Early on Tuesday morn, I got up and drove up to Lexington and The Thoroughbred Center training facility on Paris Pike.
I wanted to check on our 3-year-old filly, Diamond Solitaire, of course. She is the star of the operation for our team. And, per usual, she had a smile on her face as soon as I made my way to her stall and yelped my morning hello. She munched on the hair strands as much as she did her alfalfa. She nuzzled on my neck as much as she did on her play ball. She made her welcome as genuine and heartfelt as a horse can muster — with a dash of love and a pinch of happiness.
Such is the relationship and bond that the two of us have mustered from her early days and have maintained all the way to her present moments in time.
Such is the life we two have shared from her nightmarish beginning to her storybook career today, when she seems to write a new, thrilling and spell-binding chapter with every race. As with every tale before, that has come and gone with ample excitement and bumps of chill, I simply cannot wait until her next adventure that races both spirit and heart.
Such is the love of having a special filly like Diamond Solitaire, a blessing that makes every bad day just a little better and every good day just a little better.
But I also wanted to see our 2-year-old, Knight’s Moves — who also resides at the barn of our young and talented trainer Stephen Lyster and just across the barn from Diamond.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Knight’s Moves went from being a free-spirited and free-swinging colt — with a mind of his own and a hankering for the ladies — to a kinder, more gentle former colt.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Knight’s Moves underwent a body-altering surgery that we hope will offer a mind-altering focus and attention to the details of racing.
And, I wanted to see how he was doing in his mending and in his schooling.
What I witnessed was a young horse with a whole new attitude, even if he didn’t have the whole package.
Gone was the nickering and dancing maneuver he used to give every filly that passed his way. Gone was the silly biting, nibbling and attempts to grab your attention by grabbing your arm like a chew between cheek and gum. Gone was horrible teenager hellbent on making your life difficult.
Here was a horse ready and willing to train. Here was a horse focused on running and getting bigger, stronger and better. Here was a horse with a future of being a good racehorse.
The Indiana-bred son of Majestic Harbor — who has simply become one of the best young stallions in the country not standing in the Commonwealth of Kentucky — suddenly looked like he may have a chance to be a good one, too.
For awhile, I just made my rounds in the barn. Chatted with the grooms. Played with the goats. Fiddled with the cowlicks. And, just enjoyed.
Enjoyed a day at the barn. Enjoyed a day with the horses. Enjoyed the quiet of a horse’s whinny compared to the whining of a cell phone ringing.
It is then and there that you realize the greatest thing on Earth.
Some days you just want to get lost, and have a little fun with the horses.
Some day was Tuesday.
And, truthfully, it was some day.
Here’s a few looks at Knight’s Moves: