Monday, July 6, 2009

The little gray horse that COULD:

The first time we saw him my wife and I were having a cup of coffee together and watching replays on HRTV. It was about 7:30 on a crisp January morning (this was when HRTV still showed racing in the morning and not infomercials) when we saw a gray gelding being led on to the track “look at those stockings” my wife said. I looked to see that each of his legs had black stocking which ran from his hooves to virtually the entire length of his legs. This however was not his most distinguishing feature, on his face he had a blaze that can only be described as a white cross, which gave him an angelic apperance.

When the race began he broke well then promptly went to the back of the pack, in fact about five to six lengths behind the pack. I remember chuckling and as I walked out the door on my way to work saying something to the effect of oh well, he may not run well but he looks good. A couple of minutes later my wife called me with intense excitement in her voice “he won, he won,” “what” I blurted out “who won” “that gray horse with the black stockings he won,” “wow” I said “that’s amazing considering how far back he was.”

We began watching the horse whenever his races were televised and always admired how he came from the back of the pack to finish well. Over the nearly two years we watched him he was claimed four or five times seemingly each time moving on to bigger and better things. That was until his last claim, when a new trainer claimed him and everything seemed to change. Instead of charging hard in the stretch, instead of almost always coming in the money, he seemed to languish finishing 7th and 8th time after time. After watching somewhere around a half dozen of these races I contacted the trainer and was told he had “retired” him and sent him to a farm in Florida.

So it was quite a surprise when about a year and a half later I received a notice from a long forgotten virtual stable listing stating he had worked out. Worked out I thought, isn’t he retired, I called my wife and we talked about why he would be coming back. About a week later we watched his first race in over eighteen months with great anticipation. We watched him stretch out his legs, we watched him turn his head and stare at the crowd as he rounded the far turn, we watched him run.

It was then an idea came to me, my wife loves this horse and she does have a birthday coming up, the next day I contacted the trainer, David Markgraf. Dave is a very amiable guy and in my humble opinion a good trainer, he told me the horse had been sold to him and since he was completely sound he thought he would run him. I talked Dave into selling me ten percent of the horse, ten percent I reasoned would be a nice birthday present, yet if he didn’t run well wouldn’t break us either.

His first race with us as partial owners he ran third, not bad, his next race second, hey this is fun, his third race he finished seventh, oh well I thought there’s always next time, he came back with a second and a third. Slated to run on July 5th, my wife and I huddled by the computer to watch the replay and see how he did. We watched him line up in the gate number seven of nine horses, we watched as the gate opened him come out in ninth place, watched as he rounded out of the first turn in ninth place, watched him in seventh place as they entered the far turn, watched him in fifth place coming out of the far turn, watched him stare at the crowd, and then, we watched him win. My wife was screaming and encouraging him so loudly she was barely able to speak.

I give Dave a lot of credit for taking a chance on a horse no one else wanted to, for letting me buy ten percent to give my wife what she described as her best birthday present ever, and for most importantly allowing my wife to see her name in Equibase listed as a winning owner.

The little horse’s name is “Passed Over” and as my wife is fond of saying; he’s not passed over any more.

1 comment:

Glenn Craven said...

Hoooooo-ray. A great win for Passed Over and a super story of racing fans who became winning owners, even if only on a percentage basis.

Watching your horse win has to be like watching your kid hit the winning home run or score the winning touchdown.

Three cheers for Passed Over, and for Mr. & Mrs. Yates, proud "adoptive parents!"