By Dick Jerardi
Uriah St. Lewis was at the Timonium sale in December 2018. There was an Ohio bred he liked, but when he went to see the horse he was told he could only enter the stall at his own risk, that the horse was a biter.
He didn’t want to try to enter the stall with a crowd around so he and his wife took a walk around and came back when nobody was there. With his wife holding the horse, St. Lewis went into the stall and checked Forewarned out. There were no red flags there or in the vet exam.
The horse’s owner had died which was why Forewarned, who had won an Ohio bred stakes at Thistledown that summer, was for sale and why St. Lewis was interested.
“When he came into the ring, the guy who was training him before, they said they were going to guy him,’’ St, Lewis said.
The bidding commenced. Got to $20,000 and then stopped. Then, the bidding started again and gradually got to $30,000. St. Lewis decided to blow the competition away with a $40,000 bid.
“And they dropped the hammer,’’ St. Lewis said. “I’m like `wait a minute, that was stupid.’’’
Probably could have gotten him for $35,000. No matter. That $40,000 has turned into almost $740,000 as Forewarned somehow is now better than he’s ever been. The 7-year–old did not earn a triple-digit Beyer figure in his first 46 starts. Now, incredibly, he has gotten two in a row, first in a heartbreaking nose defeat in the John B. Campbell at Laurel Park and then, with a fearless ride from Dexter Haddock, in a heartstopping win in Saturday’s Excelsior at Aqueduct.
“He’s getting better,’’ said St. Lewis who owns and trains the son of Flat Out. “This horse has always been that good. The problem was we never had a good enough rider. Dexter has confidence in the horse. I think that makes so much of a difference. Dexter’s never fighting this horse. He said `I know him better… I can do anything with him.’’’
Forewarned had every reason to lose the Excelsior. He was
wide during the run down the backstretch, wider on the turn and then pushed down to the rail in a wild stretch duel with Untreated. Passed in the final 100 yards, Forewarned came again to win it by a head. And he wasn’t 42-1 like when he won the Queen’s County at Aqueduct on Dec.19. He was 9-2 in the four-horse field and brought his career earnings to $870,883.
“Dexter said when the horse banged into him just past the sixteenth pole, he said (Forewarned) `got mad, he jumped back into the bridle and he took off again.’’’ St. Lewis said.
Each of the last three Octobers, St. Lewis has taken
Forewarned back to Ohio to win the Ohio Endurance for Ohio breds at Mahoning Valley. Might not be making the trip this year.
Four years ago, St. Lewis won the Excelsior with Discreet Lover. That fall, he won the Jockey Club Gold Cup with Discreet Lover, the horse he bought for $10,000 a few years earlier, also at Timonium. That $10,000 turned into $1.452 million.
Forewarned may take the same path as Discreet Lover this year, with the Whitney and Jockey Club Gold Cup as goals and maybe even a trip to Keeneland for a Breeders’ Cup race.
St. Lewis stayed in New York Saturday night because he had a horse running Sunday at Aqueduct.
“(Forewarned) came out of the race, up in the air, dancing, had a good time this morning, ate up all his dinner, he’s real happy right now,’’ St. Lewis said.
The key to it all, St. Lewis said, is to make a horse happy.
“Forewarned,’’ he said, “is happy.’’
So is his owner and trainer.