Heroes: Warming the Heart

Good stories, racing, and its flip side. For this entry, I have a hodgepodge of feel good stories.

In case you missed this, visit ESPN's My Wish page and under the video headline, choose My Wish:Smarty Jones.

This video is going to touch you, so watch this when you want a heartwarming story.


Next up...campaigners
. The title of campaigner in Thoroughbred racing holds more weight today. If a horse is a campaigner, my respect is automatically boosted to the next level. I don't even care if you are a gelding and "have" to race since the breeding shed doesn't need you. Many of us have followed some old friends still on the track. Of course there are many who are retired, but I want to focus on horses from recent competition.

Horses were created to run and romp in herds and be in competition, and it is amazing to see some of the stats for horses that run for several seasons. Even some of those campaigners that have been injured, sometimes severely, return to amaze.

Here are just a few recent campaigners that came to mind. Feel free to add more.

List: All photos are by Anne M. Eberhardt
Brass Hat
Better Talk Now
Ouija Board

Ouija Board by Anne M. Eberhardt
Perfect Drift
Perfect Drift by Anne M. Eberhardt
Ginger Punch
Ginger Punch by Anne M. Eberhardt
Funny Cide
Funny Cide by Anne M. Eberhardt
The Tin Man
The Tin Man by Anne M. Eberhardt
Lava Man
Lava Man by Anne M. Eberhardt

Like old friends who you can rely on, the horses I mentioned put forth a good, typically talented effort.

The Bandit:

So this blog post brings me to one specific horse. A Thoroughbred you ask? No.

A half-Arabian named Elmer Bandit.

37 years young
20,480 miles traveled on hoof
(the record distance is held by Wing Tempo at 20,710)

Bandit is a competitive trail horse. So he isn't just your average flat terrain horse, but rocks, mountains, rivers...you name it. Elmer first hit my radar back in April, while working on the Ryder Report for TheHorse.com. Read up on this horse and what he has done and is remarkably setting out to do.



So even though he isn't a Thoroughbred, I thought he deserved  some love. Are there horses, of any breed, you want to praise? Name them and explain why.


Leave a Comment:

needler in Virginia

Evening Attire should qualify, AND if you really want to meet a "campaigner" (at bottom levels, I might add) go to www/.../bio-swan.shtml and meet a real hero!

Thanks for this lovely blog!

Cheers to all.

03 Sep 2008 1:06 PM

Lovely pictures Adam. I really like the Ginger Punch and The Tin Man ones. Sorry I can't get the "Larry" pics to you right now.Several reasons of which I can't get into now,however I'll be working on that as soon as I can. Again sorry for the delay. On the up side he has a new buddy. A 5yr old we bought to run on the "B" circuit here.They have been introduced and are bonding nicely. My husband had an old horse that was a 5F specialist (track record).When the old guy said it was time to quit I turned him into a ponyhorse. That horse packed me around the track for a year looking after me and the racehorse. His attitude and heart was well known but the pleasure he took in his new role was amazing.It humbles me to realize how giving these animals are, and how hard they try to please.You look after them and they return it ten fold. I hope you get a bunch of feel good comments on this subject.

03 Sep 2008 1:25 PM

Hope you let us know if Bandit gets his record

03 Sep 2008 1:55 PM

needler: you weren't joking about SWAN'S WAY. Wow, 16 places and 15 shows...not to mention the 8 wins. Definitely impressive.

Wanda: I will be happy to look at the pics whenever things work out =), no rush. And it is true, horses have personality and they do enjoy pleasing you.

03 Sep 2008 1:58 PM
Buffy Trott

Good on you for pointing Elmer out. The world is filled with stories far beyond the track, and it nice to see you mention one. Thanks, Buffy

03 Sep 2008 2:56 PM

    Brass Hat is another I would add to the campaigner list.  Although his lifetime starts (25) aren't as high as horses like Evening Attire, Perfect Drift, etc., the fact that he came back from 2 potentially career threatening injuries to still race is very remarkable.  Hope the old boy is able to run well in the upcoming Mass Cap.

    Another feel good story that unfortunately turned tragic was Ten Cents A Shine.  It was great that he was able to be turned into a steeplechase horse, but very sad a year ago when he had to be euthanized because of his injury on the turf.

    It seems that these days the diehard horse racing fans can only follow geldings & mares at the top levels for a prolonged period of time with all the colts being retired to stud so early.  It seems like many of the big time owners just race to breed these days (increase stud value with a few big wins) instead of breeding to race.  I guess that's why although I love to see the best and classiest horses run, I have more respect for the hard knocking claimer and Average Joe owner.  To me, they're what racing is all about.

03 Sep 2008 5:08 PM

What a great post.  Will never forget Ouija Board - I was in tears and goose pimples all the way through her second turf win.  A true champion.  

One to add to the list?  Australian legend, Makybe Diva.

03 Sep 2008 9:06 PM

Let's not forget the late, great Theodore O'Conner.

03 Sep 2008 9:07 PM

Your question asked about horses, of any breed that we want to praise so I want to give a big hurrah to the Mustang. Their spirit is amazing and their will to survive is beyond comprehension! I have seen them in the grasslands and in the desert. Sometimes it is so cold outside that you wonder how any living thing can survive. At other times, the heat so intense that you can hardly breathe. These horses often go miles and miles to find food and water as they stay together for protection. Their immense beauty is overwhelming, and they embody the true American spirit of freedom and pride!

03 Sep 2008 9:12 PM

Thanks for looking beyond the norm of the day - Curlin, BB & the like. Patrick's story is truly inspiring. I'm glad to see you include Lava Man, a personal favorite of mine. I hope you will do more blogs of this nature from time to time.  

03 Sep 2008 9:22 PM

I love the little claimers that run around - Poundcake isn't quite as fresh as he use to be at the age of 8 but he still gets the job done.

Does Einstein count at the age of 6?

Ten and eleven year old harness horses are no rarity. Talk about campaigners. They still get their 2 races or more in each MONTH.

An eleven year old at the harness track in Saratoga last month had 206 starts to his name. Another TEN y/o had 188 starts with 18 starts this year, 4 wins, 3 places and 2 shows. Not too shabby if I might say so myself.

03 Sep 2008 10:13 PM
needler in Virginia

Yeah, Adam, he really was a hard knocker and raced LOOOONG after he should have been chomping grass in a paddock! But you should see him now....really handsome, clear eyes and a pretty happy camper according to Michael, and I know Swanny feels MUCH better since I've signed him up as an official citizen of Red Sox Nation... Michael wears the hat, but the e-mails are addressed to the horse!

Nice blog and lovely stories.

03 Sep 2008 11:01 PM

Another one that comes to mind is the sprinter Spooky Moulder just won a race @ Monmouth recently at 10.Whether they race or not all horses,all animals, for that matter should be treated with love and kindness for that is how they treat us.

04 Sep 2008 12:00 AM

Einstein is a personal favorite of mine, so we can put him in as a campaigner, without hesitation.

I have heard of Makybe before. Born 1999, but I didn't remember her having the record she does. With  2004 Australia Champion Stayer, 2005

Australia Horse of the year, 2005

Australia Champion Stayer, 2006 Australia Horse of the year, 2006

Australia Champion older mare, and 2006 Australia Champion Stayer. Add those to her record of 36-15-4-3 10.8 Million in earnings.

Spooky Moulder is interesting, born in 1998 with 7 stakes wins, inculding first at the Hockessin Stakes at Delaware Park. 82 Starts with 34 wins, 16 shows and 4 places.

Pound Cake holds 67 starts with 9 wins, 10 shows, and ten places. A full time job for him, definitely.

04 Sep 2008 8:46 AM

My personal fav: Larry the Longshot.(Silver of Silver-San Jacinto Blues by Royal Prayer).

84 starts-15-17-12, earnings-100,784. All starts at the bottom claiming level. Now lives as a lawn ornament.

04 Sep 2008 10:34 AM

I'd throw Dreaming of Anna in there, because who runs the 2YO filly champ at age four. That's awesome.

04 Sep 2008 1:03 PM

Hear, hear! If any horse deserves to be on this list, it is certainly Evening Attire! In fact, if you look in the dictionary under "campaigner", you'll find his picture!

04 Sep 2008 2:48 PM

How about Yeats?

Winner of the Ascot Gold Cup in 2006, 2007, and 2008 - a 2.5 mile race!  He was the first to do it 3 times in a row.  Still going strong at age 7 with his most recent victory being the Goodwood Cup in July which he won by an impressive 7 lengths!

Is it too late to put the BC "marathon" on grass?

04 Sep 2008 4:48 PM

Everyone of the animals pictured whether on grass or dirt would have whipped this years KY Derby winner. A nice collection of horse flesh.

08 Sep 2008 7:55 AM

I'm in love with Silverfoot

09 Sep 2008 9:18 AM

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