|Ellie w/ Heather after a brief pep talk the night before her first "big girl" work|
This was a long time coming for Ellie. Last year at the track she was a small and scared 2-year old. Chronic rain had the track sealed during training hours causing the surface to be a bit harder than usual and it took a toll on her shins. She never bucked, which was great, but we decided to back off her, give her rest and treatment and then bring her back at three.
All winter long she played and grew up. Her legs and joints became stronger and more stable and she loved tearing around her paddock. Come March she started getting serious and, even though there were some weather setbacks, she was able to get out and run with a rider. For a while she went over a makeshift track comprised mainly of hay but, eventually, the main training track cleared up and she was able to really stretch her legs.
May 2 she moved to the racetrack, settled in and galloped for a week. Earlier this week I got a call from her trainer, Bernell Rhone. After some quick catching up after a long winter, he told me that she'd be working this morning.
We couldn't make it up for the work so I waited. The plan was two fold: get her used to an actual workout and going faster and see just where she was at fitness-wise.
When Bernell and I caught up this afternoon the news was good. She came back just fine but had some huffing and puffing. He sent out a set of three to go three furlongs over a Canterbury track listed as "muddy" but by all accounts was in fairly decent shape.
She moved with her workmates well but apparently she tired in the last 70-yards or so and finished about half a length to a length behind them in :40.8. Admittedly I know this is a horrible time, but it was her first work ever, it was over a muddy track and she's not in racing shape yet. As the track's condition, and her own, improve, I will expect more out of her.
For now I know she came back well, tried hard, got something out of the work and is moving forward and that's perfect. For now.