The renowned C.C. Cook aka “Cookie'” sent this Christmas card of Citation and Eddie Arcaro in 1948.
THE VAULT wishes its many readers all the very best of the holiday season. It has been a year of wonderful happenings: connecting with Australia’s primary equine photographer, Bronwen Healy (“When The Image Speaks,” “Just Call Me Nelly” & “From Down Under With Love”) and author, Dorothy Ours (“Battleship: The Pony Who Conquered Aintree”); reading all of your wonder-full comments and personal stories; meeting Mrs. Judith Mappin, daughter of E.P. Taylor, to exchange stories about Northern Dancer and some of his progeny; and being selected by The Paulick Report for “Best Blog” for our article on the fabulous Frankel and his connections (“It Takes A Team”).
I want to thank each one of our readers for their continued support. It means the world to me because you are my inspiration.
The great American educator, Maxine Greene, said: “We are born human beings, but we need to learn how to be human.” Love is a huge part of that process, breaking down individual isolation to open a world of possibilities.
One common experience that VAULT readers share is their love of horses. Loving a Frankel, or a Rachel, or a Zenyatta, a Black Caviar, an Igugu or a Man O’ War is a passionate affair. We humans give our hearts away. Or else, find that they’ve been stolen by a magnificent beast that manages to reach out to us across space and time to say, “Go ahead — love me.” And when we answer, we find that we are delighted, moved, inspired……and, somehow, more fully human.
So please join me in a photo essay that celebrates the power of love and the magic of the inter-species affair.
Northern Dancer was many things to many people, but one thing he wasn’t was well-behaved. Remarkably, he formed a deep attachment to Winifred Taylor, wife of the Dancer’s owner-breeder, E.P. Taylor. The little guy terrorized just about everyone, but when the Dancer heard Mrs. Taylor’s footsteps he whinnied a “Hello” and transformed into a gentle, sweet pony.
Ferdinand with jockey, Bill Shoemaker. The Shoe loved the handsome, gentle colt and Ferdinand returned the feeling.
Determine, the first grey to win the Kentucky Derby, went on to sire another grey Kentucky Derby winner, Decidedly. He is shown here as a 3 year-old, giving some love to his stables’ mascot, Roxey.
A legend greets two more: British jockey, Lester Piggott, already an icon in his own country, fulfilled a life’s ambition when he got to meet the mighty Kelso. Giving the champ some sugar is Leslie Combs, one of America’s top thoroughbred breeders.
The legendary trainer, King T. Leatherbuy, gets a smooch from one of his horses. The King’s been in the business for a long time, but the passion that drives him has never diminished.
Kentucky Derby winner, Gallahadion, and his best buddy. Although it has only been recently that the men and women who care for the thoroughbred have been acknowledged, they nevertheless leave us a legacy of unconditional love.
Hickstead and Eric Lamaze were (together with Big Ben and Ian Millar) Canada’s most distinguished equestrian partnership. Eric had battled personal issues; Hickstead was a colt who no-one seemed able to ride. But when they found one other, two lives were changed forever.
The incomparable Count Fleet, shown here in a tender moment with his regular exercise rider, Frank Kiniry. The Count had just won the Kentucky Derby, but seemed to wax nostalgic as he prepared to leave for Pimlico and the second leg of America’s Triple Crown.
The extraordinary Red Rum (who won the Grand National an unprecedented 3 times) and the man he loved best, trainer Ginger McCain. Until his death in 2011, Ginger left flowers on Red Rum’s grave every year. Man and horse shared such a strong bond that it was virtually impossible to think of one without the other.
Flash, the German Shepherd, was Valdina Rebel’s regular hotwalker. The dog arrived at his friend’s stall each morning with halter and lead in his mouth, then waited for Rebel to be tacked up for their morning walk.
California legend Silky Sullivan meets a young fan and rewards him with a kiss. Silky was a thoroughbred legend — a quirky character who won the affection of thousands of fans.
Trainer extraordinaire Woody Stephens poses with one of his champions, Creme Fraiche. Note the melting expression in the colt’s eyes as he leans toward Woody.
Reckless, the pride of the Marines during the Korean War, was a Korean thoroughbred. Fearless and loyal, little Reckless was beloved by her troop — who shipped her back to the USA when peace was declared, according her the title of Sgt. Reckless.
Although they were overshadowed by the great Frankel, jockey William Buick never conceded that Nathaniel was anything but a champion. Nathaniel remains the only horse to have gotten near enough to Frankel to make a real race out of it. Buick adored his handsome colt and will miss him in 2013. (Nathaniel was retired in 2012. The son of Galileo stands at Newsells Park Stud in Hertfordshire.)
Stymie was The People’s Horse from the very beginning. The gorgeous chestnut brought in fans by the thousands wherever he appeared. Pictured here with one of his biggest fans, trainer Hirsch Jacobs.
Greyhound stands under mistletoe held by Vernor (“Dooley”) Putnam and his wife, Leona. The greatest trotter of all time turns 33 on New Year’s day.
Dr. Fager and trainer, John Nerud. Said Nerud of the Doc, ” I never gave a damn who rode him. He was such an amazing horse…”
Calvin Borel with Rachel Alexandra at Stonestreet in the summer of 2012. The photo says it all.
Ann Moss with her Zenny, Mother’s Day 2011. When asked where she would like to retire Zenyatta, Ann replied, ” I’d like her to stay in my backyard.” Now at Lane’s End, Ann and Jerry Moss visit Zenny regularly and were in attendance when she gave birth to a colt by Bernardini in March 2012.
Australia’s Bronwen Healy and the pony she adores, Nelly, aka Black Caviar. Bronwen’s first great love, the fabulous mare, Sunline, succumbed to laminitis on May 1, 2009. Nelly helped Bronwen to deal with the loss and has since become Healy’s “best girl.”
Frankel and his very best friend, Sandeep (Sandy) Gauravaram. The life of a race horse is very controlled, repetitive and for many, boring. Frankel was having none of that. He insisted on being housed where the action was at trainer Cecil’s stables. And he loved his time with Sandy.
- Havre de Grace and Plum Pretty, December 2012. As the HOTY and her gorgeous companion prepare for a new career, it appears that they’re already forming a friendship. Broodmare friendships are powerful and, if it works out given breeding cycles and so forth, enduring.