Monday, November 16, 2009

Gave way, grudgingly

Two heartbroken figures stood by the finish line at Woodbine, awash in tears, sobbing inconsolably. Their faces contorted with the anguish usually reserved for the loss of a loved one. And rightly so.

"They've put a claim in on our horse," came the explanation as the pair hugged each other in search of comfort.

With each stride towards the starting gate, a much-loved mare marched further from their grasp.

In mere minutes, a creature they had spent every waking hour grooming, galloping and gushing over will walk home to a new family.

"She'll race again. You can claim her back in no time," I offered hopefully.

A momentary pause and a flash in the eyes as the statement settled. This was no time to be rational. Again, the tears.

The gallant grey mare glides ever closer to the gate focused only on winning, oblivious to the surrounding sense of loss. Later there will be a new stall, a new groom and new routines. For now, all that matters is to win.

Stiff upper lip time.

"We can get her back. Let's just hope she gets a cheque," the grim reply.

The pair walk to the edge of the track and grip the rail tightly. Holding on for fear of letting go.

The horses burst into action and at the half their mare moves into the lead.

"Come on girl, you can do it!"

Turning into the stretch a head in front, the strides begin to shorten.

"Fight 'em girl!"

The mare digs in desperately to hold onto her slight advantage. The wire looming more final than ever before.

Overtaken, the grey gallops home fifth.

Overcome, the pair rush to the track for one last hug and a nuzzle.

The chart for the race lists one claimed horse; a payout of $564 for a fifth place finish; and in the comments section printed fittingly beside the grey's odds - gave way, grudgingly.


Teresa said...

Wow, Keith--this is just perfect. Perfect. Thanks for writing it.

Keith - Triple Dead Heat said...

Cheers Teresa. It was heartbreaking to watch. Part of the game, but it doesn't make it any less easy.

wendyu said...

Great writing/ Great post Keith!

Lynne said...

I had a similar experience, but I did claim my mare back & I never regretted it. Great post, Keith