2/16/2019 – Jockey James Graham pilos Serengeti Empress into the stretch, then pulls away from the pack to win the 39th running of the Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds. Hodges Photography / Britt Benson.

For all the world, she still looks like a filly destined for greatness on the first Friday in May. She is brilliant. She is fast. She is brilliantly fast. And, she is trained by one of the best young people in the industry today.

If ever there looks like a filly made for the Kentucky Oaks, it certainly appears to be Serengeti Empress. If ever there appears like a runner that can dazzle you with pure brilliance, it certainly appears to be Serengeti Empress. If ever there was a horse born to run, it is Serengeti Empress.

She is stylish. She is smart. She is funny in her stall. And, she is all business on the track. She is everything you look for in a star. After all, she is one.

But something not-so-funny happened on her appointed round with glory. Something not-so-funny happened on her way to greatness. Or, at the very least, a chance at greatness. In her last start, in the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 23, the speedy Serengeti Empress was in front and looked to be on her way to stomping her opposition again, and stamping her last credential for the Oaks.

Then, it happened. She slowed. She nearly stopped. Suddenly, the horse ambulance showed up and the great one was loaded onto the van. Hearts of jubilation quickly sank into despair.

It was discovered that she bled from the nostrils.

For many that love her so, including me, our hearts nearly stopped as well. And, our hearts bled. For the connections and owner Joel Politi. For trainer Tom Amoss, and family. Most of all, for the filly.

We all wondered. What would be next? What would happen next? What would she do now?

This morning, we found out.

We found out that both horse and trainer are recovering.

Together. Patiently. Carefully. Lovingly.

This morning, Serengeti Empress was back on the track at Churchill Downs. Though she looked liked she wanted to do so much more, she was allowed to gallop.

Slowly. Easily. Patiently. Carefully.

It was kind of like asking Nolan Ryan to throw slow-pitch softball. It was kind of like asking Mike Tyson to thumb wrestle. It was kind of like asking the great J.J. Watt, of the Houston Texans, to play a game of touch football.

But she did exactly what her trainer wanted.

Lovingly.

Take a glimpse:

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(Courtesy of Tom Amoss / twitter account @tomamossracing)

(Trainer Tom Amoss, who conditions the great Serengeti Empress)

“(We’re) just training lightly. Only galloping right now,” said Amoss, via text message. “Our focus is on her bleeding. Not thinking about any races.”

While Serengeti always seems to be thinking of racing, the trainer knows that the best thing for her is time.

Time to heal. Time to recover. Time to be what she is destined to be — one of the best in the game.

After all, in 7 lifetime starts, Serengeti already has 4 wins. She broke her maiden on debut, winning by 51/2 lengths at Indy Grand on July 4, 2018. After a 4th place finish in the Schuylerville Stakes at Saratoga, she returned to Kentucky and won the Ellis Park Debutante by a startling 131/2 lengths. The next time out, in the G2 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs, Serengeti won by an amazing 191/2 lengths. After disappointing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, when she didn’t make the lead early on, Serengeti returned this year to capture the G2 Rachel Alexandra at the Fair Grounds by 41/2 lengths.

In her four wins, Serengeti has won by a combined 43 lengths.

Are you kidding me?

That’s an average of nearly 11 lengths per win.

Amazing.

Now, we will wait along with her boss.

Together. Patiently. Carefully. Lovingly.

We will wait in hopes that Serengti returns happy and healthy.

We will wait with hopes that she can return to her greatness and finally get her chance for greatness.