Arlington Million week is officially underway, and I will be at the track every day this week. Most of the stakes horses will not make their appearances until later in the week, but fellow Picks and Ponderings author Paul Mazur and I are going out every day. Later in the week, more Million-related happenings are bound to transpire.
Today was all about getting the lay of the land, taking a few pictures, and just enjoying seeing the horses running. We arrived just as it was no longer pitch dark, and were settled by the winners’ circle as the first few horses hit the track.
Just as on race day, the outrider ponies keep an eye on everything in the mornings. They are ready to kick into gear at a moment’s notice if the outrider senses something wrong. However, they are also very well behaved when their human partner must go somewhere without them.
Later in the morning, the clouds dissipated. It made for better lighting, though less comfortable temperatures for being outside.
After training, we headed back to the barns. I had met Mary and Rey last summer during Million week, and theirs was the first barn I ever visited. Mary still calls workers at Arlington, and they invited us back to visit their horses.
Aly’s Bluffing was a bit shy today, but he loves his bananas as much as ever.
Khayoor was feisty and bitey last year when I saw him. They had just claimed him, and he was still a stud colt. He was gelded a few days after I saw him last year, and he had mellowed out a bit in the ensuing time. This was good news for me, because I cannot resist his pink nose.
Just as when I visited last year, Shesmorethanatiger was the grande dame of the barn. This curious daughter of Tiger Ridge is eight years old now, likely in her final year of racing. We may have woken her up from her beauty rest, however, because she had some bedhead forelock.
In addition to the three horses I met in Rey and Mary’s barn last year, they had two new additions. Neither of these fillies has raced yet, though both have worked.
Two-year-old Listen to Mama is out of another horse who Rey trained, Mamma Lina. Mamma Lina, an Illinois-bred, won twice at Arlington and once at Hawthorne.
Listen to Mama had not quite figured out the goodness of peppermints yet, but really liked Paul.
Their other new addition is three-year-old Mele Kaliki Maka. Needless to say, her name gave me an earworm that remains in my head, all these hours later. Mele’s big, fuzzy antenna ears were right in Blisstering Strike’s league.
I could not stop petting her. She was such a people horse, and her nose was very soft. I cannot wait to see her on the track.
So ends the first day of Million Week, 2015. It went as well as a day at the track ever could, and I cannot wait for the rest of the week!