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Running Down a Dream
Bob Carson takes new owners from sales ring to turnout
written by Bob Carson

Chapter 16 - Busy Summer Days
'Time of Your Life'
Green Day, 1994, released 1997

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Sept 1, 2011

Hello Posse,
Hard to believe it’s already September, lots to report.

Even though some of you do not know each other - a barrage of good news on the personal front - Diane has successfully complete her treatments, Doug & Mary's son Jimmy heads to the altar this week, Bobby Jones will also say “I do,” and Joe C is moving to NC.
Not good news is that Marty (our trainer) had a farm accident, a bad one, where a piece of equipment actually ran him over. He will be laid up and need surgery to his shoulder area - gave us quite a scare (and puts things into perspective).
Mariko was very lucky to have earned enough points to get into the field for the finals of the Stallion Series, and she was lucky to get a check.

Remember way back when I said if a 2-year-old trotter can stay on gait - anything can happen. Yesterday, while Mariko did not race as well as we hoped; she did stay trotting. But three of the horses in the finals broke (very surprising because none of them had broken before) which allowed us to finish fifth and get the last check.
Jim and I would like to try Mariko in a race we have staked her to. Remember staking? Way back in February - a total of 72 of us paid to keep our trotting fillies eligible for this race – now only those 72 can enter this race.

The race we are pondering is called, “The Standardbred,” which is held in Delaware (OH) next week. We are researching. We think the field may be relatively soft (this means some of the top tier horses are not staked to enter this race).

To refresh your memories on what we are considering, of those 72 horses (possible competitors) where the owners paid the staking fee long before we knew how competitive our baby horses would eventually turn out, some horses fell by the wayside while others will be racing at different events the week of “The Standardbred.”

It is possible to research every one of the 72 horses to see how they are doing, to see where Mariko stands, and to guess who will enter - it's kind of fun. But the starting fee is steep ($1,000)...and Mariko’s middling performance in her last race has us concerned. I will let you know Monday and give you more details on this big decision.
Fantail qualified again today and did just so-so. It looks like she still has trouble at the start of her races. She will probably get a couple more races at the Meadows to try. We need a few more looks at her to make some decisions. Most likely she will get a start next week.
You may also remember that I said horses in their first year (2 year olds) should not race too often; maybe 8 - 10 times. Yes, some of the folks that race on the fair circuit race twice that much, but we don’t think it’s a good idea. With that in mind, we are reaching the end of this year-long adventure.
September 11, 2011
A few updates -
As expected, Fantail DID race and she got the 5th place check. In my opinion, she did well and showed some improvement. Fantail spent the 2nd half of the race outside (that means she was about ten feet away from the rail and had to travel further than the horses that hug the rail - basically, the more time a horse is outside, the longer the distance they must travel). This (outside) is much more important than you might think.

Fantail seemed to have a touch of trouble with the turns, looked a little confused outside, and looked like she was out of it... but then she really finished strong and was closing fastest of all down the stretch. She was within a 1/2 length of third at the wire. She can certainly race with these horses. We will give her one more start in this class and then make our decision.
Marty seems to be doing well after his accident; Jim visited the farm early Saturday and Marty was driving! I'm sure he is doing more than he should.

Hard to believe, after all the waiting in the winter and fall, the horse racing will be over next week.

Thinking about jumping into horse ownership?

E-mail owners@ustrotting.com and we will get you more information to get started in the racing game. Click here to share this story with a friend.

Editor's Note: The views contained in this column are that of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of the United States Trotting Association.

Bob Carson
Hoof Beats Magazine About the Author
Bob Carson's award-winning freelance writing has appeared in more than two dozen national publications. He is a steady contributor to Trot Magazine, The United States Trotting Association and Timeline Magazine. After more than 200 magazine articles and stories, his first novel, The Voyage of Mess (humor) was released in 2009. In 2005 he produced the documentary film, Touching Home (Minor League Baseball). In 2006 he received the Hervey Award for Journalistic Excellence and Best of Ohio Fiction awards. He has published Minor Trips (Minor League Baseball) since 1991. Bob Carson has owned harness horses for more than a decade, including a stint as a weekend trainer. He lives in Strongsville, Ohio, with his wife, Sue, and daughter, Katie.
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