All the Pretty Horses Redux

In recent months, I’ve been posting a number of photos to accompany my blog, and they seem to be well received. I came across several photos of great horses that are special to me because of their personal nature and thought I would share them. My daughter grew up with these horses and expressed her feelings in a guest blog that I posted about two and a half years ago. I thought I would use that blog again as a prelude to the photos that best illustrate it.

All the Pretty Horses – by Mandy Haskin

“When you wake you shall have all the pretty horses.  Blacks and bays, dapple grays…”

That lullaby pretty much sums up my childhood.  Indeed, I grew up with quite a number of pretty horses.  It started at 10 months old, with a very pretty bay named Northern Dancer.  From that day on, my picture was taken with a lengthy list of champion Thoroughbreds.  A chestnut stallion called Secretariat soon followed.  A sunny afternoon was spent playing in a field with a sweet dapple gray by the name of Lady’s Secret.  I rode in a car up the rolling Pennsylvania hills as Lonesome Glory galloped alongside.  I picked flowers as Da Hoss grazed just inches from me, only a week after his second Breeders Cup Mile win.  Genuine Risk showed off her first foal to me.  And I saw the regal Dahlia twice – first as a baby in my mother’s arms, and then years later, standing on my own two feet, now tall enough to reach her nose. 

I introduced my dolls to Precisionist, gave a bouquet of dandelions to Alydar, and Holy Bull nibbled on my hair.  And I have it on good authority that my first kiss just may have been from Cigar.  He was quite the charmer.  Then there was Seattle Slew, Affirmed, Forego, John Henry, Damascus, Mr. Prospector, His Majesty, Danzig, and Spectacular Bid, who by that time was white as snow.  The list goes on and on.  Mighty photo albums lined our shelves at home, as they still do today.  The pages are not as white as they used to be, and some are now frayed along the edges, but the albums are still there, forming a wall of memories that any horse lover would dream about.

On my last trip home, I looked at some of these albums.  The covers creaked open, revealing a rich tapestry of scenes – this horse, that farm, big smiles, outdated outfits.  But instead of joy or nostalgia, a strange emotion crept into my mind.  Regret.  I suddenly realized that I didn’t have one true memory of these scenes.  That my only “memories” of these remarkable experiences were through photos and stories.  Even once I was old enough to capture these moments, I lacked the appreciation to really make them stick in my head.  Despite what my father enthusiastically tried to tell me, I couldn’t fully understand who these horses were, or what they had accomplished.  That feeling of regret was quickly followed by an overwhelming sense of guilt.  How many people would kill for experiences like this? 

Yet, to my naïve younger self in these photos, it was just another horse.  It pains me to write that.  Admittedly I took it all for granted, not knowing at the time how lucky I really was.  While my dad was having me pose for pictures (no doubt encountering some resistance and overly dramatic rolling of the eyes in later years), I didn’t realize he was actually giving me a very special gift.  I have to believe that he knew I couldn’t appreciate all this then, and that’s why he froze these moments in time.  He wanted me to look back at them all these years later and think, I did this – how lucky was I?  Sitting here now, looking at a photo of me as a baby with chubby cheeks meeting Northern Dancer, I’m thinking that very thought. 

I suppose childhood memories can only be fully embraced in retrospection.  Only then do we grieve over their transience and celebrate their sublime purity.  That’s why we take photos.  So that those moments will one day be suspended in time and bound by gilded picture frames.  Untouchable.  A brief glimpse into who we were and the experiences that made us who we are today.  I am the person I am today because of years of green pastures, white fences, shaded stables, the soft purring of barn cats, the crinkling of peppermint wrappers, and of course the blacks and bays and dapple grays.    

Thanks to my dad and a library full of photo albums, I will always have cloudless memories of all those pretty horses.

With Secretariat

Presenting "flowers" to Alydar

With Princess Rooney

Planting a kiss on Dahlia

Introducing Bert and Ernie to Precisionist

Having fun with Lady's Secret

Rare privilege of meeting Genuine Risk and her long awaited first foal

With Personal Ensign and her foal (later named My Flag)

Posing even while Holy Bull nibbles on her hair

One of many tender moments with Cigar

Reunited with Dahlia

With Arlington Million winner Estrapade

Enjoying a good laugh with Spectacular Bid

A relaxing afternoon with Da Hoss just days after his second BC Mile win

With Rachel Alexandra at Saratoga

First of three Hall of Fame trainers -- pony ride with Bill Mott

With The Chief, Allen Jerkens

With Wayne Lukas and champion Flanders


Leave a Comment:


Lovely pictures, lovely memories and lovely that Mandy sees the wonderful gift her loving daddy gave her.  Well done

22 Sep 2012 7:36 PM
an ole railbird

  this should be titiled, " those non replaceable moments'.

 enough said. " an ole railbird".

22 Sep 2012 7:48 PM

Thank you for sharing.  It was touching beyond measure.

22 Sep 2012 7:54 PM

Great pictures! But having grown up in Ontario, i really wnted to see your daughter with Northern Dancer!  your daughter is beautiful!

22 Sep 2012 8:36 PM

OMG, what wonderful memories. So good to see that candid shot of my beloved Secretariat. I'm blown away by the photo of Lady's Secret and all the other wonderful mares I remember so fondly. Dahlia, Estrapade, Princess Rooney. Takes my breath away. And the great, but tragic Alydar. And Precisionist. So sad that he didn't make a stallion, but what an amazing racehorse. Thank you SO much for sharing these photos with us. Wow!!!!

22 Sep 2012 9:18 PM

Definitely all the pretty horses!  You are one lucky lady, Mandy!

22 Sep 2012 9:36 PM

Definitely all the pretty horses!  Thank you for sharing!

22 Sep 2012 9:37 PM
Steve Haskin

Meharg, Northern Dancer was the first horse she was ever photographed with at 10 months old, but I only have the print and no scanner. These were already on a CD. If I can bring it in and have it scanned on Monday I will add it.

22 Sep 2012 9:56 PM
Terry M.

You have been so blessed! I was almost 10 when Norther n Dancer ewon the Derby. I was already keeping horse scrapbooks and I would have been in seventh heaven to be that close to any racehorse, never mind the greatest of the great. (Actually, that hasn't changed in the last 48 years, either!) Meeting John Henry and Forego and seeing Bold Forbes at the Kentucky Horse Park in the 1990s were highlights of my life. Sadly, I have no photos of myself with them. You are so, so lucky!

22 Sep 2012 10:05 PM

Dear Steve and Mandy - absolutely priceless.  You are a lucky lady.  I enjoyed all the pretty horses.  You look very relaxed with all the horses.  What a wonderful childhood....

22 Sep 2012 10:25 PM

TY Steve for reposting this. I had tried to find it when we were discussing our daughters and Holy Bull and had not located it. Lovely piece and I know Brandy will love it too. BTW, she called me today all excited because she works TSC in Louisville and her favorite trainer came in, Larry Jones, and she got to shake his hand. I have albums like this, not as many, but they do appreciate them more now and was told I need to scan more of them in on FB LOL. One of my Favorites is with Affirmed. Kayla was about 10 mos old, Lindsey 4 and Brandy 8. Another with Brandy and Lindsey petting Unbridled as he lay in his stall at Gainesway. And most recently the 4 of us with Rachel last year. Always look forward to the memories.

22 Sep 2012 10:35 PM

Steve, as always a wonderful and absolutely awesome article.  Your daughter seems to have inherited your literary ability.  She is an awesome and articulate writer.  She is also darling.  Absolutely lovely pictures.

22 Sep 2012 10:39 PM

Dahlia's big, liquid eye and pretty, feminine head are incredible. And the picture with Lady's Secret is just wonderful.

22 Sep 2012 10:42 PM

Oh yes, you are a lucky woman. You've met the cream of the crop. Every picture is amazing but I find Lady's Secret the really special one. I saw her run in California. Everyone said Secretariat never reproduced himself. He did, in that amazing, courageous and sweet natured grey filly. She had his heart and determination.

22 Sep 2012 10:45 PM

LOVE the pictures!! Keep 'em coming! I wanted to see Northern Dancer, also. Absolutely love the one of Mandy and Lady's Secret- aaaaww! I grew up nuts about horses in a "non-horsey" family. Somehow I tuned in to Secretariat's Belmont when I was 7-(Mom said she didn't do it)and I remember thinking how strange it was that it took the other horses forever to come into view at the finish line. I also had no idea the significance of what I was seeing, but I sure remember it. So glad Mandy is appreciating it now:) Yep, I woulda killed to be in her spot! Great article...Thanks!

22 Sep 2012 10:49 PM


22 Sep 2012 10:51 PM
Diane in Los Angeles

Thank you for sharing.  

22 Sep 2012 11:22 PM

What a fantastic treasure of memories. Thanks so much for sharing with us all.

23 Sep 2012 12:17 AM

thanks for sharing, Mandy and Steve!!  loved seeing all of those great horses, and most especially Genuine Risk and Genuine Reward.  how i wish that i could have met them.  she always will be one of my favs.

23 Sep 2012 12:30 AM

Wonderful pictures, treasured memories!  So sad that most of these horses have now passed.  Thank goodness for photographs and those who take them!  Thanks so much for sharing!

23 Sep 2012 5:03 AM

You are one lucky girl, you are correct, I would have given my left arm for the chance to be near such greatness--cherish this because these were Kings and Queens you met, just of the turf not on a throne.

23 Sep 2012 6:51 AM
Love 'em all

Mandy, you definitely got your mama's good looks ... and you certainly got your daddy's talent for writing and knowing how to treat the readers!   Wow, is right!  Bet you couldn't count the times you've been asked,  "Do you know how lucky you are?"  Well, we're the lucky ones having you and your dad sharing these priceless photos with us.

Lost track how many times I've scrolled these pics this morning ..... just amazed at each one.  The Dahlia pics are just adorable, but I love each and every one of them.  Had to do my homework on a couple of them .... but it was well worth it.  Dahlia and Estrapade had the same sire .... both lived to be pretty old ladies.  Genuine Risk's pic is extra special to me.  Again, I love them all.

Thank you sooo very much.  Thank you, Mr. Haskin.

23 Sep 2012 9:09 AM

I always know that most Steve Haskin columns will leave me in tears and now his daughter's did the same.  It's just that these horses and what they did is SO beautiful.  I am very grateful for both Haskins.

23 Sep 2012 9:57 AM
Abigail Anderson

Mandy & Steve: What a GREAT article! Mandy -- your feelings about looking through photos of yourself and "all those pretty horses" were exquisitely expressed. I could understand your regret at being too small to really remember but, if you think about it, any events before we begin to capture memories are either forgotten or so fragmented that they are more like wisps of images than memories. But, as others have said, these precious, precious albums hold those memories in place without your infant-self needing to do anything but let them.

Looking at these photos, I could "feel" the Haskin family as well as delight in seeing my love, Flanders, as well as these other great thoroughbreds. It was delightful to hear that Cigar is "Mr. Kisses" and to see Genuine Risk with her first-born. And Lady's Secret -- what a fabulous photo of a beautiful little girl and a once-in-a-lifetime mare!

Made me think, as well, of my locating a tiny clay horse that I had made at art classes when I was around 9 or 10. As I held it in the palm of my hand, I felt the deepest connection to the horse-crazy little girl who had fashioned him.

Mandy, do you get the same kind of rush when you look at these photos? I wonder......

Thank you, Steve, for sharing them. A rare treat!

23 Sep 2012 10:47 AM
Steve Haskin

Thank you, everyone, for all your kind words. It was a privilege to share Mandy's words and photos.

Abigail, beautiful words as usual. Your comments have become fitting epilogues to my columns.

23 Sep 2012 11:12 AM
Dianna S


You “stamped” your get, ha-ha.  Mandy writes with the same emotion and talent as her dad.  The picture of Mandy with Rachel Alexandra could be titled “two beauties”.   I know you are a proud papa.

23 Sep 2012 11:12 AM
Bill Rinker

Thanks again Steve, These pictures are absolutly priceless, you have such a beautiful daughter, and looking at these photos brings a tear to my eyes and a lump in my throat. It's nice to see this devotion and love in your family, and it is reflected by the many special friends that you all have made. I especially enjoyed the pictures with Allen Jerkens and Lady Secret.., so many aspects of racing to behold.

23 Sep 2012 11:16 AM


23 Sep 2012 11:27 AM

OMG! Priceless.  The best I could do was stand by the rail in the AM at Santa Anita and wish to be able to visit the horses.  I really enjoyed your album of photos.  

23 Sep 2012 1:00 PM
Lise from Maine



How fortunate this little girl is!

Gorgeous photos.

Thank you for sharing them with us.

Lise from Maine

23 Sep 2012 1:16 PM

>SIGGGHHH< Just another little gem from the Haskin family... a total delight. And the "silent" member of that team, Joan, who shows us where Mandy got her looks from--- and is a quiet contributor to so much you give us. Mandy, keep on writing; Steve, keep on writing and snapping; and Joan, thanks for keeping everything running smoothly!! ... or appearing to!

You all bring us closer into the world of the Thoroughbred, whether we be oldtimers, fully involved, or peripheral admirers.

A book, Steve... some sort of photo album of backstage shots and stories... you are full of those and so are your photo archives (in whatever form!!). I know BH would be happy to publish it...

23 Sep 2012 1:18 PM

Paddy, you're right. Secretariat did reproduce himself in the great Lady's Secret. He also did in his best son, Risen Star, who would have won the Triple Crown but for a bad trip in the Derby. It broke my heart when he was injured and had to be retired after the Belmont. I've never felt the same about the sport since.

As for Lady, I've never been wealthy, so couldn't have horses. But when the late Gene Klein consigned her, I wished with all my heart I had the money to buy her. She would never have been sold again. She's buried at Valley Creek Farm in San Diego, just a couple of hours drive from where I live.

Steve, all those photos are kind of the story of my lifetime too. A lifetime of loving these horses. :)

23 Sep 2012 3:00 PM

WOW! What a life!

23 Sep 2012 6:07 PM

Steve, may I say you are one very lucky man to have such a sweet daughter and a very pretty wife.

You have had a special life to be around so many wonderful people and great horses. May life be as you want it to be, until the end.

23 Sep 2012 6:28 PM
Mary Jo

Growing up on a farm in northwestern Montana was to only dream of seeing all the other pretty horses.( We had trail and pack horses.) My first trip to the big time was to the 123 rd running of the K.Derby.I so loved this article.

23 Sep 2012 6:50 PM
The Deacon

Memories can fade as we get older but photos like these always bring us back to the reality of that special moment. The beauty of the camera, it gives us a time to reflect. The kodak man has done it again. His fans have stood up to applaud once again for stirring the emotions once thought forgotten. You always out do yourself Steve (if thats possible). Bravo again and thank you for giving us a glimpse of yesterdays equine champions. I in particular loved the photo of argueably one of the top 3 horses of all time, Spectacular Bid.

Saw him set the world record for 10 furlongs at Santa Anita of 157 4/5 in 1980. That race gave me chills..............  

23 Sep 2012 6:53 PM

Wow...I feel like these pictures are of my childhood dreams.

23 Sep 2012 7:34 PM
Lexington Bloodstock

Great shots.  Every time I see photos of farm visits I am reminded of seeing Northern Dancer on a lazy Sunday afternoon just a day before he died.  No one was at the farm except for his caretaker who was kind enough to lead him out for me to see in the barn isle and then as he walked around his grass paddock.  It is a moment I will never forget.  

23 Sep 2012 7:57 PM
Paula Higgins

Just loved these pictures Mandy and Steve! I think my favorites are of Mandy with Dahlia and Lady's Secret. Two girls bonding. The one with Spectacular Bid was hilarious. Mandy, I have alot of pictures from when I was very young. Many of them don't ring a bell. But the older I get, the more I enjoy seeing them. You will always be glad you have them to show your children and grandchildren.

23 Sep 2012 8:48 PM

Your daughter has your gift of understanding writing with rhythm. The pictures are magical and I send thanks for sharing.

23 Sep 2012 9:21 PM

The candid pics of mandy are better then any posed school pictures. So refreshing to see the images of the great ones just being horses. (What secrets were exchanged with Mandy and Da Hoss?) Sometimes the standard image (horse in halter standing like a model glowing with dapples in the sun)just is too much. A kiss from Cigar, hair nibbles from Holy Bull and girl talk with Dahlia. She writes that a lot she doesn't remember but I'm sure as a doting dad, and a race and horse fan, you will never forget.

23 Sep 2012 11:48 PM
steve from st louis

In practically every picture,the one with the best breeding and confirmation, not to mention the best smile, belongs to Mandy. She upstages every champion.  

24 Sep 2012 8:09 AM
Age of Reason

Simply sublime. Apparently great writers, like great racehorses, tend to run in families...

Thanks so much for sharing a personal part of your private life with us.

24 Sep 2012 9:44 AM

Sounds like you've come full circle Mandy. You're one lucky girl and you know it! Even better still, you appreciate the gifts you've been given. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to share it with you. After all, sharing with each other is the best gift of all! Just ask your dad.

24 Sep 2012 10:35 AM
Linda in Texas

No words can explain the depth of the love shown by everyone: Mandy to the horses, the horses to Mandy and the unconditional love of an adoring Mother and Father for a beautiful Daughter.

So admired Princess Rooney who i won't ever forget left us in 2008 at the grand ol' age of 28 taken by EPM, Personal Ensign and her foal The Flag and Genuine Risk and her foal are wonderful, but the three photos that are special to me for the obvious feeling transmitted from the horses to Mandy and returned are Lady's Secret, just a kind sweet talented mare died suddenly at age 21 while foaling after winning over $3 million during her career and Cigar who was being so gentle and leaned down to meet Mandy at her eye level which was particularly thoughtful of him and the one and only Spectacular Bid. I wonder what 'Bid' said or thought about that made him want to laugh out loud, whatever it was, Mandy must have heard him.:) And i am not forgetting Holy Bull, ever, nor any of them frankly. I love them all.

Thank you Mandy, Joan and Steve.

It is all about heart, everything

conveyed in the article and the photos, everything. There was not a dark cloud in any single photo just blue skies and beautiful weather and that is my wish for everyone every day.


24 Sep 2012 10:47 AM
Karen in Texas

Steve----Thank you for reprising Mandy's beautiful article. The pictures are, of course, priceless! As I mentioned when you originally shared Mandy's work, something about the style reminds me of Nan Mooney....maybe the retrospective nature of the piece, as in Nan's "My Racing Heart."

24 Sep 2012 10:54 AM
Steve Haskin

Thanks again to everyone for your heartfelt comments. They are greatly appreciated.

24 Sep 2012 12:01 PM

All I can say Is WOW!  Did not read the original column Mandy, but you have obviously inherited writing genes as well as a lifetime of legendary memories.  "All the pretty horses" was amazing. If I had to vote for my favorite picture, I think it would be you and Da Hoss.  A scene that little "horse crazy" girls dream about.  Lady's Secret, the re-united with Dahlia & the priceless shot with "The Bid" are in a dead heat for second.  Be very grateful your Dad was into photos.  My family, not so much.  Possibly they couldn't get us to stand still longer than a stallion heading for the shed. Lucky, lucky with a first kiss from Cigar!  Mine was from Dennis.  Thank you both for sharing these special photos & memories.  You have blessed my morning.

24 Sep 2012 12:35 PM
lunar spook

Im wondering how old seretariat would be in that pic? anyone care to help?

24 Sep 2012 12:39 PM
steve from st louis

Lunar, I would guess Big Red to be about nine in that photo. Steve, what say you?

24 Sep 2012 3:57 PM

(SIGH!)  Steve what I wouldn't have given to be in your daughter's shoes and be able to put hands on even ONE of those GREAT horses!    I'm so glad she appreciates it NOW!   Personally I always wanted to meet DR FAGER and RIVA RIDGE.   Two totally different horses in "personality" but BOTH captured my heart.   Of course EVERYONE would have loved to pat BIG RED, but for me Riva always was in his shadow and undeservedly so.....RIVA was the one who REALLY got THE MEADOW out of financial trouble just in time for SECRETARIAT to "save" it.   As for "the Doctor" for me he was the ULTIMATE racehorse.....anytime, any track, and distance.     They just don't make em like that anymore.   I want you to know, personally, Steve that you are responsible for giving me the courage to LEAP into a writing career of my own.    I would love to e-mail you my first 2 articles to see what you think.    I NEVER miss your articles and think there should be a PULITZER for Sports writing (particularly TB Racing!)  :)

24 Sep 2012 4:45 PM
Steve Haskin

Karen, I'm very flattered. I'd be glad to read your stories. You can email them to

24 Sep 2012 5:37 PM

Thank you for the beautiful article, especially the photo of "my Secretariat"! You have made my day, and I will read this over and over again. Priceless, priceless memories, all of them! Oh how I would have loved to be the one giving Secretariat a treat!

24 Sep 2012 6:44 PM
The Deacon


I had the pleasure of meeting John Nerud at Hollywood Park in 1968. I was in the infield and he was with my all time fav Dr. Fager. I said hello Mr. Nerud and he responded with a hello back and a smile. He allowed me to briefly pet the great Doc on the nose. I told him how special this horse was to me. He was a very nice man. I probably got a little closer then he was comfortable with but fence area separated the 3 of us. My dad was in the background just shaking his head. He thought I was too bold. He bet on Gamely that day so he wasn't too happy about the outcome. My dad loved Damascus so we would argue on who was the better horse. That arguement probably still exists. Ruffian was my other great equine love, When she broke down, I couldn't go to the track for 2 years. Broke my heart........all these blogs are amazing, Steve you need to clone yourself for our children and grandchildren :)

24 Sep 2012 6:48 PM

This is awesome! What a lucky girl! So great to see the photos of these greats that I hadn't thought about in a while. Thank you for sharing your story, Mandy. And thank you for posting Steve. You're truly the best!

24 Sep 2012 7:19 PM

Wow, OMG  Bill Mott?  The Chief?  WOW!! HOF trainers giving Mandy a leg up!!  I'm definitely envious!  

In all honesty, super fun column, Steve!!  And truly, two great trainers who are all class.  

24 Sep 2012 9:04 PM

Steve and Mandy,

Thank you so much for sharing these photos.  What great outings it must have been with the Haskin family visiting these thoroughbreds.  These are amazing!

Mandy you are a great writer too like your father.  Even if you couldn't realize how special this was going through it as a child I am sure you now understand the great significance of what your father was doing back then.  How we all would love to have been in your shoes!  These photos are adorable and look at Steve with all that dark hair back then!  Mrs. H. looks beautiful too.  These are so cool.  Thanks again for showing them to us.

FYI - throwing this in here, I drove down to Monmouth County in N.J. yesterday and came across a sign for "Paynters Road."  No kidding.  There does exit a Paynters Road, maybe about 20 minutes from where Paynter won the Haskell!  I don't know if the town was Manasquan or Pt. Pleasant but the road does exist!  Cool!  A fitting tribute to Paynter.  PowerUpPaynter!

24 Sep 2012 9:22 PM

Such lovely memories jump right off the pages. This will be one of those columns that I earmark to return to often. Thank you, Steve, for the gorgeous photos of "all the pretty horses", and thank you Mandy, for a bittersweet and candid memoir. All your memories are there on the pages of those albums your dad has lovingly collected over the years. How beautiful for both of you.  Thank you again for this walk down memory lane to see history on a very personal level. It made me sad and happy all at the same time!  :-))

24 Sep 2012 11:16 PM
Uncle Smiley

Thanks for sharing those most valuable moments.


24 Sep 2012 11:35 PM


I can't believe you got to actually TOUCH "the Doctor".....all I can say is WOW!

I have to admit, I loved Damascus as well and just could not decide who I loved more.....they were both such hard charging horses with such HEART!

And Steve, THANK YOU for so many memories.    Since you and I are probably the same age or thereabouts, your Thoroughbred memories pretty much parallel my own.    

And THANK YOU for offering to read my stuff.   I WILL send you the most recent ones plus an outline of the one I am currently working on!   Again Steve, THANKS so much for the Memories!  

25 Sep 2012 8:34 AM

Lucky Girl, indeed. What precious memories.

25 Sep 2012 10:00 AM

Thank you for sharing these priceless memories. the picture with The Bid made my day!

25 Sep 2012 10:58 AM
Senator L

Thank you for sharing. Beautiful pics of my favorites. Secretariat

and Spectacular Bid

25 Sep 2012 11:04 AM

The era of Buckpasser, Dr. Fager and Damascus was remarkable. What a treat to have seen all of them race, and I love all three. There's another horse who came along a little before them, and who I've loved from the time I first laid eyes on him. Maybe not well remembered now except to die-hard fans like me. His name was Ridan. Big, flashy cherry bay. He had a really great 2-year-old season and shared year-end championship honors. That was the era before the combined championships, when three different organizations named year-end champs. Ridan should have won the Preakness, but down the stretch, his rider fought with Greek Money's rider, and the latter won by the narrowest of noses. Ridan also lost the Travers to Jaipur by a fraction of a nose in one of the all-time classic stretch duels. He wasn't a huge success as a stallion and was sent to Australia where he died in 1977. His full brother and sisters, Lt. Stevens, Moccasin and Thong sure helped carry on the family, though, and their half-sister, Gambetta, produced Gamely. Wonderful family from the great foundation mare, Rough Shot II. So thanks for honoring mares in this piece, Steve. :)

25 Sep 2012 11:18 AM
Ida Lee

Oh the memories!! I can hardly see from the tears. Secretariat was the first real love of my life and I'm just in tears right now. And Rachel and Princess Rooney...let me just say thank you so much for these wonderful photos...they're beautiful, your daughter is beautiful and you're beautiful.

25 Sep 2012 12:39 PM

*SIGH!*  I grew up around black, brown and spotted....cows!  I grew up on a dairy farm.  As a child, I always wished our cows would magically change into horses.  How wonderful that you not only got to visit with these legends of racing, but you got to share these experiences with your parents.  Now if you excuse me, I must go find my photo taken as a child with "Elsie the Cow" at the State Fair.

25 Sep 2012 1:12 PM

Gee, I've been off line too long.

What lovely photos, and I am so jealous of Mandy.  But the skill you pass on,Steve, is overshadowed by the richness of your beautiful wife, your poet's art, Mandy's fortunate life and creativity, and is snugly wrapped up in an incredible love of and understanding of horses and the feelings they evoke, and your generosity in your willingness to share with us.

While I may sometimes babble...just wanted you to know how incredibly fortunate we are to have you.

25 Sep 2012 3:53 PM
Steve Haskin

Thank you very much, Slew, and everyone. I'm the fortunate one. Believe me, I know how blessed I've been. It was my privilege to share the photos and Mandy's writing.

25 Sep 2012 4:29 PM

As a photographer I always stress how important photos are to capture those precious memories that can't be repeated. This article does all that and so much more. It brought a tear to my eye and made me appreciate those photographic memories I have from my own childhood although few that there are.

25 Sep 2012 4:42 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


   How lucky you are to have a photo of you with Elsie !!!! I loved those Elsie the cow commercials on TV as a child. If cows were faster and horses were slower this might be a cow racing blog, and we might judge a cow's readiness to race by his "Moooooo" in the post parade. We used to count cows along the highway on long trips. I guess I'd be in trouble without dairy farms. I love milk. Major addiction to it.

25 Sep 2012 11:00 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Good to see you. I've always enjoyed your "babbling." Within the babble is magic, words that provoke thought and are often very wise.

25 Sep 2012 11:04 PM

Precious memories, more brilliant than a diamond, more valuable than gold. If kept close to your heart, you will never get old. Material possessions won't follow you into death, but you can keep beautiful memories until you draw your last breath. Thank you for sharing your's.

26 Sep 2012 12:47 AM
Steve Haskin

Steve From St. Louis, Secretariat had to be 15 in that photo.

26 Sep 2012 6:44 AM
lunar spook

wonderful pics , but the one with secretariat is great , the two pics i always wanted was one with secretariat and myself and the beatles and myself , i did not and will not attain either !

26 Sep 2012 9:04 AM
Mike Relva

Steve, thanks for sharing the great photos.

26 Sep 2012 10:10 AM
Karen in Texas

Slew----Glad to see you back, also. I've always thought your "babbling" was quite sensible!

26 Sep 2012 10:46 AM
A Horsey Canuck

There is nothing more gratifying for a parent than to pass on something so special to your children. Your pictures of Mandy with so many of our greatest horses ever are actually all of our special moments as well. Mandy is just lucky to be the child of someone like you, privileged to be in the presence of so many of our equine heroes. I'm sure that she realizes her good fortune. Keep taking those photos, Steve, and get Mandy in as many of them as you can. It would be a book for your family and "ours" as well. Thank you again....Pat

26 Sep 2012 11:06 AM

mandy, you may not have realized how special those times were then, but you do now and thats the best!

26 Sep 2012 12:44 PM
Linda in Texas

Slew i wanted to ask many a day

Where's Slew? but i felt it was too

personal of a question. But glad to see you are okay.

Dr. D - i love your imagination. Cow Racing! Funny

Mike Relva - what i wouldn't give to be brief. I envy you.

ksweatman9 - that was a lovely post

26Sept2012 12:47 AM.

Such good people come to share the good times here and the sad ones sometime. I feel blessed to

be able to read the golden tidbits from so many learned folks.

Thank you Steve.

26 Sep 2012 1:17 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, Pat, I feel I'm the lucky one. Mandy is a great person and that's the most important thing of all.

26 Sep 2012 1:53 PM
Mike Relva


Enjoy your posts very much. Can determine you put alot of thought into each and everyone of them.

26 Sep 2012 5:09 PM
Melissa P

I have tears rolling down my face. This was just beautiful. So many wonderful horses - most of them gone. Not long ago, I went on a serious hunt for my albums with photos I took with and of some of these horses and others (notably Alysheba). I really must get these copied to digital media, because it really hit home that so many will never know how wonderful these beings were except for videos and photos. At least we have these. Mandy, thank you for sharing. I'm so glad that you had those wonderful experiences. Appreciation in retrospect is, after all, appreciation. Think of all the wonderful new stars there are and will be to meet. By the way, have you been to visit Zenyatta and her foal yet?  

27 Sep 2012 11:37 AM
Melissa P

I just have to ask...I see someone named "Lunar Spook." I wonder if that person is a Georgian. Lunar Spook is one of the best fillies ever bred by a Georgian. (I was president of Georgia TOBA at the time.)

27 Sep 2012 11:39 AM
Stephie Clare

Those photos brought tears to my eyes.  You are a lucky girl and thanks so much for sharing these photos with us.  You are so fortunate to have such wonderful parents.  

27 Sep 2012 12:16 PM
Fran Loszynski

Oh Steve and Mandy. I am overwhelmened by the photo of Spectacular Bid. A jolly laugh from both. I was fortunate to name one of Afleet Alex's fillies (Afleet of Angels) his owners gave me that thrill and her grand sire was, yes, Spectacular Bid. Thank you so much I will cherish that sole photo of your beloved Mandy with him forever.  I looked everywhere for a beautiful photo of the Bid and now I've found it. Thank you so much.  

27 Sep 2012 12:44 PM
steve from st louis

Steve: I just think it's amazing how you connect with thoroughbred fans on this blog. People hang on your every word and photo. It's so unlike other blogs on this site, past and present, where interest was based on handicapping winners and/or denigrating those with an opposing opinion. Your love and now your daughter's love for the blooded horse comes through every post. Thanks for connecting in that way. It's sometimes very nice that the pari-mutuel aspect gets kicked to the curb in favor of much repect and love for the equine.

27 Sep 2012 3:33 PM
Steve Haskin

Thank you, Steve, that's very nice of you to say. And thanks again to everyone for your beautiful words.

Melissa, I've been to see Zenyatta twice, but not with her foal. I havent been to Ky. since the Derby and wasnt able to get to Lexington then.

27 Sep 2012 4:29 PM

It's great to be back, and thanks everyone.  I've been very busy personally, and hit a few snags along the way.  But, the bumps are getting less annoying, and I'm really trying to get back in the swing of things.

Having had HRTV for 4 years, I've found myself with TVG...and find I would trade 10 TVG's for 1 HRTV.  And it's difficult to follow a sport on a network who cares only about handicapping, but has so little info about the horse and the people around each magnificent critter.

And Steve, you're still the best.

And Dr. D:  missed ya! and everyone else.  ...On to the Breeders' Cup folks!

27 Sep 2012 5:31 PM

Agree with Slew:  HRTV first, the rest nowhere.  

Steve, I am hoping for a sequel, and that Affirmed is included ?!

27 Sep 2012 8:29 PM
Dr Drunkinbum


  Getting stuck with TVG and not having HRTV isn't a snag, it's a landmine !!! That's a nightmare.. I feel bad for you. HRTV is top notch. There is always online. I missed you and hope you are well.

27 Sep 2012 9:04 PM
Steve Haskin

Skyfire, I do have shots of Mandy and Affirmed, along with many many more great horses, but I dont have a scanner and these were already put on a CD. Maybe one day I'll make another CD and post the photos.

27 Sep 2012 9:52 PM
The Deacon

I concur with the fellow bloggers who prefer HRTVover TVG. Unfortunately Direct TV doesn't offer HRTV, been trying for years to get them to air this channel.

Watched a concert tonight Steve with Paul Simon of Simon and Garfunkel, our era. You and he sure resemble each other. I mean that as a compliment. He is to music as you are to writing........

28 Sep 2012 3:49 AM

Dr. D: As long as I'm blabbering, I'm OK.

I'm still considering on-line HRTV, but my computer is aging and not quite up to today's tech.  I'm still trying to figure out how to connect the computer to the big TV, but the adaptor lines are simply not effective.  Sooner or later, I'll get desperate..and do it.

28 Sep 2012 6:54 AM

At the risk of banging the drum, Mandy -you have inherited your father's writing gift. This blog goes to show that Steve's deep knowledge and appreciation for racing and the Thoroughbred goes back a long way. It is our privilege to have shared in these wonderful family photos and memories. thank you!

28 Sep 2012 3:32 PM
Uncle Smiley

Steve from st louis,

I am sending you a big Amen from the choir!

Mr. H does bring out the very best of his readers.

And it is as much about the horse as it is the sport.

That is the balance!


28 Sep 2012 7:35 PM
Ted from LA


I am glad you corrupted your daughter at an early age.  I can relate.  When our oldest daughter was in 3rd grade, we went to the school art show.  The children all drew beautiful horses.  Ted from LA's daughter was the only one with a saddle cloth and the #5 on it.  I have never been so proud.

28 Sep 2012 11:15 PM

I should have added that as much as a handicapping show TVG claims to be, I'll throw away 10 of those 'cappers for one Jeff Siegel on HRTV.

Didn't know I was missing Zen's big event today...I'll have to catch a tape.  Can't wait for the JCGC.

29 Sep 2012 1:51 PM
Mike Relva

Hey Everyone

Would like to ask for prayers for my friend, Judy Gore at Hearts of Tucson-a horse rescue farm. She's experiencing very serious health problems.

30 Sep 2012 4:00 PM

I haven't posted in quite awhile.  I just had to add my appreciation to Mandy and Steve.  Loved the words and the photos!

Who wouldn't want to have had Mandy's fabulous moments with the champions.

30 Sep 2012 4:07 PM

Some really great pictures there! Thanks so much for sharing. The Spectacular Bid picture is awesome!

30 Sep 2012 4:15 PM
Jean in Chicago

Dear Mandy,

 Don't feel any regret about not remembering these great horses as 'great' and 'famous'.  This is a label put on by grown ups.  An old lady I knew when I was a child had a photo of herself with Thomas Edison.  This was someone famous for the adults, but to her he was just a nice, elderly friend of the family.

 The wonderful thing about these photos is that they are of a little girl who loves horses, all the pretty horses.  

01 Oct 2012 3:04 PM
Jean in Chicago

 I think my favorite comment about Princess Rooney had nothing to do with her fame on the track.  It was by Matt Howard at the time of her death:  “She did wonders with the yearlings. I think she did more with our yearling fillies than anyone could teach them. We would start weaning our fillies and send them over to her, and she would keep them in line and teach them exactly what they need to do. She taught the younger generation how to be a good horse. I think if we had more mares like her my job would be a lot easier.”

01 Oct 2012 3:17 PM
Old Old Cat

Thank You, God bless you.

02 Oct 2012 2:55 PM
Mauricio Farias

Great just great, bring back a lots of memories.The best son of Secretariat was whit no doub General Assembly. I liked your doughter picture whit the Chief he

will always be consider The Best that is another no doub.

Mauricio Farias   Chile

02 Oct 2012 3:13 PM

My prayers are with her Mike

02 Oct 2012 5:39 PM
Paula Higgins

Will do Mike, she will be in my prayers as well as Paynter.

02 Oct 2012 9:42 PM

My prayers are centered around 3 individuals, Mike Relva's friend Judy, Paynter who undergoes intestinal surgery tomorrow at New Bolton in PA., and my Down Syndrome sister who is battling fevers and a never-ending bout of pneumonia again.  Pray for all three.

Great to see Steve and meet his lovely wife Joan at the JCGC.  Yep, I went and it was fun.  Flat Out and Thirsty gave us a thriller.  Point Of Entry was great.  Thirsty is as adorable as his photos.  I also got to say hello to Simon Bray of TVG.  All in all a great day.  Missed Royal Delta's romp but so glad she won.

Ruler On Ice looked good but what is up with that performance?  It was so great being at Belmont Park again.  I am greatly anticipating the BC races at Santa Anita!!!

02 Oct 2012 10:54 PM
Mike Relva

Paula and Footlick

Thank you, this is very serious. The story is there on the Heart of Tucson wed site.

02 Oct 2012 11:22 PM
Linda in Texas

Mike, prayers do help everyone.

So when i say mine i will include your friend Judy.

And as Paula referred to Paynter.

Just read he is going in for an operation. So prayers for him also.


03 Oct 2012 10:38 AM
Linda in Texas

Paula, was the growth removed from Paynter causing the Colitis or is that a different issue. My word a foot and three inches long full of stuff.

Paynter ol' boy, you are one tough

hombre. Get well soon from this and then maybe just maybe you can enjoy some paddock time in the sun

before snow begins. The two words

that come to mind with this champion are brave and resilient.

Thanks Steve.

03 Oct 2012 5:53 PM

Alota good horses,Alota good people,spells a good time.The early 70's was a good time,thanks for bring it back!!

03 Oct 2012 6:18 PM
Karen in Texas

Mike---I had already learned of Judy's plight from the Heart of Tucson site and am attempting to help. Prayers, of course, but the cost of fighting is going to be enormous, and apparently they are accepting monetary donations. She has done so much for the animals in her care...

About Paynter--unless the manipulation of his gut triggers new complications or reactivates previous issues, he should be "powering up" to a new normal following this surgery. I am grateful for every good report he receives. I believe prayers may indeed have PoweredUpPaynter!

04 Oct 2012 3:29 PM
Mike Relva


Thanks and I agree. Mailed a donation yesterday.

05 Oct 2012 1:51 AM


What great photos and I am sure great memories. Thank you for sharing as it brought back memories of me and my dad hanging at the track. Great pictures!!!

07 Oct 2012 12:55 PM

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