Thoroughbreds in North America all celebrate their birthdays on Jan. 1, so as soon as the New Year rolls around, so does “foaling season” – that magical time that lasts from the beginning of January through the late spring when racehorse babies are born. In this weekly piece, we’ll bring you the best of new arrivals to the Thoroughbred world. So sit back, relax, and take in the Cute Foals of the Week for 2017!
The great Secretariat was born on March 30, 1970 in a tiny shack in Doswell, Va.
Meadow Farm currently holds an annual celebration of Big Red’s birthday by throwing a massive three-day horse event – a horse lover’s dream weekend.
In attendance, you’ll usually see Kate Chenery Tweedy, Charlie Davis, and a few descendants of Big Red. This year, Bill Nack was there as well. Last year, unfortunately, we missed seeing Ron Turcotte, as he had just been in an accident and was unable to attend. I was happy to sign his get-well card, though.
As far as horses, last year and this year, Moe, a G-G grandson, was there. This year, Groundshaker, a G-G granddaughter, was also there. Last year, Covert Action, a grandson, was in his stall, loving the attention.
Here is Moe (I don’t remember is racing name), keeping his eye on me. He did let me pet him, but only as long as I didn’t touch his nose. This is Moe telling me not to touch his nose again: 🙂
Here’s Covert Action, Secretariat’s grandson. He loves doing tours and meeting all the fans. He raced a little bit, but wasn’t very successful. Secretariat was known in the breeding shed more for his daughter and granddaughters. Covert Action was adorable, though. I wanted to keep him in my back yard (as well as every other horses there):
Here’s me with my new bestie, Kate Chenery Tweedy, and my mom on the right. Smaller pic so I don’t scare anyone. I look awful because it was windy and rainy:
Charlie Davis and me. He’s so fun. Quite the party animal, he is, and a great story-teller. I loved hearing about his days with Secretariat:
Many, many clinics and shows:
Some of the auction items in the exhibit hall:
I couldn’t afford those things, nor could I afford a horse, so my mommy bought me a wittle Secretariat of my own:
Read more about the history of Meadow Farm here and be sure to attend next year’s festival on March 31-April 2 in Doswell, Va. Do the VIP tour with me so we can hear about the history of the farm and hear stories of Penny, Secretariat, and family.
(I humbly apologize for my lack of photography expertise. I will blame it on the fact that I could not see what I was taking pictures of because of the sun glare. I was also a bit too excited and took pictures of almost every horse in attendance. *grin*)
Lisa won the grocery tote and autographed paperback copy of Chivalry! I’m excited for her because she said she never wins anything. 😉 Well, now you can say you’ve won something. Congratulations!
I. Love. This. Article. Thank you, Steve Haskin. I appreciate your honesty and that you have noticed how women have tried so hard to keep horse racing going, especially lately.
Many of us are not bettors, believe it or not. We’re just in it to watch the horses, and to pick our favorites. We have our favorite horses, jockeys, trainers, even owners and grooms, exercise riders, people behind the scenes. We want to know who is taking care of “our” horses and we want to know if they’re doing a good job. Are these horses really as healthy as they look on the track? Are they treated with love and respect on the shedrow and not just in front of the cameras? Show me more pictures of grooms hugging or kissing their horses. Show me the kitten who wanders the shedrows searching for mice. Show me the trainer who tears up when he hears his horse will be retired. These are the things women horse lovers care about, and we want to make sure the horses are loved and happy before anything else because if we could be there, this is how we’d treat them.
Just look at Jo Anne Normile’s story, “Saving Baby: How One Woman’s Love for a Racehorse Led to Her Redemption.” The entire book is about her journey to start CANTER, a racehorse rescue program to keep them out of slaughter. Nothing hurts worse than hearing about just one horse being led away to that truck. And Ferdinand? Ugh. We won’t go there or I’ll start crying again. (Google his name if you don’t know what happened to him. Bring the Kleenex.) My point is that women are pushing for improvements and getting results and that can only be good for the sport.
I’m thrilled that Steve Haskin has noticed what I’ve noticed recently, and just couldn’t put into words. As usual, he communicates the notion perfectly.
“It was the main character, Velvet Brown, who just happened to sum up American Pharoah in one brief sentence and become the catalyst for this column.”
Kentucky Oaks 2016 Top 10: Casey’s Picks- The Kentucky Oaks trail seems to get lost in the limelight of the Kentucky Derby, but there is no doubt that this year the Oaks division seems to be dominated by one filly: Songbird. However, there are some fillies beginning to emerge that could potentially give Songbird all she can handle. Let’s see how I rank my top ten, starting with my number one, Songbird.
This article is six years old or so, but relevant since Zenyatta’s son’s much anticipated first race will be this Saturday (2-20) in Race 3 at Santa Anita.
Haskin’s prose reminds us of those glorious days when Queen Z made many of us cry and inspired us to do things we’d never done before. Zenyatta’s bravery and heart was incredible and rare, and you’ll hear many argue her place in history as greatest mare, or greatest mare other than Ruffian.
I still cry when I think about her, especially her loss to Blame in her last race and how it broke Mike Smith’s heart. He blamed himself, and, I don’t know, maybe I’m a softie, but I felt SO bad for him. It may have been his fault and an error in judgement. Sure, he is a professional, but from my couch, it certainly seems near impossible to judge the energy left in every horse, judge how everyone will move, how each horse will react, timing everything, etc – and then Zenyatta may have shied slightly at the lights near the wire before passing Blame just after the wire. That was a tough race to watch, and the press conference afterward was almost tougher. That said, many, myself included, think this was actually Z’s absolute best race. She was absolutely flying down the stretch! It was so incredible.
Why do we cry when we see things like this? Because of their heart. Her determination to win. Her competitiveness. She was trying so hard. I was sad for her as well as myself. I know many feel the same way, especially women.
Lately we’ve had “the feels” from American Pharoah, his ability, heart, and determination bringing many of us to tears. Back then, though, we reacted to Queen Z and Rachel Alexandra with the same tears and emotions, even without a Triple Crown on the line.
Take a quick look at the top 250 horses of all time, voted on by Horse Racing Nation’s voters. See where Z is? Mare or not, she’s in the top 20!
We have high hopes for Ziconic, but, I guess we’ll see. Never judge a horse only by his or her works. Let’s see how he runs a race or two or three. But since he dances like his mom (oh yeah, that’s definitely a factor, considering his energy and how he works it off), works fast, seems mature and ready, I can’t help but hope we get to see more of what we saw six years ago.
Zenyatta has inspired people like none before her.
I bet you didn’t know that Zenyatta hated the synthetic surfaces. Shirreffs even had to work her at Hollywood Park because she just would not run at Del Mar. Flat out refused. Cantered right through the gap and back to her barn, regardless of what her rider wanted. Read more about Zenyatta’s quirks here.