Throughout his career Forego's owner, Mrs. Martha Gerry, has exhibited fine sportsmanship. She knows that weight "ceilings" carry a definite stigma. Furthermore, it is Kelso's money record that Forego is going after, and Kelso twice carried 136 pounds and won.
But Whiteley quite rightly worries about his horse's soundness. Before last year's Jockey Club Gold Cup, Forego's left foreleg swelled and he was withdrawn from competition for the season. His trainer at the time, Sherrill Ward, is a patient man who felt that Forego could come back in 1976 and be an even better horse. But Ward fell ill and was not able to oversee the horse's recuperation. Forego was fortunate enough to be sent to the equally patient Whiteley, who now bandages the gelding's legs heavily on race days. This apparently helps. During past seasons Forego's ankles have flared, and he has had splint and suspensory problems.
If anything, his ailments just seem lo attract admirers to the Forego cult, which is growing with each race, as Kelso's cult once did. Both are geldings who endured, who stayed around to be tested by weight and distance while the Secretariats retired to be tested as studs. On Woodward Day the Belmont crowd saluted Forego as never before. Craig Perret, the rider of Honest Pleasure, who ran well to finish in a dead heat for third with Stumping, four lengths behind Forego, best expressed the sentiment of the jockeys left up the track. "My horse gave everything he had," Perret said. "When that Old Man beats you there is nothing you can do about it. You just feel proud that you took your shot at him. He's been doing this for a long time now. Winning is his game." And nobody plays any game better.