The year was 2003, and Charles “Buck” Woodson Jr. finally had had just about enough.
For more than 30 years the tough-as-nails Woodson, a no-nonsense horseman known for his colorful personality, had been making ends meet by breeding, owning, and training mostly lower-end claimers in West Virginia. Sure, back in the 1980s Woodson had campaigned Onion Juice, the legendary West Virginia-bred who won 27 races including the inaugural $100,000 Jim Beam Breeders’ Classic and earned more than $225,000, but besides that there wasn’t much else he had to show for dedicating the second half of his life to Thoroughbreds. Julianna, his loyal wife of more than three decades, was just about fed up with the way things were going, too.
On this particular winter afternoon Woodson, who to this day at age 84 still does most of the work himself on his 40-acre Buckstud Farm, hopped off his tractor, having finished another long day of work in biting winds and frigid winter temperatures, his hands numb from the cold. He clearly remembers that day—one that changed his life.
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