Reaching for Roses: The Beginning of the Journey

September 22, 2011

Having Dreams is What Makes Life Tolerable

Well the day is almost here. Skype arrived at Barn 40 at Keeneland on Wednesday afternoon, she will be shown to prospective buyers today (Thursday) and will sell on Friday morning as Hip 3694. Jennie Rees, the turf writer for the Courier-Journal in Louisville, wrote a lovely piece on Skype today. You can read it by clicking on the following link – http://blogs.courier-journal.com/racing/2011/09/21/college-kid-needs-money-buy-his-filly/. To clarify…the words “college kid” should probably be replaced with “recent college grad.” But oh well…I could still pass for a freshman and I guess I could still be considered a college kid considering I’ve only been out in the real world for four months.

Anyway you can find a lot of good information at the link and read a few of my thoughts on the sale. You can even see the advertisement I made for Skype and have been distributing to prospective buyers.

Now…I will get a little more personal and try to tell you about my feelings going into the sale that you won’t find in Jennie’s article.

The purpose of this blog was to give readers a look into my life in the horse industry and my experiences as a first time owner/breeder. I have done my best to get as personal as possible and my hope was that readers could enjoy this fabulous ride with me. A lot of times I have a pretty good idea about what I’m going to see when I click the “New Post” button on my blog; however, today the words just won’t come to me.

Why?

Because I couldn’t describe to someone how I am feeling right now if I tried. I’ve never felt so many emotions at one time. I’m nervous, excited, anxious, proud, happy and sad all at once. Since February of 2010, all I’ve talked about has been Sky and Skype and then the next February it became Sky, Skype and Faith. On Friday afternoon, I won’t be Skype’s owner anymore and when people ask me the names of my horses, I’m going to reply with “Sky and Faith.” No more Skype. It’s just a weird thing to think about.

Now some of you might be thinking, “Come on, kid. She’s a sales horse and you knew you were going to sell her at some point from the day you bought her.” Well, that’s true. I knew this day would come eventually. But parents also know they’re kids will someday leave home, but that day still comes with a whirlwind of emotions. Because things simply aren’t going to be the same.

Speaking of kids…I think I now know how my mom and dad felt about me when I would compete in sports. Sometimes I would think, “My parents probably wish I was bigger, stronger and faster. They would probably rather have that kid or that kid. I’m not as good as those other players.” Now I realize that none of that mattered. They were proud of me because I was their kid. They didn’t want anyone else. And whether I went 5-5 or 0-5, they were still going to love me. That’s how I feel going into this sale with Skype. I don’t have 500 horses like some people…I don’t have 50 horses…I have three and because of that I have grown extra attached to each of them. Sure it would be nice if Skype was by Bernardini instead of Even the Score or if Sky had won a Grade I race. But that’s not how things are and I’m fine with that. I love Skype and I couldn’t be more proud of her or more happy that I had the privilege of being her owner these last couple years.

People who consistently read this blog are not reading anything new. But maybe this is your first time to my blog and you’re just now understanding how much these horses mean to me. Maybe some of you are thinking…”Wow, he sure cares a lot about a horse in Book 6.”

Damn right I do.

And I hope people realize that every horse in the Keeneland sale means a lot to someone somewhere. Sure the amount of press that horses get decreases as the sale continues and some people don’t even pay attention to the Keeneland sale after the first few books. But the horses in Book 6 matter just as much as those in Book 1. While they do not carry equal monetary values, horses in Book 6 are cared for just as much and have affected just as many lives. For example, in less than two years, Skype has impacted the lives of Sam Penn (breeder), Frank Mitchell and his family who boarded her at their farm in Salvisa, Ky, Tom Evans and his team at Trackside Farm, my entire family and numerous friends that have come to see her throughout her life. And things have only just begun. Imagine how many people will be affected by Skype in her lifetime.

Skype has touched a lot of hearts and will continue to do so; however, I would be surprised if she will ever steal anyone’s heart like she has stolen mine. Skype will get a new owner on Friday, but she’ll always be my girl and will always have a place in my heart. I am excited to see where her life takes her and I can’t wait to update the blog on her first published workout and her first career win (and hopefully many wins).

So go get ’em, Skype! You’ll do great at the sale. Strut your stuff and if a few people likes you 1/100th as much as I do then you could be the session topper. And finally, I hope you know that “Whatever road you may be on, know you’re never too far gone; my love is there wherever you may be; Just remember, that you’ll always be my baby.”

January 19, 2011

A Couple of Notes and Comments

I would first like to thank Bloodstock in the Bluegrass and Equidaily.com for linking my blog on their sites last week. This blog had its highest weekly view total in five months and that would not have happened had my posts not been linked on the previously stated sites.

Last week I also started my last semester as an undergraduate. I remember when I graduated from high school that my projected college graduation date of May 2011 seemed very far away; however, the time has FLOWN BY and I will graduate in less than four months. For those of you that may be interested, my course schedule is listed below.

MKT 445: Sports Marketing
I am taking this class as an upper-level elective. I believe that it may be very helpful in preparing me for a career in the greatest sport in the world: horse racing.

AEC 325: Equine Law
I am really looking forward to this class. The topics that will be discussed include legal issues with stallion contracts, partnerships, horse ownership, wagering, public auctions, private sales, etc. The class is being taught by Walt Robertson’s son, Walt Robertson, Jr., who practices equine law in Lexington, KY.

AEC 321: Agriculture Futures Markets
I am taking this class to complete my minor in Agricultural Economics. The class will discuss the agricultural futures and options markets.

STA 291: Statistics
The course title is pretty self-explanatory. I am required to take this class by my major, but it could be interesting. It will also be the last “math class” that I ever take.

EQM 490: Equine Management Capstone
This is the capstone class for my major, Equine Management. The class will be centered around discussion of issues in the horse industry. There is also a group project that will be worth most of my grade. The project must analyze the various costs of owning and raising a Thoroughbred; I think I can handle that after this past year. On a side note, it has the fewest number of students of any class that I have taken during my time at UK; there are only eight students, including myself. It is also interesting to note that I am the only guy in the class, further displaying that the Equine Management major is one of the most female-dominated majors at UK (I believe it is close to 90% female).

What will I do when the above classes end and I graduate? Well that is still up in the air. I have almost completed my application for the MBA program at UK and I take the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) this Saturday. I am hopeful that I get accepted to graduate school so that it will be an option upon graduation. I am also beginning the job hunt and hope to get a couple of job offers before May. I am trying to get myself as many options as possible.  

Moving on…

After a three race losing streak, my good friend Charlie (Usain Again) will drop back into the claiming ranks after six straight races at the starter allowance level. Charlie will run in the fourth race at Gulfstream Park in a $12,500 claimer. I haven’t had a chance to look at the past performances for the race, but apparently Charlie has a shot as he is 6/1 on the morning line. Good luck to Charlie and all of his connections!

Finally, I would like to make a comment about Monday’s Eclipse Awards Show. Here it is: it was dreadful. The show had about as much excitement as a middle-school sport’s team’s awards program. I turned on the Eclipse Awards in my living room and within a couple of minutes my roommates were begging me to change the channel because it was “so boring.” Boring should never be a word used to describe a large-scaled event in the horse racing industry. The show wasn’t just boring for my generation and I know this because I’ve spoken to some people from the “baby-boomer generation” that also found it painful to watch. It’s the most exciting sport in the world and the awards show may be the most boring in the world. A lot needs to change for next year’s show, but for starters, there needs to be a “big-name” star to host the show (with a stand-up routine that will actually get some laughs), some sort of musical performance, award presenters that aren’t stiff as a board, and a time-limit to acceptance speeches. I pray that next year’s show is better and that I will be able to stay awake to make it to the Horse of the Year presentation.

That is all for now as I am headed off to class. Have a great rest of the week!

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