IN MY WAKE from Aiken Training Track to the Belmont Winner’s Circle

Started by Cary  Frommer, IN MY WAKE (Midshipman) surged to the front from mid-pack to win her first start racing 1 1/16 on the turf at Belmont. She is now trained by Christophe Clement.

Her partners were not the only ones cheering. This popped up on Twitter this morning.


Hammond Hands-On With R. Marie Farms

Courtesy of the BloodHorse

Rebekah Hammond at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale
Rebekah Hammond at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale

Fasig-Tipton Photos

Hammond Hands-On With R. Marie Farms

MarketWatch Interview: Rebekah Hammond

At only 28-years-old, Rebekah Hammond runs R. Marie Farms, a small-scale training, breaking, sales, and racing operation, which is focused on building solid foundations in Thoroughbreds through individualized schooling and care. With the help of her parents John and Tracy Hammond as well as her business partner Hector Garza, Hammond currently has 15-20 horses in her stable this year which she prepares for sales as well as for the track, racing several for various owners as well as a few for herself. Hammond sat down with BloodHorse MarketWatch to discuss her passion for the industry, how she breaks/trains horses for sales, goals for the future, and what it is like being a young female in the business. 

MarketWatch: How did you get your start in the industry?

Rebekah Hammond: I’m originally from Florida. My dad is in construction which I guess takes you all over the place. We moved to New Jersey and then to Georgia … I got into horses in New Jersey and I liked it. I did the hunter/jumpers and stuff like that. I thought it was not that great but I loved horses. When I was 12 my dad took me to the Belmont Stakes and I saw Rags to Riches  beat Curlin   and I was like, ‘This is awesome, this is what I want to do’… I had friends that were doing the showing and it just seemed so hoity-toity and it was all about who the trainer was and what horse you had. When I went to the Belmont, I saw that it doesn’t matter who you are, it just matters if you’re fast. It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl, you can beat the boys. (I thought) this is what I want to do. Plain and simple, just be fast and it doesn’t matter who you are.

Rebekah Hammond and Smile Mon
Photo: Courtesy of Barry Bornstein

Rebekah Hammond and Rough and Rowdy

MW: When did Thoroughbreds become a full-time job for you?


RH: My family moved us to Fayetteville, Ga., and I started really being obsessed with horse racing. I was reading a book by Cot Campbell on his stable and I know they started in Georgia and moved to Aiken … I turned 18 and I went to Aiken to check it out and tried to get a job with Dogwood but they said no because I had no experience with racehorses. So I went to Darley, and they gave me a shot. I worked for them for four years as an exercise rider; they pretty much trained me up from the beginning and taught me how to break horses and exercise. They, unfortunately, left Aiken so I started working for Cary Frommer, who’s a pretty big pinhooker. Another friend from Darley (Hector Garza) and I really wanted to stay in the business; he’s 70 and is a lifelong horseman. He taught me the training aspect of it and I did the riding aspect of it, and we decided to try training horses as well.

MW: How did you establish your operation R. Marie Farms and what does it look like day-to-day?

RH: In 2016 we were at an in-between time and that’s when Hector Garza and I decided to just try it. He was older and getting out of the business and I was just getting into it. It was kind of my thing and he was going to back me up. It started in 2016 when we bought one horse to pinhook.

I try to keep it pretty lowkey because I want to be hands-on with everything I do. I’m big on ground work. I like to do a lot of ground work with my babies before I get on them. It’s big for me to be able to sit on every horse that comes through my operation. I want to know how they feel under me, I want to know their quirks, their strong points, I want to know all that about them. I try to do most of the breaking myself. This year we got a little bigger. We were in the 15-to-20 horse range so I had to bring in a little bit of help because it was too much for me to do all the riding by myself.

Initially, I did not want to do racing, but you do the sales and you’re like, ‘Oh, they’re not going to give me enough money,’ so you think you’ll just keep it and race it yourself. That’s how I got into racing. Hector and I have split paths. He’s doing the racing side of things and I’m doing the breaking side of things. He’s up at Finger Lakes with a couple of my horses that we kept. I try to keep it small. I have three or four good owners and I get two to three horses from each of them and a couple of our own. I like to have that one-on-one relationship with all of them (owners) and be able to tell them everything about each one of their horses.

MW: What is your process when breaking horses?

RH: Typically when I get them I let them chill at the farm for a week or two. Some of them need more time to accommodate to the new surroundings and some of them need a job. It just depends on the horse; if I get to working with them right away or let them settle in a little longer. I like to do a lot of round pen work and a lot of long lining. I like to have a really nice soft mouth on them, good brakes, know left and right, and all that before I get on their back. Then I’ll back them and ride them out in the round pen.

We start at our farm and we also work at the Aiken training track. But I stay at the farm for the first two to three months. I get them going; get them used to being ponied. When I know they’re ready to graduate to the Aiken training track is when they leave the pony behind and are good on their own. We move to the Aiken training track where we continue their training and get them (depending on the horse) two minutes working, breezing up to three-eighths, and then we send them to the trainers or the sales.

Rebekah Hammond and Rough and Rowdy at the Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale
Photo: Courtesy of Tibor Photography

Rebekah Hammond and Pennies Princess at the Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale
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MW: What sales do you typically focus on and what horses are you looking forward to showing off this year?

RH: Usually we go to OBS June. I don’t mind it except it’s hot. I like that they have that extra time to grow and develop. You know you have a more mature 2-year-old going into the sale whereas with some of the other sales, the horses are a little immature and you’re having to push them to get them there. I like that aspect of the June sale. This year we did kind of go all over. We went to April and then May and came back for June. I don’t think I would do all three sales next year because it’s exhausting.

We have a really nice Sharp Azteca   filly. She’s just really cool. She does everything effortlessly. I’m excited to see what she does for her under-tack show. We just had the one down here (at OBS June). We’ve always only had one or two horses (in the sale) until a couple of years ago. Last year we had four; we’re a pretty small operation. I’m hoping to start having five sale horses a year starting next year. That would be my goal. I haven’t worked under a lot of people. I’m kind of doing it the hard way through trial and error and getting my name out there one horse at a time.

MW: What are the challenges that have come with being a younger female in the business?

RH: It’s hard; it’s really, really hard. For the most part, people have been really encouraging and helpful but it’s a tough business. We haven’t had any grand slams yet that is pulling us through. Every day is hard work to get it all done. I’ve had to do most of the work myself. But I will say everybody is very respectful and encouraging. I feel like that wasn’t the case too many years ago. I feel like the game has come a long way.

It’s all about putting in hours and meeting as many people as you can and showing them the quality of horse you can produce with a cheap budget. Last year we had a horse that I took out of the Timonium Yearling Sale for $1,200 and she breezed :10 flat in June. She’s won twice and had a couple seconds already. It’s showing what you can produce with a cheap horse. The past year has been really great for us. We’ve met bigger trainers and they’re sending us better quality horses and I’m starting to see our hard work pay off.

MW: What are your long-term goals for yourself and the business?

RH: I would love to stay around 15-to-20 horses; that’s a good number for me because I want to be hands-on and know them each individually. I’d like to get better quality horses. We’ve been working with cheaper horses but we’ve done really well. All of our sales horses have won, except for one who’s hit the board numerous times. They all do good for their class of horse.

We go a little slower but we don’t skip any of the basics. It takes us a little longer to get there but all of the horses get to the track with super solid foundations. They don’t have any silliness or quirkiness they have to work out. They know their job and they’re happy to do it.

This is the first year that we’ve had a couple owners who are letting us keep a couple horses and race them ourselves so that’s exciting. I have a 3-year-old that I’ve been sitting on who hasn’t been to the track yet. His name is Little G T—we named him after my mother. We bought him as a weanling and kept him. I’m aiming him for the Colonial Downs meet this summer.

It was hard because I was so jealous of these people once I got into racing. I was like, ‘Man, all these kids grow up in racing; it’s so easy for them, it’s right out their back door, and I have to go find it.’ It’s a little harder but I’m so glad I found it, I love it.


COCONUT CAKE added more black-type in the Dahlia S at Laurel

Already a multiple stakes placed winner, COCONUT CAKE (Bandbox) added more to her resume racing 3rd in the $100,000 Dahlia S at Laurel.  She is trained by  Timothy L. Keefe fr owners N R S Stable, James Chambers and her trainer.

Starts Firsts Seconds Thirds Earnings
17 4 2 4 $191,813


REGGAE MUSIC MAN adds black-type in the Affirmed Success

REGGAE MUSIC MAN (Maclean’s Music) won 2 allowance races in a row and stepped up into the Affirmed Success Stakes at Belmont and added black-type racing 3rd. He is a Ginellen Racing homebred and trained in Aiken with Mason Springs/Legacy.

Starts Firsts Seconds Thirds Earnings
12 3 2 3 $180,863

$208,871 earner BAIL OUT finally breaks his maiden!

Racing on the turf, 7 year old BAIL OUT (Arch) finally broke his maiden in his 27th start. He came from just off the pace to clear the field for the win. BAIL OUT is trained by Trainer: Jeffrey S. Englehart for owner Darryl E. Abramowitz.  He was bred by the Phipps Stable. During his career BAIL OUT spet several winters in Aiken with Legacy Stables.

Starts Firsts Seconds Thirds Earnings
27 1 11 3 $208,871

CALL ME PLUCKY wins at Pimlico

CALL ME PLUCKY (Lookin at Lucky)  got up late to win in allowance company at Pimlico. He raced 1 1/16 on the turf for owner-breeder  Hillwood Stables, LLC. and trainer Brittany T. Russell. Like all the Hillwood horses, he was started in Aiken by Cary Frommer.

Cary Frommer Sales Grad Multiple Graded Stakes Placed DREAM SHAKE takes Keeneland allowance

Courtesy of the TDN

4th-Keeneland, $110,000, Alw, 4-10, (NW1X), 4yo/up, 6f, 1:10.85, ft, 1 length.

DREAM SHAKE (c, 4, Twirling Candy–Even Song, by Street Cry {Ire}), a ‘TDN Rising Star’ whose career includes a third behind Rock Your World (Candy Ride) and Medina Spirit (Protonico) in last year’s GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby and a head second to Jackie’s Warrior (Maclean’s Music) in the GII Pat Day Mile S., entered this off seven-month break following a last-out fourth against allowance/optional claiming company at Del Mar Aug. 21. Off at 5-2, Dream Shake broke near the back of the field from the inside gate and settled seventh early behind Handcarved (Maclean’s Music) through a quarter-mile in :22.69. He came between rivals at the quarter-pole and drew up beside Bagboss (Speightstown) into the stretch, with Milliken (Into Mischief) giving chase as well until he jumped a shadow nearing the sixteenth pole. Dream Shake maintained his advantage and drew clear into the final strides to win by a length over Bagboss.

The winner’s dam has a 2-year-old colt named King Me (The Factor) and a 2022 filly by Game Winner.

Sales history: $32,000 Ylg ’19 KEESEP; $75,000 2yo ’20 OBSAPR.
Lifetime Record: GISP, 8-2-1-2, $350,210.
O-Exline-Border Racing LLC, SAF Racing, Stonestreet Stables LLC and Hausman, Richard
B-Dunwoody Farm (KY)
T-Peter Eurton.

MarketWatch Interview: Cary Frommer

Courtesy of the BloodHorse

Frommer’s Gulfstream Quartet Ready for Next Step

MarketWatch Interview: Cary Frommer

  • By Lauren Gash

Consignor Cary Frommer brought a draft of four colts for The Gulfstream Sale, a place memorable to her after selling multiple horses that have gone on to become notable sires, such as Trappe Shot , Cinco Charlie  , and Maximus Mischief  . What started as a childhood hobby has turned into a career of training juveniles for the market along the East Coast for Frommer, who now calls Aiken, S.C. home. After seeing her four horses on offer breeze through the under tack show in Florida March 28, the consignor took the time to sit down with BloodHorse MarketWatch to share a little about herself and her training philosophy.

MarketWatch: How did you get into horses?

Cary Frommer: I got into horses when I was 11 years old. My dad was in the military and went to Vietnam, so my mom went out and got a job to make some extra money so that I could have riding lessons. I competed a little bit in hunters and jumpers growing up until I was 18, and took a job breaking yearlings at a farm and went on from there. Once I rode racehorses, I couldn’t go back.

I have been pinhooking for about 20 years. Initially, it started from being at the races. My son had just started school, and I needed to stop moving around and have a home base. I’m a competitive person and wasn’t happy not having a reason to train horses, so I started pinhooking 2-year-olds. My ex-husband and I received horses that came out of the 2-year-old sales, and I always felt like there was another way to do things. We tried to change things a little. My horses are maybe not as competitive as the other people in the business, but I’m happy with how it all works.

MW: What sales do you shop when looking for yearlings to pinhook?

CF: I love the Fasig-Tipton July Sale—there are a lot of nice horses there, and a lot of the buyers aren’t quite ready to pull the trigger yet; they aren’t warmed up. I usually come out of that sale with six or seven horses. I try to take advantage of the moment.

MW: What is special about The Gulfstream Sale for you?

CF: I have had some great success here in the past, but it’s a hard, hard sale. So many good horses have come out of here. If you think you have a nice horse, bring it, it’s an excellent place to be, but don’t bring the ones that aren’t going to cut it.

MW: What has made The Gulfstream Sale memorable for you?

CF: My second million-dollar horse (Inca Chief) was here, as were my third (Beyond Grace) and fourth (Goren). Those are some pretty nice memories for me. I have brought horses here who maybe didn’t bring a lot in the ring but have gone on to be excellent racehorses, like Maximus Mischief (who RNA’d for $245,00, selling at the Timonium Sale for $340,000 in 2018). This sale has always been good to me, but it’s tough. It will be interesting to see what this year has to tell us.

Hip 156, 2017 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale, Gulfstream Park, FlPhoto: Fasig-Tipton Photos

Goren in the ring at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale

MW: From your four-horse draft of colts, you have some established and freshman sires; what are you seeing in this group?

CF: I was very high on the Nyquist   colt (Hip 31). He didn’t fire at the under tack show (going in :10.4), which was upsetting, especially when they do everything right all the way and then it just doesn’t happen in those 10 seconds, or :10.4 in his case. All of the others are really nice horses—they can go on to be any kind or quality of horse. The Nyquist had it stamped on his head from the beginning that he was a star individual, but sometimes the stars fall, and somebody else picks it up. None of my horses had dazzling works, but all had beautiful, smooth, easy works and galloped out well. With all the emphasis on that one-eighth mile, that’s not what it’s all about after leaving the sale. I am happy with my four and I’m glad I brought them to this sale.

The City of Light   (Hip 86) is the first one I have had and he has been so easy to deal with and has a great mind. He moves with a long smooth stride, and his breeze video is gorgeous. He does his job the best he can. I think he will make a nice racehorse. My Tapwrit   (Hip 27) is a little more on top of the game and maybe not as laid back as the other horses. He’s a kind-hearted horse, and he goes along with the flow, but he has a little jazz to him. He’s a smooth mover and you will see on the video he jumped two shadows while breezing. Maybe he didn’t have his mind totally on his job (going in :10.2). We don’t drill them per se; we are more susceptible to a horse that jumps up unexpectedly because we don’t press them.

Hip 27 works 18 in 10.2, 2022 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream SalePhoto: Fasig-Tipton Photos

The Tapwrit colt consigned as Hip 27 works at the F-T Gulfstream under tack show

MW: What is your philosophy in training juveniles?

CF: My golden rule is the day of the breeze show is not supposed to be the best day of their life—it’s supposed to be a step on the pathway to a great career. We keep that in mind all the time when training, but don’t get me wrong, I love it when they work lights out—it makes my job much easier. The fact of the matter is, the under tack show is not what it’s all about and it shouldn’t be. It should be used as a step, and if they come out of the breeze good and radiograph well, then they can go on to their career educated and ready to take the next step.


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