In 1988, a German-bred mare by the name of La Colorada by Surumu gave birth to a copper chestnut colt named Lomitas, and at nineteen months of age, Lomitas was placed with Bremen racing trainer, Andreas Wohler.
Andreas knew very early that he had a talented baby on his hands, but he was very careful to limit his training as a two-year-old. Lomitas had two starts in 1990, both in the autumn, which meant he was around thirty months of age. He won both and because they were important two-year-old races, he was named the champion in that category for the 1990 season.
The horse was owned by Walther Jacobs, founder of Gestut Fahrhof of Bremen, one of Germany’s leading breeding and racing establishments. Early in 1991, excitement was palpable among the Jacobs family and at the Wohler stable. They had the early favorite for the German Derby in July and it appeared that he was by far the best of his age. While Andreas knew that Lomitas was a bit of a handful at times, he was confident there would be no problem racing him in April. That confidence was shattered when Lomitas first refused to enter the starting stall but eventually they got him in. He went on to win easily.
It would become obvious to me that Lomitas’s primary problem was claustrophobia. Although his relationship with humans was obviously good, he was prepared to blame people for placing him in tight areas. He was banned from racing worldwide when he refused to load in the starting gate despite the best efforts of a dozen men who pushed and pulled the horse until he became violent some say for thirty minutes, and attacked the men, kicking and striking.
On June 12, 1991, I put my life on hold and left for Germany at the request of Walther Jacobs and Andreas Wohler . When I first saw the magnificent horse, the single word, ‘Gorgeous!’ flew from my mouth. This chestnut Thoroughbred stallion stood 16.0 hands and weighed about 1,150 pounds. He had a white pastern on the off hind leg and a star between his eyes with an elongated strip that widened and ended between his nostrils. Every point of his skeletal frame hit its mark, creating the near perfect racehorse conformation.
When I began to work with him, I remember stepping away from him, looking him over and thinking out loud, ‘I am in the presence of greatness. I had better do my job with patience, diligence and competence.’
I chronicled the first Join-Up® and my work with Lomitas in the The Horses in My Life. His handler Simon Stokes, proved to be a champion the equal of Lomitas himself. Simon and I have gone on to start over three hundred young Thoroughbreds for Fahrhof. Of these, six went on to become classic winners; thirty-nine were Group winners (in internationally approved Group stakes races) with fifty-six listed winners (in internationally approved stakes races). In all, eight champions were produced by Fahrhof since I joined them in 1991, including Silvano and Sabiango.
Lomitas went on to amass a record that, in my opinion, is more important than any other racehorse I’ve dealt with. He didn’t win the most money, but with three Group I races to his credit and horse of the year honors, he surpasses even Alleged as my favorite racehorse of all time. Lomitas won ten races, had three seconds and one third, collecting $918,656.
Lomitas’s second life at stud may prove even more important than his first as a racehorse. He’s now a champion sire and, from his first crop, produced the winner of the 1999 Group I German Derby, champion three-year-old and horse of the year Belenus. To date, Lomitas’s offspring have won nearly $8,000,000.
Suffice it to say that the true satisfaction I derived from my experience with Lomitas comes from the close emotional attachment I formed with him. I use the word ‘great’ very seldom but I attach it to Lomitas with confidence. He was great. It’s not likely I will work with another horse that achieves so much. To have done so is a privilege I will cherish for the rest of my days.