Perfect Bull concluded his sophomore year with an appearance at Churchill Downs on November 15th in the Commonwealth Turf Stakes. He looked absolutely fantastic in the paddock, an opinion shared by fans from as far away as Australia. A nation that is no stranger to horse racing, the good folks Down Under bring their island continent to a virtual standstill during the annual running of the Melbourne Cup. The race has been contested on the first Tuesday of November since 1861 and has been observed as a public holiday since 1877. (In America we can't have a manger on public display yet in Australia exists a public holiday declared for the racing of horses. Who's upside down?)
While a cloudy sky persisted, nothing would diminish our breathtaking view beneath the storied Twin Spires. Connections, no matter how loose the association, often afford privileges. As it was, the colt was stabled in the barn of an old friend of our trainers while at Churchill Downs. That trainer's wife happened to be one of the track's liaisons. Connecting the dots eventually placed our seats where the Queen of England rested hers during her last visit. So from the comfort of our private balcony normally reserved for persons with titles other than Mr., we watched our color-bearer break beautifully out of the gate. Then the colt proceeded to run as what could best be described as uncomfortably. While he broke from an outside post and was widest of all going to into the turn, he obviously put himself in that predicament. One may reasonably believe that in making his 20th start, the colt would handle the raced day conditions and pace situations. Then again, perhaps by reacting to whatever what was bothering him the way he has shown to do is what has allowed him to stay iron-built sound through those 20 starts.
The colt crossed the finish line 9th of 10. The eventual winner had broke from the rail, sailed around the course and set a new stakes record. Tough company, yet its arguable that Perfect Bull actually beat more accomplished runners when finishing 5th during his previous effort in the Oklahoma Derby. Of course, every race is a challenge endured through grit and determination born of flesh and blood; these work horses aren't machines. So whether the colt needed, or wanted, a break either physically or mentally from the rigors of training and competition, we certainly did. Perfect Bull is presently enjoying a planned sixty day reprieve on a farm in Florida with his own private acre to gallop, buck and graze upon. Reports are that he's loving it, yet we're not expecting a postcard.