There would be no blog for me without three encounters, events in my life: a famous horse; the stable where I grew up with the Harrington Ave Herd; and a childhood friend who sparked my love and infatuation for the thoroughbred.
Man o’ War
Needing no introduction whatsoever…I read Walter Farley’s book, “Man o’ War” and that was it for me. To this day, I search for him in pedigrees! I visited his barn last year, Holy Ground. Mesmerizing.
Legend has it that upon seeing him in action, a spectator asked a groom, “Who’s he by?” The reply was “He’s by hisself, and there ain’t nobody gonna get near him.” The Best. Ever. Period.
Nippy and His Herd
I still see them here: The Herd. A band of horses, mostly unruly, who were allowed the freedom to roam, live and be what they were: horses. The appropriately named herd leader, Nippy, the most stunning chestnut thoroughbred ever born and would have caught the eye of anyone. It was long ago, but I knew he had raced at the track. I never knew his registered name; wish I had that information. Wish I had a picture of him. (I still have a slight scar on my shoulder from his “nippiness”.) And his herd…Smokey, Blacky, Princess, Dutchess, Danny Boy, and all the others. I had the rides of my life on them. I learned to hold on and ride because they reared, bucked, stopped short, ran away with me sometimes, on miles and miles of trails. Seemed normal! Magical place; magical horses. This apple orchard, part of the property where they roamed, is still standing along with the rest of the farm, preserved in perpetuity. Thank God for that. I’ll see you on the other side, for sure, old friends.
My Childhood Mentor: Amy. Brilliant. Talented. Classy. Lovely. The Best.
Fifth Grade. We were eleven years old. I would go to her home, and we’d sit in her room, studying the American Racing Manual. I became fascinated there, right there in her room. Pedigrees; charts, stats… Her room was lined with shelves; those shelves were full of Breyer horses. It was Amy who sparked my interest in thoroughbred racing and horses. We went to Suffolk Downs last year and watched American Pharoah win the Breeder’s Cup together. How fitting. Thank you, my lifelong friend, Amy. My admiration for you is boundless. Pictured here with her TB, Brutus.