April 16, 2010

Let’s Win One for Alan Seewald

“Alan had an incredible soft side to him that everyone loved. All you had to do was pay him a compliment and he would have this big smile, lower his head, turn on heel and walk away saying he had to do some work or something. He didn’t like the attention. (Jennifer laughs) … I really will miss him!” -Jennifer Weigand, a Fantasy Lane Stable Owner.

There is a lot riding on tomorrow’s Lexington Stakes. For some, it is a final opportunity to earn enough in graded stakes to enter the Kentucky Derby. For others it is an opportunity to win a big race at one of America’s most beautiful tracks. But for one horse and his myriad of connections, it offers the unique opportunity to honor a man. A good man that deserves to be honored. Trainer Alan Seewald passed away this past Monday, in his sleep, at the age of 62 years young. It was a shocking and saddening blow to his family and to all of the many people that knew him on the racetrack. His horse, Uptowncharlybrown, is running in the Lexington Stakes tomorrow at Keeneland, and a win would serve to celebrate the life and work of Alan Seewald.

“Losing Alan Seewald this week was not only a devastating blow to his family, but his FLS family as well. He was held in very high regard and I don’t think you could find a more honest, genuine, passionate, all-around wonderful person to be around at the track.” -Patrick Sheehan, a Fantasy Lane Stable Owner.

Alan Seewald was born January 15, 1948 in Brooklyn, New York. He received his trainer’s license at the age of 36 and has been a solid trainer on the New Jersey racing circuit for the past 26 years. This Spring, Alan Seewald was closing in on 1,000 career wins from his 5,700 plus starts. Growing up in New Jersey, I always liked to see his name as the trainer of a horse I was liking. His horses were ready to win. My favorite Seewald horse was a hard knocking New Jersey horse named Teddy Drone. I remember seeing Teddy win a fast allowance race at Monmouth Park early in his career. Seewald kept this horse healthy for a long career and Teddy would go on to win 31 times in 89 races. He won many small stakes on the East Coast, and when he was sharp he could give the big boys a run for their money. Teddy Drone was around for years, was easy to love, and in retrospect you have to give a lot of credit to his trainer, Alan Seewald. Seewald trained a lot of good horses over the years, but Teddy Drone is one I personally will never forget. Alan Seewald was much more than just a trainer, but that is how I knew him, and how I admired him. He is survived by his wife Kathleen, sons Ryan and Shane, and grandson Blake.

“We enter Uptowncharlybrown in this weekend's Lexington Stakes with a heavy heart after losing this wonderful man way too soon. This will be a very sentimental and emotional race for us all and should good fortune shine upon us Saturday afternoon, and Charly wins the race, it will certainly be done in Alan's honor. I think it would be a fitting tribute to a man who gave so much of himself to this sport, his horses, his owners and most of all, his family. He always acted in the best interest of the animals and we would all love to see Charly cross the wire first, to pay tribute to all of his efforts.” -Patrick Sheehan

Is Uptowncharlybrown worthy of this responsibility? Yes. In his career, Uptowncharlybrown, has won half of his four career starts. His first win came last December in his career debut. In that race, Charly romped by 9 lengths. He followed that up with a 6 length score in Tampa Bay’s Pasco Stakes. Charly has not found success in graded stakes yet, as he finished 3rd in the Sam F. Davis Stakes in February, and is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby five weeks ago, but it should only be a matter of time. Neither race was too disappointing, as he was closing fast down the middle of the track in the Davis, and then had little chance when bottled-up on the rail all the way around in the Tampa Bay Derby.  A race in which he only beaten less than three lengths. Seewald had decided to run Charly in the Lexington, because of how well he felt the son of Limehouse was doing since his last race.

“Losing Alan was such a shocking, devastating blow to all of the partners. A win in the Lexington on Saturday would substantiate for everyone exactly what Alan saw in Charly from the very first time he saw him in the sale last year. Alan thought the world of him, believed he had the potential to be a champion and never wavered from that opinion of Charly. A win for Charly would be one more for the “Good Guys” in racing and a perfect tribute to Alan’s Legacy – you do right by the horse and he will do right by you. Win or lose, we can all learn from Alan’s patience, understanding and dedication to his horses. He was a great trainer in his own right and we will miss him dearly.” -Jennifer Weigand

I do not know if Uptowncharlybrown will win tomorrow’s Lexington Stakes, he is certainly one of the ones to beat, but what I do know, is that he deserves to win. I know I will be rooting hard for him. Alan Seewald was a good trainer and a good man, who has left this world too soon. To Uptowncharlybrown, Linda White, Alan’s assistant who has taken over training duties, and the entire Fantasy Lane Stable team, I say let’s win one for Alan Seewald.

Linda White, Uptowncharlybrown & Alan Seewald
Photo by Kate Seewald

8 comments:

Candice said...

Amazing story, Brian!! Loved it! I second that, Let's Win One for Alan Seewald!

Ciarán said...

much too young. hopefully charly does it.

william said...

brian...what a touching tribute to a well respected horseman...win or lose today alan will always be a winner

LDP said...

I hope Uptown gets it done. It would be so great if for once the feel good story could final come true again.

railrunner said...

This was very nicely done Brian, very heartfelt! Now I really, really want Uptowncharlybrown to win! :)

Carol said...

GO CHARLY BROWN GO Praying that you run a winning race

carol said...

Praying that you run a winning race today

GO CHARLY BROWN GO

Carol said...

Praying that you run a wining race today Charly Brown

Go Charly Go