Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Story: The First Race - Part Two

Nick sat nervously in the jockey's locker room. He glanced down at the red and yellow checkered silks of Living Legend Stable, thinking about the upcoming race. Midnight could be the best horse we've ever had, I hope I can give him the chance he deserves. This was the thought that had plagued Nicks mind all day.

Ever since the breeze, everyone had become so excited about Midnight's chances. During his morning maintenance gallops and schooling sessions in the paddock, Nick could feel the pressure growing. He had looked over the form time and time again. He and his parents had gone over strategies, and figured that the colt would be on the lead or close to it, and that the main competition would come form a well bred colt call Last Battle.

Breath, Nick thought to himself, you've done this plenty of times on other horses, just relax. The call for the third race echoed in the locker room, that was Midnight's race. Nick walked out of the locker room, and followed a group of seven other jockeys to the clerk of scales, to weigh in, before going to the saddling paddock. Every horse had to run under 120lbs in this particular race, but this, right now, was one of the many things Nick was not worried about, he'd been watching his weight all week. When the needle on the scale slid over to 120, Nick hopped off the scale, and immediately headed over to the saddling paddock.

Nick surveyed the paddock, then when he spotted Midnight's blazed face in the third stall, he quickly made his way over to him. Halfway through, he stopped, looking at the number six horse in disbelief. Last Battle was bigger than he'd imagined, long, lean and muscular. His muscles rippled under his bronze coat, the colt had to be at least 16.2 hands tall, about inch taller than Midnight.

"Nick!" Brad's booming voice broke through Nicks horrified daze, and with a final look at Last Battle, he made his way over to the number three stall. As soon as Nick reached Midnight, all his doubt melted away. The colt looked ever bit as fantastic as Last Battle, if not better. Midnight stood with his head bowed, straining the resistance of his handlers. His coat, looked the color of dark chocolate, as he stepped out into the sun. The colt was a sight to behold, his almost black coat contrasting with his pure white blaze and two front stockings. His ears were pricked alertly, yet his stance seemed confident, almost arrogant. There was a reason he'd was now the betting public's favorite.

"Ok," said Brad, a little tightly,"Remember, if he breaks like normal just let him go to the lead. I don't think there are any horses in this field that can stay with him early. Now don't forget, Last Battle will start moving around the turn, so you'll want to have some momentum built up to fend him off, Ok?"

Nick nodded,"Yup, so, let him out a little before we straighten into the stretch?"

Brad gave a quick nod, then as the call for riders up sounded throughout the area, he boosted Nick quickly into the saddle,"Good luck". Were his final words as Nick rode out for the post parade.

Time seemed to pass extra quickly during the post parade, and before he knew it Nick was riding Midnight into the starting gate. The field wasn't big, only eight total, but these horses were young and inexperience, making them less likely to want to load into the gate. Thankfully, that only seemed to be the case with one horse, a long shot, named Jimminycrickets, loading in the fourth stall. There was a brief moment of silence when all Nick could here was the sound of Midnights steady breathing, then, BRRRRIIIIIINNNNNGGGGG!!!

"And they're off! Midnight Hour, comes away beautifully, but oh! Jimminycrickets breaks inward slamming Midnight Hour, who regains stride quickly, but is running four lengths behind the leaders!"

Nick looked all around him, seeing that the only horse he had beat was his main competitor, Last Battle. Midnight, despite the bump was making up ground, quickly, yet easily, on the rest of the field. Distantly, Nick heard the announcer call the first quarter in 22 seconds flat. This race was only six and a half furlongs, meaning he and Midnight had only a little over half a mile to run. Nick spotted a opening on the rail, and as soon as he pressed the button, Midnight shot through the gap.

"Half a mile goes in a blistering 44 and 2/5 seconds! Midnight Hour is moving strongly up the rail, while Last Battle is making a bold move on the outside! With a quarter mile left to run Midnight Hour is looking for running room, bottled down on the inside. Last Battle is inhaling horse on the outside!"

Nick looked every where for an opening, but all he could see was a small seam through the two leaders. Suddenly, one drifted out slightly. Midnight saw the opening, and before Nick could give him any cue, he split the two tired horses, and with a furlong left to run zeroed in on Last Battle.

"Midnight Hour has split horses, and now he is closing with a vengeance! Half a furlong left now, Midnight Hour is only a two lengths back and closing in on Last Battle with every stride! Here comes the wire, and Midnight Hour surges past Last Battle, in the shadow of the wire! What a performance, by a truly special colt!"


  1. He gets up in the shadow of the wire! Not a bad way to begin a career, and at Saratoga no less. I am now a fan of Midnight Hour!

  2. Lol, Thanks. We should start the Midnight Hour fan club.