There are things that dreams and fantasies are made of. I think I found that in my favorite horse Tonight at Eleven. Tonight at Eleven is a thoroughbred race horse with more potential than anyone but me seems to recognize.
He is a great horse and like me has stumbled over and over again. We are really good at what we do, but somehow fate gets in the way. We lost Tonight at Eleven in a claiming race to a trainer who was not the right one for him. Within a few days of having Tonight at Eleven, the horse kicked the new trainer. My Tonight at Eleven knew he didn’t belong there. We tried to claim him back and another trainer put in a claim at the same time. There was a two-way shake (that’s a luck of the draw process to see who gets the horse). The twisted sister fate beat us again and Tonight at Eleven was off to yet another barn.
That wasn’t the end of it, the first trainer that claimed him decided to claim him in the next race. The claiming price was raised and my husband said we shouldn’t go for the higher price. So Tonight at Eleven was again with his nemesis and of course did not perform well. At least that was to our advantage and we were able to claim Tonight at Eleven back.
I thought everything would be fine at that point, but much to my dismay, another trainer expressed interested in my beloved horse. As a result, we were forced to race him at a higher class so as not to risk loosing him yet again. That’s not the worst of it. Having been shuffled from barn to barn, our dear Tonight at Eleven was worst for wear and ended up being toxic. So it took a great deal of effort to get him back to good health.
Finally healthy but running above his head, Tonight at Eleven did not do well. We were able to have a few successful races with him, but nothing like the past.
Two years have passed and Tonight at Eleven, still a viable contender still hasn’t got the break he so deserves. We have him running at the level that I think he probably belongs, but we keep getting bad breaks. This horse is very particular and does not finish well along the rail. Although I don’t know what mishap caused this when he was young but he always gives up if he is forced on the rail.
Yesterday, Tonight at Eleven raced and got an inside post position. We told the rider to get him on the outside, but of course that didn’t happen again. Tonight at Eleven was the first horse out of the gate and instead of going with him, the rider held him back, I guess to get him to the outside. Well that didn’t work. Tonight at Eleven ended up in traffic with nowhere to move. It’s like getting stuck on the freeway and although you can keep up with traffic, you can’t move over if your life depended on it. So my beloved Tonight at Eleven finished badly and it was published that he tired. Well, he didn’t tire, he was stuck and forced to the rail where he always gives it up.
After yesterday’s race, I decided that it was time to put my foot down and give my beloved a chance. I plan to lower him in class and hopefully find a rider who can follow instructions. It’s one thing not to win a race and loose money on a race. It’s quite another when it’s obvious, but maybe only obviously to me that the horse just hasn’t gotten the chance to win because of third party interference.
Because of his past performances, Tonight at Eleven is now a long shot on the board and unfortunately, some of the jockeys look at the odds and make predetermined conclusions about a horse and ride it accordingly.
Even with all these problems, I decided my Dream is still alive. I have been in very poor health of late and I know how it feels to not succeed. I don’t want to have my wonderful horse feel that way. It might seem foolish, but I know Tonight at Eleven wants to win. He knows, like I know that he is fast and furious. He is the son of Thunder Gulch and it is in his blood to be a winner.
Watch for us — we’re not over yet!