Still trying

Well Albuquerque has still proven to be a heart breaker.  The track has been so fast and our horses start so well but seem to weaken in the stretch.

Our trainer, Drew Fulmer is a die-hard so he has been great.  He decidedly has true grit and keeps the faith.  I often wonder how he can keep going in the face of disappointment but he is a real competitor and usually succeeds in the end.  It definitely is a testament to his wonderful enduring personality.  A true competitor, he is persistent and determined.

Our horses take their lead from him and do their very best almost every race.   I can’t ask for more than that.  Our trainer is doing a great job keeping everything together and working.  Drew and the horses will soon be back home in Phoenix and I am confident that we will be able to see the wins we have been waiting for once we start again at Turf Paradise.  In the meantime, Drew will continue to make an effort in New Mexico to win at least another before the end of that meet.

Determination and courage keeps us going.  We can all smile at the end of the day because we know that our horses are healthy and we live to race another day.

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One More Time — Keeping the Faith

We managed to make it so far during the long summer of racing in New Mexico.  Our home base is Turf Paradise in Phoenix, AZ.  It’s been a tough summer trying to win a few races here and there.

We had some really promising entries at the end of the meet at Sunray Park in Farmington, NM but it rained so intensely that the track was flooded and the last four days of racing were cancelled.

Fortunately, Albuquerque Downs has a short meet that starts on September 11th.  Our trainer Drew Fulmer did a fabulous job finding races for some of our horses and he has five entries.  On Saturday, Inclined to Win and Pursuxit are running.  Sun Catcher is scheduled to run on Sunday.  Yuma Thurman and Elusive Moment are entered in races on Septmber 16th and 17th.

We got our fingers crossed that this will prove to be a profitable venture.  We are keeping the faith and hoping for the best.  Our horses are healthy and ready to run so here we go.

After that, my equine kids will all be coming home.  I live less than a mile from Turf Paradise so I will be visiting my horses as soon and as often as I can.  Having the horses near brings me the greatest joy.  They are professional athletes, but they are my sweethearts.

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Long Hot Summer — How many ways can you lose?

Every summer it’s time for our thoroughbred horses to leave home (Phoenix, AZ) and race in a more temperate climate.  The 100 degree temperatures of Phoenix are too stressful for our equine family.

For the last few years, we have traveled to Farmington and Albuquerque New Mexico for racing at Sunray Park and Albuquerque Downs.  Racing in New Mexico is extremely challenging.  Being away from home is hard enough, but competing in an environment that favors local trainers and horses adds to the mix.  It’s not that it’s unfair, it’s just that the number of races available to horses that are not New Mexico bred are often limited.  This is then compounded by the difference in the geography.

New Mexico is at a much higher altitude and so our horses first must become accustomed to that change.  The soil conditions are different as well.  It is more mountainous in the NM area than in urban Phoenix.  There are more rocks and stones that the horses are not used to running on.

This led to our first trial in attempting to win in New Mexico.  At least two of our dozen horses that we took to New Mexico suffered from foot problems.  One of our fillies was unable to race the entire summer because she was so “tender” footed.  An older gelding had some foot problems which were solved about half way through the summer.

Another consideration is the configuration and the depth of the tracks.  The tracks in New Mexico are called “Bull Ring” tracks which means they are smaller, more round than oval and as a result have much sharper turns.  The depth of the tracks also effects the horses.  It’s almost like running on the beach rather than on solid ground.  As a result, many of our horses tired early.  Some of our horses actually like the tracks for the configuration as well as the depth.  Unfortunately, not many races were available for them this year.

We have one horse who is very big and he has great difficulty with the sharp turns.  So as fast as he is, Sunray Park was not a good fit for him.  We had one horse that we were sure would be a winner this summer because he likes the smaller track.  In his first race for us at Sunray Park he took a bad step which proved to be fatal and had to be put down.  This was a heartbreaker for sure.

We finally got near the end of the meet and our horse Elusive Moment won a race, only to be disqualified.  This was definitely a game changer.  After reviewing the race several times I was convinced that the stewards made a terrible mistake and our horse should be awarded the win.  After a few discussions with the trainer, it was decided that because it was just a claiming race, we had little or no chance of winning and the cost of fighting the decision not worth it.  If it had been an allowance or stake race, there is no doubt that we would have fought that decision, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet.

Down to our last four races of the meet and we were ready to go.  We had two races on Sunday and two races on the last day of the meet, Tuesday.  The horses in the two races on Sunday were picked to come in second or third by the handicapper.  We were feeling confident that these two races would make the summer.

Mother Nature decided to work against us.  Farmington got a great deal of rain and the track was flooded.  Racing was cancelled for Friday and Saturday.  We were hoping the track would be fit by Sunday.  I followed the weather reports for Farmington and the chance of additional rain on Sunday was at 15%.  I was confident that we had dodged the bullet.  No such luck.

Early this morning, I received a text message from our trainer.  The last two days of racing at Sunray Park had officially been cancelled.

How many ways can you lose?  We lost a horse, we were disqualified and finally the weather did us in.

I am hoping that bad luck comes in threes so that we have finished our bad streak.  There are some races back at Albuquerque during the month of September, so I think we will try there again.

October 17th is opening day at Turf Paradise and I can hardly wait.  There is no place like home.

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Off and running at Sunray Park

So the meet at Sunray Park in Albuquerque started on July 3rd.  It was a grand start for our trainer Drew Fulmer.  He entered his oldest horse Canard.  Canard is a wonder horse.  He is sweet and gentle.  He’ll eat just about anything offered to him and he is a big strong horse.  He started out a gray, but with age, he looks almost white.  Canard is 11 years old which is surprising for a thoroughbred still racing.  Canard had a wonderful race and beat out the kids in the field.  Even the announcer called him an old-timer.  It was a grand start for the beginning of the meet.

The next day turned out to be a disaster, when we lost Cut to the Front.  As I previously posted, one bad step and it was all over.  The veterinarian made the call.  The horse could not survive and was in pain so he was put down.  It was heart breaking for me and the trainer.

The next racing day did not prove to help our moods.  Inclined to Win made a gallant start, but the pace was too fast for the distance and he tired.  Inclined to Win did so well at Albuquerque, but he really likes a deeper track with a slower pace up front.  He pulled up good so we were happy with that and went on to the next race.  Pursuxit ran in the last race of the day.  He got off well and looked ready to go.  Suddenly the jockey checked him really hard.  The horse took the lead from the jockey and immediately slowed his pace.  The sudden jerk of the jockey seemed obvious to me that something frightened the jockey and there is not much we could do once the jockey put the brakes on.  It is difficult to judge what caused this sudden reaction by the jockey, but it had to be instinct on the part of the rider.  The races go at such speed that it is unfair to be upset with the rider whose responsibility to not only to protect himself, but also the horse he is riding.  So the day ended on a low note.

Today is our next chance to try to get back into the swing of things.  My favorite horse Tonight at Eleven is running.  I know he is getting old but he has a lot of heart and I am hoping he will help out Drew today and perform at his best.  I am also hoping that we will get a good ride which is essential to a win.

I have my fingers crossed and wish for the best.  It’s horse racing, a fast dangerous, but most exciting game.  Wish us luck.

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Broken Hearted

Yesterday was a real heart breaker for me.  We had our horse Cut to the Front running at Sunray Park.  He was training so good and looked ready to win.  We had claimed him with the intent that he would do so well at Sunray because he was a short distance runner.

He broke well and was in 2nd when suddenly one misstep and it was all over.  The jockey pulled him up as soon as he could but he was vanned off.  The Veterinarian gave us the bad news and said Cut to the Front would not survive this injury and he was in terrible pain.  We had to have Cut to the Front put down.

We have lost horses in the past, but for some reason this one has been the hardest for me.  I just knew it was one of those day when Fate would take its course.  There was nothing we could do to change destiny, but we are still very sad to have lost this wonderful horse.

cut to the frontSleep well Baby — We will miss you!

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We can all be winners.  I was thinking about how lucky some of us are.  Is everyone lucky?  My guess is no.  Some of us appear to be more lucky than others.  Is it really luck or is it persistence.

Everyone, no matter of social or economic class has been given some talents.  It is what we do with those talents that really matters.  Realistically, there are several boundaries that might cause us to limit our success, but we should all experience some degree of success in our lives.

I am of course an eternal optimist but I think we are responsible for our own decisions.  Being able to accept responsibility for our actions is key to success.  If we fail or fall on “bad times” who is responsible?  There are outside influences no doubt that limit our success, but that is no reason to stop trying.

Some people just seem to be in the right place at the right time.  Some have family influences that aid to their success, and likewise some are limited by their family’s economic or social backgrounds.

Perhaps we need to define success in a different light.  Some consider wealth as a sign of success.  If that were the case, I guess all rich people would be happy with their lives and consider themselves successful.  I think someone who makes the best cookies in the neighborhood to be a big success.  All the kids in the neighborhood surely think of that person as special and that is a success in itself.

We need to be comfortable in our own skin to be successful.  We are who we are and have certain talents.  We need to use those talents to make ourselves and those around us happy.  Then are we successful.

With success comes thankfulness.  Each day we should be thankful for our successes and work at minimizing our failures.  Being happy and healthy are by far the greatest part of success.  Take care of yourself physically and try to be happy.  A good laugh can always make the troubles go away.  Have a fun day and be grateful for what your have.  Then you will be happy and that’s real success.

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Back home in Phoenix, AZ

Our horses have all been settled for the new meet at Sunray in Farmington, NM.  Our trainer, Drew Fulmer did a wonderful job of getting all my equine kids moved and ready to go.

It is time to reflect on just how fortunate I have been.  My husband Bill has been an inspiration and he is really a dreamer.  If it had not been for him, I never would have owned a thoroughbred horse.  That was his dream, but I really have gotten more involved in the day to day activities of the thoroughbreds.  It has been an exciting time for me, especially as I get older and can not do all the physical activities that I have done in the past.  I am more of a spectator now and what better game to watch than the racing game.  The horses are splendid and leave my heart beating fast whenever they race.  The horses are my buddies when it comes to having an ear or two to listen to my joys and tribulations.  Horses are great listeners especially when it comes with a few carrots for them.

But, I am more than just a horse owner.  I have five children.  They are all grown.  My oldest son is a minister, so I got my direct connection to Heaven taken care of.  He and his family live in Virginia, so I don’t see them often.  I have two grandchildren, a boy and a girl.

I also have three daughters who live in Arizona.  My oldest daughter is a professional caregiver for patients with physical limitations and/or dimentia.  She is my health care backup when needed.  She has proven to be the most attentive and helpful, along with her fiancee who is a sweetheart of a guy.

My middle daughter is the hardest working of all.  She works more hours than any of the children, but seems to sometimes struggle.  She reminds me more of my mother than any of the other children.  I think that is because of her kind and generous nature, as well as the fact that she physically resembles my maternal grandmother.

The youngest daughter has always been the most troublesome and the rebel of the family.  She is a beautiful child with the most amazing voice.  She has sung semi-professionally and has perfect pitch.

My youngest son is a graduate of Georgetown Law School and also studied at Oxford.  He is the baby of the family and he recently got married.  He found himself a beautiful bride who is also a very sweet girl.  Everyone in the family like our new addition to the family.  Here is a picture of the new bride and my son admiring her.

weddingI am sure that you can see why I think I am one of the luckiest people alive.  I love my family dearly and I also have my equine family for extra comfort and support.

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