Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Best of Years

In my four plus years working for Gus’s operation, this year was by far the best on the racing end. Gus’s horses racked up 13 wins, 2 stakes wins, 2 two-year-old winners, and three repeat winners (Woodsmoke, First Circle and Cheers Mate). There were many other strong efforts, giving preview to a promising 2010 season.

Tomorrow morning, the racehorses will pack up and van to Aiken for the winter. Four have shipped to Maryland, and one is already a winner there.

With this racing season wrapped up and packed away, here are some of my favourite moments from this year:

· Woodsmoke breaking her maiden in her first start, with Politelyprecocious third in the same race. Woodsmoke would go on to win the Fury and Alywow stakes in exciting front running fashion.

· Politely breaking her maiden on Kentucky Derby day, then watching Mine That Bird from the bar while celebrating the win.

· After finishing valiant seconds in two stakes (one by a wisker), First Circle closed out the year with a decisive allowance win.

· Silent Wisper becoming our first Wando winner.

· Mobil Unit following up his maiden victory with two impressive stakes showings.

· Artic Fern finishing a promising second in his first and only start of the year.

Okay, so what didn’t I list? Each horse and each race is special in some way, and each win is one we will never forget, whether it was a $50,000 claiming race or a $500,000 stake.

This fall, I had the good fortune of working for Mike a few days a week. This was a very new experience for me, coming from the farm, but one of the greatest experiences I have had. Working with the athletes in the barn was thrilling, and a wonderful sanctuary from the stresses of school. I met a lot of amazing people here; I can honestly say there wasn’t one person in the barn that I didn’t have an interesting conversation with, and I gained a great appreciation and respect for each one of these people. To spend time with so many people who love horses was truly a gift, and it is something I will remember fondly and cherish for a long time. The only thing left to do is to say thank you to each and every one of those people. Have a great winter, and see you next year.

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