(Miss Jacqueline got her bath after breezing on Thursday morning / Photo by Gene McLean)

(Diamond Solitaire got some sun on Thursday morning / Photo by Gene McLean)

They don’t know that they are half-sisters. They don’t really know that they come from the same mom, Diamond Seeker. They don’t know that they share some of the same blood and genetics, if not some of the same memories and fields of green from whence they come.

Or, at the very least, most people don’t think they do know such things.

But as Miss Jacqueline — our 3-year-old filly — chilled out after her early morning breeze at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington on Thursday, she seemed to slow for just a second as she passed the stall of her 2-year-old, half-sister Diamond Solitaire.

On this loop around the barn, Miss Jacqueline seemed to glance to her left and take a peek in the stall, where her sibling stood and munched on a flake of alfalfa.

For just an instant, it appeared that the two may have shared a moment; a quick exchange of looks; perhaps a nicker or two.

(Groom Braulio Alvarado works on Miss Jacqueline, while Grandsons Jack and Ford watch the proceedings / Photos by Gene McLean)

“They’re friends,” said groom Braulio Alvarado, who used to rub Miss Jacqueline for trainer Stephen Lyster and now handles the daily chores with Diamond Solitaire. “They are buddies. You can tell. You can see.

“They are both very kind. Very easy. Intelligent. Both of them. You can see it in their eyes. I like them both.”

We like them both, too.

Then again, we should.

They are both ours, and have been since the day they poked their little heads into sunlight and first stepped hoof on God’s green Earth.

They are both our “children.”

And, they both will now carry our team “colors,” our dreams and aspirations on their legs and backs.

Truly, we have loved them for such a long time now. Both of them. And, now we love that the two of them are reunited and are now roommates as they gear up for their respective racing careers.

Half sisters, by birth.

Full of hope, by nature.

(Miss Jacqueline, inside, on Thursday morn / Photos by Gene McLean)

Miss Jacqueline is the older sister.

She is now a 3YO filly, who I bred and raised and now race in partnership with great friends Tina Halpain and Jace Barbin.

It was just about six months ago, Miss Jacqueline — a daughter of Jack Milton — got to race for the first time at Churchill Downs in a maiden-claiming event. She drew the #12 post position in a full field of youngsters ready to kick start their race careers. She drew a tough assignment, to be sure.

When race day finally arrived, the weather had turned nasty and cold. The morning rains had turned the dirt track into a mud pie. And, the nerves turned my stomach into an upside-down cake.

We didn’t know what to expect, but the unexpected. And, that’s exactly what we got when jockey Julien Leparoux masterfully guided our little gal to a whopping and impressive 6-length victory to give our little team our first win — as in ever — at the legendary Churchill Downs.

(Miss Jacqueline danced away. Leigh Ann danced away. We won.)

We jumped. We yelled. We screamed. And, we celebrated.

Didn’t matter that it was a maiden-claimer. On this day and time, it was just the same as if she had won a Graded Stakes. We celebrated. And, that’s just what you do when you win a horse race. You dance like nobody is watching.

It has been six months since that first race and first win. For a variety of little reasons, Miss Jacqueline has not raced again. But she is now getting closer. Every day, she gets a little closer. And, we are hoping that by the end of May she is close enough to try her luck again at Churchill Downs.

We can’t wait. Simply, can’t wait.

(Diamond Solitaire on Thursday / Photos by Gene McLean)

Diamond Solitaire is the little sis.

She is a 2YO filly, who I bred and raised in partnership with great friends Lori and David Osborne at Deerfield Farm in a foal share deal. We now have added a great group of racing wannabes, who have invested in her, too — with money, love, and emotion.

(Diamond Solitaire’s ownership group / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

Like Miss Jacqueline, Diamond Solitaire is a very late foal — born in the final days of May of 2018. Like Miss Jacqueline, Diamond has had to overcome a few obstacles along life’s journey.

Hopefully, like Miss Jacqueline, Diamond Solitaire shall overcome.


After getting some of her instructions at La Croix Training Center in Oldham County, Diamond Solitaire — who is a registered Indiana-bred filly — is now in Lexington, too. Same barn — #9 — at The Thoroughbred Center where her sis is located. Just a few feet away, Diamond Solitaire’s stall nearly backs up and almost marries up to her half-sister’s room.

Just this week, Diamond Solitaire started her real training career in earnest. Every morning, she gets tacked up. Every morning, she gets a rider in the saddle. Every morning, she gets a trip to the racetrack. Jogs for now. Soon, gallops will begin. Later, breezes will be added.

The game is now on for Diamond Solitaire, too. And, in a couple of months from now, we are hoping that she will be able to try her luck on the racetrack up at Indiana Grand.

We can’t wait. Simply, can’t wait.

Each day, Diamond Solitaire gets to walk right past the stall of her sister. Every day, Miss Jacqueline gets to walk right past the stall of her sister. The two of them are together — again.

And, we hope that both of them will win. We hope and pray that both of them can excel. We hope, pray and wish that both of them succeed.

We can’t wait. Simply, can’t wait.

And, that’s the reason we now own a racehorse.

Or two.