The Grey Heart

By Rachel Levine, author of Thorough Chat

With the Triple Crown trail underway, I thought it would be a good time to share a story of a horse that is near and dear to my heart. He didn't make the Triple Crown, but he captured my heart forever.

The first time I ever went to a race track was November 16, 2006, I was a freshman at a local Community College and always wanted to go to Delaware Park. Future Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic runner up Hard Spun was making his stakes debut that day and thought it would be a good time to go, figuring that he probably would never make a start at DP again. I had convinced my mom to let me get out of math class early, so that she could take me. It was a balmy day, with a gray sky and the track was sloppy. One of the races on the undercard was a maiden special weight, mom and myself made a bet on the favorite, and it was a small field. Unfortunately, the favorite Diamond Fever, along with the rest of the field was crushed by the Wagon Limit colt Arcata. Later on that day, Hard Spun showed that he was the real deal by winning the Port Penn, but I was enamored in Arcata's domination of his race. The irony of this is that Hard Spun had defeated Arcata in their last race.

A gray, which I was a sucker for, I immediately started following the Graham Motion trainee using Equibase's Virtual Stable.  He stayed with Allowance company winning 3 more races. On March 29, 2008, Arcata made his first start in a stakes race. He won the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Handicap, by a nose. Unfortunately his next stakes race, he finished last. Back to allowance company, and then eventually he was put in for a tag. In his second to last race for Motion, he finished third to future Pacific Classic winner Richard's Kid. The very next race, he was claimed by Scott Lake, who he ran 3 races for. Then he was claimed by David Jacobson. He really was never the same horse again once he went to Jacobson.

As of January 2010, Arcata was running at Penn National for trainer David Geist. His last race, a 4,000 claimer, he won by a head. While he was not the best horse to come out of Delaware Park in 2006, he has one that captured my heart. Since that first start, I've also been following his two siblings, Cozy Cottage (by Pine Bluff), who has a few wins under her belt and Ennis (by Medalist). I had the honor to see Ennis in person when he ran for Motion in the Dover Stakes that was won by 2009 Remsen 3rd place finisher Citrus Kid. Ennis finished last that day, but showed that he has his big brothers heart. Their dam Arroyo Cottage (by Dynaformer) had a War Chant colt last year, and hopefully he'll have his big brothers heart as well. Arcata is a horse that I will never forget.

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