Glasscock rides a roller coaster

| August 31, 2011

Ed Glasscock is well known in Louisville for his leadership in civic endeavors and his success during a long career as an attorney at Frost Brown Todd, one of the most prominent law firms in the state. Residents throughout the city of Louisville and beyond have benefited from Glasscock’s community endeavors.

Among his many honors, Glasscock was proclaimed “Louisvillian of the Year” a few years back. Life in Louisville for the Leitchfield native has been good.

Friends of Glasscock know that his other passions include a deep love for Thoroughbred racing. He has owned several talented horses and collected a good number of stakes victories, including some in partnership with University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino. He won a major Kentucky race when longshot Da Devil took the Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park in 1999.

Glasscock just missed a career moment when Hilda’s Passion, a 4-year-old filly he owns in partnership with his son, Clinton, and Louisvillian Jack Wolf’s Starlight Partners, was upset by Sassy Image on Derby Day as the odds-on favorite in the Grade I Humana Distaff.  But the Derby Day moment that Glasscock and his partners missed was realized last Saturday at Saratoga when Hilda’s Passion scored a dominant 9 1/4-length victory in another Grade I race, the $250,000 Ballerina.

Far up the track that day was the Dale Romans-trained Sassy Image, who had inflicted the Derby Day disappointment for Glasscock and his partners. When she crossed the finish line at Saratoga with the rest of the Ballerina field in her rear-view mirror, Hilda’s Passion became the favorite for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on Friday, Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.

The romp by Hilda’s Passion capped a marvelous week in the Glassock family as his wife, Mary, and daughter Mary Jane Kirkpatrick has won saddlebred championships in the World’s Championship Horse Show at Freedom Hall during the Kentucky State Fair.

The victory sparked a joyous celebration among the partners, one that carried over to dinner at Siro’s, a Saratoga Springs restaurant that has been the site of many a victory celebration.

The party was interrupted by a call from trainer Todd Pletcher, who informed Glassock and partners that the filly did not come back well from her seemingly effortless victory. She came out of the race with a non-displaced condylar fracture of her right front leg. It was not a life-threatening injury, but it would require a trip to Lexington’s Rood and Riddle Clinic for surgery.

Hilda’s Passion’s year was over, as was Glasscock’s dream of having his first Breeders’ Cup starter at Churchill Downs, his home track. But Ed Glasscock has been around long enough to know that unbelievable thrills in racing and crushing disappointment are sometimes separated by seconds.

He took the disappointment like, well, a racetracker.

“That’s horse racing,” Glasscock said by telephone on Monday. “You can think, ‘Oh my goodness, what if she hadn’t had the problem?  But I don’t think that’s the way to look at it. She gave us a Grade I (victory), we’re optimistic about the surgery and what if she had stumbled on the track and had gone down?  You look at things like that and you feel really fortunate.”

The prognosis for Hilda’s Passion is good and Glassock and partners hope she can return to competition next year. He has another Breeders’ Cup hope in Soaring Empire, who is co-owned by Pitino and will run in the upcoming Kelso Handicap in hopes of earning a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 5.
And, despite the disappointment that followed news of the injury, Hilda’s Passion provided Glasscock with an unbelievable moment on one of racing’s greatest stages.

Glasscock will look ahead to the run Soaring Empire in hope that his horse will compete in the Breeders’ Cup. And he’ll be cheering for Louisville attorney Ronnie Sheffer, a Henderson, Ky. native and longtime friend who will look for a big moment of his own at Saratoga when his unbeaten 2-year-old filly Georgie’s Angel competes this weekend in the Spinaway, a Grade I race in that division that would earn Sheffer’s filly a start for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Sheffer is the majority partner in a group that owns Georgie’s Angel and she is his first horse.  It is a storybook journey so far for Sheffer, who saw Georgie’s Angel win her first start at Churchill on July 4.

“I’m pulling for him to be successful with that filly,” said Glasscock. “I wrote him a note after that win and told him, ‘Welcome to the industry.’”

Especially after this week, no one has to tell Glasscock that the horse industry can provide some numbing lows to go with its incredible highs. But the filly that just provided him with his greatest win is doing well, and there’s hope she’ll come back as good as new.

But that’s horse racing.

“It was so exciting to see Hilda’s Passion do her thing – she was at her best,” Glassock said. “We’ve had a wonderful year and we’ve just got to stay positive.”

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Category: Horse Sense

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