(PHOTO - GIVEYOURHEADASHAKE, an Ontario-bred by Bold Executive, was an important horse in the young life of Doug McPherson)
She may have been small in stature but Giveyourheadashake made a big impression on Doug McPherson as a young man learning about Thoroughbreds.
"She taught me a lot," said McPherson, chartcaller and handicapper at Ajax Downs. "I started walking hots for my Dad (trainer Alex McPherson) when I was 13 and she became 'my horse'; I would walk her every day and learn about horses and horse racing through her."
A daughter of top Canadian sire Bold Executive, Giveyourheadashake was bought for about $3,000 as a yearling by Alex McPherson in 2009.
"She was just little, the smallest Thoroughbred I have ever seen," said Doug. "But she had tons of heart."
The McPhersons had the filly as a 2- and 3-year-old and she was placed five times in 19 races.
It was her last start for the family that really stands out in the young McPherson's mind.
"We were racing two horses in back-to-back races in December, but we did not have the staff to run both of them," said Doug. "So I got to take her to the paddock to her race."
McPherson had looked at the racing program for Giveyourheadashake's race and thought his filly had a decent chance to be a contender in that maiden race. The public disagreed, sending her off at 47-1 under apprentice rider Jennifer Reid.
"I decided to bet $2 across on her since her odds was so big," said McPherson. "She finished second beaten just one length. I got back $45 for my $6 and that was pretty cool."
McPherson became more interested in handicapping races after that exciting day and went on to study races and results on a daily basis.
Giveyourheadashake was sold to a new owner at Penn National racetrack in Pennsylvania and then she made her way up to Saskatchewan where she raced at Marquis Downs.
"She finally won her maiden and then she won another five races," said McPherson who continued to follow the career of the pint-sized chestnut. "She was an awesome horse and a sucker for scotch mints. I remember a fellow trainer, Radlie Loney, used to feed her mints all the time time. One day when he was trackside and she was training, she froze when she got near him, waiting to get a mint."
Giveyourheadashake last raced in 2013 at Marquis Downs and McPherson hopes she is having foals somewhere.
"She was a good racehorse, she tried hard and had a good record."
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