The day started with a phone call and an obnoxious racket outside the window. While Brooke answered the phone, Brian stumped outside witha bag of cat food to feed the barn tabby, Sir Rogers. Brian returned to the house to find Brooke making a pot of Starbucks coffee.
“Whazzat?” he asked with a yawn while she poured out the steaming liquid into two mugs.
“Allison. Got a new yearling coming our way later today. A colt,” she said as she held out his mug to him.
“Mmmm…thought she was only buyin’ fillies,” Brian muttered, and sipped at the steaming cup.
“It’s a Worth the Wait colt, half brother to Champion Phoenix Tears and three-quarters to International Champion Chivalry. You can’t argue with that kind of blood.”
“No…no, s’ppose not…”
Brooke rolled her eyes. “Sleepyhead.”
Brian and Brooke were former exercise riders who Old Man Frank tapped when Allison began building a racing stable. The husband and wife duo were attempting to get into eventing, but they missed the racing world too much and jumped at the chance to operate the small farm Allison bought ninety-five miles from Santa Anita Park.
Mornings were usually spent hacking the two yearlings and the lone two year old on the farm. Brian rode Brooke’s fifteen year old bay Anglo-Arab mare Dakota and Brooke followed on Sonatina, the lone professional. Kenny, their exercise rider and farm hand, and Michelle, who was also the fillies’ groom, followed on the dark grey Santeria and flea-bitten grey Lady Ironsides. They were ridden all over the farm for an easy hour and then Sonatina headed to the half-mile training track while Kenny and Michelle led the two yearlings away. Old Man Frank gave Brooke and Brian strict orders not to push Sonatina, so Brooke merely galloped her once around the track. Brian thought it entertaining, and encouraging, watching Sonatina try to break out of the slow rhythm, arching her neck and fighting for more rein all the way around.
Brooke was not so entertained.
After Sonatina was bathed and walked, she was released into the paddock with Santeria, Lady Ironsides, and Dakota their babysitter. As energetic and rebellious as she was on the track, Sonatina was actually the more serious of the three fillies. Perhaps it was because of the year she had already spent learning the business of running and winning; Sonatina spent her time romping along the paddock fence and grazing next to Dakota. Santeria and “Lady” were more playful, chasing each other, leaping about, squealing when one of their wild kicks accidentally land on the other. Dakota tolerated their antics, but she once came at Lady with her ears pinned back and mouth open. The poor grey filly was practically terrified of the mare for nearly a week, but the two made up and Lady made sure never to start bucking so close to her babysitter.
Brian and Michelle prepared a stall for the new colt while Brooke sat in the office and went through the farm expenses, scratching Sir Rogers behind the ears. The cat purred , a sound she loved.
He was a small, neat colt, with bits of white on his legs. He was an inquisitive fellow who poked his nose into everything, including poor Sir Roger’s butt. The tabby scowled and darted away into Dakota’s stall.
“What’s his name?” Brian asked while Michelle led the yearling to his new stall.
Brooke flipped through the papers. “Used to be Uncommon Valor…well would you look at that? She changed his name to Reservoir Democrat.”
Brian frowned. “Great. Just what we need - more politics.”
“Just because your candidate lost the elec-”
Brian held up his hand. “Please! I’m still trying to reconcile myself with the results. I mean, more than twice the electoral vote? My god…!”
Brooke only smirked as her husband stormed out of the barn. She looked over her shoulder at Reservoir Democrat, who watched Brian’s receding backside with interest. Then Michelle tugged at the lead shank and the colt followed her to his new home.
Brooke headed out to the house with the papers, thinking about the amusing phone call she was going to make to Allison.
“Yes we did,” she heard Michelle whisper to the colt, and Brooke smiled.