I've spent a good deal of time on these boards in the past, but not as much recently. Life seems to get in the way. I had to come share some quite possibly one of the best stories of a racehorse and the story happened to me.
I started galloping horses in Arkansas at Oaklawn Park. When I moved west, I found a home with a barn at Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley, CA. The trainer I ride for also has a training facility with a small track at her ranch. When I first came to California, I spent 3-4 months at her ranch galloping to get myself fit again before heading to GGF. During that time, I was riding a group of 2 year olds that would eventually head out to the track, and when they did, I went with them. There were 2 of them that I fell in love with. One was a 15+ hand filly named Real Coffee. When they did a story about me in the Form, the picture was me riding her. The other was a big 17 hand gelding, Global Starter. I galloped him at the track, put down some of his works, and watched him run. He was in our barn for 2 years and made almost 25 starts with us during that time. He ran a claiming race in May and was claimed away from our barn. To say I was devistated would be an understatement. In my mind, when he was done racing, he was going to be my next jumper. I talked to the trainer and practically begged her to claim him back. She said he'd had a good run and she was OK with him being gone. She suggested I claim him instead. The next time he ran, I claimed him back. My plan was to just take him home, but the trainer suggested that since he was aready running and fit, why not go ahead and enter him one more time.
I was so nervous. I've galloped horses for 5 or 6 years now, but have never been an owner. I very rarely ever bet on races because I love what I do and don't want that to be tainted by money. I looked for a race for him. I wanted an $8k never win 2, but the race kept not filling, so I had to run him at $16k never win 2. A week before his race, I put a half mile work on him. I can't describe to you what it was like when we broke away from the pony and started flying down the rail. This was MY horse, and somehow, it was a completely different feeling as we were coming around the turn. There was something completely surreal about the whole thing.
The day of the race, I don't know who was more nervous, me or the horse. I hauled him myself from GGF to Pleasanton and sat outside his stall all day before the race. I was excited to be an owner, but so scared he was going to hurt himself. I was with him in the paddock and somehow, I knew the outcome. They loaded in the gates, and when they opened, my horse was in front. He never looked back and won by almost 2 lengths. The horse I just claimed a month ago for $6250 won a $16k claimer, and you would have thought I won the KY Derby. I almost passed out, made my way to the winner's circle, and just started to cry. It was all so overwhelming.
We went back to the test barn, cooled him out, then took him home. I laid down one more work on him a week after the race with two photographers taking pictures. As we came off the track, I knew that was it for him. No more racing. And the tears came again. A new chapter was beginning.
Now he's in a huge pasture back at the ranch where he's getting 6 months of turn out before going into training as my next jumper. I came thisclose to losing him, and now he's mine. Words can't describe how much these past few months have meant to me. My first racehorse, (had many OTTBs, but never a horse still in training), my first win, and my first time working a horse that I owned.
I've started a photo album for him. Hopefully jumping and show pictures will be added sometime in the next year:
That is so unbelievably cool!! Congratulations on all fronts!! I remember how nervous/excited I used to be when any horse from the stable I galloped for used to run. . . can't even imagine the feeling of working, saddling & joining the winner's circle of YOUR OWN HORSE!!
Just Wow, will look forward to updates from your future accomplishments.
I never, ever galloped one & still know the ridiculously happy feeling of watching MY racehorse work for the first time.
Every horse should be as loved & lucky as your guy.
We bought a graded stakes-winning stallion after his last race (he'd dropped in class by then) & the first person who "knew him when" to reach out to us - and offer him a safe place to land, should he ever need one - was his former exercise rider. Glad you got the guy with whom you have that special connection.
Hidden Echo Farm, Carlisle, PA -- home of JC palomino sire Canadian Kid (1990 - 2013) & AQHA sire Lark's Favorite, son of Rugged Lark.
thanks so much for sharing Global's story. reading it may me cry also, very emotional watching your own horse win. i hope he will enjoy his second life as a jumper. he is lucky to have you!
stories like this should be published. you are an inspiration.
When my homebred boy broke his maiden at Finger Lakes, you would have thought I had won the Kentucky Derby! But I reacted that way every time one "my" kids won a race, and "they" didn't belong to me and there was no financial incentive. The day to day investment in them was incentive enough. Never mind the time the home-bred boy won the New York Derby! You've never seen such a display of unmitigated joy and exuberance!
I congratulate you and hope that you have continued success with your boy!
Boy do I know the feeling! I've burst into tears (or nearly) quite a few times... happy, overflowing with pride tears.
My parents bought a little filly at my urging, (they had never owned before). We purchaced her for $2000, played with her a bit and ran her for $16,000 on the turf. She broke her maiden that day and you could have knocked everyone over with a feather in the winners circle! I later retired her, bred her, and now she is my dear friends riding horse out in Texas.
I love these kinds of stories, and have quite a few more to tell.. but anyway, HUGE congrats to you and your boy... best of luck over the sticks!
What a story! Congrats on the win and good for you!
Our first homebred broke his maiden when I was 11 years old. I was *shaking* after the race. I still hoot and holler for "my" babies and yell during the races, same as I've been doing for 20+ years - but we have our second homebred (yes, 15 years between them) coming up to his first race in a few weeks. I will be freaking. out.
WOW....now that's the way to do it!!!!!!!!!Nice win...gorgeous,gorgeous horse!!!I have one right now at the track,and he's so special and so gorgeous.I hold my breath everytime he runs(he's going to come home when he's done running,can't wait).He's a star on the track and I sometimes wish he wasn't,so he could just get home NOW!!