August 15, 2009

Still Going Strong

The year was 2002 and I just started following a lightly raced 3-year-old who had recently switched to turf. I saw his first race on the lawn, after four unsuccessful dirt tries, which was a maiden special weight at Churchill. He exploded with a electrifying burst to go from near the back of the pack to a nine length romp. I checked the breeding and I liked what I saw with turf on both sides. His grandsire was one of my favorite turf horses, With Approval. This was one horse I would need to watch. His next race was also on the turf at one mile. An allowance race at Saratoga and I was ready, but at 11-10, I decided to be only a spectator. I am glad I did not bet him, because it was one of the worst trips I had ever seen. He literally was bottled up the entirety of the far turn to the finish line. The horse simply never had anywhere to go. He finished eighth, beaten by less than 2 lengths. In my mind and in my heart, I knew if he just had any opening at all he would have blew past this field.

Now I was wanted to see his next race more than ever. For vindication, but also for the betting opportunity he would represent. My wish came soon. It was in the Saranac Stakes on the turf three weeks later. He was making a jump up in distance to 1 3/16 miles, but also a big jump up in class. This was a graded stakes at Saratoga. My eyes widened at his price 13-1. You don't like a horse this much at those odds very often. I bet him to win!

Seven years later and Better Talk Now is still going strong. A force on turf courses everywhere around the country now for eight seasons. Little did I know back then what a truly wonderful horse Better Talk Now would become. Today at the spry age of ten years young, Better Talk Now proved once again that he is still a dynamite turf horse by rallying to a strong second place finish in the prestigious Grade I Sword Dancer Stakes at, you guessed it, Saratoga.

Oh, and by the way, I did not collect that day in the Saranac, as Better Talk Now was not quite ready for those horses. He finished sixth. It did not matter though, as I have been a fan ever since and have collected on him many times over the past EIGHT years.


Celeste said...

Wonderful blog, Brian! I've enjoyed your postings on Steve Haskin's blog on BH and now that you've confirmed how much you care about Better Talk Now and you're being able to follow him for several years, I'm just blown away. Thanks!

brian said...

Better Talk Now is like the "Old Bones" of today. He's tireless, it's incredible that we've been able to enjoy him for this long and that he's been able to stay so strong and sound. I'd like to be able to duplicate those qualities and pass them around, we could use a lot more of that in horse racing.