Monday May 4 2009
How about that Kentucky Derby?
Small time horse hauls in from New Mexico (where?), sneaks along the rail, passes all the horses from the top blue blood stables around the world as if they were standing still, blows them away, and wins his share of a $2.1 million dollar purse.
My very retired Thoroughbred Stormy is a small time horse from Washington (where?). Of course, the biggest thing he ran in was a $25,000 claiming race, and the biggest purse was about $20,000.
They are related you know, the now-famous Mine That Bird and Stormy. Stormy's grandfather was Mr Prospector, who was Mine That Bird's great grandfather. Stormy's great grandfather was Northern Dancer, who was Mine That Bird's great great grandfather. That makes them, what, 22nd and 33rd cousins or something?
They've both got some great Classic horses in their pedigrees, including Triple Crown winners (Stormy has Count Fleet - 1943; Mine that Bird has Gallant Fox - 1930). Wandering through both pedigrees is like... wide-eyed strolling through historic Thoroughbred racing barns, seeing familiar famous horse heads peering out of stalls.
But of course, Stormy never had Classic races on his horizon. Nor does he care. His partially royal Thoroughbred pedigree means nothing to him. He's an Owyhee horse now: 200 acres of high desert country to run in (or more like walk), dirt and sand to roll in (no more fancy grooming for him), magazine covers to pose for, America's Next Top (Equine) Model shape to get into, and grass and hay to eat.
But you can still catch a glimpse of him now and then, briefly reliving his glory days on the track when he leads the herd thundering down the canyon and up to the house, galloping in first under the wire.