Regardless of individual feelings on the subject, I grew up in a family that adored the ponies. My mom took me to my first race at Saratoga Race Track in NY when I was a kid. It was a confusing place, loads of smelly men all over the place yelling at each other, but the first time I heard that dozen or so horses pound past me I was completely hooked.
I don't have a habit. I don't subscribe to the Daily Racing Form. I don't suck down stats like crazy. And now that I'm in a thoroughbred free state I don't even have the opportunity to bet.
Sometimes ESPN will show racing, but it's not the same on TV. Golly those horses look tiny on the track.
However, every late April I start doing research. The Kentucky Derby is the first Saturday in May. I patiently wait to read who is going to be there. And as much as I love the horses, I have a secret. I bet jockeys.
So I call my mom and tell her how much money I want on whom. The year Charismatic won was for some reason the year I bet the most, $20. I won over $300. That was exciting.
So when Prado won on Barbaro in 2006 it was wonderful. Great horse, one of my favorite jockeys, win win. Not that much money since the odds were for him, but for me it's more about the thrill of choosing correctly.
And then 2 weeks later on May 20th at the Preakness he shattered his leg. I actually went into hysterics. Rich was completely confused and sat there on the sofa not knowing how to handle me. I was sobbing over a horse I didn't even know about 4 weeks earlier, and it's not like I even knew the horse personally. I can see how it would be confusing.
They chose not to euthanize and instead sent him to one of the best equine hospitals in the country. They tried their best. Eight months later, however, it was time to let him go. He died on January 29th 2007.
I sobbed again.
Today, January 31st 2009, his little brother Nicanor is racing for the very first time at Gulfstream in Florida. They have both the same mom and dad. He's 3 years old. The hopes are high for him. Once again Prado will be riding. He'll be in the 8th race today, but I have no idea what time that will be. Not one TV station in my area is showing it. I'm sure it'll be on Youtube tonight. I hope he wins. Not for his owners, and not for his trainer. I hope for everyone who fell in love with his big brother that he does his brother proud.
Isn't he gorgeous?