The Shoe made his Bid

With the death Friday of colorful trainer Bud Delp, who conditioned the great Spectacular Bid, retired jockey Gary Stevens recalled this story:
“Bill Shoemaker, Eddie Delahoussaye and Laffit Pincay were sitting across the table from me one day, talking about the best horses we ever rode. To have Shoemaker say the best one he ever sat on was The Bid, with all the live stock he rode in his career, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

I remember interviewing Delp right out of college, being led to his barn at Santa Anita in January 1980 by a Santa Anita publicity official. He introduced me to Delp, who looked at me and asked what the circulation of my newspaper was. I told him about 70,000 and with this serious look on his face, he said to me, “Well, I just talked to the guy from the L.A. Times and their circulation is about one million. I gave him about 45 minutes, so I guess I can spare about 5 minutes for you.”
He was joking of course, but I didn’t know that. The rest of the interview he was in control, telling me how good The Bid was and that he was going to win horse of the year. Well, he won the Strub Stakes and the Big ‘Cap that year in grand fashion and went 9 for 9 en route to Horse of the Year honors.
I had the opportunity to interview Delp on the phone again in 2000, 20 years after his visit to California, and he was magnificent. The same great interview he had been 20 years earlier. I reminded him of what he had told me that first day we met, about how he had about 5 minutes to spare for me, and he laughed. “Sounds like something I would have said,” he told me.
We’re going to miss Bud Delp. The sport needs more characters like him.

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