Wanderin Wonder

Many horses like Wanderin Boy go through their entire career overlooked by the fans and media. They’re always dependable, showing up in many of the grade I stakes, and while they turn in huge efforts at times, they’re just not able to get to the finish line first and make that leap into the big-time.

At age 7, Wanderin Boy has made only 24 career starts, winning nine, with six seconds and three thirds for earnings of $1.2 million. Talk about not choosing one’s company wisely, he has finished second in grade I stakes to Curlin (Jockey Club Gold Cup), Invasor (Pimlico Special), Bernardini (Jockey Club Gold Cup), and Lawyer Ron (Whitney). He has, however, managed to win the grade II Brooklyn Handicap and the grade III Ben Ali, Alysheba, and Mineshaft.

At this point, you’re probably thinking, ‘OK, so what’s the point?’

The point is, a horse like Wanderin Boy – and I emphasize the word “horse” rather than gelding – often goes unnoticed because he’s never done anything that would cause people to pay a whole lot of attention to him, other than to say something like, “It was another good effort by Wanderin Boy, but he was no match for….”

But there often is much more to a horse than his record. In Wanderin Boy’s case, this is a horse who should be admired by all those fortunate enough to see him run his heart out race after race.

His owner and breeder, Arthur Hancock III of Stone Farm, had bought a season in Seeking the Gold, to whom he would breed his Pleasant Colony mare Vid Kid, a stakes winner of almost $300,000.

Vid Kid produced a beautiful foal on April 4, 2001, but on May 3, the one-month-old colt somehow fractured his sesamoid while out in the field.

Hancock had a small portable pen that could be moved around. He placed it outside the barn, so the colt and his mother would have grass and sunshine while the injury healed. They were in the pen for six weeks, after which the vet examined the colt’s leg and told Hancock to keep him in there for another eight weeks.

Dr. Bob Hunt told Hancock he definitely would not be able to sell the horse and gave him about a 5% chance of ever running. But Hancock believes in always giving a horse every chance to make it to the races, so he allowed the colt to progress like any other horse. After the 14 weeks in the pen the colt was put out in a small paddock for three or four weeks and then turned out with the rest of the herd in one of the spacious 100-acre fields.

He was broken with the other horses and managed to come around and show some ability. Not being able to sell him, Hancock sent him to the racetrack with trainer Nick Zito. But soon after arriving, he fractured his cannon bone and was sent back to the farm, where he was stall-rested for six weeks and then hand-walked for two weeks. Dr. Hunt operated on him, putting several screws in his leg. After performing the surgery, Dr. Hunt told Hancock, “I cant believe this horse has healed so well. This is unbelievable, but he looks great.”

Wanderin Boy returned to the racetrack, but a short while later he bucked his shins and it was back to the farm once again, where he was hand-walked for two weeks and pinfired. He was sent back to Zito for the third time at Keeneland and finally made it to the races, winning his debut by 2 3/4 lengths on Oct. 22, 2004.

Following a second in a one-mile allowance race at Churchill Downs, he won a 1 1/8-mile allowance race at Gulfstream and then went to Fair Grounds, where he captured the grade III Mineshaft Handicap, beating graded stakes winner Pollard’s Vision by 1 3/4 lengths. It was obvious this was going to be a major star for Zito.

Then came a shocking seventh-place finish in the New Orleans Handicap, but something apparently was brewing. Shortly after that race, he fractured his other cannon bone and had to have screws put in that leg, too. He was kept in his stall for eight weeks and then hand-walked. When Dr. Hunt came by and took X-rays of the leg, he said to Hancock, “This horse must be an alien. I’ve never seen a horse heal like this in all my life.”

When he was sent back to the track for the fourth time, track veterinarian Mark Cheney also couldn’t believe how quickly the horse had healed.

It didn’t take Wanderin Boy long to pick up where he had left off. After being sent to Keeneland following a pair of good efforts at Gulfstream, he won an allowance race by 10 lengths and the Ben Ali Handicap by 5 1/4 lengths. Sent off as the 3-5 favorite in the Pimlico Special, he appeared to have the race won, but was run down late by an unknown Uruguayan import named Invasor, whom Wanderin Boy had apparently put away on the far turn. Zito couldn’t believe he had gotten beat by this horse, but little did he know who it was at the time.

Wanderin Boy went on to win the Brooklyn Handicap and finish second to Bernardini in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. A series of good races and bad races followed, including a victory in the Alysheba Stakes and a second to Lawyer Ron in the Whitney, run in a track-record 1:46 3/5. Then came a well-beaten fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

Unfortunately, Wanderin Boy came out of that race dead-lame with an abscess in his foot. You guessed it, he was sent back to the farm yet again, where they had to pack his foot and let it grow out.

This year, he was getting ready for the Pimlico Special when Zito called Hancock at 7:30 one night and said, “I’m really worried about this horse. We need to send him to New Bolton (Medical Center). After being sent to New Bolton it was discovered the horse had a large stomach ulcer. He spent a while there being treated and then was shipped up to Saratoga, where he won first time back, capturing a seven-furlong allowance race by 3 1/4 lengths in 1:21 4/5. That was followed by a third in the Woodward to Curlin, breaking from the far outside post, and a second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, beaten three-quarters of a length by the defending Horse of the Year.

Here was a 7-year-old horse, who has gone through more ordeals than any horse in memory, still at the top of his game and running toe-to-toe with the mighty Curlin.

As Hancock said, “Isn’t that amazing? He just keeps coming back. I hope one of these races his day will come.”

The next time you see Wanderin Boy run, you might want to look at him in a different light and marvel at all he’s overcome. He's earned it.

83 Comments

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Conni

An amazing story of patience and persistance, It would be an honor to send a mare to him.

01 Oct 2008 12:48 PM
karenkarenn

Thank You for your article. I always watch for Wanderin Boy in the Graded Races, he is special.

01 Oct 2008 12:50 PM
Bradgm

A true story of how to overcome adversity, us humans could learn some lessons. You know what, I'd love to have an honest horse like him, probably over some of the superstars, even if it did take an amazing amount of care and patience from the humans, probably taught them a lesson or two.

01 Oct 2008 1:24 PM
Bill

Amazing story.  This illustrates just how big a heart this horse has; he almost always lays his body down in his races.  It also illustrates how very little most of us really know about these horses and what goes on behind the scenes.  Most of us would have never bet a dime on this horse had we been aware of his litany of infirmities.  Thank you, Steve, for enlightening us [as always]

01 Oct 2008 1:36 PM
Bryan

Another great older horse who has flown under the radar for so long and a horse I am not ashamed to say I lost a buck or two on thinking the conditions were just right for him to pull the upset.

On the topic of old warriors, I think we cannot forget the recent retirement of the venerable Evening Attire.  What a gallant warrior he was, and I was looking foward to seeing him show his talent and class to the world in the Breeders Cup Marathon.  Glad to hear is retiring relatively sound and to a great home I am sure.

01 Oct 2008 1:45 PM
Tom

I think it was Vince Lombardi who said, "The greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we do."  Wanderin Boy has the heart of a champion.  He never backs down from anyone and last Saturday he let the greatest horse in the world know he was in for the fight of his life.  As more and more of today's superstars retire at age 3, we value the Evening Attires, Perfect Drifts and Wanderin Boys more and more.  I look forward to visiting him in retirement at Stone Farm soon.

01 Oct 2008 1:45 PM
Brian A.

Wow, thanks Steve.  I never had a clue as to Wanderin Boy's past, aside from his race-record.  Undoubtedly I will be looking at him in a different light from now on.  Great story, thanks!

01 Oct 2008 1:51 PM
Monica V

Steve,

Grear story!  I had no idea Wanderin Boy had such a history.  Wouldn't it be great if he got the chance to win a great big one!  All those injuries and illness as well and still runs like a champ.

I hope they breed him.  Think of the babies he would pass down his tenaciousness and heart to.

01 Oct 2008 2:00 PM
Jamie

I had no idea. We need to hear more stories like this about the "not-quite-champions." They have their own unique identities just like the Big Browns and Curlins, after all. I probably won't look at Wanderin Boy the same again.

Thanks, Steve, for a great article with unique insight.

01 Oct 2008 2:10 PM
DARLA

wow!!! after this story he is definitely something special!!

01 Oct 2008 2:15 PM
Tammy

Stone Farm has always been one of my favorite farms, personally I think they raise good tough horses, so I have followed Wanderin Boy's career with interest. By following my Virtual Stable I did notice the long breaks in works but I had no idea what Wanderin Boy was going through. From the time he was a foal this horse has been challenged in every way. Now that I know his story my respect for him has shot up to the sky.

Thank you Wanderin Boy for your heart of a thoroughbred, Thank you Mr. Hancock for not giving up, and thank you Mr. Haskin for giving us this story.  You Sir are a Thoroughbred.

01 Oct 2008 2:16 PM
tbpartnerperson43

I was frankly amazed that the colt wasn't put down when he fractured his sesamoid.  Most owners lack the resources, and most certainly the patience to deal with  the kinds of injuries suffered by this horse.  He is a marvel to watch run.  His heart always shows.  

01 Oct 2008 2:18 PM
mg

Nice job Steve. It truly demonstrates the courage and fortitude of the thoroughbred race horse. Kudos to Arthur Hancock and Nick Zito for exhibiting what horsemenship is all about and giving this horse every opportunity. After reading this piece I'll surely be rooting for him. What a gamer he is.

01 Oct 2008 2:21 PM
da3hoss

He's the poster boy for "heart".

01 Oct 2008 2:22 PM
quinella

Wandering Boy is always in my tri.  But he should have been gelded after all those early fractures, despite his nice pedigree.  When retired, he probably will cannonball yet more unsoundness in to the gene pool.

01 Oct 2008 2:50 PM
Ernie Munick

Excellent piece

01 Oct 2008 2:54 PM
Richard

I've seen Wanderin Boy run against Bernadini, and both times against Curlin this year.  I always, always play him in the exacta because I know he is going to show up and run his heart out.  And also, I'm willing to put money on him just because I like him -- he is always up there running, daring the others to catch him.

And, I didn't even know this story about him.  Makes me like him all the more.  

He is one of those horses that wins your heart.  WHO CARES IF HE WINS THE RACE!

01 Oct 2008 3:13 PM
John's Call

Didn't Zito have another horse recently that was good, but not quite a champion?  SunKing... Didn't he run his guts out against Invasor too?  

01 Oct 2008 3:23 PM
Anne M

Thanks for the wonderful story - I will never ignore Wanderin Boy again. An amazing and resilant horse with wonderful owners and trainer.

I saw Seeking the Gold at Claiborne Farm this summer -he is an impressive horse who sires quality runners.

01 Oct 2008 3:38 PM
Ellie M

He's a great horse. I hope the connections don't keep running him so long that he has a catastrophic breakdown. Although he apparently heals well, the number of problems he's had with his legs would certainly give me cause for concern if he were mine. Remember Second of June? He had several leg injuries and they kept fixing him up and putting him back on the track until he had a "Barbaro-type" breakdown and was euthanized. I hope Wanderin Boy gets to retire soon and live the rest of his life pain free.

01 Oct 2008 4:13 PM
Meg

a record definetly isnt the measure of all race horses, Wanderin Boy has enough for a Derby feild, IMO. amazing horse, hope he's around for a little longer to enjoy but when he is retired, he'll have earned it.

01 Oct 2008 4:13 PM
Cgriff

How rare is it to see an entire (ungelded) horse running at 7 years of age - let alone at top level competition??

That, folks, is what's called "sportsmanship."  Arthur Hancock could have sold him years ago with his various maladies and on-again/off-again racing schedule.  But he didn't - and that says a mouthful about the quality of the man as well as the horse.  I'll loop Zito in on this as well - his patience with older horses is becoming legendary - and what results!

Like everyone else, I was thrilled that Jess Jackson kept Curlin in training as a 4-yr-old - it was a sporting gesture.  But......run him at 5 - that's being a sportsman in the truest sense.  Spit in the eye of money, stud values, etc and let a horse run at a horse's age.  Let the legend build.

When (if) we see that type of philosophy from the owners at the top of the game - then we might see the first steps to resurgence in the sport.

01 Oct 2008 4:44 PM
anne

Thank you for the amazing story of the Amazing Wandering Boy. I've always liked him but had no idea what all he went through.  He is a true Champion in my book & in my heart he's loved more than Curlin!

01 Oct 2008 6:08 PM
Plenilune

What an amazing history of Wanderin Boy…7 years old, intact, still running, and is certainly no slouch with much to be respected! I never knew he had such a troubled life. Yet he still comes back to fight the good fight - rather inspirational, actually. I wouldn’t mind having him in my stable (if I had one, LOL)! ;-)

Kudos to Arthur Hancock for sticking by this horse. That says a hell of a lot about this man. Racing may be more of a business, an industry, but one that could sure use more folks and horses like this who remind us that this is the Sport of Kings.

01 Oct 2008 6:15 PM
Runfast159

Thank you for sharing this story.  I am often fascinated and amazed by the lives of the horses I so admire.

HOWEVER, I question the wisdom of running a horse that has already suffered through 3 fractures.  I would question even more if they turn him into a stallion some day.  Let's not forget that Ruffian's sire Reviewer was notoriously unsound.  Unsoundness tends to beget unsoundness.  Seeking the Gold?  He has been described as "brittle."  So it would be no surprise to me that his son Wanderin Boy is as well.  

Please, please retire this Boy.  He deserves it.

01 Oct 2008 6:49 PM
Meg

ment to say. he has enough Heart for a Derby feild, must have gotten cut out

01 Oct 2008 6:51 PM
gerrie

You did it again, Steve.  To think, Wanderin Boy has been through so much and came back again and again.  

If not for you, who would have known?  Your article makes watching him ever so much more special.  Thanks to you for the great words and to Nick Zito for being such a great trainer.

01 Oct 2008 7:30 PM
MRO

I've always liked Wanderin Boy & hoped that he would turn the tables on a Curlin, who I've never been that excited about (sorry!) or an Invasor. I just never knew why I liked him so much. I must have known his story ... without having known his story. Nice to hear others voice support. Hopefully, he'll get one big one before his racing days are through.

01 Oct 2008 8:01 PM
russell maiers

I have to say Your article nailed me. I had no idea. Great job Steve. What a fantastic wonderful horse that to my shame I at least got to know today.

01 Oct 2008 8:33 PM
Don

Excellent - almost unbelievable! - story.  Although I hadn't heard of WB before the race, I loved his chances against Curlin - and WB gave it everything, a rare sighting of one horse enhancing the allure of two.

Something occurred last Saturday at Belmont that made the perma-drizzle, in the long run, memorable.

I slammed Steve a while back in another forum for being the co-author of a dreadful Bob Baffert bio.  It's time to come to his defense.

I was chatting with "Joe" in the elevated paddock area when he called out to Steve, who was exiting the paddock, to come over.

Hanging over the paddock railing to our left was a short, obese, & beady-eyed man wearing a fifty-nine dollar suit.  His resemblance to Senator Joe McCarthy occurred to me later.

He suddenly took it upon himself to interrupt Joe's conversation with Steve to obscenely rant about how screwed up the Bloodhorse is.  

Steve took it mildly (as Joe & I stared at this miserable creature in subdued shock & disgust); told him then, fine, don't read it; received another surly blast about how DRF was just as screwed up; said good day to Joe, & turned & calmly walked away with his dignity intact.

Joe later made a point of stating what a great guy Steve was.  To me, that's far more important than how well someone can write.  May all of Steve's friends stand by him, as intrepidly, in the years to come.

01 Oct 2008 8:38 PM
ctgreyhound

I am awestruck by the fortitude of this horse.  I am equally impressed that his owner didn't take the easy way out and give up on him.  Kudos to them both!  I will watch Wanderin Boy's exploits with renewed interest.  Thanks for the "feel good" of the day (maybe the week, maybe the month, maybe the ...).

01 Oct 2008 9:43 PM
MIKE RELVA

HELLO STEVE:

AS USUAL ANOTHER GREAT STORY. I HAD NO IDEA REGARDING W B'S PAST PROBLEMS. I KNOW WHEN I WATCHED HIM ALMOST BEAT CURLIN,MY IMPRESSION WAS HE LOOKS AT THE TOP OF HIS GAME,SIMILAR TO THE GREAT COMMENTATOR.

01 Oct 2008 9:45 PM
Matthew W

He's a pretty good old horse! Had a slow pace in the slop the way he likes it! Curlins just so good! Wanderin Boy shouldda won that Gr 1--it took a hoss like the great Curlin to keep him out of the winners circle!

01 Oct 2008 9:51 PM
Chris Taylor

I wouldn't be  surprised if Wanderin Boy could beat Big Brown.Maybe one day after the Breeders cup classic we will see thAt happen.Wanderin Boy is a nice gelding that has alot of potential regardless of his injuries.Good job to the connections of this horse.

01 Oct 2008 11:25 PM
Chris Taylor

Could the connections possibly send Wanderin Boy to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs for maybe the apple blossom or the Martha Washington Stakes.That would be a good place for this horse.Thanks, I would love to see him in person.

01 Oct 2008 11:28 PM
Johnny

Great, great story! Thank you, Steve for opening my eyes to this amazing horse. Shame on me for taking Wanderin Boy for granted. I never knew about his history of injuries. What a gutsy horse with a huge heart! It's extraordinary that he's been able to accomplish what he has after enduring all those injuries; and an ulcer to boot.

It will be pretty tough not to root for this horse now, no matter who's in the race with him. When a horse has been through as much as Wanderin Boy has, then come back time after time and go toe-to-toe with the best runners, how can anyone not love him and wish him the greatest success?

This horse is truly amazing and wonderful!

02 Oct 2008 12:01 AM
Brigitte

Now that I know his story I'll enjoy following him at the races, he was just another name before now.

But much as I admire his heart and respect his talent I hope he does not have a great future as a stallion. Too many broken bones.

02 Oct 2008 1:07 AM
The Deacon

Always a good play in the exotics, and always an honest effort from the ' Boy. Great article Steve...................

02 Oct 2008 2:32 AM
Helen

Everyone complains that horses do not run paast their 3year old races, but here is a horse doing it and enough people don't take notice. Thanks for the story, we always watch for Wanderin Boy, and root for him.

02 Oct 2008 2:43 PM
GingerBoy

Now that Evening Attire is retired, Wanderin Boy has become my "go-to" old warrior. He shares many of EA's attributes, in that he's run against the best and always gives his best effort. I love these "old guys"!

02 Oct 2008 2:53 PM
F. Weldon

Thanks, Steve, for such a great article about a great champion. As the old saying goes, "It's not whether you win or loss but, how you play the game." I admire Wanderin Boys' connections, Nick Zito and Mr. Hancock, for taking such good care of this beautiful horse.

I also want to say that I think you have a beautiful heart. So many of your books and stories have touched me deeply. Thanks so much for sharing that part of yourself. Your love and respect for horses always comes through your written word.

02 Oct 2008 7:06 PM
jack Z

this horse has healed, so he is not unsound.  He just run himself so hard on Americas unsafe fast dirt tracks and sometimes good athletes get injured.  If he was unsound he would have never recovered as a foal. So don't pin such a comment on old wb or others like him.  Can't wait to see him in the cigar mile  

02 Oct 2008 7:14 PM
Marciaq

Loved seeing the story on Wanderin Boy.  I have his 1/2 brother Mt. Vidmore (Mt. Livermore x Vid Kid, the picture of class, who is starting a career as a sporthorse stallion in Maryland and it is tremendously interesting to learn about his brother.  Will we see WB on Breeder's Cup day?  I'll be cheering for him!

03 Oct 2008 9:22 AM
Wanda

I like others here didn't know the whole story. Really amazing that he's at the top level after all that. Maybe a certain someone who knocked this horse on Jason's blog should read yours. If you didn't catch it he said Curlin beat nothing in the JCGC, I think not.

03 Oct 2008 10:18 AM
txhorsefan

Thanks again, Steve, for another wonderful story about a horse who truly is a champion whether he's won all the right races or not.  I've always thought well of him when I saw him entered in a race, but certainly didn't understand his history of injuries and incredible comebacks.  Thank you for the great story and thank you to his great connections.

txhorsefan

03 Oct 2008 11:33 AM
draynot

Great insight!!

I loved his last race, he ran his heart out once again. His tough luck continued as the only horse in the world who could have beaten him that day happened to be in the race. What a list of those who have defeated him. Curlin, Invasor, Bernardini, Laywer Ron, that's a barn full!!

If this horse had been born 4 years later we would be marvelling at how much better he was than the rest of his class.

03 Oct 2008 3:59 PM
KatintheHat

It's good to see this horse get the respect he deserves.  Well Armed is another horse with an amazing "come back" story.  Perhaps you could tell a little about his saga?

06 Oct 2008 1:20 AM
Terre

Stone Farm brought Gato Del Sol home.  Mr. Hancock is about THE horse.  The first time I seen Wanderin' Boy run, I recognized the silks and that's all it took for me.  It's horses like him that deserve more recognition.  I realize this sport is about "hitting it quick and making a ton in the shed" but these old warriors are the ones who keep "Joe Public" tuned in.  We need more like him, The Tin Man and Lava Man.  I have two retired TBs at home.  These animals deserve the treatment that folks like Mr. Hancock.  He's proved time and time again that he is about the horse and not about the almighty quick dollar.

Thanks for the article - once again.

06 Oct 2008 4:10 PM
Marc W

Love stories like this one.

Being around the track for years as a clocker and working with horses I have seen many a horse you wonder "how good" would they have been if only sound or was in someone else's hands? More Canadian based I have seen horses like Sky Classic that won major stakes after being interrupted for a couple of years by injury and unsoundness. I still think in amazement how Viceregal (I was working for Windfields as a hotwalker at the time) went undefeated in 8 races as a 2 yr old, He was lucky to walk let alone train he was so sore, and had to be short every time he ran. He was just that good.  

Glorious Song won over a million in days when it was unheard of and beat males with a trainer who was basically a world class pool player and smooth talking jock's agent. (Not his fault, I wouldn't turn down Curlin if offered him to train, of course, if I got him we probably wouldn't be talking about him as one of the greats) I have always wondered what she could have been with a more experienced professional trainer.

I could go on about more horses but I will just like to say I would appreciate more stories like this Steve.

Thanks for this one.

06 Oct 2008 4:40 PM
Karen2

I agree with Runfast159. Although this horse has a courageous heart and obviously the will to run and heal when he needs to, we should all be thankful he hasn't broken down at the track in front of his fans. It surprises me to read comments about breeding him. Why breed unsoundness?? This is where  fixing the "iron horse" needs to begin. The industry needs to recognize this and instead of thinking of only the almighty dollar, we need to think of preserving the sport we hold so dear and taking care of the superstars that allow us this passion. Wanderin Boy deserves a happy retirement. As always Steve, thanks for a closer look into the life of a champion.

07 Oct 2008 12:10 PM
schabelli

You are right on Draynot!!

This horse has been beaten by some real monsters. If he had been born in a different year and was a 3 yr old this year we would be amazed at how much better he was than the rest of his class.

08 Oct 2008 10:28 AM
HS

Does anybody know the fate of wanderin boy?  he broke down in cigar mile... waiting to hear... so upsetting... hope he can be saved

29 Nov 2008 4:45 PM
Bean

Wanderin' Boy..You did not deserve this.  RIP

29 Nov 2008 6:11 PM
josy

Wandering Boy, your nine lives ran out before you left the track. You broke down one too many times. You deserved to be retired already with so many battle scares. RIP beautiful boy.

29 Nov 2008 6:49 PM
newsline2

I am sad to hear this champion- hearted race horse would not get up from this final injury. Fractures, pins, ulcers (stress?)--I agree with Bean. Wanderin' Boy--you did not deserve this end. Poor old son.

And then for the Canadian champion filly Springside to break down galloping out... Maybe Aqueduct needs to look at the track?  

Steve, this is a good even with its now tragic ending.

29 Nov 2008 6:57 PM
newsline2

I meant to say it is a good story, even with its tragic ending. Thank you for sharing it with us.

29 Nov 2008 7:32 PM
Jeanne

Wanderin Boy was like a "cat with nine lives".  Regretfully, he traded in his ninth life today while running in the Cigar Mile.  This terrific blog written by Mr. Haskin several months ago is a fitting tribute to this "Old Warrior".  He was not overlooked by me.  I enjoyed watching him run, and like Evening Attire, Funny Cide and the Tin Man to name a few, I appreciated his talent and durability.  Forget the flashy, multi-million dollar "Flavor of the Month" horses--it is horses like Wanderin Boy that make racing special.

29 Nov 2008 7:47 PM
OakHillsDog

I honor your spirit, Wanderin Boy, and hope against hope that you enjoyed your profession.  You added beauty and class to this business with that indominatable will.  I just wish...  

Thank you, Steve, for the enlightening article with perhaps a few clues to today, a black day on the race track.

29 Nov 2008 8:41 PM
KatintheHat

Thanks for the ride, Wandering Boy.  You did your job well.  :(

30 Nov 2008 2:31 AM
Flute

R.I.P. Wanderin Boy =(

You were well loved and always tried your hardest. Enjoy the greenest pastures up in heaven, you deserve them.

30 Nov 2008 3:32 AM
da3hoss

Your beautiful face will be missed.

30 Nov 2008 9:13 AM
pete

Sad

These animals are the true heroes-

30 Nov 2008 9:52 AM
Affirmed4ever

I had no idea this horse was running with so many pins, screws, etc.!  Poor boy - he defied the odds so many times...........too bad he couldn't have been retired.

30 Nov 2008 2:58 PM
NightOwlaa

So sad. Why would they not retire him after he reached the million dollar level at age 7, especially with his history of bad legs?

30 Nov 2008 4:17 PM
dory

After reading this article, I added Wanderin Boy to my virtual stable and just missed his work at Saratoga before he shipped to Belmont.  What a champion he was and what a shame that he's gone.  Hoping he is now running with George Washington, Eight Belles, Barbaro and so many who have gone too soon.

30 Nov 2008 4:50 PM
AnnaB

After shedding many tears over this, I just wanted to add that as I've watched him run over the years, I've hoped for nothing more than a strong finish to his racing career and a quiet and happy retirement. I'm so sorry for his connections, because this news hit me terribly hard and all I've done is follow his story and career over the years.

Here's hoping that your wandering leads to greener pastures, Wanderin Boy.

30 Nov 2008 7:41 PM
BlueHen

Wanderin Boy always struck me as a melancholy name.  It sounds like part of a sad country song that would start something like, "I'm a wanderin' boy, ain't got no home."  The name sounds sadder now.  Poor thing; he was a beautiful horse.  Mr. Haskin, I enjoyed today's article about him -- thanks for writing it.

30 Nov 2008 10:39 PM
Susan C

I admire Wanderin' Boy's determination, but I feel sad that he was kept running for so long.  Horses' legs are so fragile anyway, and racing punishes them even more.  Why was he run so many times?  Why couldn't he have been given a none stress life, expecially after the first racing mishap?  Was Wanderin' Boy's well-being ever considered, or was money always more important?

01 Dec 2008 9:08 AM
catsvx

Should have been retired long ago to enjoy green pastures. May you enjoy them now in heaven. Rest in peace beautiful boy.

01 Dec 2008 9:50 AM
marty

what a tradgedy! I called the farm last year to see if they were gonna retire him so i could maybe breed a mare to him. I found out they were gonna run him again and I thought it was great and maybe get a grade 1 like he deserves. I remember seeing the dam Vid Kid at a previous farm before the Hancocks got her and what a pretty mare. I enjoyed watching him run especially after finding out about all of the things he overcame.Thanks Hancocks,Zito, and wanderin boy!

01 Dec 2008 10:23 AM
Rhonda from Saskatchewan, Canada

Another example of a courageous thoroughbred run to death just because he was "bred to run".

The right thing to do would have been to retire him long ago. But, then, the thoroughbred industry has a long and sordid history of doing anything except what is "right" for the horse.

How long are we going to put up with this carnage?

Here's to you, Wanderin Boy. A picture of courage. A hero who was betrayed by an industry without scruples. May you rest in peace and may we continue to fight for the rights of these animals.

01 Dec 2008 10:28 AM
Rhonda from Saskatchewan, Canada

And, for Springside.

Love you, pretty girl.

May your tragic injury not be in vain.

01 Dec 2008 10:32 AM
HS

Through all my tears this weekend for Wanderin Boy, I've been trying to understand what would make his connections, people who obviously cared deeply for him (ever since he was a baby), continue to fearlessly tempt fate in light of the obvious.  What was it that obscured their view of the inevitable outcome of continuing to race him?  Aiden O'Brien said something about George Washington that stuck in my mind.  He believed anything was possible with George, that the horse could do anything.  I detected that same overly optimistic mindset coming from Wanderin Boy's connections in Steve Haskin's articles.  Could it be that the failure to realize that your beloved horse cannot overcome everything is responsible for some of these recent tragedies?  This one with Wanderin Boy is particularly sad, because of what he had already been through.

01 Dec 2008 10:54 AM
DONNA

  Wanderen' Boy, fragile legs no more, now you can run with those who have gone before you. The wind blows  your mane as you race in those eternal green pastures, for your speed is now equal to the greats you have now joined. May your tired body rest in peace for your gallent spirt lives on.

01 Dec 2008 11:02 AM
Chrystal

Good article. How utterly SICK that they kept running this horse. He should have been gelded and retired. He could have gone on to do great things as a show horse or something.

My God, they couldn't see this coming????

Some of these posts are eerie now that we know how Wanderin' Boy's story ends.

01 Dec 2008 11:41 AM
Chrystal

Jack Z said:"this horse has healed, so he is not unsound.  He just run himself so hard on Americas unsafe fast dirt tracks and sometimes good athletes get injured.  If he was unsound he would have never recovered as a foal. So don't pin such a comment on old wb or others like him.  Can't wait to see him in the cigar mile"

Well, you saw him. Happy now? Yes...he was unsound. or fragile, if you prefer.

01 Dec 2008 11:42 AM
Joanne K

He should have been retired after th e stomach ulcer.  Now it is too late...he really was a great veteran and deserved to relax, breed, and lay in the sun..

01 Dec 2008 12:56 PM
cf1970

Thank you Steve for the wonderful story of Wanderin Boy. I was very sad to hear of his unfortunate breakdown this past weekend. He had a ton of heart, and will be missed.

Take care.

01 Dec 2008 2:06 PM
you go BOY

I sit here with saddened heart of the loss of Wanderin Boy...another great horse who was not as popular as the superstar horses, but always there, always showing up, always consistent.  It makes it harder knowing this was to be his last race before retiring.  Everytime these type of tragic occurences happen to the horses I love to watch race, I want to quit watching, in fear of breaking my heart again; but, they keep pulling me back in and they are just something you can't quit...something you can't get out of your blood.  Rest in Peace Wanderin Boy and keep on runnin' boy!

01 Dec 2008 3:06 PM
Oopsy Daisy

We can all ponder the whys and the whatfors behind the owner continuing to run Wanderin Boy after so many injuries as one or two would have ended most normal horses careers. He must have had a threshold for pain like no other. And yes, i too in hindsight would ask why wasn't he retired sooner? It is too late now. And that is  most unfortunate and sad also that 'Boy' did not get to live to enjoy the fruits of his hard work and dedication with a simple life of grazing in a plush field of Kentucky Blue Grass. This fella had a heart of gold and he will be missed.  RIP Wanderin Boy, at last no more pain.

02 Dec 2008 12:22 AM
G. Pantle

I remember reading your fantastic words regarding Wandering Boy.  He was won of my favorites.

It was time to stop.  Your news story on his death said it all.  He deserved a sound ending.  It sickens me.

Now he is gone.  First Shakis, then Wandering Boy.  Why?

02 Dec 2008 2:33 PM
berengaria

obviously, the owners of wanderin boy did not want this outcome. but they obviously felt the horse was made of iron and not permanently breakable, which unfortunately for him, he was not. how sad to know that he would have been retired after this race. i have  watched  him race with great pleasure for some time, and it is only the racing gods who ultimately decide such things. shakis was not racing when he broke down and many horses retire and are permanently injured in retirement. no rhyme or reason. ours is not to question why, but just to love and enjoy.

02 Dec 2008 4:29 PM
my dream is to train

Amazingly great story and I remeber watching a race last year in which it was on turf and a horse tripped and was pulled up. I think he broke something and i think it was wanderin boy. anyways i hope he heals and comes back, stronger than ever. He is really good and overlooked. But hey, atleast you dont get the annoying press on his back!

23 Mar 2009 6:46 PM

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