Frigid. Snowy. Bleak. Dark.
That’s how I have described Woodbine so far. Eagle Poise doesn’t seem to mind. Alert, enthusiastic and under three blankets at 6:30 this morning, the 7-year-old veteran makes his return to Woodbine, in the Valedictory today, scheduled to go off at 2:26. He’s run in the mile and three quarter gem twice before, finishing second as a 3-year-old for Brian Lynch and Juddmonte in 2009 and winning it or us in 2011. He’s been winless since, not without trying, finishing second in the San Juan Capistrano, the Laurel Turf Cup and the Sycamore – a length for all of them.
Amazing where horses take you in life. I love good road trips and this is a good road trip. It was like packing for Jackson Hole and Saratoga all at the same time. Until yesterday, I had never packed a wool hat and a sport coat, binoculars and long underwear, in the same bag. As always, Woodbine doing all they can to make it enjoyable and lucrative.
The final day of the Woodbine meet can’t come too soon, as it’s frigid. Eagle Poise was officially the last horse to gallop at Woodbine in 2013. Yesterday’s snowstorm closed the main track for training this morning, they say they’re racing this afternoon. The jockeys earn their wages, grooms, hotwalkers, gate crew…too. Most of the barns are closed for the winter, snow has piled up, pigeons hunker, the wind whips. Keith and Joy Cooper and I stood at the gap this morning, huddled, trying to work the video cameras on our phones, while trying to keep our fingers moving.
The Sport of Kings, the Sport of Eagles.