You should have seen the cathartic (and unpublished) blog post I wrote Saturday after the race. It was not pretty. Then again, neither was Tabby’s fifth place showing at Tampa Bay Downs. Theoretically she was at her level – or what passes for it these days - and it was her second back after a layoff, making her eligible to improve over her seasonal debut. That didn’t happen. If anything she regressed a bit.
While she broke well, she could not get herself into the mix early. I was hoping to see her laying mid-pack down the backside, but she was already out of the running by then. The game plan was not to drop her back but get her a better start than what she had last time. She wanted nothing to do with it. She did manage to get back to the pack through the turn, but when she finally had a hole open up on the rail and Dean asked her, she didn’t go, content to finish fifth, far from being the push button filly she was at Tampa last year. She came back just fine and had no heat or discomfort. She simply didn’t try much.
Though I promised to share everything, there was no need for you to see the diatribe I wrote this weekend. Suffice to say, I was frustrated. I needed to let those emotions projectile out of me. From an owner’s perspective – my partners and I – this was a mess. From the perspective of someone trying to get a business off the ground, it was a disaster. We can talk all we want about doing things the right way, doing what’s right by the horse, etc., but the bottom line is people want to win and when they look for a partnership, they want to go with a winner. Tabby drew a lot of attention last year when she won a race and then finished a solid second but when she dried up, so did the inquiries.
Giving her the time off was the right thing to do. She needed it and to keep running her when she was clearly having a difficult time on the racetrack was to invite more losing and reinforcing that tendency. Her debut was promising with a nice middle move and a mild close. Then she threw in this clunker at the absolute worst time. I was looking to close a new group before the end of February to give us the months of March and April to find us a runner to bring up north with Tabby. I had a lot of maybes in the queue and I think some of the reluctance was to see how Tabby did in her next race. The question in their heads, “Can these guys turn her back into a winner?” We haven’t and she just may have taken the fortunes of the business with her.