'Consummate, Tenacious Racehorse': Gaines Reflects On Nashoba's Key Induction Into CTBA Hall Of Fame - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘Consummate, Tenacious Racehorse’: Gaines Reflects On Nashoba’s Key Induction Into CTBA Hall Of Fame

Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.

Nashoba's Key was inducted into the California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Hall of Fame March 6 for a brilliant 10-race career that spanned just 14 months starting in January 2007.

Carla Gaines, who trained Nashoba's Key for owner-breeder Warren B. Williamson, was on hand for the ceremony. She reminisced on the life and times of Nashoba's Key earlier this week.

“This means a lot,” Gaines said of the induction. “She was just a consummate, tenacious racehorse. She so deserves this.”

Nashoba's Key didn't debut until January of her 4-year-old season. She would win her first seven starts, all in Southern California, including the Yellow Ribbon (G1),  Vanity Handicap (G1), Clement L. Hirsch (G2), and Milady Handicap (G2). The streak was finally snapped in the 2007 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at a rainy Monmouth Park when she finished fourth, beaten about two lengths by Lahudood.

“I gave Joe Talamo specific instructions, don't get down inside or you're going to hit a bog you can't get out of,” Gaines recalled. “I said if she loses the race because she's wide, no one is going to blame you because I'm telling you.

“Well, those jockeys put them right down on the rail. She finally got out and came flying to be beaten just a length or two.”

Gaines added Nashoba's Key was “as tough as they come.” She noted the daughter of Silver Hawk out of the Irish-bred Caerleon mare Nashoba had a penchant for trying to savage her competition if she wasn't happy where she was at during a race.

“There were a couple of times where she'd be boxed in and she'd reach over and try to bite the other horse so she could get out,” Gaines said. “She was something. Truly amazing.”

Nashoba's Key would add another Grade 1 win in the 2008 Santa Margarita the following March. Unfortunately, that would be her final start.

Nashoba's Key's life would be cut short two months later when she broke her left hock in a stall accident at Hollywood Park and had to be euthanized.

“She left us too soon,” Gaines said as tears welled. “She was very aggressive, and we were freshening her up. I don't know what set her off, but she went into a kicking frenzy and shattered her hind leg in the stall.”

Gaines recalled it was a particularly devastating time personally. Nashoba's Key's tragic accident occurred less than a week after the death of Gaines's older brother.

“It was one of the worse weeks of my life,” Gaines said. “My older brother died suddenly so I went back home and was an emotional disaster. When I returned to Santa Anita, all I wanted to do was see her. I had my keys in my hand ready to go down to Hollywood Park when they called me and said they had to put her down. That was my first day back after my brother's death. It was like losing two family members, if that doesn't sound too coarse.”

Nashoba's Key finished with a record of 8-1-0 in 10 starts and earnings of $1,252,090. She was inducted into the CTBA Hall of Fame during an awards ceremony at Le Meridien Hotel near Santa Anita. Also inducted into the CTBA Hall of Fame was Joe Harper, the longtime top executive at Del Mar.

“They did a great job, it was a lot of fun,” Gaines said of the ceremony.

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