Recently I saw an update about American Heiress, the first horse I ever invested in through My Racehorse, about her filly and that the farm where she lives is waiting to see if she is in foal to Essential Quality. The way the farm employee phrased how they were waiting for her pregnancy scan to reveal a foal made it sound like they were quite eager for her future as a producer and I was happy to read that. 

Even though American Heiress, daughter of American Pharoah and Keertana, did not pan out as a racehorse with a small number of starts to her credit, she endeared herself to me with her sweet nature and several different occasions when we got to spend time together one-on-one. 

I also already felt a bit of a connection to her prospective foal of 2024, the one they are waiting to see if she will have from the cross with Essential Quality, because his Belmont in 2021 was the first I had ever attended of that race. 

It was actually a bit of a funny story that I purchased my ticket to that race in installments and I did not even remember I had done it until I received an email that the second installment was due. I have no recollection of when I purchased the first installment, and when I got the email that the second installment was due I called Belmont Park to check that they would allow attendees or if there were restrictions about that because Churchill Downs had still limited attendance to their signature race in the Triple Crown series in 2021. 

Since I could not recall when I had purchased the ticket I did not know if they had considered how many people could attend or not and if that would affect my seating arrangement. They did have limited attendance but I was able to complete my purchase. 

When I arrived at Belmont Park on that first Saturday in June for the race, they had placed seat cushions in each spot where they had assigned a seat to a ticketholder and placed significant space between each seat purchased to allow for social distancing. Masks and proof of covid vaccination were also supposed to be required, but when I arrived no one asked to see my proof of covid vaccination. 

I had an amazing spot right in front of the finish line directly at the rail. I also enjoyed that due to the social distancing aspect no one was going to crowd in on my space.

All was set for a perfect view until unfortunately, for the actual Belmont Stakes, they starting gate crew stood up in front of those of us at the rail at the wire and blocked our view. I had never attended a race where the starting gate crew didn’t kneel or crouch underneath the the rail so they did not block paying patrons’ views. And I could not believe they did that there, especially for a Triple Crown race. 

Since they had blocked my view of getting a good photo of Essential Quality winning, I went over to the winners’ circle to get photographs of him that still somewhat showcased his victory, and that was how I coincidentally ended up in the background of some professional photographers’ captures of his winners’ circle ceremony. 

When I spotted myself in their photos later, I thought that was pretty neat to happen for the first Belmont I ever attended and would not have happened if my view did not get blocked at the wire. 

So when I read that American Heiress was bred to him, I reflected back on his Belmont and this experience there, and thought that would be neat if there is a foal by the first horse whose Belmont I attended and out of the first horse I ever invested in. 

I share some of the hope the farm where she lives has for that prospective foal, for those reasons named above, and I love to be reminded of the hope that is inherent in racing and that we can usually find in the world even when circumstances can at times be difficult. 

I also look forward to when they share updates about American Heiress’ first foal, the filly born this year, and maybe one day –  even though I have moved away from the racing state where I lived – I will see one of her foals race. But I know for sure I don’t have to live in a racing state to feel connected to racing and that is what matters – that I find the ways to keep that connection alive.