Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Be Thankful for Horses

As I was preparing pie crusts and cranberry sauce today, I was thinking (as this time of year invites us to do) about the things in my life I am thankful for. The list includes my bright, dashing partner; my cats; my health; my job; my friends; and living in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. But another thing I'm thankful for are horses, such as the great Lost in the Fog (pictured here). I miss that speedy boy. Cancer is a scourge not just to human beings.

It may seem funny, but by far the most people I've "met" because of this blog have been horse racing fans who send me emails out of the blue. Horse lovers, it appears, are generous to a fault. There's a stereotype of racing fans being cigar-chomping men who've plunked down hundreds on a horse's nose to win and who couldn't care less about the horses otherwise. 'Tain't so! For sure there are some of those, but every single horse racing fan I've met adores the animals, admires and respects their athleticism, and even loves certain individuals--because surely horses, like anybody, have unique personalities. (I've only been through the shedrows at Bay Meadows once, but I distinctly remember Monty Armi's horse, Comstock Cat, sticking his head out of his stall as I passed by and poking my shoulder with his nose. He wanted a scratch right THEN and THERE. Who could say no?)

I wrote a week ago or so about my partner's and my fantasy about finding the means to retire Proud Patrolman. (The darker side of horse racing is that there are some selfish owners and trainers who will run a horse into the ground; this is not to say that Proud Patrolman's trainer would do that, but Proud Patrolman is getting up there in years--9--and that's kind of old for a racehorse. He's put in his time. He's earned a half million bucks over his lifetime running in levels just a notch above the bush tracks. Yes, he's a bottom level claimer, but he's got a huge heart, and it's high time he got to relax and just hang out in a pasture and munch on grass and be given peppermints to crunch.

There's a wonderful place in Glen Ellen, CA (Sonoma County), a non-profit ranch run by a woman named Pam. She'd take Proud Patrolman if we could pay for his board (which we can't). My partner and I are willing to buy the horse outright or at least help buy him (or claim him, if we must, but that's a mighty commitment for us--$4,000 if we have to claim, assuming he doesn't get placed higher next race since he won his last race. Darn it.) But it appears sponsorship of a sound horse is $150 a month; I'm guessing to board a horse is even more. So I am hoping we win the lottery sometime soon.

In the meantime, because I am grateful that Pam at GEVA does such meaningful and needed work, I made a small Thanksgiving donation through Paypal to GEVA. If you are a horse lover, or an animal lover in general, I urge you to do the same. Check out GEVA's website here.

Thanks for helping.


Margo Moon said...

Keep that dream alive, Triple Secs. They do come true.

And if you're ever near Kentucky during a Churchill meet, let me know. We'll spend a day on the backside, betting at the mini-windows and strolling the barn area between races.

Joyce said...

Cool! For sure one of these days we'll make it to Churchill Downs. It'd be fun to see the backside. I like backsides, ya know. ;-)

Margo Moon said...

Yes, the racetrack is loaded with expressions that could be taken a number of ways. Like the one for a horse that hits the top of the stretch running last and pours it on to win. ;)

Joyce said...

A deep closer?

Boggles the mind.

Margo Moon said...

Term I always heard was 'come from behind.'

And when I was a teenager, I used to hang out at the track with my Dad and his friends!

Joyce said...

Ah yes, have heard that too. I have not personally come from behind but I've come while getting it from ... oh, never mind.

I don't even want to think about what your Dad and his pals would say. I still chuckle over the term "maiden race." Even the boys run in maiden races when they've not yet busted their, uh, cherries.

Margo Moon said...

Dang, Joyce, holding my ears on that first paragraph. Lalalalala...are you done talking yet?

Yep, maiden race is another one. And when hanging out with my Dad and his friends, I'm sure I was the only one who was hearing the double meanings. They were just too absorbed with the Form.

Joyce said...

Now don't you go acting all virginal on me! LOL

Isn't it funny to try and have a conversation with someone whose nose is buried in the Form? It's like talking to a wall. I usually just look quickly at trainer-jockey %s, Beyer figure, and recent works, and then, of course, the most important thing:

Is the horse cute?

Margo Moon said...

Oh, yeah, cute trumps Beyer every time.
And then there is "The Look." I've successfully bet many horses based on their attitude in the paddock.

Joyce said...

Oh yeah. My partner calls that "The Step." Horse has that jaunty walk, looks interested and confident, and isn't burning off so much energy pre-race you know he'll tank.