The race won by Simply Silver was run on August 13, 2000, at Hastings. Under Brian Johnson, the grey mare, at odds of 3-5, was seventh and last at the half-mile call. She would win by four lengths. The post-race comment line read: SIMPLY SILVER trailed early, rallied with a bold move down the backstretch, gained command from four wide at the quarter pole and drew off ridden out.
She’s known to many people as Twink, a nickname that was bestowed upon her as a baby. But no matter what people refer to her as, Mary-Anne Baumgartner has garnered widespread respect throughout the industry for her longstanding dedication and contributions
to the sport.
Whether it’s been as a rider, exercise rider, owner, trainer or breeder, Baumgartner has seen thoroughbred racing as few others have.
And there has been no shortage of fond memories over the years, including a late-running grey mare that wowed Baumgartner – and the entire Hastings crowd – with a head-turning rally one summer’s day in 2000.
How did you develop your affinity for horses and horse racing?
“My dad (trainer, Pete) started running horses when I was a little girl. I was about 12. He had a really nice horse, Big Cheese. As a child, you don’t understand the notoriety that comes with your dad being interviewed and he and his horses having their pictures in the paper. The only thing you really notice is the joy and excitement — friends all coming to the party, lots of laughter. It gets you… you never forget those feelings. Those being my first memories of racing really hooked me, whether I realized it or not.”
You’ve had a variety of different roles in racing (rider, exercise rider, owner, breeder, trainer, etc.). Which one have you enjoyed the most?
“My most rewarding role, always, is getting a horse really ready! Really on — happy, fit, ready to take on any comers.”
What’s been the one piece of advice that’s stayed with you over your time in the sport?
“Any advice! But, mostly, I’d say the old, often repeated, ‘You never know it all. You learn something new every day.’”
What’s the one aspect of the sport that you enjoy the most?
“In this sport, you often hear people say, ‘This isn’t a team sport.’ Sometimes it is, like the times when the backstretch pulls together if someone needs help. If someone is down we feel for them in the unique way family can. We’re all in competition, but we still root for each other.”
If you could ride one horse, past or present, who would it be and why?
“Danny’s Chant! When I rode the bushes, I rode a lot of Quarter Horses. I think Danny would have been like that, only further. She was fast!”
Any hobbies of note away from the racetrack?
“I really enjoy hiking, but not the grueling type. I love to explore the outdoors at a leisurely pace. I took kayaking lessons. I could do that every day.”
Any proud moments you can share?
“One of my proudest moments was realized because of a lovely little mare I owned in partnership. I trained her from her three-year-old year on, and it was a real test of patience. She tied up. She could limp pretty good, too! By the time she was five, we had her going pretty good. She had won four races, and now, as a five-year-old, she was showing she was a true distance horse. The office had created a race – they had to have run for $8,000 – optional $11,000, at one mile and an eighth. At the quarter pole, the call is, ‘And it’s Simply Silver looming up and making her move.’ She really was a come-from-behind type — way out of it. When he made the call, the grandstand cheered. I mean, really cheered, and clapped. Everything I heard at Santa Anita, but rarely heard at Hastings. It was beautiful, and I still tear up when I remember that particular win. I’ve had the pleasure of riding lots of winners home from the grandstand. It never gets old.”