A New Year

Chris led Almost A Star over the gravel driveway toward the paddock he shared with Sea Aflame. The pasture next to Star and Flame’s held a four year old gelded son of the legendary What’s It Worth. Smiling as she opened the gate Chris was happy Worth A Fortune had been purchased by the farm. Once she had turned Star loose she left the paddock to move down to the 2 year olds. Sakana, a Gone Haywire son, rolled in his pasture while the fillies raced around their pasture. One was a chestnut, the other was a bay, but the thing they had in common was a love of speed. The chesnut was named Attheendoftheday and she was a daughter of the farm’s only stallion My Lucky Day. The bay was named Pink Ace and she was a half sister to Sea Aflame and two of the farm’s broodmares, Golden Legend and Flaming Possibility who had both foaled and were in foal to My Lucky Day. Sunrise (Attheendoftheday) noticed Chris first and slowed to a trot as the two fillies neared the gate. Pink Ace whinned and nuzzled Chris with her elegant nose. Chris smiled and rubbed both fillies for a little while before she moved on to Twin Peaks paddock. The bay yearling was resting under the trees watching his half-sister race around with Flaming Possibility’s newest son.
Chris whistled and the homebred colt turned his head and whinnied happily breaking into a bouncy trot. Peaks would actually turn a year in just nine days but in the eyes of the Jockey Club, the colt had turned a year in January. Considering his slightly younger age he probably wouldn’t be backed until early Septemeber. Peaks slowed to a walk once he reached the gate and whickered quietly touching Chris’s cheek with his nose. She smiled and gently patted the calm colt. Since Deadly Game’s yearling filly had left Peaks had seemed to be more reserved but he opened up a bit over the last couple of months.

Tearing herself away from the fine colt Chris moved on to the broodmares. Only 2 out of the 7 had foaled and once Royalle foaled she would head back to her owner once the foal had been weaned. Dark Love was the most recent mare and she came with a low price but carrying a valuable foal. The expected foal was sired by Simply Heoric. Deadly Game lifted her head and snorted. Game looked like she was carrying twins and every took twice as long. Hopefully Game would give up toting the foal by Devil May Care and foal soon. Almost A Legend and Irish Secrets streaked past. Almost A Legend was the farm’s poster child. She had it all and was only a few weeks old. Irish Secrets, even though he was younger he could up the firey filly but they were both wore out by the time they reached their stalls. Irish would be taller than Almost A Legend but almost all of Golden Legend’s foals were on the small side.

Almost A Legend shared the same sire as the farm’s best three year Almost A Star and she also had been named along the same lines. The difference was very obvious but the colt and the filly had the same long straight leg, good heart and intelligence. Chris had caught Star trying to escape from his stall on more than one occasion and she had caught Legacy in the same stunt once. Meanwhile Irish had no bad habits and Flames doted on him.

All of a sudden a Blue Roan 2 yo stud colt came trotting down the road and soon later, Justine was far away trying to catch him.

Justine was bringing the colt into his turn-out paddock when he must of smelled a mare, or something, and decided he was going to run away. His parents are not well known at all. But back on task. After the weather break of warm tempature today he had not been outside for several days. And he was very fresh from his grain. 

A few weeks later

Brush Strokes snorted and shook his head as Chris led him toward the turf track. The bay colt had recently placed third in the Great Metroplitan Handicap and Chris was hoping the Rainbow Quest colt could repeat it in his next race. As Chris turned Brush loose to his exercise rider she joined the farm trainer Samantha at the rail.
“Brush looks good. Let’s take him a half-mile slowly.” Sam called to Brush’s rider Maddison who had just joined the farm after Chris had spotted her at the track riding an unruly chestnut filly. Despite the filly’s frequent attempts to take the reins from Maddison, Maddison stuck with the chestnut and clocked a minute five over a slightly muddy track. Since Maddison had arrived she had bonded with Brush Strokes and taken seconds off his times in every workout.
As Brush Strokes galloped by strongly Chris glanced at Sam’s watch and grinned. He was ready for another race.

“So do you think we should enter Brush Strokes in the Hardwick stakes on the May 27th?” Chris asked Sam once Maddison had taken Brush back to the barn.
“He could use an allowance race before then.” Sam replied as she jotted Brush’s time down on the clipboard.
“I looked at the schedule and there are no races for 3yo+ before then.” Chris said
“Well then I have no problems with the Hardwick stakes.” Sam said
Just then Trade Ship and Sakana were led up followed by Sea Aflame and Strobe Light. Chris walked up to Strobe Light and gave the brown mare and gentle pat on the nose. The talented SC’er snorted and pawed the ground. Chris had claimed the mare in January for only $5,000 and Strobe Light had gone on to earn more than $70,000 for the farm and was 40 points away from being a Champion. Sea Aflame gave a quick squeal of displeasure at Strobe Light and reached out to nip the mare. Strobe Light gave Sea Aflame a firm bite on the shoulder for being bossy.
“Hey handsome boy.” Chris said pulling Strobe away from Sea. The chestnut three year old whinnied and bumped Chris with his nose. A talented racehorse Sea Aflame had matured into a tough competitor over the last couple of months and had recently won a 9.5 allowance race and was headed to the Dogwood stakes at the same distance.
“How do you think Sea Aflame will do in the Dogwood?” Chris asked Sam as Sam sent Strobe Light into the center of the turf track where several brush jumps were set up. Melanie, Strobe Light’s exercise rider, sent the brown mare into a canter toward the first jump.
“If his last race is anything to go by I don’t think the Dogwood will be a problem for Sea Aflame.” Sam said her eyes on Melanie and Strobe.

Chris walked from the main house and toward the broodmare barn. She made it a part of her day to visit the broodmares and their foals everyday, since they would be carrying on Tall Oaks legacy of racing. Entering the barn she stopped at Whirl It’s stall. Hey Whirl Chris said softly and the chestnut broodmare moved forward. The 13 year old broodmare was a consistant producer of stakes winners and Chris couldn’t wait to see how Whirl’s Hope To Succeed foal turned out. Highland Whirl, Whirl’s grey son by Highland Mystery snorted and butted Chris with his silky nose. Smiling Chris rubbed Highland’s nose before moving on to the next stall. The chestnut broodmare next to Whirl It shared the same sire as Whirl It. Whirlagirl whickered and her ears pricked forward and she nuzzled Chris’s hand as Chris reached up to rub the bright star in the middle of Girl’s forehead. How are you doing pretty girl? Chris asked Whirlagirl and the chestnut whinnied. A few years younger than Whirl It Girl had produced a winner and a placer. Casting a expericened eye over Girl’s little bump of a stomach Chris grinned happily thinking of the little foal Girl would foal by Crystal Rainbow the next year.
A winner of over 6 million Crystal Rainbow had hit his stride as a four year old winning the Santa Anita Handicap, San Marino Handicap, Marshua’s River stakes, Crown Royal American Turf, Suburban Handicap, Arlington Million, Jockey Club Gold Cup, Stuvyesant stakes, Crismon Lad Breeders’ Stakes, and The Black Breeders’ Stakes. The next year he had won the Aqueduct Handicap, Colin Stephen Handicap, Moone Valley Gold Cup, Pimlico Special, Stephen Foster stakes, and Lonesome Glory Breeders’ stakes.
Moving on the next stall a deep and welcoming neigh came from Deadly Game. Hey Deadly Game Chris greeted the tall broodmare and Game nudged Chris’s hand. A daughter of Patriot Games, Game was half to many stakes winners and Chris was thankful she had picked up Game for 15 thousand when she had. Her eyes caught on the grey form of Game’s newest son. A almost exact replica of his dam Devil’s Game had all the essentials of every good racehorse. Sired by Devil May Care who had 100% stakes runners in his first crop and his second crop were yearlings. Now in foal to Temptation for a 3/4 sibling to her first foal Chris was excited about the foal Deadly Game would foal next April. A deep snort was heard from inside the adjorning stall and Thinking of Dreams pushed her head out into the stall with ears pricked. Hey baby Chris said rubbing Dreams gently on the nose. Dreams had been bred back to Gimme A Shot after she had foaled Gimmeonemoreshot. Due in April Chris could hardly sit still until the day Dreams foaled her second Gimme A Shot baby. Moving on to the stall next to Dreams Hey Love Chris said to the black broodmare inside. Dark Love stood at her stall door watching Chris approach and the beautiful mare bobbed her head eyes bright. Dark Love would the mare who would kick off Tall Oaks 2011 breeding season with a foal by Simply Heroic in February. The dam of one stakes winner Chris was glad she had managed to get Dark Love when she had and the future pairing of Love and My Lucky Day was definately in the works once Love foaled.
How’s my favorite girl? Chris said to Golden Legend once she had left Dark Love’s stall. The chestnut Black Legend daughter had been the first broodmare the farm had owned followed shortly by Deadly Game. Shaking her head Legend whinnied happily and walked over to the stall door followed closely by her chestnut daughter Almost A Legend. Hey pretty ladies Chris cooed to both mother and daughter. Legacy snorted sharply and reached her muzzle to Chris. Smiling Chris rubbed Legacy’s stripe. Like Deadly Game and Devil’s Game, Golden Legend and Almost A Legend were very similar in color. Giving Legend one last pat Chris moved on to Royalle’s stall. The black mare was dozing but her bay filly by Starzen was up and awake and noticing Chris standing at the stall door Royal Starz moved toward the door. Coming from the best family a filly could Royal Starz was by far the best weanling Tall Oaks had bred. Careful not to wake Royalle Chris moved on to the next stall to find Irish Secrets and Flaming Possibility dozing so Chris turned back and left the broodmare barn.

Making her way across to the racers barn Chris saw Sam and Maddison working with Twin Peaks in the yearling ring. Not bothering to stop knowing full well the handsome bay colt would halt and call out to her. Turning left she entered the barn and walked down the aisle looking in on all Tall Oaks 15 racehorses before stopping at Trade Ship’s stall. The dark bay colt had recently placed second in the Three Chimneys Juvenile and Chris had been suprised but deeply proud of the handsome colt. Don’ttakemycrown shoved his head out into the aisle and snorted before nipping Trade Ship firmly on the neck. Hey knock it off Crown She said firmly pushing the gray colt’s nose away from his stablemate. Pricking his ears forward the two year old colt whickered and butted Chris with his nose. Moving on down the aisle Chris stopped at Kentucky Gamble’s stall. The three year old filly had recently join the Tall Oaks racing barn and Chris was excited to see how Gamble ran for them. A well bred chestnut filly Gamble liked to race on the turf.

“Isn’t she a beauty?” Chris asked when Gone To Gold had been backed down the ramp of the Tall Oaks trailer.
" She certainly is." Samantha said eager to start training the chestnut three year filly. “She’s unproven bascially though.” she added.
“I know but we can work with her and turn her around.” Chris said rubbing the Easy Goer filly’s nose. “Plus you always said you wanted to work with a Easy Goer foal.” she remarked subtly
“I know but one that has a little more than just $8,000 in earnings.” Sam said frowning as she watched Gone To Gold circle them.
" We could turn her into a SCer since she has done absolutely nothing on the flat." Chris said.
“Yes I suppose we could.” Sam replied

Chris entered the small stallion barn and was greeted by two distinct nickers. My Lucky Day, a 8 year old chestnut son of Lucky Cigar and Miss Hayday pranced across his stall to nudge her hand. The winner of the Kentucky Juvenile stakes and Addleberry stakes Day’s first crop of foals weren’t doing much at the track. Tossing his head the chestnut stud moved across to his haynet and tugged at the hay munching happily. The grey stallion across the aisle whinnied and pawed his bedding. Secretsarebound, a 6 year old stallion,  was the farm’s newest stud and had been a top notch racer like My Lucky Day. Secret snorted and threw up his head as Chris approached, still a bit wary Secret was calming down thanks to the stallion manager’s 15 year old daughter who spent a lot time with him. Secret had been bred to In Absentia, a Tall Oaks mare before Tall Oaks had purchased him and Chris was hoping for a good foal to come from the pair. Secret had been a huge money earner on the racetrack winning the Chelmsford Stakes, Caulfield Stakes, Artax Handicap, King’s Stand Stakes, Manhattan Handicap, San Diego Handicap, A.G. Vanderbilt Handicap in his last year as a racer. Patting Secret on the nose she turned and looked in on My Lucky Day to find the big chestnut munching on his hay. Smiling happily Chris headed outside to the paddocks.