He will be racing this Saturday. Let's hope he will run safely, not be claimed and be retired afterwards to this lovely woman who is so devoted to him.
Then my thoughts wandered over to a dear friend of mine who, since the time I've known her, has told the world she wants to have Ballast when he is retired. Yesterday, 8 year old Ballast, winner of several Grade III turf races, was running in a $50,000 claiming race at Gulfstream Park. Sadly, he was claimed and will no longer be training with Graham Motion. My friend and I are friends with most everyone at Herringswell Stables (Graham Motion's stable) and cheer on their horses and visit them with multiple bags of carrots in tow. Ballast was always high on our list, along with Better Than Bonds, Shake the Bank (now retired), Independent George, Icabad Crane, Rebellion and his royalty Better Talk Now, just to name a few. Ballast running in a claiming race left me wondering, "why would Ballast's owner put him in the claiming ranks? Hasn't he proven himself?"
Although claiming is part of the sport, I feel strongly that it hurts horses such as Ballast and Pay Attention. Typically, horses on their way down get jumped around from owner to owner each trying to squeeze out what they can financially from the horse. Sadly, many very successful horses, such as Brave Miner, Mighty Beau, and Sky Diamond don't make it to retirement. This, in my opinion, is a huge black eye for the sport. These horses deserve to be retired with dignity and not end up at low level tracks in low level claimers. They should be celebrated.
I was lucky with Jaguar Hope. He had a great owner during his racing days. He wanted to retire him sound and give him the opportunity to have a second career with me. For that, I'm so grateful. Although our time was cut short, Jaguar Hope had the life of Riley being my dressage project and love of my life. Thank you Dr. Gorham for caring for the horses and being a good representative for the sport. I'll always be grateful to you.
Looks like Ballast may have some good dressage moves! :)