I read somewhere once upon a time that of the tens of thousands of thoroughbreds born and raised to race in the United States only about half will make it to the track and from there, significantly fewer will go on to win a single race let alone go on to become productive winners multiple times over or competitors at graded stakes races.
Despite what looks to be a 53-year low in foal production within the United States, the Jockey Club estimates that more than 19,925 thoroughbreds were born and registered in the U.S. this year alone. In 2011, my boy, “Sure Prize” aka “Indiana Jones” was one of 22,653 born and registered here too. He raced a total of 21 times and won only once. But even that is an accomplishment in and of itself, simply judging by the sheer volume of thoroughbreds produced to accomplish that very goal.
Today just so happens to be the anniversary of that race.
On November 7, 2016, my then five-year-old boy took off in a maiden claiming race at Mahoning Valley Race Course and on that day only he finished first.
It doesn’t matter how many times I watch it, how many times I remind myself that this wasn’t the Breeder’s Cup Classic or the Kentucky Derby, it was the first race of a long afternoon at what was probably a half empty November track.
It doesn’t matter.
For just one day, my boy did his job almost to perfection, or at least well enough to accomplish the task that was asked of him. That’s simply more than most thoroughbreds can say for themselves, even though it certainly doesn’t make him better than the thousands who never win a race.
Nevertheless, today is worth celebrating if for nothing other than remembering he was bred to do his job and damnit, he did it.
You can watch the full race above and relive the moment too. Comment below with stories of your OTTB! I bet mine ran slower than yours! Hahaha!