Handy N Bold
British Columbia-bred gelding (b. 1995)
By Bold Laddie-Five Rings
Career (1997-2003): 32-11-6-0, $349,121
One of the greatest horses ever to race at Emerald Downs, Handy N Bold now lives a life of luxury at Jones & Jones Farm in Renton. Still owned by Doris Orr, the 19-year-old gelding frolics daily with his equine pals.
“Handy N Bold is the perfect retirement gelding,” said farm manager Carrie Reeves. “He loves it when people bring him treats and shares them with his pasture buddies. Always the gentleman.
Handy N Bold is among the most amazing and successful horses in track history. In fact, his brilliant career has already served up two encores—a special ceremony following his retirement in 2003, and a 2007 appearance to lead the post parade in the Governor’s Handicap.
The latter tribute was fitting considering Handy N Bold practically owned The Governor’s Handicap—winning the race in 1999, 2000, 2001 & 2003—and remains the only horse to win the same stakes race four times at Emerald Downs. Handy N Bold won 10 stakes races in all, and even carried his blazing speed to a runner-up finish in the 2002 Longacres Mile.
According to Orr, none of it would have happened without trainer Charles Essex. On August 24, 1997, the trainer phoned Orr to suggest she claim a 2-year-old first-time starter in the day’s fifth race. The B.C.-bred was entered in a $25,000 claiming race, and Essex said the gelding was worth a look. In the claiming game, however, potential claims and actual claims are two very different things. On this occasion, after mulling it over, Essex began to reconsider, thinking $25,000 might be too much money for an unproven horse.
Orr would have none of it, however, and when Essex phoned a second time, “I told him to claim that horse!”
Essex filled out the claim slip, and the result was one of the greatest claims in track history. Handy N Bold would win 11 races, nearly $350,000 in purses, and provide countless thrills for owner and trainer alike.
“He was really fast,” Essex said of Handy N Bold. “He’d love to outrun other horses when they challenged him.”
Orr still relishes her farm visits with Handy N Bold.
“Carrie Reeves does a great job with him, he’s very happy,” Orr said. “We’ll take care of Handy N Bold until the end.”