HENDERSON, Ky. — (Saturday, August 12, 2017) — There’s no “maybe” about it: The 5-year-old mare She Mabee Wild is wild. The good thing for trainer Mark Danner is that the star of his three-horse stable has proven worth the extra effort required to deal with her idiosyncrasies.
“It’s still an adventure,” the Churchill Downs-based Danner recently said of She Mabee Wild, one of 12 fillies and mares entered in Sunday’s $100,000, Grade 3 Groupie Doll at Ellis Park. “Every time you go, you still don’t know what’s going to happen. Sometimes she gets out of bed in a bad mood. And when she gets out of bed in a bad mood, you better watch out.”
Danner says She Mabee Wild is a diva who knows she’s good.
“We always get her out when I get to the track at 4:30, 4:45,” he said. “This morning I was late and didn’t get here until after 5. And she came out of that stall ticked off. I don’t know what she was mad about. But she’s the type that can be mad at the world. I could tell two steps out of there, this is going to be bad. That tail started up, and then she wanted to strike me. This winter she caught me, cow-kicked me and sent me into a tree.”
She Mabee Wild — an Indiana-born daughter of the Ohio stallion Mr. Mabee and out of the Wild Zone mare Wild Flower — is 15-1 in the Groupie Doll’s morning line. A top three finish would be huge in increasing her value as a broodmare.
She Mabee Wild’s six victories include Indiana Grand’s $100,000 Richmond Stakes for Indiana-breds, in which she upset the reigning Indiana Horse of the Year and Grade 2 winner Lady Fog Horse. But She Mabee Wild also won allowance races at Churchill Downs and Oaklawn Park and twice has been fourth in graded stakes races: Churchill’s Grade 2 Falls City last Thanksgiving and most recently the Grade 3 Chicago Handicap held in Louisville.
“We’ve run fourth in these graded stakes; we need to be third,” Danner said. “We got nosed out for third in the Falls City. We’re desperately seeking to be on the board in a graded stakes. I mean, she’s run against some nice horses. She’s won from three-quarters of a mile to a mile and an eighth. She shows up pretty much every time. We’ve had a few bad races, but a lot of stuff is not in her control.”
The mare has ground out $325,074 for owner-breeder Michelle Shaw of Louisville. But Danner couldn’t have imagined that when she showed up at his barn as a 2-year-old.
“When I went through six riders in six days, I wasn’t feeling very good about it,” Danner says, now able to laugh. “She can move quick for a big horse.
“She was a propping, ducking, wheeling son of a gun,” he said. “Dropped everybody. Will not work by herself. I got her as a 2-year-old, but didn’t get her started until the next spring at Hot Springs, just working with her mind.
“When we started breezing her with company, she’s never been out-breezed. It’s been going on three years now, whoever you put her with, she just puts that head in front of them. I was like, ‘Anyone who works like that has some ability.’ If I breeze her by herself, 1:05 (dawdling for five-eighths of a mile) — will not work. I’ve learned to adapt to it.”
She Mabee Wild is like the little girl with the curl. In her Churchill Downs stall, you’d never suspect that such a sweetie could be so horrid. But ask the starting gate. Though She Mabee Wild breaks from post 3, she’ll be loaded first because of her tantrums loading.
“Most horses, as a trainer you’re like, ‘Well, we got her here, got her saddled and everything is going to be fine,’” Danner said. “I start holding my breath once she’s saddled because there are a whole lot of things that happen between there and the race. The only time I let my breath out is when the race has actually started, and she gets out in there. And then she’s on her own.
“She is wild. Always has been wild. She’s a great big horse, kind of claustrophobic. I mean, we tried schooling her and schooling her in the gate as a 2-year-old, and she’s never going to like it. Just one of those horses — get eight people and load her.”
All the same, jockey Jon Court calls She Mabee Wild “a neat horse to ride.”
“I’ve had some success with her. I pretty much know what she likes,” said Court, the six-time Ellis Park riding champion who is seeking his first victory in the track’s marquee stakes. “f she has things go against her, she’s going to get a little ticked off about it. What she likes is for things to go her way. And if we have a race that unfolds in her favor, she’s going to run big.”
Groupie Doll update: The mile stakes will have at least one scratch. Trainer Chris Davis said that Student Body, who had been one of two 3-year-olds in the field, instead will train up to Saratoga’s $250,000, Grade 2 Prioress for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs Sept. 3.