This short story was written a few year ago. I wrote it for the Uxbridge Writers' Circle word challenge (the words I had to use are in italics). I hope you like it.
It's followed by a short piece about our horse, I'm a Kittyhawk and a link to one of her fantastic races.
By the way, we still need more new members for the Uxbridge Writers' Circle! Spread the word!
This was the race that Joe had been waiting for, for what seemed like his whole life. Finally, he had a horse with the breeding, the athleticism, and the heart, to run in the big leagues.
As he drove to the barber, he felt good. Being a believer in astrology, he’d read his horoscope posted on Barbara’s Sunshine Future’s website and learned that the planets were aligned in his favour—good fortune was about to come his way. Barbara added that family and friends would be important. This made absolute sense to Joe. The purse for the race was $1million, which, without dispute, was a fortune. And he’d be celebrating his win with his family and friends.
With a bounce in his step and a smile on his face, he eased his rotund body into the chair for a haircut. He must look his best in the winner’s circle. Despite the smile, Dirk, the barber, knew better than to attempt to strike up a conversation with Joe. He’d tried once, and the man with the chubby face, gaudy shirt, and shiny pants, had merely emitted grunts and refused to meet his eyes in the mirror. It seemed to Dirk that Joe was downright stubborn in his unwillingness to converse with him. And today would have been no exception. Joe was in his own world, planning the celebration after his inevitable win. He would throw a party. After all, his horoscope predicted that friends and family would be important. It would be simple, though. French wine, brie and Camembert, with some fresh baguettes that he’d pick up from his favourite bakery on the way home from the barber.
It seemed to take an eternity for the horses to reach the starting gate. Joe paced in circles as the horses milled around, waiting to be loaded. His heart pounded and his hands tingled. His face was hot and flushed. Drips of sweat beaded on his forehead.
At last, the horses burst out of the gate with awesome power and strength, but Joe felt his chest tighten as his horse galloped at a tortoise-like pace relative to his competition. Never mind, it was a long race, and he knew his horse would close well. He’d be sure to come from behind with a dash of speed. And, after all, Joe knew what the outcome was going to be.
Joe’s heart raced and he could hardly catch his breath when his horse made a move to close the gap as they turned for home. The excitement was so intense, so incredible, that he felt his heart lurch. But as his horse moved towards the inside rail, another horse bumped him, and the jockey went sailing through the air. Joe’s horse finished first, but without a jockey. It was quite the spectacle; he heard later. But he didn’t care. He was glad to be alive.
“It was fortunate Don was with you,” his sister, Marie, told him as he sat up in bed, relieved to be out of intensive care and rid of tubes and machines. “He diagnosed your heart attack and got you here stat. It was waiting to happen, you know.”
“Yeah.” Joe knew. But his mind drifted back to the horoscope. Yes, good fortune was at play that day—Don was at his side. And yes, his family and friends had helped him pull through. Without them, he probably wouldn’t have had the will to survive the heart attack, or the desire to get back on his feet.
Horoscopes are okay, but are subject to a lot of interpretation, he thought. And horseracing is not the most important thing. But it’s darn close, he admitted, as he dosed off picturing his horse crossing the finish line first—this time with his jockey.
Copyright Vicky Earle 2022
I'm a Kittyhawk
Several of you know how fortunate we are to have I'm a Kittyhawk as part of our family.
It all started when I smuggled in Gato del Norte, as a yearling, into our barn as a surprise present for my husband's 40th birthday. We'd only part-owned racehorses to that date.
Gato didn't have a brilliant racing career. After her retirement, I rode her for a while, but due to some issues (and despite various therapies), I decided she shouldn't be ridden.
After a lot of thought, we decided to breed her. This was a new venture for us.
Among her offspring was Lions Raw, who is now 26 and lives on our farm. She was a successful racehorse and a good broodmare. Nearly all her foals grew up to become winners at the track. Among those is I'm a Cheetah who is now 19 and lives here with her mother. She was stakes placed but we retired her early due to some issues that were not conclusively diagnosed.
Fortunately, we decided to breed her. One year we chose the top freshman sire, Tomahawk. I'm a Kittyhawk was born. We sold 50% of her to our trainer, Franz Crean.
She proved to be one of only two true stars that were sired by Tomahawk
She won three stakes races. It was thrilling to be part of the experience.
She is the mother of I'm Dashing (we now own 100% of I'm a Kittyhawk). He doesn't have her talent, but he's doing okay. And now we're hoping that there'll be an addition to the family next spring. We've bred I'm a Kittyhawk to Silent Name - a wonderful and well-proven Ontario sire. Wish I'm a Kittyhawk luck!
Here's one of the stakes races I'm a Kittyhawk starred in:
The result of this race was covered by the media because she won at such high odds.