Goodbyes

Tom Albertrani retired from the American training ranks. As quietly as he went about it. A multiple Grade 1 stakes winning trainer, Albertrani did his job, unassuming, consistent. Over 600 wins, over $50 million in purses. Bernardini, Sadler’s Joy, Twilight Eclipse…they combined for $7.8 million. The latter two, the hard way. The game has changed.

Ralph Nicks, longtime assistant trainer for Bill Mott and a trainer since 2004, announced his retirement. A high of 72 wins in 2016 and 723 in total. Over $30 in purses. A champion. The stable had dwindled, one winner this year. I texted him, congratulating him for getting out and offering a place in Middleburg if his travels ever send him this way. He called, we chatted. The game has changed.

And just minutes ago, British-based jump jockey Paddy Brennan gunned Manothepeople over the final two chase fences at Cheltenham to win a handicap. The Irish-born veteran of over 1,600 winners stood tall in the irons and saluted the sky. It was a great-goodbye wave. He had mentioned retirement lately. This was the perfect time. Brennan, a consummate professional, was never going to win and walk off the big stage. It was going to be a handicap chase at the Cheltenham April meeting. The game has changed, sure, but not as much as the man.

Albertrani. Nicks. Brennan. Thanks for the memories.