Dosage: Pedigree &
The Gallant Story of Business Is Boomin
This is a tale of inner strength and determination. It is a story about everything that’s good in racing. It symbolizes a triumph of the spirit and the struggle to overcome adversity. This is about the personal side of racing, as far from the glamour of Claiborne Farm or Wayne Lukas or Gary Stevens as one can get. In my view, it captures the essence of why we love horses and are enthralled by their accomplishments.
In the spring of 1991, my associate and I identified a young two-year-old colt as a potential purchase for a client. He had just comfortably broken his maiden second time out in a $30,000 claiming sprint at Churchill Downs. There were aspects to his performance that we found especially encouraging, and a subsequent physical inspection confirmed our optimism. He had the look, the personality, and the demeanor. In fact, we were convinced he was going to be a star. His name was Business Is Boomin, by an undistinguished son of Secretariat named Businessisbusiness, and out of a Mr. Leader mare. Boomer, as we called him, made his initial start for his new owner in the Budweiser Breeders' Cup Handicap at Churchill Downs, coupled as the favored 6-5 entry with eventual race winner Hippomenes, another two-year-old we had just bought. Boomer bowed a tendon in the race and was beaten about six lengths after racing prominently in the early stages. As with all injuries of this type, there were serious questions about his ability to race again. Eventually, under the care of his trainer, Michael Dickinson, Boomer resurfaced eleven months later to finish a close second in two consecutive New York turf allowance routes. In the first he lost by less than a length to Kiri’s Clown, a future Grade 1 stakes winner on the grass and an earner of over a million dollars. In the second he was beaten just over two lengths by Gary Gumbo, who later that year became a Grade 3 stakes winner. And then disaster struck. During the course of training, Boomer re-injured himself. His short-lived and promising career looked to be finished after just five races. Over the next two years, Michael and his assistant, Joan Wakefield, actually brought Boomer to within a week or so of a race on a couple of occasions, only to be disappointed by one problem or another. In the interim, Michael took ownership of Boomer, and it looked like the Dickinson stable had a new pony. End of story? No way! Michael and Joan persevered for three more years, caring for Boomer and slowly, ever so slowly, nurturing him back to health.
On May 8, 1997, five years to the day of his last start, Boomer, now eight years old, entered the gate for the seventh race at Garden State Park, a $15,000 claiming race for older horses, non-winners of two races lifetime, at a mile and seventy yards on the grass. He broke last of twelve, and after a half mile was galloping eleven lengths from the lead in tenth place. A quarter of a mile later he was fifth, just two and a half lengths behind. By the time the field reached the quarter pole, Boomer was in front and drawing away. He cruised down the stretch, increasing his lead as he wished, going under the wire almost seven lengths clear and winning easily. Amazingly, and out of respect for the well-known training exploits of Michael Dickinson, Boomer went to post as the 6-5 favorite. Imagine that, after a five year layoff!
Boomer won his next two starts, a mile and a sixteenth turf allowance at Monmouth Park, and a mile and an eighth turf allowance at Laurel Park. In the latter race, he went wire-to-wire. After three straight victories, he finally finished second by a nose after rallying from ten lengths back in a mile and three-sixteenths turf allowance, also at Laurel. Things were not quite right next time out, dropping back to a mile and a sixteenth allowance on the grass at the same track. Boomer took the lead at the start, but weakened dramatically in the last furlong to finish fourth beaten 4 ½ lengths. With no excuse other than wear and tear, it looked as though this could be the end of the fairy tale…until June 9, 1998 in the fourth race at Delaware Park, an allowance on the grass at a mile and an eighth. After another ten months on the sideline, and now nine years old, Boomer came back again. Favored at 9-5 against eleven rivals, he settled mid-pack early, worked his way through the field, reached contention at the quarter pole, wore down the leaders, and drew away to a three length win. He got the distance in 1:48.4, going the last eighth in :11.3. After the win, Boomer returned home to Michael’s new training facility at Tapeta Farm to spend the day loafing around a big field, relaxing, eating grass, and just enjoying himself. According to Michael, you would never know that hours earlier he had been in a race. I don’t know where the story goes from here, but it really doesn’t matter. The miracle has already been accomplished.
Even though I have been associated with many good horses in my career, no wins were ever more gratifying or poignant than the seventh at Garden State on May 8, 1997 and the fourth at Delaware Park on June 9, 1998. These races affirmed my belief in dreams, and they made me realize once more that the horses we often take for granted, or are quick to criticize, are truly the embodiment of grace, beauty, and courage. The win pictures from those races will always hang prominently on my office wall.
P.S. - Boomer ended his career with a lifetime record of 18-7-4-2, $123,592 and a turf record of 15-6-4-2, $116,078. His Dosage Figures are DP 7-8-10-1-0, DI 3.33, CD 0.81. After his retirement, he enjoyed hanging out at the farm with his best buddy, Da Hoss.