CYPRESS – He has one of the favorites, an entry that loves to get out and run, that swept to the finals faster than all the rest.
What else would you expect for someone with close ties to the Golden State Warriors?
Terry Knight has trained some 900 winners in a career more than 40 years and 4,200 starts old, his latest star, Platki, a big-time contender in the marque event Sunday at Los Alamitos Race Course.
There’s a story about a guy once asking jockey agent Harry Hacek where he could find Knight.
“Whenever I need Terry Knight,” Hacek reportedly answered, “I look in the winner’s circle.”
I’m not sure if that story’s true. I am certain it doesn’t matter.
See, either way, the exchange is awfully convenient for purposes of this column and also believable since Hacek is a well-known character who once was a bellhop and goes by the nickname “The Hat.”
And, yet, Knight isn’t even the most acknowledged champion in his own family.
His daughter, Shari, is the executive assistant to Warriors owner Joe Lacob and president Rick Welts.
At the exact moment I was talking to Knight, Shari was participating in a parade celebrating Golden State’s second NBA title in three years, the team turning the city of Oakland into a giant winner’s circle.
“You don’t like to think you’re name-dropping,” Knight said, “but the people she does business with every day and talks to on the phone every day, I’m going, ‘Oh, wow, are you kidding me?’ As a sports fan, it’s unbelievable.”
One of those people is Jerry West. Or, at least, was Jerry West, the longtime basketball legend having just left the Warriors for a job with the Clippers.
Knight, who often attends Golden State games and watches from the owner’s box, had the occasion to meet West once, an opportunity not unlike a fan of horse racing shaking the hoof of Secretariat.
“As a kid growing up in this area, he was a childhood idol,” said Knight, a graduate of Estancia High. “I think…