By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport


SCENE & HEARD: We should all be so lucky as Hall of Fame trainer Dave Forster. Just imagine, if you can, approaching your 81st birthday living life to the fullest surrounded by a loving family and still active in the only business you’ve ever really cared about.

Forster took a break from his normal chores at his Hastings stable last week to join some long-time racing friends for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Influential racing friends, it should be noted, in the persons of breeder Ray Hanson and owner Jan Whitham. Forster trained horses for both over the years and each of them had more than a passing interest in this year’s Derby:  Hanson with Lookin At Lee and Whitham with McCracken.

Lookin At Lee’s mother Langara Lass and grandmother Capilano both raced at Hastings and were trained by Forster.

“I had a $20 win ticket on McCracken, a $20 win ticket on Lookin At Lee and coupled them with a $5 exactor ticket,” Forster joked upon his return to Vancouver. “So I didn’t win a dime.”

(For the record, Lookin At Lee finished second at 33-1, paying $26.60 while McCracken was jostled at the break and bumped in mid stretch, finishing 15th).

“I really thought Lookin At Lee had a big chance to be in the money,” Forster says. “He’s pretty much a pure closer.”

With news that trainer Steve Asmussen plans to take Lookin At Lee to the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico next Saturday. Forster says he’s quite content to watch it on television in the quiet of an isolated location at Hastings.

“My flight to Vancouver from Louisville Monday was delayed an hour and a half in Chicago,” Forster says. “I was up at 5 in the morning to visit the barns before leaving, so it made for a pretty long day,”

That “pretty long day” resulted in him getting home at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. He was back at Hastings Racecourse less than four hours later.

AT THE WIRE: Forster’s sons Drew and Grant remain active in the racing industry. Drew is a former jockey’s agent who’s on the Hastings scene as a top-notch television analyst and handicapper.  Grant trains horses at Churchill Downs where he has a home within walking distance of the track. Grant celebrated his Dad’s birthday early in Kentucky. Drew and his wife Stephanie will join his Mom (Terri) next week for dinner with the grandparents’ centrepiece of the Forster clan, four-year-old Jack.