Harness Racing Update has a really good issue today (pdf) with stunning photography and stories related to the loss of pacing and stallion superstar Somebeachsomewhere.
He was a special horse, obviously; I think the fact that his vet and farm manager, Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, took out the full page ad and signed it so simply with her first name is beautifully testament to that. But what makes that horse extra-special, in my view, is that he had just about everything - charisma, a back story, a modest sales price, down home owners; and he was fast. So fast.
My first taste of the Beach was me betting against (my words), "that long gaited horse who won't handle the half" in the Battle of Waterloo in his first start.
A few weeks later I remember thinking he lucked out a little in the Battle, and bet against him in the Metro Elimination. All he did that night was take the lead, and pace away from a couple extremely good horses (one of which was 1-9; Beach was a juicy 5-1) like they were standing still.
That was my last whoops.
From that point forward I was awestruck by the colt in each and every start.
A few highlights for me:
Seeing his initial start as a 3 year old live at Mohawk. There were worries the horse was off in the front, and he took some time getting back. He won without being asked.
His Simcoe Stakes - he scoped terribly sick after that race. He still won it.
His Confederation Cup. It's like he was in a different species. I've never seen a horse zip around a half like he did that day.
His Messenger. Watching that race upstairs at Woodbine with a friend who has watched as much harness racing as I, our conversation went like this.
"He's hating this track."
"Yep. He's in big trouble. He can't even grab it"
"Now he's hung the mile. Oh my the haters are going to be out when he loses to Shadow Play"
"No way he wins this. Now he even hooked wheels!"
"Oh my god he won."
Very few horses - harness or thoroughbred - did what that horse did on the track. Every horse throws clunkers, and he did too, slipping on a track at Yonkers and scoping sick at Mohawk, but his clunkers still resulted in victories. Each of his wins, and his storied loss, are the stuff of legend now.
When we throw in his breeding career - for cripes sakes he sired the winners of $23.7 million in 2017 alone - the magnitude of the loss is unspeakable.
For me it wasn't about numbers. Somebeachsomewhere simply reminded me what a good horse was; why we cheer for them; why we watch this sport; why we drop whatever it is we're doing to watch a horse.
He was pure class.
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