August 10, 2022

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Haskell, Cyberknife Bring Gold Back Home to New Jersey

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Gold Square’s Cyberknife  has never raced in New Jersey. The closest he has at any time arrive to the Yard State was when he raced at Churchill Downs, some 750 miles absent from Monmouth Park.

However when Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” is performed and the 3-year-olds consider the track for the $1 million TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) July 23, it will be grade 1 winner Cyberknife who will have the major and most fervent rooting interest amid the hometown enthusiasts at the Oceanport, N.J., oval.

Which is all since of Al Gold and a legion of faithful friends he has cultivated in his lifetime.

For about 50 yrs, Gold, who owns and operates Gold Sq., has been attending the races at Monmouth with men and women who have the exact passion for the sport as he does. They have all derived an equal amount of joy from the numerous days they have expended at the Jersey Shore track, laughing, sharing stories, handicapping, ribbing every single other, and pouring a war upper body of income as a result of the mutuel home windows.

If he have been alive, it is really a confident detail that Damon Runyon would love expending a day at the keep track of with Gold and his buddies.

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“I expended 50 years likely to Monmouth Park. It was like a next property to me,” the 66-12 months-previous Gold stated. “I lived in Jersey for the to start with 60-odd many years of my life, and it will be superior to go back and see some good friends and appreciate the race with them and my spouse and children.”

Photograph: Coady Images

Cyberknife wins the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park

Now residing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in which he has a property with twin spires on it, and Florida, Gold is counting down the days to the Haskell, as he stands a strong chance of successful New Jersey’s major race. Cyberknife, the Arkansas Derby (G1) winner and a $996,000 earner, is 1 of four quality 1 winners in an anticipated industry of 6 and could be both the next or 3rd alternative guiding likely favourite Jack Christopher .

“I won’t be able to assume of a race that Al would want to acquire extra than the Haskell, and that consists of the Kentucky Derby,” claimed Ron Riccio, one particular of Gold’s longtime racetrack pals and an attorney who argued the case in advance of the Supreme Court docket that brought sporting activities betting to New Jersey and the rest of the country. “Monmouth Park is the place his lifelong close friends are and his young ones are. It can be a major coming-residence celebration for him. Win, shed, or draw, it will be an remarkable working day.”

For quite a few years, Gold could be found at Monmouth with Riccio and other close friends this sort of as Lou Filoso, Allie Squillante, and Tom Luicci, a longtime New Jersey sportswriter and now the director of media relations at Monmouth. Acquiring successfully battled prostrate cancer, and named his Haskell candidate soon after the surgical software that served help you save his lifetime, Gold is conscious of these pals who will not be there at Monmouth on Saturday.

1 of them is the late Invoice Handleman, an award-profitable journalist for the Asbury Park Press whose love for participating in the races had number of friends. Handelman, who has a media award named in his honor by Monmouth, handed absent in 2010 at age 62, but he even now pops up in Gold’s brain during racetrack visits. 

“Each individual time I wander into Saratoga Race Training course, I feel Invoice is continue to walking in there with me,” Gold said.

The irascible Handleman was associated in several of the hundreds of racetrack tales that Gold can rattle off about the numerous days he and his buddies collected at the racetrack. Some include huge paydays, but the kinds that are the fondest recollections entail the laughter and kidding around those moments when what must have been a significant wagering rating in some way went awry.

One of them, back again in 2006, concerned Gold naming horses Handleman and Handlewoman after Invoice and his spouse, Judy. When Handlewoman was poised to make her job debut for coach Steve Asmussen, Gold received word from the barn that the filly was poised for a significant energy and he passed that suggestion along to Handleman. When Handlewoman lived up to anticipations and gained at 9-1 odds, Gold was ecstatic. Then he noticed that Handleman, the star-crossed gambler, was muttering.

“Invoice did not bet the horse to acquire. He just guess exactas and trifectas and left out the (Todd Pletcher-properly trained) horse who was the favourite in the race and completed next. He didn’t funds a ticket on the race,” Gold stated. “I could not support but giggle when he instructed me what he did.”

It was encounters like that a person that designed an unbreakable bond amongst Gold and his pals.

“I have some mates I communicate to just about every day and we’re often speaking horses,” mentioned Gold, who is retired from his profitable serious estate company and has a steady of about 24 horses with a wide variety of trainers. “I glance ahead to observing them at Saratoga and Monmouth and having fun with the day with them.”

Ricco explained Gold’s helpful nature and generosity around the decades has been a crucial component in the group’s staying alongside one another for so prolonged.

“He’s a expensive pal and enjoys the banter at the racetrack and he has a generous spirit. He often desires to do the proper factor,” Riccio stated.

While Gold is hunting ahead to remaining at Monmouth Saturday with his wife, Hilary, and kids Bryan and Danya and their people, he’s hopeful the vacation to New Jersey will be fewer eventful than what was meant to be a flight to Sizzling Springs for the Arkansas Derby, the only grade 1 acquire in the course of 804 begins and 158 wins below the Gold Sq. banner.

“I skipped the race due to the fact of problems with the aircraft,” Gold mentioned. “I organized to have a jet acquire us there, and I hate flying. So I shut my eyes and fell asleep. I woke up when I heard the landing gears went down. I considered we have been there. As it turned out, there ended up mechanical problems and the pilot experienced to flip all-around. All people on the flight was white as a ghost.”

Possessing weathered a tumultuous adventure tied to the Arkansas Derby, Cyberknife’s commence in the Kentucky Derby Offered by Woodford Reserve (G1) was 1 of the times that reflected the years of friendship among the team.

Cyberknife training at Churchill Downs
Picture: Skip Dickstein

Cyberknife education at Churchill Downs

Gold chartered a private jet to fly to Louisville and introduced together about a dozen pals and family members members on the flight and paid out for their lodging. It was a amazing 4-working day excursion, with the exception of the race. Just after winning the Arkansas Derby in his past start out for coach Brad Cox, Cyberknife chased a brutal speed of :45.36 and was exhausted by the time the subject arrived at the final transform. He concluded 18th in the industry of 20, some 42 lengths powering the victorious Wealthy Strike .

“If he stayed back, who knows what would transpired in the Kentucky Derby,” Gold said. “The fractions had been so out of line from everything he has carried out ahead of, but at the very least (Florent Geroux) realized that and in essence pulled him up in the extend when he experienced almost nothing still left.”

The decline was disappointing, yet it could not bitter the weekend for all people who shared in Gold’s long-awaited debut in the Operate for the Roses.

“It was a fantastic four days, with the exception of two minutes,” Luicci stated.

Following the Kentucky Derby debacle, Cox introduced Cyberknife back in the June 12 Matt Winn Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs, and the son of Gun Runner   rebounded with a determined effort in dueling on the entrance stop with fellow Haskell applicant Howling Time  and prevailing by a nose soon after a thrilling extend duel in the 1 1/16-mile examination.

“If he shows up and operates his race, Cyberknife will be a player in the Haskell,” Cox mentioned. “He bought a very useful prep in the Winn. He only gained by a nose but that was a very good horse he beat and it was a strategies (six lengths) back to the third horse (Rattle N Roll ), who received a stakes up coming time out.”

Cyberknife, bred by Ken and Sarah Ramsey out of the Flower Alley mare Awesome Flower, was Gold’s to start with horse with Cox. The two-time Eclipse Award winner would appreciate absolutely nothing much better than to provide the proprietor with a next quality 1 acquire out of the $400,000 buy by Joe Hardoon, Gold’s racing supervisor, at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase.

“It’s been terrific working with Al,” Cox claimed. “He’s been awesome. He is aware the match and watches it all the time. You’ll see him at the track each and every morning. He is aware of what’s heading on. He’s wonderful to offer with and requires negative news as nicely as he does excellent news. He’s a tremendous wonderful dude. I was truly satisfied to acquire a quality 1 for him. I failed to know he hadn’t gained a grade 1 just before that. It was fairly amazing to last but not least get a person for him and possibly you can find a lot more to occur. Hopefully, it will be the Haskell.”

If that comes about, there will be loud cheers and streams of tears from Al Gold and his crew. And, of system, some unforgettable memories, far too. Be it a Saturday with a grade 1 stakes or a mundane weekday, no day at the races would be total for New Jersey’s hometown beloved with out a memory to cherish.

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