by Bill Finley
The Down the Stretch show on Sirius XM radio has an official horse, and his name will be Down The Stretch.
The program, which covers both thoroughbred and standardbred racing and airs on Sirius XM Rush (Ch. 93) every Saturday morning from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (eastern), has partnered with one of its biggest fans, Howard (From Rochester) Ouriel. Ouriel is a frequent caller to the show and the show’s producers noticed that he was active at this year’s Harrisburg yearling sale. Along with his brother, Micheal, Ouriel bought three horses, one of them an $85,000 purchase by Art Major named Swig Hanover.
When reached by the Sirius XM team, Ouriel agreed to change the name of the horse to Down The Stretch, also the signature call of famed announcer Dave Johnson, who hosts the show.
“We though this would be a really neat idea, to sort of adopt the horse for our show,” said Down the Stretch’s executive producer Ed Pappas. “Howard was into the idea and quickly agreed to change the name of the horse to Down The Stretch. As long as the horse is racing and as long as we are still on the air, we’ll check in with Howard from time to time to get updates on the horse and root him on to the winner’s circle. We hope to have a lot of fun with this and give some exposure to a really good guy in ‘Howard From Rochester’ and to the sport.”
Johnson opened the first “Down The Stretch” Down the Stretch segment with a mock race call of the 2018 Meadowlands Pace, which was, of course, won by Down The Stretch.
“We probably paid too much for this horse but now that I know you guys are on our side it’s starting to look like a bargain,” Ouriel said.
Don Rothfuss will train the horse and Ouriel said the immediate goal will be to tackle the 2017 New York sire stakes races. Ouriel said he will definitely make the payments to keep the gelding eligible for the 2018 Meadowlands Pace.
“My trainer doesn’t blow smoke and he thinks the horse already looks like a three-year-old,” Ouriel said. “That’s a good report, but you never know. It’s a total crap shoot. But Dave Johnson is a guy with good karma, so we think we have a better chance now of having this horse work out.”