Saturday, November 15, 2014

Farewell, Cigar...

Today was tough...wasn't able to attend, obviously, but just knowing the memorial was happening meant it was really time to say goodbye to a very special horse. 

Memorial Clip

Meeting Cigar was a highlight of late 2007 for me. I missed my chance to see John Henry one more time...I met him back in '88 when I was just a kid & planned a day trip to Lexington in early October '07 on a day off when I heard he wasn't doing well. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be. I was going to be about a week too late & would have to settle for paying my respects to a fresh grave and his empty stall. 

By the time I got there it was incredibly emotional...his stall & grave were overflowing with beautiful flowers, gifts &cards. People were crying, paying their respects & sharing stories. It was nothing but quiet sorrow on John's side of the barn. 

And then, across the aisle, there was Cigar...somehow he still brought so much light to the barn just with his presence. Can't explain it, really. You just had to smile when he stood tall & looked at you with that big, bright, kind eye of his...almost teasing you before snorting a bit & turning away to look at something that caught his eye outside. 


I tweeted earlier today that he is one of the proudest horses I've ever met...and I think that's the best way I can describe him. 

**He had every RIGHT to be STAND proud...and dammit, he KNEW it!!!** 

I'm honored to have met him, and as sad as I was to miss seeing John Henry again & to learn of his passing...honestly, I don't know if that can compare to the sorrow I feel at the loss of Cigar. 


I am physically incapable of watching his '95 Classic win without crying, and not ashamed to admit I've shed many tears since his passing. There are a handful of horses in our lifetime who prove to be the best of the best...the true far I think Cigar is IT in my ~35 years. 


Can't think of any North American racehorses, in my lifetime, who have REALLY matched him, so far. 

A few have been/come very close, John Henry is certainly one & I can probably also mention others like Wise Dan, Holy Bull, Personal Ensign, Curlin... 

Still. To borrow the infamous words of the immortal legend, in his own right, Tom Durkin...there will never be another like the "unconquerable, invincible, unbeatable Cigar!"

Monday, May 19, 2014

Go Chrome!!

Two down! One to go!!!

Belmont, GET READY!! Here HE Comes!!! 

And today NYRA made millions of people sigh with relief by not imposing their "nasal strip rule" for the Belmont, phew! 

I'm not exactly superstitious and at the end of the day those nasal strips aren't a huge deal either way, but still.  

That said, the stars really have aligned for this horse!!  What a crazy, fun ~3 months this has been! 

Haven't had this much immediate confidence in a horse since Barbaro, and to a slightly lesser degree Big Brown. 

After the Santa Anita Derby though, well..I only had one word...WOW!  

As far as I'm concerned, if Chrome stays sound, keeps that annoying throat blister at bay, and he remains healthy and happy with a good's all good on his end! And then as long as he gets out of the gate fairly well (the break isn't QUITE as crucial in the 12 furlong Belmont as it is in any other race, but still), Victor keeps him in the clear and just lets him run his race...well, it will be nearly impossible to beat him!  

So...Chrome...please continue to avoid mischievous STARTS like THIS... 


So we can see magnificent FINISHES like THIS! :)

I've literally been waiting my entire life to see a 3yo like Chrome tackle the elusive Triple Crown with a truly great chance at getting it done, and seems like he's finally here! 

Might I also point out, speaking of stars aligning and things like that, it IS The Year Of The HORSE!! ;)

With that said...all that's left is GO CHROME!! #GoChrome #CaliforniaChrome #Belmont #TripleCrown


On a quick side note...I must express my never ending adoration and therefore concern for the brilliant, TWO-time Horse of the Year, Wise Dan!

Just hope Dan is doing ok. Last update I saw was that they were able to graze him today. Gave us all quite a scare yesterday. Colic surgery is no small thing and even if he is eating again (always a good sign) and doing as well as they say, I'm not QUITE ready to believe that he'll return to Keeneland for training anytime soon. If and when he DOES return, he will either be a force to be reckoned with (he is THE CHAMP), after all ... or he might be ready to leave the track behind. Like his connections said though...I don't care if he never races again, just save his life! 

He'll be fine, I'm sure, and knowing Dan he'll probably bounce back better than ever. Like every true champion, he is all heart but most importantly he's a FIGHTER!!