Class and No Class

In racing, there are classy horses…

Yesterday Black Caviar won her 25th straight race in Australia. She did it easily, just galloping away from the competition. It’s a beautiful thing to watch her run.

And then there are the not-so-classy horses….

Also yesterday, Spicer Cub, while leading easily in a claiming race at Pimlico, bolted to the outside. The jockey, Xavier Perez, got him back into the race, but the the horse bolted again. This time going so far out that he went around the outside of the starting gate (which was pulled to the outside of the track). Perez lost his stirrups and, in what I suspect must have been a case of total adrenaline overload (due to sheer terror), got after the horse with the whip and straightened him out again. Spicer Cub very nearly won despite all the zigging and zagging, but managed to maintain his spotless record of 0 wins in 8 starts. It was a remarkably athletic feat on the part of the jock. I’m guessing he may decline to ride the horse again though!

Vegas Won!

Finally. FINALLY! Vegas won today at Woodbine. He’s always had lots of talent. But way too much bad luck, and just a little too much goofiness has hindered him. He is an enormously strong horse who looks rather more like a cart horse than a racehorse. Known affectionately as the “police horse”… or sometimes “big donkey”. He’s so strong that often riders have been unable to rate him. But he was pretty good this time and waited until he was supposed to run instead of burning himself out in the first quarter mile.

Rough Trip for Parker

Parker had a very rough start in his race today at Woodbine. He came out of the gate and the horses on either side of him both angled in and hit him hard… first one, then the other. You can’t see it too well in this video since there is no head on view of the start. But he’s probably going to be a little bruised and sore tomorrow. Poor guy. Parker is one of my favorites… he’s the kindest of all of our racehorses. So I especially don’t like to see him hurt.

Reno and Al

I took a few photos of the yearling boys this morning. Reno was the orphan foal from last year. And his best buddy is Albert (the tall chestnut). They are both just over a year old. They are at that big, rude, rough-and-tumble stage when we are all thinking longingly of surgical cures for attitude problems 🙂

Reno, making faces
Albert, with a few scrapes as usual.
Practicing for their future. Assuming Ontario horse racing has a future…

Esmerelda and Soupy, Playing Silly Games

Esmerelda had to be separated from the other two yearlings a while ago. She was getting to hate the boys anyway and it was time for her to go live with the mares. But in order to introduce her gradually, we tried first putting her out with her mother. Exclusive is old and a bit crippled up with a calcified ankle (not that it slows her down anywhere near as much as it should). She’s a bit grumpy though, since she’s a boss mare too.

Eventually we started putting Soupy in with them as well when it became apparent that Exclusive had very little tolerance for youthful exuberance. Soupy has just retired from the track (and is looking for a new career). There’s nothing wrong with Soupy… she just never really succeeded at the track. And she’s feeling GOOD right now. She likes Esmerelda. Soupy pretty much likes everyone. People and horses both. She’s a happy mare.

I took some pics of them this morning right after we put them out in the big pasture for a change. Soupy and Esmerelda were having a grand time. Exclusive just sneered and went off to graze.

Loula Had a Colt

Just home from work… I would have been home earlier, but as I was pulling out of the driveway, Linda sent her brother running after me. Loula was in labour out in the paddock. So I ran back and brought her into her stall. We had quite an audience for the birth. Linda’s brother, her friend Kelly, and her two young nieces were all there visiting the other two foals. Exceptionally good timing on their parts.

Anyway, it all went quite normally. So normally that Loula thought it would be good to stop and have a hay snack while the foal was halfway born. Great idea Loula. She started choking. Quite a bad choke actually. I massaged the left side of her throat a little bit and squirted some water in her mouth with a syringe. All the dramatic gagging was bit frightening for the visitors, and dad hustled the girls away shortly after the birth. I think maybe he was worried the mare would die in front of the kids. But after ten or fifteen minutes she spit out a bunch of goopy hay and was back to normal. The delivery was easy. I helped a bit by pulling his front feet out, but Loula could have managed nicely on her own.

When I left, the colt was up and trying to nurse. He’s a huge chestnut with lots of chrome. Very strong and handsome. He’s by Old Forester, who is a young stallion, but has produced pretty well already.

I have to go back to help feed, so will take some photos then.

Another Standardbred Available… Spanish Lady

This filly has now been placed in her new home 🙂

 

Just had a lovely filly arrive, looking for a new home. Her name is Spanish Lady. She’s a three year old Standardbred. Never raced. She was in training, but has never even come close to being fast enough to qualify.

She is sound, and by all accounts, exceedingly quiet. Trainer says she is quiet enough for a child to drive.  And has no spook in her at all.  The groom was apparently giving her kids pony rides on her too. And given that she’s been in race training and has been fed like a racehorse, she will only get quieter once she’s been turned out and allowed to relax. So this is likely to turn out to be a very bombproof sort of mare once she’s had a couple of years to finish growing up.

She’s here in my round pen at the moment. Just arrived half an hour ago. Super friendly. Chowing down happily on a pile of hay. Thinks maybe Swamp Dog could be her friend too.

She has not yet been backed, though I will probably do that within the next day or two.

She’s free to a good home. It has to be a pleasure home. No racing. No breeding. I follow up on the horses I place, and require references if I don’t know you. I always accept these horses back if they turn out to be unsuitable, and will retain ownership for period of time to make sure that everything goes well. I can deliver within a few hours of the Greater Toronto area for the price of fuel.

Handy Harold Won!

Handy Harold, our big crazy chestnut won his race in style today. From last to first in a 1 1/8 mile race at Woodbine. Here is the video replay…

Harry is out of our big handsome mare, Annie. She was euthanized last summer after having foundered a couple of years earlier. She was a fast but crazy racehorse herself, and a better broodmare even than she was a racehorse. She had a miscarriage with one of her pregnancies and went septic which is what caused the founder. We babied her along for a few years, but last summer the coffin bone dropped through her sole again and we had to let her go.

Because we had a horse racing tonight, Linda and I did the evening feed. The last couple of nights, when the boss was bringing in Al (Bernice’s foal who was weaned a week and a half ago), there were some chaotic moments. One night I watched, trying not to laugh hysterically, as Big Al towed the boss (who is taller than a jockey… but not by a lot) so fast that he looked like he was taking giant moon steps. And last night, Al escaped completely and went cavorting wildly around the courtyard with his little baby tail flipped over his back. Linda was here for that display. Sadly, I missed it. Anyway, we were a bit concerned that Al might repeat that performance tonight. So I put his little lead rope on him and had a few words with him before we went out the gate. And kept his little head cranked around in front of me with an elbow braced into the side of his neck. He did walk all the way to the arena reasonably politely. Though I definitely was using a bit of leverage to maintain his position. I don’t think we were halfway to the arena before I realized that Linda was already chortling with victory. She was planning out the text message she was going to send down to the crew at the track about how “the girls” had no trouble at all with the little hellion colt that the boss can’t hold on to. I am pretty sure that he is going to endure a bit of good-natured ribbing in the morning. Certainly Linda will be taking no pity on him.

Al (also a big, crazy, chestnut) reminds me a great deal of big crazy Harry. Which will be no bad thing as long as he can run like Harry too!