It feels good, any time you can get some extra support and some extra help from other people, it makes a big difference. It’s nice to know that people are reaching out to try and help you through tough times. Cunningham, on the wide-range of support from the hockey community: Thanks to a top cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Zain Khalpey, and Dr. George Haloftis, a physician at St. Mary’s Hospital as well as other doctors, the Trail Minor Hockey product was able to speak today following an almost unbelievable turn of events as documented in the Arizona Daily Star. I don’t remember anything from that whole day, actually. The last thing I remember is playing the weekend before. I want to thank everyone, from the fire department to our trainers to the doctors at St. Mary’s, the doctors at Banner, to every single nurse that has helped me so far. If I could actually use some names; from St. Mary’s, Dr. George and Dr. Reza, and from Banner Hospital, Dr. Khalpey, Dr. Hughes, and Dr. Yankis, without those five people, our trainer Deven, and the fire department, I don’t think I’d be here today, so thank you. Cunningham, on the support and response from the Tucson community: It means a lot obviously, she was down here watching me when it happened, so she’s been here since day one. My whole life, she’s been the backbone of our whole family, and nothing’s changed now, she’s still there for me every day, and I couldn’t be any more thankful. Cunningham, on if he remembers anything from the night of the incident: General Manager Doug Soetaert: On behalf of the Arizona Coyotes and the Tucson Roadrunners organization, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everybody involved in this incident that occurred. We’re in the hockey industry, which is about teamwork, commitment, and working hard to achieve a goal – and I can tell you, from being a little bit on the inside here, from day one, I’ve never seen anything like this in my life in regards to the teamwork that the doctors at the hospitals utilized to save a young man’s life. It’s been an incredible venture, we’re happy to see Craig sitting here today, and he’s got a full life ahead of him. All we can do is wish him the best and thank everybody for their commitment in saving his life. Thank you so much. With mother Heather Cunningham watching from the stands, team trainers, medics as well as a group of local firefighter raced to save the Roadrunners’ player. I don’t think I will ever find the words to express how grateful I really am; Craig would not be here with us today if these people had not gone that extra mile in every aspect of this situation. The only reason he survived the original incident was the continued refusal to give up in a seemingly hopeless situation. On behalf of the trainers, the emergency responders, the doctors and nurses, the rest of the recovery has followed the same story. The doctors and nurses have monitored him meticulously and caught all incoming problems in their early stages. They have made difficult decisions without hesitating, and have acted effectively under extreme pressure when they were caught between a rock and a hard place. They have run out of options, and had to create new options by pushing the boundaries of things that they have tried and implemented before. Most of all, they have refused to give up in spite of hopelessness, they have given Craig a chance to recover, and that continues to exceed anything that could have ever been expected. These people are nothing short of a gift to mankind, and I will remember the gift that they have given me every time I look at my son. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Cunningham, on what it means for his mother to be by his side: Craig’s Mother, Heather Cunningham: Craig Cunningham opening statement: Cunningham, on how he’s feeling day-to-day: On November 19, 2016, during an American Hockey League game between Tucson Roadrunners and Manitoba Moose, Trail native Craig Cunningham suffered a cardiac arrest before the opening faceoff. As of right now, I probably think that I’m done, but we’ll see when I get back from rehab how it goes. At the level that I was playing at, I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to playing pro, but I don’t know, anything can happen. Some days are good, some days are bad; It’s more for me right now, kind of mental. I’ve been here for so long, I look up at the roof everyday, the same roof, but the nurses have been pretty good about taking me outside, giving me an hour outside each day, and that’s made a huge difference, but it’s been a pretty big grind, just being in the same spot the whole time, looking at the same thing every day. Cunningham, on how he feels about his future hockey career: Here is the transcript from Wednesday’s media conference posted on the Tucson Roadrunners website. It’s been unbelievable, I can’t say enough about the nurses and doctors around here. The people of Tucson, I’ve been getting cards and stuff from people that I don’t even know, so it’s meant a lot to me, I think Tucson’s a great city, and I wish that I could have enjoyed it a little more than I did.
IN ADDITION TO ‘ABBEY’ TRAINER D’AMATO WILL ALSO BE REPRESENTED BY CLASSY COMEBACKER BIG JOHN B ARCADIA, Calif. (April 19, 2015)–Although they will both be racing for the second time off lengthy layoffs, the similarities end there as up and coming Abbey Vale and classy Quick Casablanca figure prominently among a field of eight older horses set to go 1 ¼ miles on turf in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Last Tycoon Stakes at Santa Anita.Speedy Abbey Vale overcame an 11-month absence to win a second condition allowance here on March 27, as he pressed the pace and went on to an impressive one length win at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Trained by Phil D’Amato, the 5-year-old Irish-bred was originally conditioned by the late Mike Mitchell, who sent him out to a 1 ¼ length win in his U.S. debut going a flat mile on turf on March 8, 2014.With two wins from three Southern California starts, Abbey Vale, who is owned by Ellis, R/M Racing and Sim, will try graded stakes competition for the first time and is 18-3-4-1 overall with earnings of $98,014.D’Amato will also be represented by classy Big John B, who has been idle since running ninth, beaten 5 ¼ lengths in the Grade I, 1 ½ miles Breeders’ Cup Turf on Nov. 1. A winner of the Grade II, 1 3/8 miles turf Del Mar Handicap three starts back on Aug. 23, the late running Big John B will again be handled by regular rider Mike Smith. Owned by Michael House, the 6-year-old gelding by Hard Spun is 30-11-5-4 overall with earnings of $482,805.Chilean-bred Quick Casablanca, an imposing physical specimen who won last year’s Last Tycoon in his first start for Ron McAnally, came off a nine-month freshening to run a close eighth, beaten 5 ½ lengths, in the one mile turf Thunder Road Stakes on April 4. A Group I winner in Argentina in March, 2012, 7-year-old Quick Casablanca is 20-4-7-5, with earnings of $612,830.Neil Drysdale’s Power Foot comes off a good third in the Grade II, 1 ½ miles turf San Luis Rey Stakes on March 21 and he’ll get the services for the first time of Rafael Bejarano.The complete field for the Grade III Last Tycoon, to be run as the eighth race on a nine-race card Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Big John B, Mike Smith, 122; Power Foot, Rafael Bejarano, 120; Ganesh, Flavien Prat, 122; Joes Blazing Aaron, Tyler Baze, 120; Play Hard to Get, Kent Desormeaux, 120; Si Sage, Elvis Trujillo, 120; Quick Casablanca, Gary Stevens, 120, and Abbey Vale, Tiago Periera, 120. First post time on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 4, 2017)–French-born sensation Flavien Prat greatly expanded his glowing resume on Saturday at Santa Anita, as he swept the track’s Late Pick Four by guiding longshot Isotherm to a half length win in the Grade II, $200,000 San Marcos Stakes. Run at a mile and a quarter on turf, Isotherm, who is trained by George Weaver, got the distance 2:00.23.Fourth in the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile (turf) here on Dec. 26, Isotherm was dispatched today at 7-1 in a field of nine older horses and paid $17.20, $10.40 and $7.20.In a thrilling stretch drive, Isotherm who had been mid-pack early, overhauled French-bred Itsinthepost and Tyler Baze to gain the ascendency close home.“I was hoping he would break well, and he did, so I kinda used that to my advantage,” said Prat, who now leads Tyler Baze in the Winter Meet standings by a 28-21 margin through 24 racing days. “We didn’t go that fast so I was sitting just behind the pace and thought he’d have a good shot. It worked out well. Today, I knew I had some good shots. Everything worked out really well and I’m pretty lucky.”Itsinthepost, who pressed A Red Tie Day while running second to the far turn, took command approaching the sixteenth pole, but was immediately tackled by the winner and had to settle for second, finishing two lengths in front of Flamboyant.Off at 8-1, Itsinthepost paid $9.40 and $6.60.Flamboyant, who was also bred in France, closed good ground under Brice Blanc and was up by a nose over Hi Happy for third. Off at 6-1, Flamboyant paid $5.20 to show.Fractions on the race were 24.34, 49.07, 1:13.71 and 1:37.14.(The Flavien Prat-Late Pick Four paid $421.45).There is an early “Big Game Sunday” first post time at Santa Anita tomorrow of 11 a.m. for an eight-race program.