TwinSpires player, owner of Uptowncharlybrown Stud eyes stakes win with For the Dreamers
Editor's note: For the Dreamers will be scratched Saturday, but look for him on Pennsylvania Day at the Races at Parx Aug. 22.
On Saturday at Monmouth Park, TwinSpires player Bob Hutt will be cheering on a lightly-raced three-year-old with the odds stacked against him in the six-furlong Jersey Shore S., which features Bowman Mill S. hero Nakatomi and Lightening Larry, surprise winner of the Chick Lang S. (G3) on the Preakness undercard.
The runner Hutt hopes to win on Saturday is a chestnut by the name of For the Dreamers, a 12-1 choice on the morning line in the Jersey Shore, the first stakes attempt for the Edward Coletti Jr. pupil.
Hutt is not only a horse racing aficionado pulling for the two-time Parx winner. He's the founder and president of Uptowncharlybrown Stud LLC, owner-breeder of the Talent Search gelding. For the Dreamers is out of Avery's Smile, a mare by their flagship horse, Uptowncharlybrown.
While For the Dreamers may be the longest shot in the field, Hutt isn't concerned about his chances. In fact, he relishes underdog stories, because his life, at times, has embodied one.
From a $2 show bet to a prize-winning stable
The 76-year-old Bronx, New York, native first developed his passion for horse racing at the age of 16, when he visited Monticello Raceway, a harness racetrack in New York.
"I bet $2 to show…the horse broke stride, disappeared on the Monticello Quickway…never saw it again, and now here I am 60 years later, $10 million poorer, still trying to get the $2 to show I bet (back)," Hutt quipped.
Despite the loss, he was hooked on the sport and became a regular at the racetracks in New York.
"I think I’ve paid for every seat they have in the grandstand," Hutt said.
Decades later, while working as the national claims director for CIGNA, a chance encounter helped Hutt entrench his foot further into horse racing when a colleague invited him to Belmont, where the man had a horse running.
That horse, Mugatea, ended up winning a stakes race that day, and Hutt's colleague then offered to bring him back to his barn, where the likes of champion Slew o' Gold was stabled.
"I turned to this person who was a good friend, and I said... 'I’m getting into your business,'" Hutt recalled.
In 1985, Hutt bought his first horse at a sale at Belmont and eventually started CalHutt Stable. But where life suddenly changed for him was when he was introduced to trainer Alan Seewald, who would become one of his best friends.
"Honestly, we were as close as brothers. … it was a special bond," Hutt said.
"I got into horses, and I find out one day that my dad, who I never went to the racetrack with, he had moved to Florida, and he was in the house reading the Daily Racing Form," Hutt explained. "And I said, 'Dad, what are you doing?' And, he goes, 'I go to the races every Wednesday and Saturday.'
"He was a $2 player, that’s all he ever bet....When I found out he loved it, I started buying horses with Alan."
When Hutt's father passed away in 1998, Seewald proposed an idea to Hutt that would take the current Pennsylvania resident on a whirlwind of a journey.
"Alan says to me, 'Bob, why don’t you start a public stable, how much time could it take you? Two claiming horses, 10 people, and you could do that in your father’s memory to give the average John and Jane a chance to get into Thoroughbred racing at Monmouth Park," Hutt said.
"So reluctantly I did it, and little did I realize how life would change."
Hutt's first horse to race, Lisa's Step, won, as did his second horse, Siftaway, a 30-1 longshot. The quick start was a sign of success to come. Uptowncharlybrown Stud LLC, which traces its origins to 1999, would go on to expand to more than 400 limited partners and more than 100 horses, including two stallions, 20 broodmares, as well as numerous weanlings and yearlings.
"It’s all because of Uptowncharlybrown," Hutt noted.
Now a 15-year-old stallion, Uptowncharlybrown was purchased by Hutt for $57,000 as a juvenile at OBS March in 2009. He went on to race in the 2010 Belmont S. (G1), won by Drosselmeyer.
"One night, Alan calls me and says...'The Chestnut' — that’s all he ever called him — 'It’s the best horse you’ve ever owned.'"
Seewald had a vision for Uptowncharlybrown and mapped out a plan to race him on the Triple Crown trail. The Limehouse colt won his first two races at Tampa Bay Downs and proceeded to place in the Sam F. Davis S. (G3) before coming home fifth in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3).
Then on April 12, 2010, in a cruel twist of fate, Seewald passed away in his sleep. Hutt was forced to find a new trainer and decided to send Uptowncharlybrown to Kiaran McLaughlin, now the jockey agent of Luis Saez.
After finishing third in the Lexington S. (G2), Uptowncharlybrown entered the Belmont and placed fifth but was disqualified for losing the eight-pound lead pad on the backstretch. He ran seven more races before he retired to stud in 2012, but Hutt had initial trouble convincing breeders to use "Charly" as a sire.
In spite of the "no's" he heard, Hutt persisted. He dedicated his life to the horse Alan said was the best of his generation and eventually found Diamond B Farm in Pennsylvania to bring on Uptowncharlybrown.
Hutt's determination paid off. "Charly” became a successful sire in Pennsylvania, where he ranks at the top for his percentage of black-type performers. His progeny include Grade 3 winner Dixie Serenade, multiple stakes scorers Wait for It and Midtowncharlybrown, and stakes victor Midnightcharly.
Now, Hutt is hoping For the Dreamers can join the list.
Out of Broadway, a 'dream' is born
Hutt had the three-year-old's name picked out before he was ever born, as a result of another unforeseen twist at the hands of Uptowncharlybrown LLC.
"One of the people who buys a share in our horses, he (Donovan Mannato) is a Broadway producer," Hutt said. "Donovan said, 'You think Uptowncharlybrown Stud partners would like to invest in the Back to the Future musical?'"
Hutt, a longtime fan of musicals growing up near Broadway, was intrigued and attended a workshop for the show at Mannato's house. Hutt was blown away, especially in the moment he heard one song, "For the Dreamers," sung by the character Emmett "Doc" Brown.
“I’m a romantic at heart. I love Broadway musicals, a boy from the Bronx, who has always…gotten extremely lucky," Hutt said.
Thus, Hutt became a producer of the Back to the Future musical, which opened in Manchester, England, in 2020 and will come to Broadway in 2023. The show has already won more than a dozen awards, including the Olivier Award for Best New Musical.
But before Marty McFly and Doc premiere on The Great White Way, Hutt's three-year-old For the Dreamers will look to make a splash in his first stakes effort on Saturday.
The colt got his first start at Parx in June 2021 and came home a neck second to Dance Code, who placed third in the Sanford S. (G3) next out. For the Dreamers then broke his maiden in a 4 1/4-length victory at the Pennsylvania track in a five-furlong maiden special weight.
Injuries and illness sidelined him for nearly a year, until For the Dreamers returned to Parx on June 20, when he again lost by a neck in an allowance optional claimer. On July 19, he made it back to the winner's circle in a $40,000 allowance optional claimer he won by nearly two lengths.
With a move up in class on Saturday, he'll have a chance to prove his mettle against some seasoned veterans in the ninth race on Monmouth's Saturday card.
“He’s still green, he’s only had four starts in his life," Hutt admitted. "But we knew that he was the best two-year-old last year, and you know, you have to overcome adversity, which is part of the game. If you believe, and you’re a dreamer, anything is possible.
“The only sad thing is Alan Seewald isn’t here to be part of it....Every day that goes by I thank Alan for forcing me to do it.…Out of adversity, great things are born.
“If you can dream it, it can happen. This is a real-life fairy tale. There’s no other way to put it."