Dunham fishing for another stakes score in Thursday’s $100K Bay Ridge

December 28, 2021

Trainer Bob Dunham (fourth from left) with his winner, Byhubbyhellomoney, after victory in the Fleet Indian at Aug. 27, 2021. (NYRA/Coglianese)

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Trainer Bob Dunham, who turns 85-years-old today, will try to keep the celebration rolling when he saddles Jupiter Stable’s Byhubbyhellomoney in Thursday’s $100,000 Bay Ridge at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Byhubbyhellomoney worked an easy five-eighths over the Belmont Park dirt training track on December 23 in preparation for the nine-furlong test for New York-breds 3-years-old and up.

“I enjoy it. Training horses is a passion. I was there on Christmas Day,” Dunham said. 

Earlier this summer, Byhubbyhellomoney won the Fleet Indian at Saratoga Race Course. Dunham said he loves his summers at the Spa which allow him to dabble in his favorite pastime – fly fishing.

“Training horses is like fly fishing – it gets into your blood,” said Dunham, with a laugh. “I love going up to Vermont. It’s only 55 miles from Saratoga and you can smell the change in the air, it’s so much clearer and so fresh. There’s a beautiful river I like there that goes from Manchester all the way down to New York to the Hudson called the Battenkill.”

2021 Fleet Indian Replay

The veteran conditioner, who trained 4-year-old filly Chou Croute to Champion Sprinter honors in 1972, has met a lot of interesting people through his career, both on and off the track – including broadcaster Charles Osgood and the late actor Steve McQueen.

“I was in the water fishing one morning – maybe seven years ago – at 6:30 in Arlington, Vermont and this guy gets in about 40 minutes later,” Dunham recalled. “As the morning moves along, we end up closer together and he hollers at me, ‘catch anything?’”

While Dunham had caught a couple, the friendly fisherman upstream had been shut out. When the fishing was done, the two strangers sat down for a cup of coffee and traded tall stories as ‘Bob’ and ‘Charlie.’

“He had on these sunglasses that wrapped around, a Tilley hat and waders,” Dunham said. 

Before he left, Dunham asked the man for his surname and he replied, ‘Osgood’ – as in Charles Osgood, longtime host of the CBS News Sunday Morning and The Osgood File.

“I told him I enjoyed his show on Sunday mornings. He’s really a nice guy,” Dunham said. “Later, I invited him to the races at Belmont and he showed up for a nice lunch and we talked about the horses and the radio.”

Dunham also recalled shipping a small string of horses to Santa Anita nearing the tail end of 1972, including Chou Croute, who won the Las Flores Handicap on December 28 and came back January 16, 1973, to win the Grade 2 Santa Monica Handicap.

Dunham said he enjoyed spending time at Santa Anita with the late Willard Proctor, father of conditioner Tom Proctor.

“He was a good friend of mine and he liked to go out for a drink. He knew a lot of actors out there,” Dunham said. 

On one occasion, Proctor introduced Dunham to racing fan and acting legend Steve McQueen, who was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actor in 1967 for his portrayal of Jake Holman in The Sand Pebbles.

After a few drinks, McQueen asked Dunham if he had any horses entered that he liked.

“I had a filly in that I loved. She’d had a couple races at Fair Grounds,” Dunham said. “We’d sprinted her a couple times and she was a route filly. She was entered going a mile and a sixteenth and I didn’t think she could get beat, but I didn’t tell Steve McQueen that. I said, ‘I think she’s got a chance.’”

Sure enough, the filly came through at a price.

“She won and McQueen came up and gave me a hug. I’m not sure how much money he bet,” Dunham said, with a laugh. 

McQueen, known as a ‘The King of Cool’, kept in contact with Dunham through the years.

“He took us out to dinner several times and we exchanged numbers. Every time I had a horse in he called me,” Dunham said.

And while Byhubbyhellomoney, listed at 6-1 on the morning line, may be a little cool on the board Thursday, Dunham said he expects a big effort.

“She’ll do good, but I don’t know that she’ll win,” Dunham said. “But every little bit helps.” 

NYRA Press Office

@jonathanstettin who's the man? @jonathanstettin is THE man!!!!

Paul Culpo @PaulCulpo View testimonials