Spring 2021: Turtles, the Kentucky Derby and Winx on My Mind

All winter I grew my greens and picked the “bunch of the day.” But it’s been touch and go the last few weeks while waiting for our full warm up…windy, raw, overcast…through it all, I nursed my seedling indoors, hardened them off outside and then started the work of getting them into pots and into the ground.

A few days ago we had a rain and I peeked under the new burrow I had constructed last spring for Chasca, my desert box turtle, and I saw part of the side of her shell glistening..I literally jumped for joy! She’s made it through another winter! Then, she was gone again, back buried under the soil. Turtles will sometimes appear after a rain or even during a warm February day, but Chasca wasn’t ready. Today, I can see her again at the back of her burrow with part of her shell visible! The nighttime temperatures will begin to rise and it won’t be so chilly in the mornings and today’s warmth in the 80’s will bring stability to my favorite reptile. Today is also the first day I saw a “big mama” lizard out, so Chasca will be officially out in the world soon! I can’t wait!

The Kentucky Derby is now in the record books and for once, Mine That Bird was mentioned, even to the extent that there were clips of his 2009 Derby win, his New Mexico people and the trailer they used to drive him to Kentucky.  There were more stories about the horses and the history of the race instead of the endless stream of personalities and cast members of NBC shows who have usually cluttered up the broadcast in the past.

Winx, of course, came to mind when we were told that “turf runners never win going wide” after exactly that happened in one of the turf races on Kentucky Oaks day.  REALLY? Winx ran wide nearly all the time and she won 33 straight times doing it that way on turf!

It’s already two years ago that she ran her last race on April 19, 2019.  She lost her first foal, which was stillborn, in October 2020 and there’s been no news about future breeding plans.  In March, the owner who named her passed away.  Richard Treweeke died at age 90.  As he told the story, “She’s out of Vegas Showgirl and if you have been to Vegas and watched the showgirls, they might flash some skin and the blokes will give them a wink. Try putting that in print!”

Happier Winx news was made when a statue was unveiled at Rosehill Gardens, her home track in early March of 2021. At 110% her actual size, it is situated so that it is the first thing visitors see when the enter the track.

 

Winx with Hugh Bowman in the saddle by Sculptor Tanya Bartlett

While she was racing, she may not have been the most perfect looking thoroughbred.  It’s like her front end is out of balance with her back end. Her backside slopes down.  People who know more than I know said she has terrible feet. 

She didn’t care.  She raced until she was almost 8 years old. She ran. A lot. And she won. A lot.

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The Preakness will be soon, Chasca will be roaming the yard any moment now, and we’ll be looking to see what Winx does next. It’s a good start to Spring 2021!!

My Horse Pilgrimage…Part 1: Kelso, Carry Back and Sunrise County, My Childhood “Crushes”

By  NM-GRL

About one year ago at this time,  I had just arrived home from an epic trip that took me back to New Jersey for the first time in 16 years.  I saw family, of course, but a big part of my time was spent on my “horse pilgrimage.”

But this post is about where it all began…in the early 60’s when I was about 10 years old.

As a child, I never owned or rode a horse.  I was just a kid in the NYC suburbs in love with horses.  One time as I lay in bed sick, I learned to draw horses by tracing a small model over and over. I was very good at drawing the heads of horses.  At some point, we had a class assignment to create a travel poster and I chose Argentina as my destination.  The text read “Come to Argentina…and See the Gauchos!”  I drew a running horse with a gaucho with his hat and poncho moving in the wind which was quite good! I probably found a picture and sketched my gaucho from that example.

And then, something happened. I lost touch with horses.  I don’t remember if it was because the races weren’t on TV or I just got older and more involved with activities and school.

Fast forward about 55 years…yes, about 55 years or so…as I started to remember my horses from way back when.

As a kid, I remember sitting on Saturday afternoons glued to the old B & W Philco as my mom vacuumed around me. I wasn’t watching cartoons…I was watching racing from Aqueduct Racetrack.  I was devoted to the great Kelso, Carry Back, and a less famous competitor named Sunrise County.

Kelso

Kelso with Eddie Arcaro onboard

What can you say about Kelso?  Five times Horse of the Year. 2 mile races? 8 seasons of racing, 63 races, and post-retirement, a second career as a jumper and dressage horse! Stamina, to say the least!

And Carry Back…won the Derby and the Preakness but came up short of the Belmont back in 1961. Carry Back “the little brown colt from the wrong side of the tracks” was a one of those horses who you thought was so far back he could never catch up…but, well watch for yourselves! As a three year old, the Associated Press described him as being a “scrawny, little horse” and weighing no more that 970 pounds…Maybe, but he ran 61 times and was called the “People’s Choice.”

Carry Back

Carry Back

Sunrise County never had the fame and mystique of Kelso and Carry Back,  but he is still etched in my mind.  Hard to find anything on him, except for a video or two…below the 1962 Wood Memorial, where he earned a foul and was put back to 2nd place…and later in the Derby, he doesn’t show up in the video in contention.  Sunrise County ran 41 times, with 10 wins, 10 places and 9 shows.  Not famous, but one of those horses who worked hard and showed up and did his job!

So, through the decades, these are the horses that are still with me.

Enjoy the videos…Go back to the early 1960’s and pretend you are a kid on a Saturday afternoon watching the races!  Just turn off the cell phone…after all, we didn’t get interrupted by them back then…

Coming soon:  The next steps in my return to the horses…