In August of 2014, I met two men that would forever change my life. One, my dear husband Scott, I married. The other was Art Sherman.
To be fair, I knew my husband in high school, when he was 18 and I was 16. And I technically met Art on July 31. But this lead makes for a better story....
Knowing that the ride I have been on with Team Sherman and their champion trainee, California Chrome, would be coming to its conclusion with the inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational on January 28 at Gulfstream Park, I've been understandably nostalgic. Not melancholy, but in gratitude and appreciation for so many experiences over the past two and a half years.
While I have written about almost every visit I have made to the barn that houses Sherman Racing Stables - whether at Los Alamitos Race Track or a temporary home at Santa Anita, Del Mar, Parx Racing or Gulfstream Park, and hope that my feelings for my friends have been evident in my writing and photography, I would be remiss if I were to fail to be explicit.
From my observation, everyone loves Art Sherman. Race fans, the media, fellow trainers, jockeys, owners, his employees...I've not met a single person who has ever had anything but kind words to say about him. And because of Art, I have had the opportunity to meet scores of folks in each of these categories, as well as his family and close friends.
Ambassador is the word that my husband always uses when referring to this jovial, dedicated and direct gentleman, who has had the earnest task of training the world's most beloved race horse for the past four years. It is a job he has embraced with the zeal of youth, his focus being on what is best for California Chrome, while always being available to accommodate an interview request or to sign an autograph.
During morning training at any track, Art is easy to find. If you are not tipped off by TV cameras or a crowd of Chromies, all you have to do is listen for his laugh. It is pure joy and it travels well.
I treasure the stories, the sense of family and the laughter that are central to life in the Sherman barn. I am warmed by every welcome back I received whenever I showed up the week of a race. I am humbled to have been included as part of a team and a family that I respect and admire so deeply.
I cherish the good-natured ribbing about my golf cart driving skills, the manner in which I devour a lobster, and the ragged straw hat that made it to every morning training session, even when it had to travel by airplane from Georgia.
My affection and regard for his entire team, and for Art personally, are genuine and profound. You will find no finer people in Thoroughbred horse racing, or in life. To say "thank you" seems insufficient.
Bless you, my dear friend. For in knowing you I am truly blessed.