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Updated Mar 15, 2013 - 3:37 pm

Two conclaves, one pope and one winning horse

Conclave and his jockey, Nate Smith (left), are shown. (KTAR Photo/Bob McClay)

PHOENIX -- Is it a coincidence or something else?

Last Tuesday, Catholic cardinals met in conclave to begin the process of selecting a new pope. On the same day, a horse was winning ninth straight race at Turf Paradise in Phoenix.

That horse's name? Conclave.

"I didn't even realize it was conclave day until after we won the race," said Nate Smith, Conclave's jockey. "It created quite a stir, you know?"

Turf Paradise spokesman Mike Scerbo said how Conclave got his name is a mystery.

"One of the original owners is in Australia, and we haven't been able to track him down to ask him," he said. "We checked out his lineage. His father is Saratoga Six and his granddad is Salt Lake. There's nothing in his lineage to indicate why this horse is named Conclave."

Smith said there's no divine intervention in the way 9-year-old Conclave runs.

"He does everything on his own," he said. "Three starts ago, he actually got passed by another horse just before the wire. He just dug back in and got by him the last jump. He don't want to be beat."

Conclave will go for his 10th straight win next month.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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