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Same Owner Dead Heat Win ‘A Once-in-a-Lifetime Thing’

When running multiple horses in the same race, some horsemen, not wanting to play favorites, might remark, “Let’s hope for a dead heat,”— meaning finishing on even terms for the win.

A rare occurrence, such a result seemingly never comes to fruition. Except it did on the evening of Jan. 11 at Penn National Race Course.

Crazy Legs Hirsch  and My Redemption , both owned by Bush Racing Stable and trained by Tim Kreiser, were impossible for placing judges to split after examining the photo finish for the second race. Both were declared the winner, improbable for a trainer with a large stable, let alone for an owner with 16 horses.

“I think it will be a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” said David Bushey, who manages the partnership with his father, Bryan.

“It might be a first at Penn National,” Kreiser added, saying this is his 41st year there.

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David, who watched the race on FanDuel TV and via a simulcast feed to his computer, recalled how he exchanged social media messages Thursday evening with FanDuel TV hosts Dave Weaver and Joaquin Jaime while they were on the air.

“And they said the same thing: they’d never seen a same-owner dead heat in a race in their life. And those guys watch a hell of a lot more racing than I do,” he said.

How infrequent are dead heats for first involving the same owner and trainer? According to BloodHorse statistics, this marked just the 10th time since the turn of the century. Before the Thursday race, the most recent one had occurred at Ferndale on Aug. 29, 2021, when the Gabriel Alan Williams-owned duo of Lono and Noble Girl , both trained by Bruno Maelfeyt, were joint winners of a $3,200 claimer at the small California track.

Neither Crazy Legs Hirsch, who broke from the rail under Angel Rodriguez, nor My Redemption, ridden by David Cora from post 2, seemed destined for victory when attempting to rally behind a wall of horses at the head of the stretch. But each found a seam, with My Redemption diving inside and Crazy Legs Hirsch rallying outside, and the duo caught 23-1 longshot and show finisher Wish for Peace .

Two runners for the team of owner Bush Racing Stable and trainer Timothy Kreiser finished in a dead heat at Penn National Race Course on Thursday night January 11, 2024.  Both Crazy Legs Hirsch #1 with Angel Rodriguez and My Redemption #2 with David Cora hit the wire together.  Photo By Kathy Hair/EQUI-PHOTO
Photo: Kathy Hair/EQUI-PHOTO

My Redemption and Crazy Legs Hirsch dead heat for first with Wish for Peace finishing third between horses in the second race at Penn National Race Course

“The first time I thought the 2 won it,” Kreiser said of My Redemption. “Then, when they showed the slo-mo of the replay, I thought (Crazy Legs Hirsch) won it. So I was wrong on both occasions.”

Both horses were ultimately brought into the winner’s circle together. Bryan Bushey, his wife Barb, their Bush Racing partner Scott Labouliere, and others relished the moment.

“I mean to have that happen. I don’t know if I’ll ever experience that in another night of racing,” Bryan said.

The evening’s success was only beginning. Bush Racing and Kreiser won the third race with Keeping It Country  under Jomar Torres. Then, a half-hour later, they struck again in the fourth race with the Ricardo Chiappe-ridden Texas Tangie . Somehow, the owners and trainer managed to have four winners in three consecutive races.

“It was one of those nights you wish you had 15 in,” Kreiser quipped.

However, the clock struck midnight on this Pennsylvania fairytale a little early at about 8 p.m. ET, when a Bush Racing Stable horse finally lost, when Beyond the Bend  finished third in the fifth race for trainer Bryan George. Kreiser started another horse for another owner an hour later when Robert Derr’s Souper Catch  finished second.

For the Busheys to have this success at Penn National—their home track and only 30 minutes away from Bryan’s home—was only fitting. He said he started as a “track rat” at Penn National before becoming a horse owner.

“I’d go play basketball for a couple of hours and then actually run out to the track when you could get in free after the sixth or seventh race, and I’d bet on the races,” he said. “I mean, I just love horse racing.”

Bryan, a now-retired 65-year-old, said after being involved in athletics as a young man, he needed something to “fill that void, and horse racing was the thing. My son David, I used to take him out there when he was like 4 or 5 years old, and people would go nuts. They’d be like, what did you bring your kid out here for?”

David’s youthful exposure to horse racing apparently did not lead him astray. He now works in the technology sector. Bryan and Barb’s other son, Chris, is an accountant, and their daughter, Lauren, owns a mobile pet grooming business.

Bryan and David’s passion for the sport has not waned through the years, nor has their appreciation for backstretch workers and the people involved in their stable’s success. Bryan will sometimes host a “Sausage Saturday” for barn staff, picking up 50 or so links from the butcher and cooking them up.

After Thursday’s good fortune, Kreiser told him, “I got to step it up to like filets or something,” Bryan said.

Bush Racing Stable, formed in 2004 with the concept of allowing owners to join their partnership at a minimal cost, has expanded from a one-horse stable to what it is today, with 324 career victories from 1,342 starts and earnings of more than $5.8 million, not counting those owned with other owners. They have horses with three trainers at four tracks in the Mid-Atlantic, with Kreiser as their principal trainer, David said.

One of their horses, Persie , won 10 races for them and was the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association Claiming Horse of the Year in 2018. 

The success they have experienced, David said, is primarily “due to our team and the people that dedicate themselves and their time to taking care of our horses. And that’s what it takes to be successful in this business. A really good partnership between owners, trainers, jockeys, grooms, hotwalkers, everyone, you name it.”

He expressed appreciation for the attention given to their claiming stable.

“The majority of the sport are guys like us, right?” he said.

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