Last night I had to call it an early night. I had to make sure I got some peppermints before the store closed, and get at least a bit of sleep. I’m always up somewhat early to go to the racetrack, but today was a bit different. I met trainer Michele Boyce last weekend at a dinner for Galloping Out (the local racehorse retirement group), and she invited me to come back to her barn after workouts this morning. I am so grateful, because it was amazing. I spent it there with her, her friend Laura, and Laura’s co-worker Jerome, and we spent the morning around the sweetest, happiest horses one could ever hope to spend time with.
Three of Michele’s horses are racing today: Super Soldier, Happy Henrietta, and Delightful Daisy. Daisy was getting her game face on, and not being a people horse. Henrietta was perfectly happy to beg for carrots, but was still a bit keyed up. Super Soldier, though, was cool as a cucumber, and more than happy to smile for the camera.
Peso sprung an upset over the grass at Hawthorne on Thursday. He came out of the race nicely, and loves people (and treats) a lot. Though he has no trouble turning it on for race day, he acted far more like a barn pet than a racehorse today.
This is my “I’m meeting a complete rock star” face. It’s completely warranted, because I was feeding carrots to a rock star at the time: the one and only Saint Leon. He is nine years old, he has won three straight Arlington Sprints, and he still has every right to tell those whippersnappers to get off his five and a half furlongs of lawn. He is a feisty guy, but will stand still enough for a picture if you distract him with carrots.
Showersofblessings was just plain adorable. There’s no other way to describe it. She kept trying to stick her nose in the carrot bag and eat carrots out of it, but then she let me give her lots of hugs. What a sweetheart.
I’ve never met a horse I didn’t like (even the ones who bite me…looking at you two, Novelty Act and Lovely Loyree!), but sometimes you meet ones who, for whatever reason, you don’t want to tear yourself away from. I felt that way when I was hanging out with Jennifer J. this morning.
Jennifer J. was just sweet, and I think how she likes humans to interact with her meshed very well with how I like to interact with horses. This playful filly loved letting me pet her…her nose, her face, her ears. She was silly, friendly, and a total joy to be around.
Lovely Loyree won a nice allowance race at Hawthorne yesterday, and she was quite full of herself today. She thought we all existed to give her peppermints and carrots, and got a bit insistent the longer we were there.
Lake Shore Grace is a shy little filly, but I am so glad she stood still for at least one picture. Her shade of red was deep and pretty, and my eyes were drawn.
And, finally…the two-year-olds. Two of the babies in Michele’s barn are by City Zip, and both had really, really cute noses. All horse noses are cute, but my greatest weakness is a horse with cute pink or white on their nose. Narfooska was being a little excitable, but this shows why I was so excited to pet her nose.
Ruffolo was the first horse I saw upon arriving; he was getting a gallop around the track. Later, when he was calmer and back in his stall…it’s clear he’s going to know exactly what to do when he breaks his maiden. As soon as I pulled my phone out to take pictures, he was mugging for the camera. No matter what happens on the racetrack, Ruffolo has a future making people very happy.
There are a lot of things to love about horse racing: the exciting battles on the track, and the passionate people you meet around the track. However, horse racing would not be as compelling as it is if it weren’t for the horses themselves. Horses are gorgeous up close or afar, and one of the reasons I keep coming to the racetrack is because it is a way for an urban dweller like me to get up close to horses. Going out to the barns this morning made me happy beyond words; thank you, Michele, for letting me come see your horses!