Lesson Horses Presented By Stonestreet Farm: The Character-Building Influence Of Let’s Go Blue On Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Lesson Horses Presented By Stonestreet Farm: The Character-Building Influence Of Let’s Go Blue On Woodbine CEO Jim Lawson

Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment

You never forget the name of your first lesson horse – that horse who taught you what you need to know to work with every one that follows.

In this series, participants throughout the Thoroughbred industry share the names and stories of the horses that have taught them the most about life, revealing the limitless ways that horses can impact the people around them. Some came early on in their careers and helped them set a course for the rest of their lives, while others brought valuable lessons to veterans of the business.

Question: Which horse has taught you the most about life?

Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment: “My family's always been in horse racing, and in 1984, we had a horse named Let's Go Blue. I'd graduated from university, and I was spending a lot of time at the racetrack. Of my siblings, I was the one that was closest to horse racing – I never thought I'd end up working here, by the way.

“Let's Go Blue won the Queen's Plate Trial Stakes by five lengths, and won it galloping. He came into the Queen's Plate as the favorite, went off at 3-5, and he was bumped…I remember it like it was yesterday…There was an entry that really squeezed him the whole way around, and then another pushed him back. Then, he came on again and a horse squeezed him into the rail, and basically bodychecked him into the rail.

“It was 1984, so we didn't have the head-on replays to show to the public. I went to the stewards and I did see the tape, and it was egregious what happened – really, a calculated risk by the jockey to move over and bump him.

“As I think of that, I think of two things: First, I think of something my dad said afterward. I was a young, budding lawyer at the time, and I said to my dad, 'You've got to appeal.' He looked at me and said, 'I've been in sports my entire life, as have you, and sometimes, you have to learn and respect the referee's call. That's what you do, and you get on with life.' He said, 'I don't want to hear it again. We're not appealing.'

“I always reflected on that, and to this day, it kind of haunts me, especially now, being in the role that I'm in. But, I think whether it was the horse or the whole situation, it was character-building. I think we can all learn a lot from racing, and the lows and highs of racing. We all know there are way more lows than highs, and those lows teach you to be appreciative of what you've got. We were fortunate enough to have a horse in the Queen's Plate, and you move on, and it's character-building. You're going to take your lumps, but don't let it get you down.”

The field rounds the first turn in the 2019 Queen's Plate at Woodbine

About Let's Go Blue
Dk. h. or br. h., 1981, Bob's Dusty x Brunswick Dawn, by Amber Morn

Let's Go Blue raced as a homebred for Mel Lawson's Jim Dandy Stable, and he was trained by Janet Bedford.

He won his first two starts, both at Woodbine, including the Swynford Stakes, before finishing second in the G3 Grey Stakes in his graded stakes debut. Including the Grey Stakes, five of his eight starts following his Swynford victory would be runner-up efforts in stakes races.

Let's Go Blue then won his division of the Plate Trial Stakes at Woodbine, and he left the gate in the 1984 Queen's Plate as the 0.85-to-1 favorite. He finished second by a half-length behind Key to the Moon in the Queen's Plate, following a troubled trip. Following the Queen's Plate, Let's Go Blue headed west to win the Canadian Derby at Northlands Park and the G3 B. C. Derby at Exhibition Park.

The horse got better as he got older, and he arguably did his best work during his 4-year-old season in 1986, when he earned the Sovereign Award as Canada's champion older male on the strength of a campaign that included victories in the Fair Play Stakes at Woodbine, and the Speed to Spare Championship Stakes at Northlands Park.

Let's Go Blue retired with 13 wins in 42 career starts for earnings of $757,597.

At stud, Let's Go Blue sired 43 winners over 14 crops, with combined progeny earnings of more than $2.3 million. His top runners included Cailoto, who was a stakes winner at Pimlico Race Course, Blue and Red, who was a multiple stakes winner at Woodbine, and Grade 3-placed Crafty Boy.

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