Dreams

With Dreaming of Anna being retired, I thought she deserved something special. I am a big fan of her's but my co-worker Amidala is quite possibly her number one fan. So I asked Amidala to write a guest blog on Dreaming of Anna and the following is that reflection. Enjoy!

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People fall in love with horses for a variety of reasons. Sometimes you can explain it, sometimes you can’t, and if you have been around long enough, you know you probably shouldn’t.

Bad things happen, horses are retired early, and you very well can end up broken-hearted. But sometimes they don’t let you down, and that possible reward is worth the risk every single time.

I remember quite clearly how and why I fell in love with the recently retired Dreaming of Anna. The first “major” assignment I had for the Blood-Horse was doing pedigree stories for the 2006 Breeders’ Cup, and one of my races was the Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).

Going into the race, I really wanted a homebred to win. I was very nervous about messing up, and it would make my work life easier if a homebred won because I was pretty much guaranteed the breeder would be on site. As I looked over the list of fillies who were contesting the race, I zeroed in on ‘Anna.’

She raced as a homebred for Frank Calabrese, which meant she met my criteria for work purposes. But more importantly to me, she is by Rahy, who happens to be one of my favorite stallions. I first “met” Rahy when I went to Three Chimneys to see Silver Charm. I had always respected him as a stallion, but after that visit, he vaulted to near the top of my list.

Additionally, Anna came with a poignant story. She had been named after Calabrese’s sister, who had lost her battle with cancer. Instead of being the horse I wanted to win because of work, Dreaming of Anna became the horse I wanted to win – period. And that is a far more pure and valid reason to cheer a horse to victory.

Anna didn’t let me down that day at Churchill. In fact, she wired the field and went on to be named champion 2-year-old filly.

While many 2-year-old champs have a difficult time retaining their ability as older horses, Anna was not one of them. The Juvenile Fillies may have been the highlight of her career, but she retired two years later with multiple graded stakes victories to her credit and more than $2 million in earnings.

More than that, every time she raced she made me smile. She is irrevocably intertwined with that Breeders’ Cup and all I learned, saw, and did there. I am also proud to say I saw her last start, the Oct. 3 First Lady Stakes (gr. IT) at Keeneland, even if it wasn’t one of her best performances.

Anna will now begin the next phase of her life as a broodmare, and her pedigree is a nice one. Her full brother, Lewis Michael, is a multiple graded stakes winner, and her dam, Justenuffheart, is a half-sister to champion turf horse Kitten's Joy and multiple grade I winner Precious Kitten. I hope that she succeeds as a broodmare, and I am looking forward to watching her foals run.

If she is not successful as a broodmare, chances are good that in time Dreaming of Anna will not be remembered by most race goers. She was a solid performer on dirt and turf, a Breeders’ Cup champion, and an Eclipse Award winner, but time blurs most memories.

That said, she will always hold a special place in my heart. From watching her lead her companions on a merry chase in 2006 to when she walked off the track in her final career start, she never let me down. And horses like her make up for everything else. They have to.

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View some  really good photos of Dreaming of Anna.

19 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Tiznowbaby

I really admired this mare, too. She beat the boys and she won on dirt and turf. How cool is that.

09 Oct 2008 5:19 PM
Tom

Amidala,

Thank you for a wonderfully written article about a beautiful champion who is our pride and joy here in Chicago.  While her final few races did not end the way we hoped they would, she ran her heart out every time.  Time does blur memories but I believe she will be remembered.  Twenty-five years have passed since the inaugural Breeders Cup and we still can look back fondly at Princess Rooney.  My memories of Anna will always include the touching scene when an emotional Frank C. Calabrese couldn't speak after her victory.  These are the moments that last.

09 Oct 2008 6:42 PM
da3hoss

Amidala, thank-you. I try to tuck them all in my heart. I'm glad she'll live on in yours, no matter if she's a "good" broodmare...she was bred to be a racehorse...she was good at that.

09 Oct 2008 7:06 PM
Teri

I first saw Dreaming of Anna early last summer, when the commentator said that he didn't think she was the same horse that she was the year before.  Well I often root for the underdog, so I wanted her to win very much, and she didn't let me down.  She showed everyone she was just as good.  The more I watched her run the more I fell in love with her.  She ran with all her heart.  I am very happy that she retired healthy.  I can't wait to see her babies!!

09 Oct 2008 7:43 PM
Luvthehorses

I have to agree.  She's a great horse.  I hope she will live a long, healthy life around people that will love and care for her.

09 Oct 2008 9:33 PM
MJ

I too loved Anna.  She ran because she was destined to be a racer.  You just saw the talent and ability everytime she was on the track.  She never acted up, she always saved her self for the race.  She ran becasue she loved it.

Good Luck sweet girl.  I will never forget you.

09 Oct 2008 9:50 PM
Anna Fan

I was at Keeneland this spring watching morning workouts during Rolex week and all three mornings I was there Anna came out and worked, and all three days she stopped at the rail right where my friend and I were standing and would say hi. It was the most incredible experience. What a special horse with equally special connections for letting her run so many years.

09 Oct 2008 11:19 PM
Rachel Satterfield

Anna was one of my favorites the last few years.  She is such a beautiful girl and has a striking presence about her.  I loved watching here here at Arlington and I will miss seeing her name in the program.  I wish her the best of luck as a broodmare and hope to see her foals run in a few years.  Thanks for the excitement Anna.  I'm another who will not forget you.

09 Oct 2008 11:27 PM
jamesb

#1 on my list of memories from Keeneland last weekend is seeing Dreaming of Anna being saddled.

10 Oct 2008 9:40 AM
Kateinabox

This isn't really about Anna but I have to say this blog struck a cord with me. You mentioned Silver Charm. He is my Dreaming of Anna. I picked him while watching pre-derby coverage back in 1997. He was so beautiful. I too got to see his last race in person. 1999 Stephen Foster. He came in 4th but it was so special to see him up close. He got me into racing 11 years ago. Ironically I studied Japanese is college and currently work in Japan... where Silver Charm has been a since December 2004. And I am watching his japanese first crop as 2 year olds. Tomorrow I am getting up at 6am, taking a 2hr train ride just to see 3 of his foals run at Tokyo Racecourse. Then doing it again on Sunday to see 2 more. It is hard to explain that love you can have for these athletes. I saw my first Japanese Silver Charm foal 2 weeks ago. I go every week hoping to see more, and if not just have a fun day at the races. I'll be making the pilgrimage to the JBBA Shichinohe Stallion Station in Tohoku's Aomori Prefecture (where Charm now resides) next summer.

I wish the best of luck to Dreaming of Anna as she enters into her new career! I hope her foals are all graded stakes winners! :D

10 Oct 2008 10:23 AM
gailg

Dreaming of Anna is very special to me. I've only been able to attend 1 Breeders Cup Event and fortunately it was the year "Anna" won the juvenile fillies. I loved her more because she never seemed to command the respect due her. I remember her flying around the final turn in the lead with a serious expression on her face, I can still feel the ground shake and hear the thunder of hooves furiously pounding the ground and the crowd cheering wildly. It's like it happened yesterday. It's not just a spectator sport--it's an experience like no other. I have never had that feeling when watching ANY kind of ball game.  If I never get to go again, this is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life. What a great day it was! Thanks to "Anna".

10 Oct 2008 10:35 AM
Brian A.

 Dreaming Of Anna, the first horse I became a fan of.  What a heart she has.  Totally versatile, and extremely game.  She's given fans a rare consistency in this inconsistent game.  I will sorely miss seeing her on the track.  I loved the way her ears flopped when she ran, did anyone ever notice?  They fly forward with her neck, and back again.  

10 Oct 2008 10:38 AM
darlene

Anna is a champion and always will be I hope she has a long and happy life at three chimmeys farm I wish they let people visit the mares like they do the stallions I would love to visit her. Have a happy retirement Anna and I hope your foals are champions.

10 Oct 2008 1:20 PM
RockyJan

I saw Anna at Keeneland last weekend and then had the absolute thrill of a lifetime to visit her Sunday morning in her stall.  I got my photograph taken with her and it's now one of my most treasured items.  She is such a sweetheart - everything you would expect from a professional.  She not only has been an exceptional athlete, but has a personality and character of a pro, yet you just know she has a kind, kind heart.  They could not have chosen a more perfect, fitting name for her.  I shall be dreaming of Anna and praying that her new lifestyle and home will suit her well.  Good luck Anna!

10 Oct 2008 2:18 PM
DONNA

 I also became a fan of Anna watching her races. I watched her in the paddock at Arlinton before

the Beverly D. this August and took pictures of her. She had such a beautiful and glistening coat that day. Also was at Keeneland Oct. 3rd and couldn't quite figure out why in the stretch she seemed to be going backwards when she had been second and was sure it was only a matter of strides before she would take off on the field.

When I saw this week shw had been retired it made me sad the think I would not be seeing her run again. I wish her the best and may her offspring be reflections of their beautiful mother.

10 Oct 2008 5:51 PM
Silver & Gold

Ehhhhhh Amidala-Jolly good blog on Dreaming of Anna. Although we live in a remote area, we keep up with the Big Races via the internet.

Anna was one of our favorites.Small world,we were also at Three Chimneys about the same time you were to see Silver Charm.With the Breeders Cup almost here,we also cherished visiting Wild Again.

12 Oct 2008 6:19 AM
Dreamer's Mom

I fell in love with Anna because her full name is a combination of the names of my best mare and her full sister!  Funny how something that silly will make you a fan!

Brian A.-that "floppy ear" thing is what I look for all the time when my horses run.  It means they are relaxed and having fun and not running for their life!

12 Oct 2008 9:20 AM
Whatever

She was a wonderful little mare.  I saw many of her races.  

13 Oct 2008 12:39 PM
Bellwether

rubbed her head @ Colonial Downs before she blew em away that day!!!Long Live The Queen!!!

24 Nov 2008 1:16 AM

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