I wasn't going to post today, or even for a few days. Time crunch, you know. However, a thought just seemed to keep popping up. My last entry had "born to run. Feeling free." under the 'about me' profile (I intend to change these with each post, by the way.) And what kept striking back was "Feeling free". Notice, it is not being free, rather it is feeling free. Harkening to the perceptive post,...perhaps that is the key.
After the tragic death of Barbaro last January, I could not fathom ever being interested in horse racing again. But as the First Saturday In May approached, I found myself taken with the spirits of Curlin, Rags to Riches and English Channel. (All beautiful chestnuts. Note a pattern, here?)
Believe it or not, but my partner will attest to the fact, I have been cheering them on all year. The Belmont was difficult as Curlin and Rags To Riches faced off. What heart and drive they both demonstrated.
Curlin, my boy, had that same type of heart and drive behind him when he first came on the scene. The heart and drive of two women in particular. Helen Pitts, trainer and Hanne Jorgensen, exercise rider. Following are excerpts from two Bloodhorse articles:
But in situations such as this, behind the celebration there are those left behind. As the cheers rang out for Curlin, another scene was being played out a short distance away. Watching the race in the hospitality tent at the end of the stakes barn was Curlin’s former trainer Helen Pitts, who had earlier seen her Midnight Cry Stables’ grass star Einstein stumble while avoiding a fallen horse in the Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT). The son of Spend a Buck unseated his rider, Robby Albarado, who would come back to ride Curlin to victory. Einstein, second choice at 5-2, then ran loose the rest of the way, suffering a minor injury when he grabbed his quarter.
Two races later, Pitts had to watch the colt she had nurtured through a series of physical problems as a 2-year-old and whom she finally was able to get to the races at 3, become a classic winner for another trainer.
“I have mixed feelings,” she said afterward. “I really don’t want to say anything. I’m just happy for Steve and Scott (Asmussen’s assistant Scott Blasi). Horses like this are hard to come by, and I feel honored to have been a part of him at some point. But what can you do? It’s hard.”
Watching back home in Louisville was Curlin’s former exercise rider Hanne Jorgensen, who had taken his departure particularly hard. “I cried my eyes out when they sold him,” she said shortly after the sale. “We babied him for such a long time. He bucked his shins twice and we tried to get him through it and worked hard with him. And then, one big race and he’s gone. We felt he was something special before he even started; we really did. I remember working him and coming back and saying, ‘I’ve never sat on a horse like this before.’ I understand it’s hard to turn down that kind of money, and they did keep a piece of him, so it wasn’t hard for them. But it’s hard for us, because you get so attached to them.”
RE: http://www.bloodhorse.com/articleindex/article.asp?id=39048 Asmussen had shipped into Gulfstream from Fair Grounds to run Gunfight in the Swale Stakes (gr. II) and was stabled in Pitts' barn, so he was able to get a good close-up look at this magnificent chestnut. It was Jorgensen who had helped him by getting on Gunfight in the mornings. When Asmussen left, Curlin went with him. Jorgensen was devastated, and still is, watching her "baby" clinch Horse of the Year honors for someone else, while increasing his bankroll to more than $5.1 million.
"He was always a physically strong horse, but I admired how mentally strong he was," Jorgensen said. "It's bittersweet. You take care of them and cultivate them for almost a year and then someone with more money comes in and snatches them right out from under you."
A few days ago, cast in a crisp blue morning sky, I saw a beautiful array of vapor trails. They were not the typical Xs like the ones my mom says are my father blowing her kisses from heaven. These formed a web. South to North arcs intersected others running West to East. An unintentional masterpiece created by the nearby UPS hub.
At night, gold man-made meteors skate across the horizon amongst stars and planets, casting eerie glows when piercing clouds. Awesome, really.
A few years ago, when I lived much closer to the hub, that same fleet would rock the late night and early morning skies, disturbing my peace or waking me from sleep. Piece of something, I thought. Definitely not masterpiece. Awesome, really.
Many years ago, there was a young man who was somewhat mentally challenged. He frequented an eclectic part of town. Everyone around was fond of him. His last name was similar to Jagger. He would introduce himself, "Hi. I'm Michael Dean J...(insert last name). Sounds like a rock star, don't it?"
I have since moved from that area (Less eclectic? Perhaps), but I am sure that he is still charming the people there.
Racehorses seem to have eclectic names. I frequently choose a horse by it's name, only. And there are many neat names to choose from for this year's Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. Hope you are good at names!
Hi. I'm JoeyJo. Sounds like a racehorse, don't it?
I have been a lurker. You know, just kinda watching and only when votes are necessary, not participating. Now, I find that I have been pulled into the blogosphere vortex, Black Hole, if you will. Really, it is not so bad, so far. For more on Black Holes, checkout Cap'n Dyke's post!
I went to The Lesbian Lifestyle to nominate Lori Hahn for Lesbian Blogger of The Year 2007, and where it said 'blog,' I just put "soon to be discovered". Having not put the "http:" stuff at the front of it, I thought it wouldn't show up as an actual blog. However, when I checked the post, my "soon to be discovered" was clickable. I sent a frantic email to my favorite geek, Margo Moon, asking her to set up the framework of the blog as soon as she could. I was afraid my nomination would get cancelled if there wasn't a blog by that name and I didn't want it to shine a bad light on Lori. So, now I am in the blogging business.
Not only that, but I am delighted to learn that I have become part of Cap'n Dyke's crew!
(Word has it she likes virgins, even virgin bloggers)