This past Saturday, a horse named Tobias was raced at Kentucky Downs. He finished dead last (of 12), some 28 lengths back for trainer/owner Rafael Fernandez. Nothing unusual there, of course. But then there’s this: Not only is Tobias 11 years old, not only was his first race over eight years ago, not only was this his 47th race overall, but Tobias was apparently “retired” back in April ’19, then thrust back on the track in August of that year, then possibly “retired” again before returning – after a one-year layoff – to race at Presque Isle this past August. Imagine that. But wait, there’s more.
Tobias’ last nine finishes, all under the aforementioned Fernandez:
5/5/18, Great Meadow: 10th of 11
5/18/18, Churchill: 7th of 10
6/7/18, Churchill: 7th of 9
11/3/18, Pine Mountain: 6th of 7
11/10/18, Churchill: last of 7
4/20/19, Keeneland: last of 9
8/30/19, Colonial: 9th of 12
8/27/20, Presque Isle: last of 8
9/12/20, Kentucky: last of 12
That’s four last-place, two second-to-last, none higher than 6th – with an average lengths-back of almost 17. But here’s the thing: Over his last three races – since being “unretired,” that is – Tobias has “earned” over $2,000 for Fernandez, including $885 for that woeful finish (28 back) Saturday. (In fact, Fernandez has trained and co-owned/owned Tobias for all but 3 of his 47 races, in total banking $172,000 off him.) So you see, there’s still money on the table – a sentient being’s life be damned.