and prayers are with you all......"this one's for PHIL"

LDP said...

I am so sorry to hear this. Though I have not and may never formally meet you, I consider you a friend, and even a mentor. I remember losing my uncle, he was 28, to colen cancer. The story is way to personal for me to share publicly, but I all I know is that he was pretty much a second father and I loved him more deeply than any word in the world could describe.

I am glad you did not have to experience his loss. For me the person I have a bond linked by horses is my mother, and I could not even begin to imagine what I would do if I lost her. Your father will be in my prayers. I hope he gets better and you two are able to share many more years togeather. Good Luck.

Mandy said...

Very touching post. Your Dad will be in my Prayers for a speedy recovery!

railrunner said...

Wonderful post, you said you couldn't put your feelings into words, but I think your love for your father (and racing) translated very well through what you wrote.
Great blog, I just got around to visiting for the first time.

SaratogaSpa said...

You have proved yourself a good writer, for you told the story well. Your father I am sure is very proud.

I am a father myself and one of my happiest moments this year is when my 12 and 16 year old son and daughter were cheering Rachel down the stretch at the Spa with me. I will never forget how happy they were that day.

IanLozada said...

Prayers going out, Brian. Oddly enough, it took a heart scare for me 5 years ago to develop a passion for this game. Hope he recovers quickly, and make this one the merriest Christmas yet-- you'll appreciate this one more, I guarantee it.

Anonymous said...

From Diane...

Sending good thoughts and prayers to your dad, Phil. God bless you with a happy and healthy New Year!

My favorite blog, Brian...

Brian Zipse said...

Thank you so much Keith, Dani, Mandy, Brian, Saratoga, Ian and Diane. I appreciate all the well wishes and kind words. I am so happy that many of you connected to my story in your own way. Thank you as always for reading Zipse at the Track.

sid fernando said...

Z- All the best for your dad's full recovery. As the father of 2 ball players who has done my share of crouching, I'll be pulling for him.

joani said...

There is no limit to the power of Prayer. This ode to Phil is a Prayer in itself. You and he will be in mine.

tjreyn01 said...

I will say a prayer for your father Brian. Life is very fragile and can be gone in an instant. I am glad to hear that he is recovering and you will get a chance to make more memories. I lost my brother suddenly in May so unfortunately I can relate to your fear of someone not being there anymore. I hope everything ends up well and you and your family can enjoy many more Christmas's and memories with your Dad.

God bless,
Tim

ja.raymond said...

Brian,
I have to agree with railrunner, in that you related your feelings quite well; you're a great writer!And I agree with Dianne, that this one is my favorite!
My favorite part is that your Dad realized at a young age that "there's nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse", and he wanted to pass that wisdom to his sons, along with the many other life lessons horses and racing have to offer!
Prayers to your Dad and his speedy recovery; may you all have many more yrs of racing to experience together!!
Happy Holidays to you all and thank you for sharing your life with us!!

Anonymous said...

Oh Brian, I am so glad that he is okay! I'll pray for him and that your family is strong with the Lord always (God of love and also strength and protection, has always been there for me)

Merry Christmas to Brian's Dad, get well Papa Zipse!

CiarĂ¡n said...

Hope all keeps going well for your Dad and ye have a Happy Christmas in the Zipse house. yeah, also have that horse racing bond with my Dad, I'll never forget a great day I had with him just watching from our sitting room the action on Champion stakes day 2008 at Newmarket. I had backed New Approach all out and had a little money each way (wps) on a horse that I thought was over priced at 25-1 in the Dewhurst. My Dad had been in hospital over the summer and for most of the big racing moments of the flat season. I let him in on what I had backed and it was just a perfect day as both selections came in and a great days racing enjoyed by myself and my Dad. And as LDP said even though we haven't met I do consider you a friend and ye'll be in my prayers. Happy Christmas!!

Brian Zipse said...

Sid, Joani, Tim, Jane, Anon & Ciaran,

Thank you so much. Your thoughts and prayers mean a great deal to me. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Celeste said...

Brian, my very best wishes and prayers to and for your dad and your family. I am only sorry that I didn't get a chance to read the blog until this morning, but I am so glad to see that he is recovering well after his surgery. May he continue to improve, take your children to the track and impart his love of racing to them as well. What a legacy! Thank you for sharing your love for your dad in such a tribute. How wonderful to have him to share your love of racing. Get well soon, Phil!