Monday, September 23, 2013

Thoroughbred Industry in Upswing?

The yearling sale at Keeneland takes place every September and lasts for around two weeks.
Used to be that a trainer could go to the sale during the last few sessions and pick up a couple of yearlings for free. Those that got no bids in the sale owned by breeders who hoped to get them to the races and couldn't afford the training fees, generally could be had by some simple good introductions and provisions of a reference or two.

September 2012, a new trend started and it appears that it is carrying on:
Not a single yearling RNA'd without a bid. Every yearling in the catalog was bid on.
Unheard of!

This year, the September yearling sale resulted in the same outcome:
Not one yearling went without a bid. The prices were solid, the auctioneer starting bids at $3000.
No free yearlings this year, either.

The yearling sale is in stark contrast to the other sales. Breeding stock sales result in plenty of no bids.

The consensus among economists is that financially, the industry is suffering and going downhill.

I beg to disagree. It looks to me like the industry is in an upswing, at least as far as racing stock is concerned. The first three days or so are filled with the big money crowd. Horses go at prices that still stagger the average earning citizen's mind. Once Book 3 of the sale is over, the crowds have thinned out and the affluent bidders are largely gone, in come the pinhookers, the everyday small guys who take their yearly pilgrimage up to Lexington, KY from Ocala, FL and hope to pick up a well bred yearling to take back down south with them and break under saddle for the 2 year old in training sale.
It's a relatively short term investment with a chance to hit a pretty big jackpot.
Pick up a yearling for $10,000 in September. Get it ready under saddle for the April 2 year old sale and get a chance at selling it for around $100,000 if not more so long as the steed exhibits some speed.
Not bad odds, really. Infinitely better than winning the lottery.

While the overall numbers of yearlings offered have declined in recent years, simply due to breeders no longer breeding as many mares as before, undoubtedly due to the fact that finances are tight and the economy is bad, the number of buyers for yearlings hasn't wavered much. The result is visible today.

While not getting any free yearlings at the sale is a disappointment to some, the overall effect on the Thoroughbred industry is positive. While markets outside Kentucky are still softer, the prices here have been up and holding steady.

A relief for those of us who make a living in the industry and plan on continuing to do so.

Here is a link to the overall results: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/80801/sales-remain-strong-into-keeneland-session-11

Let's hope this bodes well for the future of our industry. It's time something holds strong in this economy.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Michael Power: The Price of Burning Bridges

The Thoroughbred industry is a small world indeed. Anyone involved within its' proverbial four walls will tell you that it's hard to keep secrets.
Anyone who conducts their business in this world will also tell you that deeds, good or bad, will hardly go unpunished, as it were.

Kentucky, May 7, 2013

Police arrive at a Thoroughbred farm to arrest the owner/manager after he completely loses his composure at the local utility company's arrival to turn off his power.
Instead of paying his bill in a timely manner, or simply even making payment arrangements beforehand to avoid this inconvenience, he demands from the Utility Company employee that he immediately put the power back on. When this demand is refused, he physically removes the employee from the official company vehicle, turns off the vehicle, breaks the key off within the ignition and proceeds to run away into the nether regions of his own property.
Did he think this would go unpunished?
What prevented him simply from waiting until the Utility Company employee left and simply turning the power back on (apart from this act being unlawful, obviously)?

Enter now the local police, who not only are looking for him, but have procured a search warrant for the premises. A bit of obvious overkill in retaliation of such a stupid act of idiocy. After hours of searching for the man himself unsuccessfully, a young lady who arrived at the scene in order to take one of the mares on a shed run to Spendthrift Farm for breeding, spots the owner stealthily slinking around one of the back pastures while checking to see that the 40 or so horses on the property had enough water and were fed.

Apprehended in the end, he resists arrest and is carted off to the local hospital, to not only have his shoulder looked at, but his psyche evaluated.

As an outsider, on wonders who would so overreact to such a simple, unfortunate financial crisis.
The name Michael Power rings a bell somewhere but I can't quite place it in recent memory.

Kentucky, May 8, 2013

Last night's occurrence tingles in the back of my mind and the name just won't fade. I do distantly remember a Michael Power involved in the Thoroughbred industry but not locally in Kentucky.
Lo and behold, memory did serve right.
Michael Power of California is now sitting in holding, awaiting arraignment in a local Scott County, Kentucky, Court.

What's the big deal you ask?
For one, the involvement of 40 head Thoroughbreds who are now without a proper caretaker and the fact that thus far, this breeding season, Mr. Power has had plenty of bad luck with red bag deliveries and fescue toxicity in his mares. These horses cannot be left unattended to birth for themselves.

Enter a friend of Mr. Power, who shall remained unnamed, who is willing to help the situation. The mares that are due to foal within the next few days or so are moved to a different location in order to prevent the worst during foaling.

So who do you ask is Michael Power?

Ah, but here then is the back story.

http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/1511/siberian-summer-to-special-t

http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/4505/jockey-club-launches-ai-inquiry-sets-separate-hearing

http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/5300/calif-farm-cleared-of-ai-allegations

http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/11339/siberian-summer-to-be-sold-through-special-auction

http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/18632/california-owner-charged-with-theft-in-sale-of-horse

http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/20507/power-pleads-guilty-of-theft-gets-30-days-in-jail

http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/46830/calif-horseman-found-in-contempt-fined

http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/60673/true-quality-to-swifty-in-indiana


A quick read through these news links leaves more questions than answers:
Is Michael Power a shady character? Is he simply insane?
His own mother apparently won't help and support him in any way.

The question that remains:
How is it possible that a such obviously knowledgeable breeder with such a solid background in the industry can have such a melt down?

Mr. Power currently owns a half sister to the incredibly successful Wise Dan, winner of three Eclipse awards. The mare was in foal to Uncle Mo but aborted, probably due to the fescue issues found in his other mares at Mr. Power's Kentucky farm.

What Mr. Power needs is an accomplished attorney to get him out of the kettle of boiling water he landed himself in.

In the meantime, one has to wonder how he could have done things differently, or whether he gave any thought to the consequences of his actions?

He left a wake of bad taste in the mouth of California.
Apparently old habits are hard to break: Alienating the authorities in Kentucky is not the smartest way to establish oneself as a credible business man.

What will happen to Mr. Power's mares remains unclear at this point, as well.
In an ideal justice system, the charges against him would not leave him confined to the local barracks for long. But this is the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where nothing makes much sense when it comes to the serving of justice. The system has a mind of its own that has very little to do with rights, at least as far as the outdated and highly inconvenient document named the Constitution of the United States goes.

In this state, you are who you know.
It appears Mr. Power just does not know the right kind of people to help him out of this newest mess he's gotten himself into.





Thursday, September 27, 2012

SOLD w/o PEDIGREE

So I haven't blogged in ages. Life happens to all of us. Plus working outside of horses to pay the bills for the horses. Well, you all know how that goes...

Sold without Pedigree.

Where do I even begin?

A year ago, I paid $20 for a gelding to get him out of the killpen at a local sale. He was so very sick, I didn't have the heart to leave the poor boy in there to suffer through who knows how many more days/weeks of not being fed, not being medicated. 
His head was as big and swollen as an elephant's. His legs were so stocked up they looked like tree trunks. He couldn't lift his head much. I don't know how he was breathing. There was snot running from his nose in rivulets. He stood in a pen that was about 10x60 with 6 other horses, all underweight, all off the track Thoroughbreds.
I called my friend who initially had asked me to stop at the sale and gave her the tattoo numbers I could read under those 7 lips.


These horses had all been shipped in by one individual named L. Browning, a known kill buyer who used to regularly pick up loads at Riverdowns. 
According to racing authorities there, this man is and at the time, was, banned from the backside of River.

Somehow, he still picked up a nice load of horses, who weren't running worth-a-crap from bottom rung trainers who don't feed their horses, so they can't run worth-a-crap, anyhow. Speculation goes that one of this man's sons actually picked up the load.
And he paid cash money for them.

Included in that load and ending up right in front of me, was a pathetically thin, horribly sick gelding named Out Bid (NY).

I thought I would take this boy to my barn, call the vet out and have him euthanized. I just couldn't stand by and watch him suffer. As sick as he was, the killer probably wouldn't want him (which he didn't, hence my $20 take-home-price). Not only that, this particular buyer actually HELPED me get the horse.
Since the Browning man who brought the load of horses down, dumped them into the pen and then took off and left, and no one bid on this horse, he probably would have been put out back into one of the pens and left there.
Perhaps a kind soul might have shot him, perhaps they might have given him a bit of hay and water before ending his misery.
Or he may have been left out back until those tree trunks finally gave out and he could no longer hang on. 

Since the barn I leased was the next property over from the sale, I took ole Buddy (this is what I called him because I didn't know his name) out of the sale yard by leadrope and simply walked him the 100 or so yards over to my barn. In the dark. It was around midnight.

As we walked, Mr. Last Leg perked up a little.
By the time I got him settled in straw bedding, with fresh water and a huge pile of clean, green, hay, he was happily munching away and nickering at me every time I walked past.

He seemed to have improved by morning. After a bath, he sure looked a whole lot better. When the vet came out, the diagnosis was "perhaps not strangles" but if he is improving by just eating, let's treat him and see.
What turned out to be perhaps not strangles was the worst case of bastard strangles along with Equine Purpura Hemorrhagica.
Ever heard of that?
Me neither.


Throughout the days and weeks to follow, while he did improve, he still cropped up with problems. After 6 months, he seemed to be good enough to be pasture kept (a friend of mine took him in, as I vacated the leased property because a great deal of problems cropped up from a certain Deb Jones from California making calls to killbuyers who were present at that particular sale and berated them, etc. Since these "gents" were all under the impression that I was the one causing the trouble and making the calls, I was told that they would arrange for animal control to impound my horses, they then would buy them from animal control and divy them up among each other to sell to slaughter and thus be reimbursed for their "troubles". I got the hell out of dodge.)

Being out in pasture, Buddy took a step back and re-erupted with strangles, yet again. 
Needless to say, it was touch and go with him for a long time but he is now completely healthy, gaining the weight back he had lost once again and completely sound.

Back up a little to the days after his arrival. After speaking with the racing officials at River, I was told that the trainers there knew better than to send horses to the killers and would no longer be welcome on the backside if they got caught doing so.

I spoke to Buddy's trainer. Mike York. I won't reiterate what people think about Mike York. If you're from Kentucky or around Southern Ohio, make some calls. Ask people. Form your own opinion.

York swore to me he had no idea how the horse ended up at this sale (uh hu...) and that he would get me his papers. He thought his wife had them. 
I called him again a few weeks later and was again told that he would locate those papers for me and send them to me. (uh hu...)
You bite your tongue and just act sweet and friendly. Give people enough rope and they will hang themselves every single time.

It's been a year. The racing office told York to surrender those papers to me. He was given the benefit of the doubt. (uh hu...)

Today, I logged onto the JC Registry to check on a horse's registration status.
I don't know what made me look up Out Bid. 
There in plain old English, listed among the Registration Activity, it states:

SOLD w/o Pedigree.

You cannot imagine the anger I felt. I called the JC. The young lady there looked up the actual paperwork.
The signatures on the "sold without pedigree" paperwork are the following:
Seller: Mike York
Buyer: Larry Browning.

This registration revocation is, according to JC Rules, irreversible.

I didn't actually need the papers. I would never have raced this boy again.
Not the point. It's the principle.

Give people enough rope, they WILL hang themselves. EVERY SINGLE TIME.
The truth ALWAYS comes to light.

I can't imagine how Mike York thought he was going to get away with 
"Oh my God, I can't believe he ended up at a slaughter sale!" I sold him to a nice man who was going to use him as a kids horse!"

I might be inclined to believe that, if it weren't common and public knowledge that Mike York and Larry Browning have dealt with one another for years.
Oooopsie.

Out Bid (NY) is ready for something other than being a pasture puff. He is available for adoption. 
He is sound, rideable, kind, smart. He needs the same in a person. Well, except for the rideable part, I suppose.


Contact me if you're looking for that type of horse. He's a bit plain in looks but has lots of bone and is 16.1 or taller.


Sold without Pedigree? Really? 
Tell that to the horse. 
He looks just like his sire. 

Take Me Out



Friday, July 15, 2011

Feet. Errrrrr.... Hooves, I mean



Thought I'd put these thoughts on paper again. Kentucky has been one wet state this year.
It's affecting hooves. I'm seeing abscesses, most friends I have are having trouble right now.

I've got a horse I picked up out of the killpen at a slaughter sale years ago. He was there because of his feet. Since I've spent years restoring bad hooves, taking him home was not a real big deal to me, although a ton of work.

He had chronic coffin joint infections and laminitis. There was only a small degree of rotation in one of his hooves. Treating this boy compared to some I've treated in the past was a cake-walk.

Over the years, when you're dealing with laminitis and founder, what you'll find out is that you can literally restore the majority of horses back to soundness IF you're willing to take the time and do the work. And it's a lot of work.

And there are a lot of products out there that are supposed to help hoof health.
Let me put it this way: Been there, done that, have the T-Shirt.
The results are, at best, lacking. Hoof supplements are great for horses who already have healthy hooves, or just general hoof problems (by that I mean problems other than laminitis or chronic infections).

Laminitis CAN be fixed. Not through the use of bizarre shoes that constrict blood-flow to the hoof even more. It's a painful, long, tedious process and it can take years, but it can be done. It all depends on what you want the horse to be able to do, long-term.

Make a long story short, I meant to address a big market out there concerning hooves:
Supplements.

There is only ONE supplement that is worth the money I've paid for and I've used it outside of its' intended purpose, as well:

Power Horse Trace Minerals.




The boy I got from the killpen took a year or so to be sound at all gaits, and by that I mean racing gaits: Walk, Trot, Canter, Gallop. For 2 years or more, he kept abscessing and going dead-lame. I tried everything under the sun, or so I thought to avail him whatever help I could find on the market,
Biotin is crap. General hoof-supplements are crap. I needed something that would finally put a stop on the ongoing problems this horse was having with abscesses, which were due to DEAD tissue in his hooves, not gravel.
An abscess is a good bit different than a gravel.
When live tissue dies and is still present in the hoof, the fact that the hoof has blood circulation in it, will keep renewing the live tissue through blood-supply and oxygenation.
This can take years.

The coffin bone (the bone inside the hoof which sort of resembles a triangle that sits ground-parallel) is the only bone in a mammal that has its own blood supply. This means that when this bone is cut into or injured, it can actually bleed.
The lamina in the hoof are what keep the coffin bone "floating" in position. This feather-like, small contraption interlock with each other and provide sort of a cushion structure directly inside the hoof walls.
When laminitis occurs, there is an inflammation of the lamina.
Since the hoof has blood supply circulating through it, which is obviously provided by the horses' total blood supply, there can be different reasons why this happens.
The main reason is probably elevated bacterial levels from fermentation of feed in the intestines.
When fermentation of feed occurs (i. e. from feeding corn, since corn is barely disgested in the stomach; corn basically gets digested in the cecum - past the stomach- where it is broken down through fermentation. Feed to much corn and you're really helping put your horse at risk for laminitis). Too much fermentation, which creates bacteria in order to take place and those bacteria float on through the bloodstream to eventually reach the hooves.

Voila! Laminitis.

Limiting blood supply to the hooves is a dumb idea. Oxygen regenerates cells and helps them heal. Hence putting bar shoes or other medieval contraptions on your horses' feet, in the long run, isn't going to HEAL the problem.

If your horse is in the acute stages of laminitis, there are things you can do to stop it from progressing.

1. Stand him in ice or a cold stream of water. Cooling off those hooves will keep the inflammation from progressing and, in many cases, it will stop the episode.

2. Keep him moving. BL Solution in lieu of bute can be a great help without irritating the stomach.

3. If you keep your horse turned out in a dry lot (grass is not a good idea if you know you're dealing with grass-related founder), make sure that you keep his hay and water apart at a good distance. You need to force your horse to have to move.
Movement increases blood supply. Blood supply generates higher levels of oxygen. You follow the logic here.

4. If he's laminitic because of exposure to any sort of toxic weed, get some activated charcoal (any pharmacy will have this). You may have to syringe it into him. Watch out, this stuff will stain!

5. Get your horse some Power Horse Trace Minerals. The stuff is patented for the treatment of laminitis and is a potent detox agent.

I keep my runners on Power Horse. It's simply chelated trace minerals that come from an ancient seabed rock in South America. Every mineral you can imagine is in there.
Nothing will help your horses' hooves like this stuff.
Additionally, it helps plug nutritional deficiencies and gets rid of overages. If your horse likes to eat dirt, there is something lacking in his diet. Power Horse will fix that.

I've known people who have used it to help with Cushings.

And coming back to the reason I wrote this post:
Abscesses.

When I put my boy on Power Horse, he blew 6 abscesses out of one hoof and 7 out of the other within a one month period. The poor thing couldn't stand straight throughout. I still soaked and packed and turned him out.

Since then, he's had an odd abscess here and there over the years but nothing serious like the dead matter that was shed out of his hoof when I put him on Power Horse that first time.
He grew a brand-new hoof in a 4 month period.
His feet used to be shelly, his hoof walls thin.
No more. He's got the thickest hoofwall I've seen on a horse and his feet are so rock-hard that it's tough to trim them.

So, do your horse a favor. If he has hoof problems, put him on Power Horse Trace Minerals and put an end to his (and your) problems.

This soap box address is now officially concluded.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"To Breed or Not To Breed"



I've worked at breeding farms. I've foaled babies. I've taken care of broodmares. I've handled stallions.
Doing all of that for other people is a different ballgame than to operate your own breeding enterprise. For one, you don't have nowhere the hired manpower.

My broodmare band is small but, as far as I'm concerned, good quality and conformation.
It's not a large band of mares. In total, I have 4 actual broodmares. This excludes Molly, who was very enthusiastically hollering at Doodle today when I brought him up to tease the girls. I'm not really counting Molly into the broodies gang because she is going to be running this fall.

Cat D'Or AKA KittyKats, is 17 hands at the stick and as much as I hate to say it, sort of resembles a stick. She's tall and lanky. There is nothing wrong with her conformation, she's just, well, tall and lanky.

"Cat D'Or" by Cats At Home x Ruthann D'Or

She's a sweet mare who can be very stubborn and was a monster under saddle. No one could hold her and she just wouldn't quit going. Tough to train according to my good friend Mark, who trained her through her career. Kat has some ankle track jewelry that would flare up during training repeatedly. Kat was retired from the track last winter.

Yesterday KittyKats was letting us know she's in season and wants a date with Doodle.
So today, we pulled her out of the pasture, put her up in the barn and brought Mr. Hot Pants up to her to see where we're at.
Kitty is a maiden mare, which means she's never been bred before. Nature takes care of a lot of things but that doesn't mean they automatically know what to do and when to do it.
Kitty is also a dominant mare. She'll squeal at anything. Another mare comes up. Squeal.
She smells a pile that's not familiar. Squeal. A ball of mane hair off Doodle after mane pulling. Squeal.
'Course the first thing she did was "Squeal!" at Doodle.

Well, he squealed right back but he sounded like he meant it a whole lot more than she did.
So we sniff and snort noses. We squeal some more.
Kitty turns her butt to him and winks. Poor Doodle is about to have a heart attack.
This, no doubt, is the equivalent of the nerdy guy with glasses going to a bar and the hot brunette in stiletto heals coming up to him and raising her mini skirt to flaunt her garter belt.

Around she turns again and we have more of the mysterious and undoubtedly raunchy sweet nothings whispered between their two sets of nostrils.
Again she whirls around and winks and this time, backs up close enough for him to sniff her right on the tail.

By nature, mares are all hoochies. Period. There's nothing subtle or endearing about these mating rituals. If human females acted that way, the whole race would be dubbed whores.
Watching, or participating in the mating rituals of horses is not for the faint-hearted or easily embarrassed types. It is what it is, the way mother nature intended.

We take Kitty out to the roundpen. I wait a moment and follow with Doodle.
Now mind you, all the other mares are hollering in the pasture. Every horse is up on their toes.
This is exciting stuff!!!!! Who can think straight when there is all this exciting stuff happening?!?

Apparently not me. In the hustle bustle and excitement, I missed a crucial detail which turned the whole breeding event into a fiasco within seconds.

I've bred Doodle before, myself. He also covered a couple of mares last year.
The routine is that you lead him to the mare (or vice versa) while one or the other is in a stall.
Shank is over Doodle's nose.
Take the mare out and get her situated to breed.
Walk Doodle a couple of rounds and put the chain from over his nose INTO HIS MOUTH.

Well, shoot me and the horse I rode in on, I forgot.
Doodle thought it was still "play silly games with the mare to get her ready" time.
God God Almighty, that poor horse was so excited and over-excited and then again excited, his "weewee" was mushroomed like a giant bistro umbrella, he kept smacking himself with it, no doubt to try and get some relief.
Kitty just stood there and waited and waited while Doodle kept nuzzling and hollering and nuzzling and got frustrated, because he thought that's what he was supposed to do, since there was no chain in his mouth, which would have told him it's actually time to breed: Mount, Insert "weewee", Do the Do and Dismount.

He ended up running in circles, completely losing his head (his brain tends to shrink in size when he gets THAT excited) and had to be cold hosed for a while.
The poor guy probably has blue balls tonight.

On the up side (I don't mean his up side, which was up for a long while after), I did realize my mistake shortly, fessed up to my friend who was there helping and we gave up before the scenario actually took on disastrous proportions.

Tomorrow, we give it another go. This time the chain will be where it belongs. Along those same lines, I'm hoping the "weewee" will go where it belongs as well.
And I gotta do this shit another 4 or possibly 5 times in the next few weeks, at a minimum.
The expression "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" comes to mind....

The moment was in a way Shakespearean... To Breed Or Not To Breed?
Today's answer was a resounding "No!"

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Back to Blogging!

It's been ages since I last blogged. It's been on my list of things to do. I finally have things set up and can start back. So much has happened since the last entry.

First, my business went bust. Literally. Economy hit hard. People were out of money. No one could pay their bills any longer. I folded up tent and took a job as a "barn manager" in Pennsylvania.

Well, the job was a scam and I was a glorified stall mucker through the entire winter, feeding, mucking, feeding, day in and out all winter (40 or so horses.)
I gave notice and let them have a chance and plenty of time to find a replacement.
I won't go into detail about the nuts that frequented that barn. *cough*

Racing is one of those things that get tough once in a while and you burn out. Taking a break is healthy. Telling yourself you're quitting the race track is... well, an illusion at best.
Once you go out in the non-racing horse world and you run across all the backyard experts who know everything better than anyone else, well, it's enough to pull your hair out.
It's healthier to say: I'm taking a break. Quitting the track is an impossibility.
Once a race-tracker, always a race-tracker.

In any case, I moved back to Kentucky. Economy still tough, no one is making money. There are no jobs. Better I have my own string of horses than owner's horses.
After all, I'd much rather get 100% of the purse money than 10%.

Now just to figure out where to find stalls and a place to train from...

After 3 moves (yes, you read right, THREE), I have landed, once again, back in Louisville.
I think God is trying to tell me something.
Found a barn and acres for the by now large band of broodmares and Mr. Doodle, who is a proud first time daddy. Filly born on May 12, 2011, out of Mari's Princess.
She's gorgeous, correct and has a rear end that will drop your jaw. Photos to follow.

Why am I taking horses off other trainers, figuring out their ailments and then running them, fixing them, just to have them claimed from me?
I'd rather breed and run my own!

Lots has happened in the last year and a half. It would be impossible for me to cram it all into one post, so I'm not even going to attempt it.

Needless to say, things have kept going and although it is late in the season, I am currently in the process of breeding mares. Teased today and one is ready. Breeding her tomorrow.
Another 4 mares to go. Five Doodle babies next summer, and a little late BUT I seriously doubt any of his babies will be 2-year-old runners. So, technically, I could breed in friggin' October and that'd be just fine with me *grin*.

Metro Molly, a filly I acquired last year and ran a few times, is coming back to training for the Turfway meet this fall/winter. Molly is big, gorgeous and loves to run run run. Molly also loves to turn the pasture or paddock into a racetrack. She isn't interested in being just a horse. She just wants to be a racehorse. Molly is 6 years old this year and this is her last season racing coming up. I'm getting Molly in foal (supposed to help settle her for racing) and next summer, after Turfway closes early spring, Molly can be a full-time mommy. We'll see if her baby ends up a natural racehorse like her.

I've looked forward to posting my first blog for a long time. Do I have stories to tell!!!! But just now, none of it is coming together. So bear with me, I'm sure there thoughts will start flowing soon enough.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Trickle Me Pink!

Loopy (right) saying "Hi" to another filly

Trickle Me Good, AKA Loopy, raced today at Churchill in the 5th race.

Loopy has been back for a couple of months now since her almost year-long lay up.
After I claimed her for her new owners, she turned out to have a stress fracture in her pelvis.

So, home she went.

Loopy has raced 3 times since her return with not a single clean trip.

The first race was supposed to be on the turf, going 5F. Course it rained out and the race was moved onto the main track. Coming out of the gate, our girl got body slammed real hard from both sides and almost went down. In a 5F race, there isn't much you can do to make up ground.
There went her chances.

Second time, she broke well, ran well for about 2F and sort of backed off and quit. Jockey said she went "flat".
On the way back to the barn, she was coughing an awful lot. Vet scoped her and it turns out we have the luck of the Non-Irish. A clump of mud found its way into her nostril and all the way down into her lungs. No wonder she quit. Poor girl.

Third and much anticipated race for her- a Non-winners of 3 lifetime, fillies 3 and up, Claiming 15k going 6.5F. Perfect set up for her. This is where she can win.
It thundered so hard with such rain, the backside of Churchill flooded in places. Power went out completely. We weren't sure there would be a race at all.
Slop again- and slop is putting it mildly.
She breaks well, is in contention, running 4th. Starts gaining and lies 3rd. All of a sudden, she starts backing up again. She settles down, comes back on and beats one horse, fair and square.

Erin, our jockey tells me she felt like she perhaps took a bad step and was discouraged.

On the way back to the barn, she's coughing again. Not quite as bad as the last race, but still bad enough. Her mouth is full of mud and sand, as are her eyes and face.
Simply put, the girl doesn't like mud in her face.

While I bathe her, I get some of that sandy mud in my eye. It burns like pepper.
I don't know what's in that track surface but I can only imagine what it must feel like to have both your eyes burning on fire when you're supposed to run in a race and still see what's in front of you. I would have backed up, too.

Today, we're the second longest shot on the board. This is what happens when a horse doesn't perform well in public view- the odds get longer and longer each time a race doesn't "go well".
A friend of mine is the groom for the longest shot.

A small aside here:
Yesterday, I was pulling Doodle's mane. When I finished, I went and got the clippers to clip his bridle path. As soon as I plugged them in and turned them on, Loopy's head comes shooting out of her stall. She's looking at me and nodding her head, then pawing and pawing. I think to myself, what a weirdo- she wants to be clipped, too!

Soooooo.... when I finish clipping Doodle's bridle path, I take a bucket, set it in front of Loopy's stall, climb on and sure enough- she lowers her head just enough so I can clip that bridle path. I didn't tie her, hold her or put a lead on her.
Between the way she acted when she first arrived from the farm and was body clipped and this, I am 100% convinced that she utterly enjoys being clipped.
Where other horses run off at the sound of clippers, Loopy nickers and neighs and demands, with both front feet, to be given the opportunity at having her own clipping experience.

Now tell me that's normal horse behavior!?

In any case, armed with her brand new bridle clip, which now really makes her look like a Trojan War Horse, since the rest of her mane still sticks up like a Mohawk, she goes off at (are ya sitting down?) 76-1 odds.

76-1!!!! Who are these handicappers? What kind of weirdos are in charge of picking the odds, morning line? Morning line odds on her were 20-1. My friend Milton's horse was 30-1.
By the time the horses are heading to the gate, the odds are slowly but surely increasing on both of our fillies. Milton's filly goes off at 92-1.

Since Loopy told me last night that she was going to beat the dickens out of all those other nags in her race, I fully expected her to perform well. I was honestly convinced that she would be able to win this race.

And boy, did she try!!!!! She broke well and went to the front. She set all the fractions and was still in front coming into the stretch. A group of 4 fillies were coming on and while Loopy started tiring and falling back a good bit, Erin asked her to find another gear- just a tiny notch up and she dug back in. She was passed coming to the wire in the last few yards and absolutely had run her heart out and emptied that gas tank. I thought she may have gotten 4th, but ended up 5th by a neck. Overall, she ran a super race and was only a total of 4 lengths from the winner.

She was mighty mighty proud of herself, as was I and Erin was so pleased with her.

The distance was probably a bit far for the pace she set but she ran one heckuva race and came out of it without a single cough, no dirt in her face.
The fact that the weather was blistering hot and inhumanly humid and she was still able to perform at such a rate- I can't begin to tell you guys how very very happy I am with this girl!

She cooled out well and here is another thing I haven't mentioned about her before: Loopy is a water horse. She LOVES playing with water. She loves water on her face. She tries to play with the hose every day at bath time.

So, while I had no help bathing her, I was able to take a photo of her putting her face right under the stream of water.



Her race information for those of you who would like to see the replay is:
Churchill Downs
June 27, 2009
Race 5
Horse/Post position 9 (Turquoise saddle towel and she is wearing red and black blinkers)

The race is available for viewing, free of charge at Churchilldowns.com (you just have to create a free account, no strings attached) and then follow the video link across the top of the inner frame.

Once the replay is available on youtube, I will edit this post and embed the video itself below.

I hope you guys enjoy her exciting performance in this race as much as I did!