Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Good Two Year Old

I don't have one. I'm not bragging here, just dreaming a bit again. What must it feel like to have a two year old in training and realize, at some moment, that he/she is going to be a good one?

We had Sammy last year and Sam was potential. We thought he had the potential to be a good one. And I think 'good one' was relative. We were hopeful for a Minnesota bred stakes winner and one that could carry the banner outside the friendly confines of Canterbury Park. What I'm talking about is a realization come summer that, Holy Cow, I may have a Derby contender!

When does that moment come? Does your trainer call you up one day and say, "Uh, Ted, you're not going to believe this..."? I'm assuming that every $250,000 yearling purchase carries with it that promise. Every year, however, there are one or two $50,000 or less purchases that come on the scene. Maybe they never get crowned with Derby glory, but they flirt with it. They become ESPN's feel good piece of the season. Perhaps at the end of that three year old season they end up a nice allowance level/minor stakes winning horse but just not enough to cut it at the Classic level. Every once in a while you run him in a Grade III because maybe this is the race he's going to come up big. And maybe he does! When does that realization come to the connections that they have a good one?

It'd be fun to find out for sure. To get that call one day from the barn or share a glance with the trainer when you watch a work that shouldn't have been possible by your two-year old with this or that flaw that the big boys dismissed at the sales. To be there in the stands as that first two-year old Maiden Special Weight goes off and you win one first time out - and by enough so that the folks in the stands are murmuring. To have to sit with your trainer and chart a course that you, and perhaps even he, had never dreamed about - taking you both out of your comfort zones in a way you thought only happened to other people.

As this year's two-year-olds get ready to run in the "Special" and in futurities all over the country I'm reminded of the old adage - no trainer ever quit with a good two year old in the barn. Best of luck to all of them living a dream. While it can't come true for all of them, enjoy the ride. And here's hoping we all get to experience it at least once.

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