The good news was that I was relatively warm. My 10-year old had his Little League tryouts yesterday in North Las Vegas whichwere scheduled to start 10 minutes after Tabby's race was run. My 2nd generation iPhone doesn't have live streaming video capability so I called my wife and son in Minnesota and I 'watched' with them on the home computer, listening to the call of the race.
"And the last horse away," intoned track announcer Richard Grunder, "is Tabby Lane."
Well crap. My heart sank and I thought, "If we just chase the pace around the racetrack we are in big trouble with her."
Jockey Dean Butler started working on her a bit to get her involved in the pace and down the backside he hustled her upon the rail into 6th from 9th as they bent into the turn. Her name wasn't mentioned again. As they came across the finish line, I could hear Grunder mention the first three horses and I was praying she had sustained her rally to have picked up at least a small piece.
"And Tabby Lane, from last to fourth..."
We got a piece. It wasn't a big piece, but it was something. It certainly was more than the participation ribbon I thought we were going to get after the start.
After tryouts we had a dinner with friends so I couldn't get in front of the computer until I made it to the hotel later in the evening. I wasn't sure what to expect when I sat down to watch the race. While Tabby seemed to break OK, the number two horse, Ruby Lipstick, seemed to come out on her pretty strong. I don't know how bothersome that was to her or how much it contributed to her lackadaisical start, but she was indeed last starting down the backstretch. Of course I didn't think that Grunder was lying to me...I was just hoping.
Dean hustled her up to get her into contention, risking taking a bit out of her, but he certainly couldn't stay back there with her as she's really not the big closing type. I could see that the rail was left open for a while, but as they progressed through the turn there was no room to be had. He slid her nicely to the outside to find some running room while keeping her momentum. By the time she straightened out for home she had an awful lot of room to make up and it would have been easy for her to quit right then and there and settled for seventh. However, when Dean asked her she responded and while she didn't close like a freight train, she didn't quit either and she made up ground steadily to finish 4th, only a couple of lengths out of third, her slow start costing her a higher placing. She even showed a willingness to continue on after the wire which gives me hope as well.
She was away from the track nearly four months and there was no doubt that she was going to need a race coming into this one. All things considered she did a pretty good job. Word is that she came back a little tired, but ate all her feed and shows no indications of being worse for the effort so far. We'll have to wait and see what presents itself in the next condition book before we plan her next race. For now she can rest up and settle back into her between race routine and her partners can hang their hat on this effort in looking toward her next.