En route to Silver Springs, the training center affiliated with Spendthrift Farm that adjoins the property, I passed the 30 by 30 foot mural painted on the side of a building in downtown Lexington honoring Man o’ War. I was there the day its grand unveiling was held several years ago, but don’t often pass by it. Happening to glance up just in time to see it, the artistry and scale of it was every bit as awe-inspiring as it was the first time I saw it. Artist Agustin Zarate depicted a pivotal moment in the horse’s race career, his victory in the 1920 Belmont Stakes. In the painting, while the effect the champion had on the people around his is evident, Man o’ War appears so collected and assured that all his glory seems to be singular, emanating from himself as much as it was reflected on or to the people around him.
It was a fitting glimpse at this time, as we approach another Belmont Stakes, and also as I was on my way to a stallion farm and to see young horses in training. While it is unlikely a horse of Man o’ War’s caliber will be among the young horses, naturally the promise inherent in generations of their lineage is evident and hope is ever-present among untried horses. Subsequently, the stallions in the barn have every chance to leave their own marks upon the breed or already have, in the case of Into Mischief particularly. Malibu Moon would have been ranked right with the latter sire as one in the barn who had already left his mark, but had recently passed.
Arriving at Silver Springs, I joined a group for My Racehorse’s event to showcase Authentic to microshare holders who had their names drawn in the lottery to see him, and which would conclude at Silver Springs to view several of the 2-year-olds on offer by MyRacehorse, or who had been on offer before all shares sold.
I had seen Authentic in retirement (and laid eyes on him for the first time outside of photos or television coverage) about two weeks ago. That tour was a bit less hectic, as it did not coincide with two tour groups attempting to visit at the same time and the afternoon breeding session rapidly approaching, besides, with several trailers pulled up and a mare being unloaded by the time we left to go back to Silver Springs. This is not a judgment of My Racehorse or Spendthrift, at all. It is merely a comparison. I am glad they host guests during the breeding season, for even as it is now winding down, it is still a busy time, and I am also glad My Racehorse is able to host events again for microshare holders.
While the visit was a little more hectic with all going on at the time, being there with My Racehorse meant Authentic was led out specifically for our group of 7 to view, and we each got photos with him outside. The other tour group present also lined up for photos, and as I had been taking photos of him instead of jumping in for my turn (although, funny enough, I had not actually been taking photos as I had been a little late for the tour and forgot to put my memory card in my camera right away), I had not noticed the long line growing. So when I mentioned that I wanted a photo to one of our concierges from My Racehorse but wasn’t sure where I’d be in the line, she told me our group took precedence over theirs and I could jump in.
Authentic was a bit feisty; he may now fully expect being led out of his stall but not to his paddock, especially when being close to the breeding shed as he was, meant an imminent breeding session. He was well-behaved, but also acted as a young stallion would, tossing his head a little. But he walked with a fluid elegance and posed magnificently.
Returning to Silver Springs, we saw several fillies that will soon be offered through My Racehorse, and then went to several other barns to see some 2-year-old colts. One of them, by Dialed In out of Wonder Upon a Star, is one that I had been quite impressed by in photos from the auction where he was sold, and also in the assessment Jeffrey Bloom, who picked him out at the sale, gave in a video. I enjoyed getting to see him up close at the training center, where he had just begun galloping. He has a nearly black coat and is dappled. I look forward to seeing where the trajectory of his career goes. Also, there will be a naming contest for him and I have been thinking of names related to stars to honor his dam. It is fun to think of names and be creative with that. I had several I liked but all had been used recently or were permanently unavailable. But after the visit a name for him came to me I like pretty well. I would have preferred to submit Quasar for him, which I had settled on, but it had been submitted and approved too recently for another horse. But sometimes this leads down a path of thinking out of the box and being more creative to come up with a name, and I enjoy the process.
I hope to come back for the MyRacehorse tour at least one more time (and this time not forget to have my memory card ready to go!) for photos of Authentic outside of the barn, but also would someday like to bring some family to see him, and that would mean the Horse Country tour would be more suited. My Racehorse limits numbers to one guest per shareholder, to give options to as many different shareholders to see him as possible. While family visits have been off-limits due to the pandemic if they live in another state as mine do, it is natural to think of wanting to see them again and share more experiences.
But today was about the experience My Racehorse provides, and also marks beginning to see the pandemic loosen its grip a little, as this tour would not otherwise have happened. And I am grateful for that, for the first event with Authentic through the entity that made shares of him be within reach and gave me the brightest moments of the rough times of the pandemic last year.