The rains came to the Bluegrass last Sunday, perhaps to knock down the dust from the Red Dog Stables crowd kicking up their heels. From out hustling a hustler, Larry’s bottle, Tick’s cup, to the Lost Dog club and the stallion farms and Waffle Houses in between, it was a colorful tour, and that’s straight from this horse’s mouth. Yet the rains weren’t finished, for they symbolically washed away the Kentucky Derby Dreams of those connected to runners that had not performed to expectations in that weekend’s prep races.
The Derby is held once a year, the first Saturday in May; a ten furlong contest for three year olds. That moment comes exactly once in every Thoroughbred's life. No second chances. The journey begins with mating decisions. In North America alone, approximately 55,000 mares are bred to a selection of 3,500 stallions. The following Spring 37,500 foals take their first steps. Many are destined to race as homebreds for their breeders, others find new homes through public and private sales. All will face the rigors of training. All will chase the same dream, running to the same destination.
Everyone, every breeder, owner, trainer, jockey, groom, and fan is dreaming the exact same thing with every new foal. While some may be reluctant to speak of the dream, everyone shares it. We don’t really know what the matings will produce until the foal arrives. We don’t really know how the horse will run until the gates open. So dream. Dream the biggest dream. Should that once in a lifetime opportunity find you in the Winners’ Circle at Churchill Downs after the featured race on the First Saturday in May, go ahead and paint the town red.