Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Welcome to the World Sophia! Eclipse Award?"

I enjoy the Eclipse awards like most everyone else in our business. I think they are an interesting barometer of the top flight performers in our industry and it's fun to see some recognition come our sport's way - even if it's only for a few moments...in industry publications...and nary a mention in the 'mainstream' press. But another event that occurred within a few hours of the awards sent me off on a tangent: the birth of my second cousin (if that is indeed what you call my first cousin's child).

First things first. Sophia Clara Pedigo entered this world about 1:30 AM Mountain Time. Born to my cousin Nicole and her husband, Kevin, she weighed in at six pounds eleven ounces. Mom and daughter are doing great. As a little girl, this kid doesn't know what she's in for. She has two older brothers and both of my biological children are boys as well as my stepson. In addition to being our first little girl, she is also named for my mother and grandmother. Spoiled does not BEGIN to describe her future! Neither can anything else, really. It's an unknown.

A few hours earlier, the stars of our sport gathered to receive their 'Oscar' or 'Emmy' equivalent (ESPY, maybe?). The famous gathered and the awards were handed out. IEAH was there, as was Frank Stronach picking up his yearly breeding award. Curlin and Zenyatta were rightly feted. Of the thousands of Thoroughbreds that race every week and jockeys that ride in anonymity and trainers that toil with these animals every day of the week and, yes, even we owners that run a handful of claimers, these were our champions. Allegedly the best of all of us.

I had written some time ago that this can be a trying business and there are no guarantees for anyone. That there is no 100% lock. No guarantee that money or breeding can buy. Yet the same folks win everything every year and the rest of us, well, we don't. My unscientific assessment? It's a numbers game. The more dough you have, the more chances you take and better shot you have. However, I digress. I look at those of us out here that run every day and try and make a go of it - and maybe even build something great - and I see parallels to Sophia's start in life.

She'll have advantages. Her parents aren't wealthy, but they are comfortable and will be able to give her a nice start. Her grandparents (my Aunt Joyce and Uncle Bernie) made the difficult decision to leave their home and travel 2500 miles to move where their grandchildren are, leaving all they know behind and starting anew. Quite a sacrifice. She'll be well fed, nurtured and loved. We'll all spoil her and her big brothers, though they won't know it for a few years, will watch out for her - probably too much for her liking. But there are no guarantees. No pat, 100% happily ever afters.

When we try and get a horse to the track, we encounter all of that. We nurture the best we can. We provide sound nutrition and exercise. We try and find the best vet care and a trainer that will bring out the best in our baby. We sacrifice as well. For those of us in the middle to lower range of the sport, this is not a cheap business, but we're chasing a dream and doing what we love. But, again, there are no guarantees.

Before you go crazy and think I'm nuts in comparing a human baby to our equine athletes, I'm not really. I'm more trying to point out that the canvas is blank when we start. We may all start in different places, but that's no guarantee of where we will finish. That Sophia's start in life made me think of all the owners and breeders out there that do what is best and right every day and achieve some measure of success. We all will not become presidents of corporations or of the US, but that doesn't mean we are not successes. We all won't win Oscars or ESPYs or other awards, but that doesn't mean we aren't winners. In my own case, Fizzy Pop probably won't win next year's Eclipse award for best turf horse, but he'll win a few races. He'll give the group some excitement and enjoyment. He's a good horse with a great personality. He's a success to us. Sometimes that's what you have to be happy about. That is also being a winner.

Now does all this mean I don't care if I reach the top? Now that is nuts!!

1 comment:

Handride said...

Great post. All very true.