Tag: article

Walter Farley Newspaper Article

Here’s a nice article that is in the Herald Tribune newspaper today about Dad and his literary landmark at the Venice Public Library.
Hope you get to visit sometime!

NEW: Walter Farley’s legacy lives on at Venice library

Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 10:52 a.m.

Dale White
The Walter Farley Literary Landmark in the children’s wing of the Venice Area Public Library is a showcase of memorabilia about the famous author of “The Black Stallion.”


The popularity of most children’s book authors may come and go with each generation.

Just a few years ago, though, when Random House released a hardback reproduction of the original 1941 edition of “The Black Stallion” by the late Walter Farley, it found no shortage of eager fans.

That hardcover edition continues to sell, with new and returning readers posting enthusiastic reviews on bookselling websites such as Amazon.com.

Today an exhibit about Farley, who lived in Venice for decades, continues to be a drawing card at the Venice Public Library — which he and his wife Rosemary helped get built more than 47 years ago.

County library system director Sarabeth Kalajian worked at the Venice library and remembers Farley well.

“He was a frequent visitor to the library and would come and hang out with the kids,” Kalajian said. “He was definitely fun-loving, always inquisitive, always doing research… Young readers today still really love his stories. They are adventures that take you to far-off places. Some have an element of mystery. The relationship of a youngster and a horse is an appealing theme.”

“The books are wonderful,” Nancy Pike, a former head of the Venice library who helped create the Farley exhibit there. “The message they give of ‘follow your dream’ is a universal message that never grows old.”

Who was Walter Farley?

Growing up in Syracuse, N.Y., and New York City, Farley — the son of an assistant hotel manager — never owned a horse but had opportunities to visit the stables of his uncle, a professional horse trainer.

While still attending high school in Brooklyn, he started work on what would become his first and most popular novel. Millions became enchanted by “The Black Stallion,” the story of a boy and a horse that survive a shipwreck.

In 1941, Random House published the book while Farley was still an undergraduate at Columbia University.

After service in World War II, Farley pursued a successful career as a children’s book author — writing sequels to “The Black Stallion” and many other books.

Shortly after the war, he and his wife started splitting time between their beach home in Venice and their farm in Pennsylvania.

He died at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in October 1989 after suffering a heart attack, just a few months after the Venice Public Library unveiled an exhibit about him and shortly before the publication of his final book, “The Young Black Stallion.”

Rosemary Farley, 94, died March 6 at her Venice home.

The Hollywood versions

Farley rejected offers from Disney and others to make a movie of “The Black Stallion” because the producers wanted to alter the story.

He eventually agreed to let Francis Ford Coppola produce the popular 1979 film of the same title, which critic Pauline Kael wrote “may be the greatest children’s movie ever made.”

The TV show inspired by the book and movie, “The Adventures of the Black Stallion,” lasted 78 episodes and still sells on DVD.

In his own words

Farley, in a 1980 interview with the Herald-Tribune: “When I look back on it, writing has been the perfect career for me. As I’ve said before, I’m a professional observer and I like to put my observations on paper. I suppose if I hadn’t become a writer I would have found a career related to my interest in horses.”

A ‘Literary Landmark’

When the Venice Public Library unveiled an exhibit about Farley in its children’s wing in 1989, it called the glass-enclosed showcase the “Walter Farley Literary Landmark.”

Today, the exhibit still contains Farley’s typewriter, saddle and many personal letters and photos.

His son, Tim Farley, maintains an active website about his father’s legacy, TheBlackStallion.com, and, in his memory, oversees the Horse Tales Literacy Project, which encourages children to read.

Thanks Dale! – Enjoy the Ride!


Derby Day!!

2013 Kentucky Derbynews-rosie



Don’t forget to stop for the most exciting two minutes in racing! This year the field is pretty open. Will it be ORB? Verrazano? or Mylute with Rosie on board?
The field and a story below …
You gotta be strong, and calm and tough and FAST!
Watch — Post time: 6:24 p.m. EDT.
Enjoy the Ride!
Field for Saturday’s 139th Kentucky Derby, with post position, horse’s name, jockey’s name and odds:

Note: Black Onyx scratched, the No. 1 post will be vacant.

2. Oxbow Gary Stevens 30-1
3. Revolutionary Calvin Borel 10-1
4. Golden Soul Robby Albarado 50-1
5. Normandy Invasion Javier Castellano 12-1
6. Mylute Rosie Napravnik 15-1
7. Giant Finish Jose Espinoza 50-1
8. Goldencents Kevin Krigger 5-1
9. Overanalyze Rafael Bejarano 15-1
10. Palace Malice Mike Smith 20-1
11. Lines of Battle Ryan Moore 30-1
12. Itsmyluckyday Elvis Trujillo 15-1
13. Falling Sky Luis Saez 50-1
14. Verrazano John Velazquez 4-1
15. Charming Kitten Edgar Prado 20-1
16. Orb Joel Rosario 7-2
17. Will Take Charge Jon Court 20-1
18. Frac Daddy Victor Lebron 50-1
19. Java’s War Julien Leparoux 15-1
20. Vyjack Garrett Gomez 15-1


Trainers (by post position): 2, D. Wayne Lukas. 3, Todd Pletcher. 4, Dallas Stewart. 5, Chad Brown. 6, Tom Amoss. 7, Anthony Dutrow. 8, Doug O’Neill. 9, Todd Pletcher. 10, Todd Pletcher. 11, Aidan O’Brien. 12, Eddie Plesa Jr. 13, John Terranova II. 14, Todd Pletcher. 15, Todd Pletcher. 16, Shug McGaughey. 17, D. Wayne Lukas. 18, Kenny McPeek. 19, Kenny McPeek. 20, Rudy Rodriguez. 21, Mike Maker.

Owners (by post position): 2, Calumet Farm. 3, WinStar Farm LLC. 4, Charles E. Fipke. 5, Fox Hill Farms. 6, GoldMark Farm, LLC. and Whisper Hills Farm. 7. Sunrise Stables, Gary Tolchin, Aubrey Flanagan & Bob Smith 8, W.C. Racing, Dave Kenney & RAP Racing. 9, Repole Stable. 10, Dogwood Stable. 11, Joseph Allen, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith. 12, Trilogy Stable & Laurie Plesa. 13, Newtown Anner Stud, James Covello & Joseph Bulger. 14, Let’s Go Stable. 15, Ken and Sarah Ramsey. 16, Stuart Janney III & Phipps Stable. 17, Willis D. Horton. 18, Magic City Thoroughbred Partners. 19, Charles E. Fipke. 20, Pick Six Racing. 21, Frank Irvin.

Weights: 126 pounds. Distance: 1¼ miles. Purse: $2,199,800 if 20 start. First place: $1,439,800. Second place: $400,000. Third place: $200,000. Fourth place: $100,000. Fifth place: $60,000.

Poised: Derby stage set for Rosie Napravnik’s charge at history
by Nick Rousso | KentuckyDerby.com

Call Rosie Napravnik what you will – a trail blazer, a pioneer, a woman of extraordinary talents – but first there’s this: The reason Napravnik is such a compelling story in the run-up to the Kentucky Derby has little to do with her gender and everything to do with the fact she is one of the world’s best jockeys.

So while Napravnik will try to strike a blow for aspiring female riders everywhere when she pilots Mylute in the Kentucky Derby – no woman has ever ridden a Derby winner – she also will try to do justice to the art and craft of race-riding. In the crucible of the Kentucky Derby, when split-second decisions can separate winners from also-rans, will Napravnik have the wherewithal to succeed? About that, horsemen say, there is little doubt.

It probably goes without saying that Tom Amoss, the trainer of Mylute, is a big Napravnik fan. When it comes time to move the late-running Mylute into contention in the Derby, Amoss is confident Napravnik will be right on schedule.

The reason Napravnik is such a compelling story in the run-up to the Kentucky Derby has little to do with her gender and everything to do with the fact she is one of the world’s best jockeys.

“Her biggest strength is tremendous knowledge of pace,” Amoss said. “For those who don’t understand that, a fifth of a second is a length in horse racing. That means one second is five lengths – it’s not hard to understand that knowing where to place your horse to give it the best chance to finish on the end is extremely important.

“And second, she just has an ability to communicate with horses that I haven’t seen since Pat Day. He had it, Rosie’s got it, and I don’t know how to define it. It’s a God-given gift.”

High praise there; Day is in the National Racing Hall of Fame. Napravnik is 25, and a little more than seven years into her career. But what a career it is shaping up to be. Napravnik was second in the nation in wins through April 30 – only the remarkable Joel Rosario had more – and Napravnik’s mounts had amassed more than $4.3 million in earnings through the first three months of the year.

“She just has an ability to communicate with horses that I haven’t seen since Pat Day. He had it, Rosie’s got it, and I don’t know how to define it. It’s a God-given gift.”

Napravnik has ridden Mylute just once, in an allowance race at Fair Grounds the day after Christmas. The horse won by more than 10 lengths. Napravnik would have been back on for Mylute‘s start in the Louisiana Derby on March 30 but had a commitment to ride 2-year-old champion Shanghai Bobby in the Florida Derby the same day.

When Shanghai Bobby washed out as a Derby contender, Amoss reached back out to Napravnik, and she has been aboard for most of the gray colt’s pre-Derby breezes. But it has been a team effort; Shaun Bridgmohan, who rode Mylute to a second-place finish in Louisiana, was in the saddle for what Amoss said was Mylute‘s most important move, a six-furlong workout at Churchill Downs three weeks before the Derby.

In the course of Mylute‘s transformation from age 2 to 3, Amoss decided that a change in tactics would be beneficial. Instead of laying just a few lengths off the pace, as he did in most of his seven starts last year, Mylute was conditioned to relax behind the leaders and make one concerted run.

“We took his blinkers off for the Louisiana Derby,” Amoss said “The idea was to relax and make one run at the group late in the race, to sit back and make a run. That was our plan and it worked well. That’s going to be our plan in the Kentucky Derby; we have mimicked our training regimen exactly. All that work has been finished. We’re happy where we are. The horse is ready to go.”

Napravnik has ridden Mylute just once, in an allowance race at Fair Grounds the day after Christmas. The horse won by more than 10 lengths.

But rallying from the back of the pack in a 20-horse race can be daunting, even more so if the pace is slow. The tempo could indeed be moderate in this year’s Derby, partly the result, Amoss believes, of the new Road to the Kentucky Derby points format that is heavily weighted toward top performances in the traditional Derby prep races. There are no rabbits in this year’s field.

“The new points system puts a lot of emphasis on the races in March and April and much less on the 2-year-old races,” Amoss said. “It takes a lot of precocious horses out of the equation. Precocious means speed, and that’s what happened this year. So a horse like Mylute who likes to come from the back of the pack … this year, the Kentucky Derby is a race where pace comes into question.”

Napravnik “bring so much to the table,” Amoss said, but she may have to bring the kitchen sink to get past the leading group if they steal away on a soft pace. On the other hand, a fast pace could help vault Mylute and Napravnik into the winner’s circle. And bet on this: The joint will go crazy if Rosie wins the roses.


“Houdini” the magic Horse – We’ll miss you!

Photography: Courtesy Bobby Lovgren

My friend and writer E. McCall just finished this interview with the fabulous Hollywood horse trainer Bobby Lovgren for the latest Cowboys & Indians magazine.
Bobby worked a lot with Corky Randall, head trainer on the Black Stallion movies, and Houdini was one of the “stars” in the “Zorro” movies and “Lone Ranger” among others. The Hollywood horse world is a tough business and anyone that can take the ups and downs, hurry up and waits and last minute changes deserves way more than the little wrangler / handler / trainer line somewhere hidden at the end of the credits. These guys and gals know how to get the best out of their horses and – ON CUE!!!

As the famous cowboy Roy Rogers once wrote; “Just as with human beings, so I believe it is a fact about horses; some are born to perform and some are not. When Trigger and I are about to ride into an arena, I can feel the surge of excitement run through him before the spotlight hits us. I am convinced he takes pride in his accomplishments and that he not only recognizes me but loves me… no two humans are alike, nor are two horses.”

I hope you enjoy this talk with a present day horseman and trainer, Bobby Lovgren,

Farewell Houdini: Veteran Hollywood Horse Often Played Horse Of A Different Color In Storied Career

Apr 11, 2013 – 08:01 AM

It will take time until Hollywood horse trainer Bobby Lovgren and family look back on March 27, 2013, as anything but the day Houdini died.  It also happened to be Lovgren’s 48th birthday. That morning, Lovgren made a quick trip to a studio in Los Angeles and picked up a saddle. He was driving home to his ranch in Acton, when his wife Wendy called, “Houdini is sick.”

An hour later, the Lovgrens made a difficult decision together with the two veterinarians called in.  The buckskin quarter horse gelding who’d made his mark in an elite cadre of Hollywood movie horses, now joined the ranks of those deceased.

Cowboys & Indians: What stands out about Houdini’s long career as an equine actor?

Bobby Lovgren: The biggest thing I can say about him, is that he was so much a part of our family. His very first big film was The Mask of Zorro [1998]. Corky Randall hired me on that. Houdini was Captain Love’s horse. I think that was one of two films where he was his own color — buckskin. Most of the time he was black, so he could double other horses. Houdini was such a confidence booster. I can’t even begin to remember all the actors that that he really babysat for, gave lessons to and things like that. This had nothing to do with my training. It was just the quality of the horse and his attitude. All my training did was enhance that.

C&I: How old was Houdini?

Lovgren: We got him in Lakeview Terrace from my horse shoer. I was told he was out of Dash for Cash, but I never got his papers. I think he was 12 when I got him. We never knew exactly. We think he was around 26 when he died, but he always acted like a 15-year-old horse or even younger, because he was always in shape. Obviously, the older Houdini got, I was very protective of what he did. He did the little specialty things. If it was difficult, I had a double for him.

C&I: Who are some of the actors who rode Houdini in his film career?

Lovgren: I think the biggest was on the second Zorro, The Legend of Zorro [2005]. Antonio Banderas rode Houdini the entire time through that.  We doubled him to look like a Friesian. We did a lot of the things at liberty with Antonio, which he really liked. I’d work Houdini on the whips [like a conductor leading an orchestra] and Antonio would ride. That’s how we got his riding much better. Although he rode very well to begin with, he really enjoyed doing that with Houdini. We would work Houdini and I’d take the bridle off and work him loose with the Antonio on him. That’s how I give a lot of my lessons, actually. It gives them [actors] their balance much better. Those things are such confidence builders when you go into a project.  He gave that. Houdini actually had quite a big sequence in “The Lone Ranger.” I can’t say what he did yet because the movie hasn’t been released, but he has a really nice part in that.

C&I: Can you say what color he was, so we can look for him?
For the rest of the story click here

Enjoy the ride … for as long as you can!

Thanks to Hunter Hauk @ C&I – TF

The secret lives of the wild asses of the Negev

475male wild ass

Here’s an interesting story about trying to save a declining species – amazing how much we can learn from research. It’s written by my dear cousin Diana Lutz. So a big THANKS for all your hard work!

The secret lives of the wild asses of the Negev
As a critically endangered population makes a comeback, scientists are keeping a discreet eye on it with the help of GPS and dung
March 27, 2013
By Diana Lutz

The wild asses of the Negev are extremely wary of people, but Brian Hampton, who studies Australia’s wild horses (in t-shirt) was able to get close enough to dart this male, called Tail-less because of a missing appendage. See the video below for the record of Tail-less’ movements generated by the GPS device with which he was fitted. The man on the left with the black hair is Amos Bouskila, another of Templeton’s collaborataors.
The story is too familiar. The Asiatic wild ass (Equus hemionus) which once ranged widely over the desert steppes Mongolia, Russia and the Arabian Peninsula now survives only in small, isolated populations.
It disappeared from the Negev, the desert region in southern Israel, in the 1920s. But a remnant herd survived in the Shah of Iran’s zoo, and some of these animals were brought back to Israel before the Iranian revolution in 1979, where they were bred in captivity. Of this captive herd 28 animals were reintroduced to the desert beginning in 1982 with an additional 10 released in 1992.
But the Asiatic wild ass is truly feral and doesn’t tolerate the presence of people. So once released, the animals were difficult to find, much less to monitor….                                       For the rest of the story (pdf) click here: The secret lives of the wild asses of the Negev

Hope you like it – Enjoy the ride!  tim