Breeding the best to the best always requires that final step of hoping for the best. Today, we found out that Curlin and Rachel Alexandra produced a real racehorse.
I overheard some chatter about Jess’s Dream yesterday, and my head instinctively turned. Before I knew it, I found myself incoherently blathering about my thoughts on his impending debut. I wanted to see Jess’s Dream do well, but expected to be disappointed. No use getting carried away, right?
He has been working on and off since he was two: a few last June and July, a few more through the fall, then rumblings that he would debut before the end of last year. Those never came to fruition. He put together another string of works through the spring of this year, and then dropped off the tab after mid-May. There were always the requisite sound bites about how he was progressing well, how he’d debut at this meet or that, but nothing conclusive.
Jess’s Dream returned to the worktab at Saratoga in mid-July, but I did not expect it to be any different. In the meantime his half-sister, Rachel’s Valentina, made her debut a successful one. It was nice to see one of Rachel Alexandra’s babies do well on the track, but I felt a bit sad that it was the Bernardini baby who had made it to the races with so few setbacks, and the Curlin baby who looked like he would never start. After all…Rachel Alexandra was a very good racehorse, but I don’t love her the way I love Curlin and his progeny.
Then, Jess’s Dream showed up in the entries for today. Still, I’d believe he was finally racing when I saw him walk into a starting gate, and not a moment before. After all the gaps in his worktab, I would let myself think he could run as soon as he showed some talent on the track, and not a moment before.
He did not scratch.
He entered the starting gate.
He broke a step slow, and disappeared for seven furlongs.
My diligent efforts to keep my hopes at bay felt well warranted…until the quarter pole.
Fourteen months of fits and starts and works and gaps…but it was all worth it. For once, what had seemed like sound bites proved to be on point: he just needed some time. Kieran McLaughlin’s patience and training skill paid off.
Jess’s Dream can run.