Dear Vladimir, Mladen, Stasha and Nikola,
The horse, Action This Day that won the big race for two year olds yesterday during the Breeder’s Cup was broke by sister Daphne and her husband Frankie. To those of you that don’t know what ‘to break a horse’ means, here is a quick little explanation.
After the Yearling Sales where the future racehorses are purchased, they are shipped to farms like Daphne and Frankie’s to learn how to do everything. Basically the only thing the babies know how to do is walk at the end of a shank while being lead by someone on the ground. And for some, they even have problems doing that.
So once on the farm, Daphne and Frank put on all kinds of protective gear and slowly start teaching the babies to have a saddle on their back and a bridle on their head. Then the real fun begins with them getting up on their backs and teaching them to basically be ridden by a human being. This is a very dangerous time since the young horse have a great passion for making little statement like, ‘NO, I don’t want you on my back so now it is time for me to pitch you into the ground.’ Over time, Daphne and Frankie are able to have them understand another statement, that of, ‘NO, you will like me on your back and you will do what I say’.
At the end of a few months of this, the ‘babies’ as they are called, are ready to move on to a training barn where they are readied for actual racing. Daphne and Frankie have taught them everything they need to know, even how to break from the starting gates. The babies are now galloping and gaining the muscles that they will need to run. Daphne and Frankie will then call the trainer and state that the horse is ready to move on. A few days later a horse van pulls up and they ship off another one of the babies that they have spent so much time with. They only hope, that they will get to see them again some day during a race that is televised.
Now that you know what ‘to break a horse’ means, let me tell you a little story. The story goes like this. Daphne and Frankie had broken two horses running in the $1.5 million Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. I called early in the morning to say hello, only to be greeted by a VERY nervous Frankie. Hell the race was still six hours away, but they both are like proud parents when it comes to the babies that they have broken.
Six hours later, I sat watching the horse’s parade out to the start just knowing that down in Camden, South Carolina, my sister and her husband were two nervous wrecks. I could see Frankie not being able to sit still while waiting for them to load into the starting gates.
The race begins with a very unfortunate event when another horse early in the race basically cuts off Action This Day. In many cases, a horse will actually lose heart after such an event and really not run hard. I think to myself, well at least Siphonizer, the other horse that they broke was up in the front of the pack. He actually was the horse that they felt had a better chance to win.
Halfway through the race, Tom Durkin, the announcer goes right down the line calling out the name and position of each horse. He ends this procession through the field with a, “and 25 lengths back is Action This Day. Though it doesn’t appear to be his day!” He wasn’t even in the screen of the television shot. Hell after that comment, I thought the jockey was going to pull him up. Tom Durkin went back to talking about the horses running at the front of the pack. About a half-mile out from the finish, they really start to roll. My eyes are fixed on Siphonizer who is running in seventh position. Does this horse have anything in him to make a good run? Then something interesting happens. Julie Krone, the jockey of Siphonizer looks back, twice. Usually this means one of two things, the jockey has a horse under them and they are going to make a move, or someone is charging up behind them.
All of a sudden Tom Durkin is starting into his “and at the top of the stretch” comments speaking of the horse that are fighting for the lead. He too then sees someone making a hell of a move through the pack. “Action This Day is moving through the pack”. I sat and watched as he picked his way through but there was no way he was going to catch the other. He still was too far back or so that is what I was thinking.
One for the most exciting commentaries in all of sports is actually done by Tom Durkin, when near the end of each race, he basically shouts, “and down the stretch they come!!!” At this point he is almost screaming out his call of the race and those words will run chills through your body, especially when it is a great race. Well gentlemen, “and down the stretch they came”. All through the Bedford family, be they in South Carolina, Alabama or Virginia, television sets were getting screamed at. There is nothing more exciting then screaming at your TV, “go, go boy go!!!!” There is also nothing more thrilling and fun then screaming at a horse that someone in the family had taught everything. And taught him well!!!!
Action This Day continued his amazing run through the stretch, battling with two other horses when he finally made a statement and pulled ahead. He said, ‘I am two years old, I have only run in a few races since I am so young and I am enjoying this and I am going to win!!! And win he did!!!!
Though Daphne and Frankie don’t own the horse, they don’t do anything more with the horse, he still is their baby and their baby won a HUGE RACE. This is the biggest race for two year olds. The next biggest race is for three year olds and it’s called the Kentucky Derby!!!!
Can you tell that Dino has a huge smile on his face for his sister and husband!!!!
Much love to all in Novi Sad,
After the death of his father, Erskine Bedford to a fox hunting accident in 1998, Dean moved to Prague, Czech Republic where he worked as the Technical Director of a dot com. Two of his programmers working under him were Serbians who had run-away from their homeland because they were being forced to serve in the military by the Milosevic regime. In 2001 Dean, along with his Serbian friends Mladen and Vladimir Dukic, started a non-profit Technology Without Borders that helps support non-profits with data management systems while educating talented programmers in developing countries. Dean travels back and forth between Virginia and Serbia frequently as Technology Without Borders continues to grow. This letter was written to the young people he works with in Novi Sad, Serbia and thus the title.