Haskin Series Part 4: Meadow's Grooms Remember Big Red

This was reprinted three years ago, and originally published in Blood-Horse magazine in 2002, and many people have read it. But I am including it as the fourth part of the series of my most memorable moments/experiences to celebrate, not only Big Red’s 40th anniversary, but my daughter’s fiance’s new position as assistant professor of Performance at Virginia Commonwealth University, which is about 20 miles from what remains of Meadow Stud. So I hope to return there. And this time I included photos. I also chose this as one of those special moments because of its bittersweet nature of a time and place long passed and a group of dedicated grooms who helped raise a legend.

In the spring of 1969, a magical seed was planted in the equine garden known as The Meadow, located in Caroline County, Va., just north of Richmond. From that seed the following spring would sprout a legendary creature who would one day transcend the Sport of Kings and forever alter the course of racing history.

But the harsh winds of 30 winters have since eroded this hallowed ground that once nurtured the immortal Secretariat. The pastures and training track that once shook from the pounding of "Big Red's" mighty hooves have been still for two decades.

Only 400 of the farm's original 2,000 acres are as they were then. The training track and adjoining barns have remained somewhat intact, but are decaying with every passing year. There are no longer horses frolicking about or even photographs on an office wall to keep the memories alive. All that remains in Caroline County to remind one of The Meadow's illustrious past are the aging, but still-fertile, minds of several former grooms, to whom those glory days of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s have all but faded from their minds. They have moved on with their lives--two work full-time as janitors, two have retired, and one dabbles as a handyman, occasionally doing lawn work and fixing small engines and lawn mowers.

Charlie Ross, 66, passes The Meadow every day to and from his job at the All American Truck Plaza, just off Interstate 95, directly across from King's Dominion amusement park. Ross has been employed there as a janitor for the past eight years. For someone who worked at The Meadow for 37 years, taking care of some of the best-bred yearlings in the country, Ross admits, “It was strange at first going from the horses to cleaning showers.”

One of the yearlings who was turned over to him in the early spring of 1971 was a powerful chestnut colt by Bold Ruler, out of Somethingroyal, who had already been given the name Secretariat.

Ross spent nearly a year grooming Secretariat, watching him trim off pounds of baby fat and develop into a racehorse and eventually into a legend. But the big chestnut with the three white legs and long, elegant strip of white running down his face was but one of many horses to pass Ross' way. Although he does admit to feeling good about his role in Secretariat's life, in the world of Charlie Ross, there is not much room for sentimentality. His only personal link to Secretariat these days is a copy of Ray Woolfe Jr.'s book, which tells Big Red's story in text and photos. Any other pieces of memorabilia collected over the years are long gone.

On the afternoon of Dec. 20, 2001, Ross left work at the usual time of 3 o'clock, got into his 1999 metallic blue Toyota pickup, and headed west on two-lane Route 30 toward his home on nearby Sadie Lane. But today was different. Instead of driving past the dirt road entrance of The Meadow's old training complex, Ross hung a right and drove along the outside of the track to an opening in the rail. On the other side of the track was the indoor training barn and the European-style stable area, with the three outdoor barns forming three sides of a square. The fourth side, completing the square, was a large open shed, in which still stood the old hotwalking machine.

Ross looked at the peeling paint of the training barn that was now more gray than white and just shook his head. "It's been a lot of years since I've been here," he said. "It feels strange to be back. There was a time when I used to be here more than I was at home. There sure was no paint peeling off back then like it is now. We used to paint it every year. This was a beautiful place to work, and Mr. (Christopher) Chenery was a wonderful man to work for. So was Mrs. Tweedy (Chenery's daughter Penny, who took over the farm after her father's death in 1972)."

Ross, who has a noticeable limp due to arthritis, walked alongside one of the barns, passing one stall after another. When he came to the end, he unhooked the top door of the first stall and said, as if he were unveiling a priceless work of art, "This was Secretariat's stall." Inside, several of the ceiling boards had come loose and were split and rotted. In the back left corner hung a veil of cobwebs, and in the front left corner stood an old broom.

Ross just stared inside, then took a few steps forward and rested his arms atop the bottom stall door. Although he said nothing, one couldn't help but imagine the flood of memories that were rushing through his mind. "See these two holes," he said, pointing to a pair of nail holes in the open top door. "This is where I hung the plaque that read: 'Secretariat, by Bold Ruler out of Somethingroyal.' Yeeeaaah, it does bring back memories. I remember when I used to stand outside this stall in the sunshine, just as I am now.

"I got Secretariat in the spring, along with five other yearlings, and I remember liking him when I first saw him. He was built real strong, and because he was so big and powerful, it took him a while to get it together. He was a very quiet horse to work with and I didn't have any problems with him. He had no bad habits; no biting, no kicking or anything like that. Meredith Bailes used to ride him a lot and he thought he might be something, but he really never showed anything to make us believe he was gonna become such a great horse."

Ross recalled going to the Preakness on a rented bus with other farm employees. He also attended the Belmont Stakes with his wife, but was blocked by the huge crowd and had to watch the historic event on a TV monitor in the clubhouse.

As Ross returned to his truck, he seemed to be engulfed by the quiet, as the only sound came from the winter winds howling through the naked tree limbs. "Yeah, I made a lot of tracks around this old place," he said. "But there's nothin' around here no more. It's really sad. I still think about Secretariat now and then, especially when I watch the races on television. But I have another job now, and as long as I'm working, I'm happy."

Just up the road from Ross' house is the home of 66-year-old Bannie Mines, who along with Howard Gregory and Lewis Tillman, took care of Secretariat when he was a foal and weanling. Tillman died several years ago, but Mines and Gregory are still going strong. Mines lives in a small house on Riva Ridge Road with his daughter and grandson, for whom he babysits while his daughter is at work. A few doors down lives Raymond "Peter Blue" Goodall, who was Riva Ridge's groom when he was a yearling.

Gregory lives several minutes away, across Route 30, on Gregory Road. One of his neighbors is 74-year-old Wilbur "Bill" Street, who spent most of his time at the track, but did team up with his brother Harry to van Secretariat from the farm to Hialeah in January of 1972 to start his racing career.

Mines says he doesn't do much else other than some yard work and watching television. Gregory, although 76, is still sharp and loves to keep busy, mowing lawns, doing a little landscaping, and fixing engines.

Gregory worked at The Meadow for 31 years and another several years after Penny Chenery sold the farm. Of the next two owners of The Meadow, also known as Meadow Farm, one went bankrupt and the other went to prison. The current owner tore down the original house and built a new one across the road from the old training complex.

Gregory was around Secretariat from the day he was born, which was March 30, 1970, at 10 minutes past midnight. Dr. Olive Britt, The Meadow's veterinarian who still practices part-time at age 83, remembers getting a call from the nightwatchman, telling her that Somethingroyal was in the middle of foaling. By the time she arrived, Somethingroyal had already given birth. Britt, who now lives in nearby Goochland County, said she'll never forget farm manager Howard Gentry watching the foal get to his feet and saying, "This is what we've been waiting for for 35 years."

Gregory could tell right away the colt was something special. "We knew from the get-go he was different from any horse we ever had," he said. "There was definitely something there. I remember him being very alert, and he'd test you. When you walked him to the paddock your mind and his had to correspond. If he thought you weren't paying attention he was gone. You had to have your mind focused on him at all times. I also worked with Riva Ridge and he was an altogether different horse. He was so quiet, and all you had to do was say, 'Whoa, Riva,' and he'd just stop and stand there. But Secretariat would try you in a heartbeat. You had to know what you were doing, because he always knew when you had him and when you didn't. And if he knew you didn't, that was it; he was gone.

"He was a gorgeous colt, with a beautiful head, and those three white stockings. I'll never forget watching the Belmont Stakes on TV. Lord, that was something to see. I'm very proud to have been around a horse like that. I remember putting his mother, Somethingroyal, in the ground after she died at age 31. I also buried Hill Prince. Those were really special days back then, and you couldn't work for anyone nicer than Mr. Chenery. Money was never a problem, and we got bonuses and shares in winnings. I was available anytime they needed me, because I loved what I was doing and where I was working. When I wanted to build my own house, they helped me out. And because of Mr. Chenery, I live in a six-room house on five acres, and it's all mine. There aren't many people out there like Mr. Chenery anymore.

"I stayed on after Mrs. Tweedy sold the farm, but the last fellow I worked for, Mr. (Eric) Friedlander, couldn't pay us, so I left. I drive by the farm most every day, shopping and doing errands, but I go right by. I haven't been back since the day I left. It hurts me too bad to see what's become of it. I've had several jobs since, but I'm pretty much retired now. I thank God I'm still around to do whatever I want to. I couldn't ask for more than that."

Gregory, like Ross, has little in the way of memorabilia from the old days, and no longer sees much of his fellow workers. "I used to have all kinds of stuff, but where they are I couldn't put my finger on it," he said. "It's been so long. I very seldom get a chance to visit with the other guys. Everybody's pretty much gone on their own now. Every once in a while I run acrosss one of 'em, but not too often."

Gregory actually lives only five or six minutes from Riva Ridge Road, and was able to point out Bannie Mines' house before heading to Richmond to do some errands. Mines, who is Charlie Ross' brother-in-law, is an amiable fellow with white hair, who cordially welcomed a stranger into his home. While his memory is not nearly as sharp as Gregory's, and he has a problem hearing, he did try to pull out whatever remnants of the old days his memory could muster. Mines worked at The Meadow for 25 years, mainly in the broodmare barn and helping out with the yearlings.

“I remember Secretariat was a big, strong colt; bigger than the others, and very well built,” he recalled. “With the weanlings, we always tried to put the three best horses together, and the best horse would go into the first stall. I remember Secretariat was put in the first stall, so everyone must have felt he was the best. He gave you an idea even then that he might turn into something. It made me feel real good to see him become such a great horse. He was pretty easy to work with, but he had a temper, too. I had him for about a year, and then he went to Charlie.”

Mines continued on after the farm was sold, then went to work at another farm before retiring. “I don't do much these days, just rake a little leaves and cut a little grass," he said. “I watch TV most of the time. I don’t have any souvenirs, but I did have a picture of Hill Prince. I think it's out back in the shed somewhere.”

Mines then went out to his backyard and opened the door to his shed. He had to step over several large objects to get to the back wall, and there, hanging in a glassless frame, was a finish and winner's circle photo of Hill Prince, yellowed by the years. Mines removed the photo from the frame and showed off his only link to the old days. “I really do miss those days," he said. “But I left after the last people took over and I've never been back.”

Riva Ridge Road and Sadie Lane comprise the settlement known as Duval Town, which was originally built after emancipation to house freed slaves. It was there that the majority of grooms lived. Each morning, the farm truck would make its rounds through Duval Town, picking up the grooms and bringing them to work. Sadie Lane was named by the county after the matriarch of the extended family that lived there. Known as “Aunt Sarah” or “Aunt Sadie,” she cooked for Penny Chenery's mother in the 1940s.

“I remember Raymond Goodall's mother, Magnolia, worked in the house, along with her sister,” Penny Chenery recalled. “And they were daughters of Aunt Sadie. They were all great people. The grooms were all in their 30s during the heyday of the '70s. Whenever we won a big race, we gave them a week's pay. They were wonderful to me. I clearly was not my father, but they were respectful and helpful as I was learning on the job. It was just a wonderful team.”

And they came up with a wonderful horse, believed by many to be the greatest of all time. There are only faint memories left for The Meadow's grooms. But Howard Gregory's eyes still light up when he thinks of the chestnut foal who would one day grow up to be Big Red. He rolled the images around in his mind for a few seconds before the words made their way out: “A horse like Secretariat. That will never happen no more.”


The end stall with the open door, usually reserved for the star of the crop, is where Secretariat spent his early days.


A lone broom standing in the corner of Secretariat's old stall is all that remains of what was to become hallowed ground.


The ceiling beams above Big Red's stall rotted away over years of neglect.


The striking, ornate trainer's stand remained untouched, overlooking the training track where Secretariat received his early training.


Groom Bannie Mines, like Big Red's other grooms, kept little memorabilia. He had to climb over piles of storage in his garage to find an old withered photo of Hill Prince.

40 Comments

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Old Bald Peg

What wonderful memories.

Thanks Haskins!

As usual your piece is a winner.

28 Jun 2013 4:50 PM
TBDancer

Tears. Again. Thank you, Steve Haskin, for making Big Red come alive for us once more, through the pictures and the recollections of those who knew and loved him.

28 Jun 2013 5:14 PM
Old Bald Peg

If you ever publish a book of Steve's columns I want to be first in line it will go in a place of honor on my shelves. Right next to my leather bound/slip cased first edition of Joe Palmer's 'This Was Racing'

Thanks for the memories Steve.

28 Jun 2013 6:23 PM
Steve Haskin

Thank you, Peg. Which "you" are you referring to? I'm sure no publisher. If I was I would definitely publish a lot of these stories as a book. But that's not going to happen. At least I know I'd have one person who'll buy it :)

Thanks, TBDancer. OK, about to close up shop for a while. Blogs will remain open for comments, which will be posted by Web Production.

28 Jun 2013 7:00 PM
Warlaine

Just a wonderful story and yet so heartfelt it brings tears remembering. I will be standing in line behind Peg when the book comes out. Thanks for all you bring to all aspects of horseracing past and present. I'll be missing your columns.

29 Jun 2013 10:53 AM
Tiz Herself

Amazing, as always Steve. I wish I had been around for Secretariat. Have all the books that are published on him, his Breyer model and some other things, but the real thing would have been spectacular :) Thank you for sharing these memories Steve!

Steve, I would have every book you publish :) John Henry, Kelso and Dr. Fager are among my favorites!

29 Jun 2013 11:58 AM
Wrensflight

Steve, you have an incredible ability for bringing images and memories to life and evoking powerful emotions with them. Please don't ever stop. Thanks for this beautiful piece on a magical horse and his people.

29 Jun 2013 1:19 PM
Stellar Jayne

Steve - Thanks for this heartfelt remembrance of Secretariat and the grooms who loved him and their work.  These men are special too, as they helped develop and educate Big Red into the most fabulous horse this country ever saw and will never see again.  

It is unfortunate that early on, before selling the property, Ms. Chenery did not think of having a parcel of land around the house and the main barns and foaling barn a historical landmark.

By the way, I'd be the second buyer of your book!

Enjoy the summer of racing at Saratoga and stay well.  Say hello to Lenny - I love ATO.  You two always make me laugh.

29 Jun 2013 1:24 PM
skyringer

While the barns still stand across the street from the training track, the track itself and the trainer's stand are now a memory, as that part of the farm was leveled to create the State Fairgrounds.  It is still something that most of the horsemen in the area will never forgive the state & organizations involved for doing.

29 Jun 2013 1:44 PM
Fran Loszynski

I guess you didn't get my last comment Steve but thank you for making the statue of  Secretariat at Belmont mean even more to me!

29 Jun 2013 5:17 PM
Kristen

Pricless!!!  I still love reading anything Secretariat.  Great reading about the grooms.  It's just so sad that someone couldn't have kept The Meadow looking like it did in Big Reds hey day.  He deserved better.

29 Jun 2013 6:58 PM
robinm

Thanks for a great story before your summer break.  Can't wait for fall!

29 Jun 2013 7:29 PM
I Love Horses

Steve, you can make it two people who would buy a book of your columns.  Thank you for the great article on Secretariat and the people who cared for him at Meadow Stud; I will never forget watching him in 1973.

29 Jun 2013 9:59 PM
Old Bald Peg

Haskin,

The book will be published by Blood Horse Publications, yes I'll be first in line, and your words will be treasured by future readers, as are Palmer's.

29 Jun 2013 10:42 PM
Deltalady

"Steve Haskin Takes a Look Back," or "Steve Haskin's Times of My Life," "On the Track and Down the Lane with Steve Haskin", or simply "Hangin' with Haskin: My 40 years covering the Sport of Kings", all suggested titles for a multi-volume set of your blog posts! You have a lot of fans, Steve, almost as many as Zenyatta!  LOL  Please seriously consider it. Hardback and paperbackk!

30 Jun 2013 2:56 AM
duchess

Add me to the list of people who would gladly buy a book of your columns. WHEN it is released, please also have an e-book version.  :-)

I am so glad that the grooms of the Meadow got a chance to share their stories. Grooms, hot walkers, and exercise riders are the backbone of the industry, and we do not get to hear from them very often.

01 Jul 2013 12:23 AM
Jacklyn

Why doesn't the current owner restore Secretariat's barn & stall and give tours for money? I just can't believe no one has preserved it all these years!What is the farm now?  Any horses?  Why didn't a horse owner purchase it?

01 Jul 2013 3:01 PM
Old Old Cat

Reading this reminded me that Albert Vanderbuilt's Sagamore Farms in Baltimore County Maryland had gone through some tough times, (from a horseman's point of view).  Today Kevin Plank of UnderArmor has been restoring it to a better condition than maybe the original.  Maybe someday someone will do the same for the Meadows.  Or maybe we will hear, "Attention WalMart Shoppers, there is a blue light special for the next hour in Outdoor Lighting, formerly the paddock of Secretariat".

I would hope not.

01 Jul 2013 5:36 PM
Davids

Steve, every time I've read the above article and been saddened by the images, it always reminds me of this verse from Cymbeline:

Fear no more the heat o'the sun

Nor the furious winter's rages;

Thou thy worldly task has done,

Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:

Golden lads and girls all must,

As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

01 Jul 2013 8:26 PM
Debbiek

Steve, thank you for another of your great stories.  Secretariat was, is, and always will be my favorite.  I cried reading this.  His Belmont remains, for me, the most amazing race I have ever seen and I still get goose bumps watching it.  His grooms deserved to have their stories told and you are the best man to do it.  I think you would sell a great many books :)  Have a great summer!!  

02 Jul 2013 12:14 AM
Bellwether

Went there the winter of 2006 just before Va. State Fair took over the farm...It was just like the pictures you have shown here...Went in Big Reds stall and picked up a hand full of dirt and let it run through my hands as I looked out over the training track where the Immortal one laid down his first licks...His groom Eddie Sweat(Eddie should had stayed with Big Red during his breeding years too)had a ton to do with what Big Red did on the race track...ty Steve...  

02 Jul 2013 10:31 AM
Bellwether

Steve...I believe the State Fair of Va. still owns what was left of "The Meadow" about 400 acres and they did save Riva Ridges and Secretariats stalls where both were born but were moved to another location where they can be viewed...I believe the property is up for sale again...ty for another great piece of racing history and maybe you should write that book as a grand finale???...Best Wishes for You...

02 Jul 2013 11:02 AM
Fran Loszynski

Turn the Meadows into a training area for young  racehorses and jockeys. The way Secretariat romped and raced around the rails there his spirit would like that.

02 Jul 2013 9:57 PM
Racingfan

We are ready for a new post whenever you are Steve! :-)  Miss you already! :-(

05 Jul 2013 5:54 PM
Paula Higgins

Oh Steve, there would be more than 1 person in line to buy any book by you. This was wonderful but it made me very sad to see The Meadows come to this. I know nothing can stay the same forever, but it is sad that the state did not see the value of this very historic farm. The men that worked there were so important to its success. Sad that they weren't kept on longer.

09 Jul 2013 11:52 PM
Agnes

I love anything you write, Steve.  You always manage to transport us to the glory days of racing.  It is sad that Meadows wasn't maintained as a memorial to Secretariat but it's OK as he lives on in our hearts.

10 Jul 2013 12:44 PM
52baby

Farm currently owned by the Farm Bureau. There was a Secretariat birthday clebration there and it appears there is a lot of support to keep the property from being further developed. Only time will tell.

11 Jul 2013 10:31 AM
52baby

And Steve... I'm in line for your book as well. Several, in fact, if you'll sign them!

11 Jul 2013 10:33 AM
Ida Lee

Oh what wonderful memories.  Thank you so much.  To this day, I don't really know why Secretariat is so important to me. Maybe it's because it was love from the first moment I set eyes on him. Maybe it's because his beauty was blinding. Maybe it's because he never disappointed me. But whatever reason...he's my favorite all-time athlete...no other horse or human touches him as far as I'm concerned. I just got back from my dream vacation to horse country in Lexington KY and of course went to Claibourne Farm to see Big Red's final resting place. It was such an emotional experience.  Plus, the fact that Bold Ruler is buried there but a few steps from his most famous son brought tears.  I also saw the famous paddock where so many gorgeous photos of him running and grazing were taken. I still have goose bumps.  Thank you for the memories.  

11 Jul 2013 7:24 PM
Old Bald Peg

As for Virginia doing ANYTHING in memory of Secretariat, don't hold your breath. I live in VA and we can't even get a specialized SECRETARIAT license plate. This from the folks in Richmond who just started awarding a 'Virginia bred horse of the year' award (to Bodemeister this year). I refuse to get the generic (and ugly) 'horse enthusiast' plate. I have a regular blue and white VA plate with the 'vanity' phrase Z20669.  Anybody out there in Virginia want to petition your Delegate/Senator in Richmond?

12 Jul 2013 5:39 PM
Mary

Who's In Town, a 2 year old filly has one of the finest pedigrees I have ever seen.  She is being trained by Michael Matz, and will make her debut July 15.

She has a Secretariat pedigree.  Her last work was fantastic.  Keep a close eye on this lovely filly.  

12 Jul 2013 8:57 PM
Linda in Texas

Steve - we know a book by you would be a goldmine of facts, memories and pure joy.

Dear friends of Steve's who suggest a book. What is needed is a publisher. Seems those are not so easy to obtain.

Anyone out there know a publisher?

If so, send Steve their name/names.

Then our wishes for his words between hard covers will come true.

Hope you are having a nice rest Steve and family. I am looking forward to Saratoga. My favorite race place of all. And Hattie's fried chicken!!  :)

Hope everyone who posts here is safe. In Texas we are having a long hot and dry summer. "Pray for Rain" signs are everyplace while the right coast is getting plenty.

Thanks Steve out there some place!

13 Jul 2013 10:14 AM
Linda in Texas

Just found the And They're Off Video with Iowa in the background. So Steve you are in my dad's birth state and mother's. Both University of Iowa, Dad, Med School. Reppert's Pharmacy corner of 35th and Ingersoll was grandpa's in the early 1900's. My son got his master's there at U of I. So you are or were in God's Country and in good hands for sure! Stay safe.  

13 Jul 2013 12:54 PM
Linda in Texas

Watched They're Off Video today and see you are in Iowa - Well Steve and Family you are/were indeed in God's Country.

Must have been an awesome feeling standing in the revered corn field where baseball was the game!

Parents both born in Des Moines, grandfather a pharmacist and owned Reppert's Pharmacy at the corner of 35th and Ingersoll. Dad and mom both graduated from U of I, dad onto Med school there and later my son got his Master's in Music there and taught Italian diction as a freshman to Doctorate Students. Had relatives who graduated in 1900 also. Only way for me to tie this info into the subject of horses is: my mother's family had a livery stable on the premises with a carriage and a driver who took the family to engagements,etc. Maybe that is where i got my love of horses. And since i am so corny sometimes, obviously the corn rubbed off on me also! :)

Bring on the Spa. Cannot wait.

Be Safe Everyone!

13 Jul 2013 6:50 PM
Ted from LA

Is this heaven?

www.youtube.com/watch

16 Jul 2013 10:20 AM
Alex'sBigFan

Great Secretariat stuff Steve and photos.  I wonder if we will ever see one the likes of him again?  I was a kid, all I remember is in bold print SECRETARIAT scrawled across the newspaper somewhere in the 70's.  Who Secretariat was then, I had no idea.  Lucky are all those who got the chance to see him or see him race.  It must have been awesome.

Great news on a filly by Afleet Alex winning at Del. Park.  Fran, are you thrilled!!!!!!!  This is great news.

Cannot wait for the Haskell in 2 weeks!!!!!  Oxbow and Verrazano are set.  Wonder if Oxbow will do what cous Paynter did last year?  And Verrazano recently won I believe at Monmouth so he seems familiar with and likes the track.  Baffert has one in it too and Baffert has won the Haskell six or seven times straight, I forget the exact count.  But it is a fun, fun race.  Those that live nearby come on out, it's a great and fun summer racing experience.

The way I see it publishers should be bidding on and fighting over  who gets to publish Steve's book.  Steve has many books to write, the Afleet Alex story, the Paynter story, the Zenyatta phenomenon.........any book by Steve would be of great importance.  Even if Steve wrote an article on stall mucking we all would be enthralled.  We miss you Steve, have a nice vacation and hurry back.  Hope to see you at Monmouth Park.

16 Jul 2013 11:01 PM
KenfromRI

As always, your prose flows like poetry. So easy to read and 'get into". Joyce (my amateur photographer fiancee) and I hope to run into you at Saratoga this summer. Would surely love to grab a bite to eat some time this summer at the Spa as we did with you and Ed Fountaine a few years ago near Louisville at that Italian place outside the city there. Take care and keep the wonderful words coming!

17 Jul 2013 11:46 AM
Donna M

Once again Steve, you managed to hit that nostalgia and romance in your writing.. loved your story about Sectretariat's beloved Meadow..  it was bittersweet as you described... I wonder if that old broom was around back in his day.   Thanks for the great story, your writing is the best!

17 Jul 2013 1:12 PM
Cassandra.Says

Y'all forgetting the illustrations for this book?

17 Jul 2013 2:08 PM
KY VET

This is a true story..............we were going to claim a horse, and of course, you need to get claim in 15 mins before race...........the horse we were gonna claim, never ran with wraps, or any kind of equiptment...............so we look at the horse when he gets to recieving barn(to make sure he has 4 legs)........he comes out, with a full cup on one eye, 2 front wraps, one of them bigger than the other! He obviously had bowed a tendon, and lost an eye  explaining the 6 weeks off, since his last race..........obviously we put the claim in, as we are not idiotic enough to believe this overkill, to make the horse look bad.......at about the 12 min mark, off goes the full blinker! as the horse walked to the back of the walking ring, off goes half the wrap with extra cotton!..the horse ran a good 2nd, and we find out, another claim was put in, by a trainer that already had a horse in the race.....(which was kinda strange, considering he would have 2 at the same level)........as luck would have it, we got outshook......it then occurred to me, we were victim, of the ol' fake claim! the trainer had his friend put in the claim for him! Yes, the proof was,the step up in class re-claim of the horse....( it was a filly so no taxes on sell).....the guy always had the filly! he fake claimed it back........all of this for a cheap claimer! Karma is a "b" though....horse ran off the board in the next 2 races!  thank you karma!............we all have our little fun racetrack stories huh?

17 Jul 2013 7:47 PM

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