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Filly Runs for a Little Girl Who Can't

Bill Sienkewicz racehorse trainer and Cecila

Story provided by Dr. Stephen and Jan Sinatra
The following is an almost unbelievable story of what happened when a horse named after a little girl received the care that only a loving grandfather could provide. The smile on Cecelia's face in the winner's circle was bright enough to light a city. That race would be the first time Cecelia had been able to watch her namesake?Run for Cecila?compete at the racetrack. Had anyone else realized the power transmitted to Run for Cecila by the little girl, they would have known the other horses did not stand a chance that day. But no one at the outset realized that or even could have dreamed it especially after what had transpired over several years to get to this Godsend of a day......

Run for Cecila still had a rough return to the races. After her eightmonth layoff and therapy that included acupuncture, microcurrent therapy, and massage, along with Sinatra's equine supplements with larger doses of tocotrienols, the filly's first start back at Parx Racing was a dismal 16length defeat. She was switched to the turf and lost at Atlantic City by eight lengths; Delaware by 7 1/2 lengths; Colonial by seven lengths, and Parx again by 16 lengths. It seemed Sinatra's only hope was relegating his nonwinning filly to the role of broodmare and that his dream of seeing his granddaughter witness the horse named after her win like Dreamer would never be fulfilled.

But Philadelphiabased trainer Ned Allard had one more prospect before they gave up. He suggested that Suffolk Downs might be THE place for Cecila to finally prove herself and break her maiden. So, Sinatra contacted another trainer he knew who had a barn up at Suffolk. Bill Sienkiewicz listened carefully. He agreed with Sinatra to give the filly one more try. Sienkiewicz and Allard had a long history of collaboration, and so the plan was hatched. Run for Cecila was shipped for one Bill Sienkewicz Racing Stablemore round of training?and a few more weeks of her supplements?to face a field she might have a chance to compete against.
After three weeks of training in the Sienkiewicz barn, the horse was ready but her trainer couldn't seem to find the right slot. The filly would be entered, but the races would be cancelled. Races for maidens just did not fill. Then, Run for Cecila finally got her shot on July 27 in a one mile maiden special weight against the boys. Sinatra was not very hopeful, but
since the race was close to his Connecticut home he decided to ask his Rhode Island based granddaughter to go to the racetrack to finally meet the horse named after her and to watch her run.
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Good old time for an oldtimer


Disdaining retirement, though he is 18 years old, Golden Arrow trains in the surf and still performs on the turf.

Golden Arrow at Land's End FarmIt's a bright, sunny morning at Land's End farm in South Dartmouth, Mass. Down at one end of the shed row a 2 year old filly named Rison has just lost one of her baby teeth. Up at the other end, in the premier stall, the one that faces Buzzards Bay, stands an 18 year old chestnut gelding named Golden Arrow, who has made more comebacks than Frank Sinatra. If Golden Arrow could sing like Old Blue Eyes, he'd be crooning, "When I was seventeen, it was a very good year...."

How good was it? Try seven starts, five (count 'em, five) wins, one place and one show for earnings of $4,845. Not bad for an equine senior citizen. And he's still racing. Golden Arrow's owner and breeder, Louis A. Filios, an airplaneparts manufacturer from West Springfield, Mass., tried to retire him at the end of 1977. That's when he sent him to Bill Sienkewicz's Land's End farm, which is a kind of equine nursing home. "I told Bill to turn him out and give him the good life," says Filios. "He had it coming."

Golden Arrow wasn't having any of it. He grew morose. He sulked. He was bored. Golden Arrow win with Bill Sienkewicz Racing Stable Bill, who at 25 is only seven years older than Golden Arrow, phoned Filios to tell him the horse was unhappy. "He wants to run," Bill said. "I think you should put him back in training." Filios did, and Sienkewicz volunteered for the job of getting Golden Arrow in form, even though he had never trained a horse in his life. So after a crash study course, Bill obtained his trainer's license.....
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In his 16 years of racing, Golden Arrow has won at 12 different racetracks (not including those on the fair circuit). His lifetime statistics show 176 starts, 58 wins, 22 seconds and 24 thirds for earnings of $167,304. He may be 18, but his chestnut coat gleams with good health and there is a youthful spring in his step.?

From Sports Illustrated