When it comes to Thoroughbreds, I have a tendency to fall for the old soldiers. Don’t we all?
It’s really funny, racing. The owners insist upon retiring their horses young, because of the money that can be made from breeding. Meanwhile, all of the fans, we’re just looking for the older horses, the ones that make it past their three, four, even five year old year at the races. The horses that show their heart again and again.
Yesterday was, of course, a brilliant day for that. On Breeders’ Cup day, we were treated to some great old stars: my personal favorite being that steely tough mare Goldikova, who romped through her third Breeders’ Cup victory in her personal specialty, the mile. And of course Zenyatta is six, and put on a show that we’ll never forget, marring her perfect record by a nose (which, I think, is reason enough to keep racing – why retire someone who is clearly so wonderfully happy?).
And at Aqueduct, as the sun was swept behind the clouds, as it seems to be every afternoon in New York City, I peered down into the paddock and fell in love with a little apple rump and a ridiculously short tail. I leaned over and told Cory, “I love that little 9 horse.”
Cory, resident researcher, pulled out his BlackBerry and looked at his Equibase page. “If he wins, that would be something – this is his second race after three years off. Wait – he was in the Hollywood Derby?”
Yeah, he was. I watched my cute little bay run around the track, and screamed and rooted for him in the stretch. He came in third – well, I am fairly good at picking horses to show, so my track record was safe yesterday, too. What a game little horse, to have three years off and then come back to run like that, ears pinned, stretched out!
I did a Google search on Bold Hawk this morning and found that he’s been making the news since he was a colt. The Daily Racing Form ran this story on October 11th, when Bold Hawk was entered for a comeback in a mile on the turf at Keeneland. When asked, trainer Jimmy Toner seemed to wonder where the time had gone: “Oh gosh, has it really been three years?”
He was getting a little blog love, too.. I found a story on him at Power Cap’s blog as well, this one with an awesome win photo of Bold Hawk winning the G2 Hawthorne Derby back in 2007.
Bold Hawk ran beautifully yesterday, and he’s officially my new favorite horse – I hope to see much more of the bay gelding this winter. Everyone involved with horses could do well to heed his trainer’s words: “He’s a classy horse with ability, and we’ve basically just taken our time with him.” Truest training words ever spoken.