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!
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.
View some really good photos of Dreaming of Anna.