A Tonic That’ll Fix a Broken Heart

I had $3,000 to my name. It took all summer long to save it working two jobs, but the life of a college student knows no boundaries. – I was asked by my son “why I worked so much, and didn’t I try and find a gal ?” – The answer was yes, I had one, but she booted me to the curb like the Wednesday trash. – Most guys would have spent the summer drinking out with buddies running down the girl who left them cold, but not me. I had a different plan for this broken hearted guy. – I was going to put together a partnership and claim a horse.

Well, I found that other person and I started watching all summer-fall for which fit our budget. I finally found one and begged my partner to jump in and get started. He had a case of “alligator arms” and couldn’t reach his wallet.  – After five wins and two seconds, we decided to travel to Churchill Downs and claim a son of State Dinner named State Budget. – He had a flair for going to the back of the pack and come flying like Silky Sullivan. By now our venture was picking up steam, and had third partner who wanted in as he had his grandmother’s pocket book next to his heart. – Off three guys went to Louisville, Kentucky. We had all gotten our needed state licenses, and put a large deposit in the horseman’s bookkeeper account. All we had to do was have our chosen trainer drop in the claim slip and we were soon to be horse owners.


It was the last race going 7f, and Eddie Razo was named aboard the horse. He was in a $5,000 claiming race and we were going “all-in.” – Not me, because when we picked up our third owner, I had another $1,400 to bet with. I figured if I was going to bet on somebody else’s nag, why not put my money where my mouth was ? – They broke from the gate and he was along the rail breaking from the #1 post. He was laying in 5th about 6 lengths off the pace. About the 3/8th’s pole he began to move and by the top of the lane he scooted right up the rail and drew off to win by three. – My buddies were “high-fiving” and we all went down to the winner’s circle. – We were jumping around and when our trainer walked away with the claim tag hanging from his halter, I couldn’t have been any more excited. – They both said, ” we should have bet him !” – Well, I made the biggest wager of my life and had over $6,000, and a share of my first horse. – If you ask me the name of the gal that dumped me that summer, I couldn’t pick her out of a lineup.


There were good times and bad, and the three owners split ways. But I remained with another fella who was more to my way of thinking, and we made a great ownership team. – We went to Hoosier Park to watch our horse run, and it was the inaugural Indiana Derby. He finished 5th that day, and I still have the program to prove our big day. We ran at Turfway, River Downs, Beulah Park, and Keeneland. Yep, even the Mecca of racing saw our smiling faces when we ran second in a $10,000 claiming race. – It was more fun than the law allowed, and to this day my Dad claims that when I started owning horses it ruined racing for him. – He was a party pooper, and that is the nicest way I can put it.


Eventually he ended up on my Mom’s farm, and lived out his life on seven quiet acres. – There was a large man with a young boy who pulled up one day to give him a look. The boy loved the big gelding, and wanted to buy him for trail riding. His Dad said he was going to have to pay me from his savings from working in the tobacco field, and the young man and I went to haggling. – ” Will you treat him right ? Feed him, care for him, have your Dad call the vet if he gets injured ? ” – Yes sir, I’ll do anything to have Budget as my own. I have always loved horses and my Dad said I’ll have to save my own money to buy one.” – “That’s good young man, sounds like he’ll have a good home.” – “Sir, how much are you asking for State Budget ?” – “Well, I was looking for around $2,000, but if you’ll take good care of him and give him a good home. I’ll sell him to you for a handshake.” – The look in his eyes still lights my heart to this day. – When the large horse van pulled up to take Budget to his new home, he ran up the long hill with his ears pricked. He was sure he was heading back to the races, but little did he know he was going to the best place in the world. – As the van pulled away, he reared up inside and kicked the side door. He was one-of-a-kind. – The moral of the story is simple. Winston Churchill said it, and we need to hear it from time-to-time. ” There is something good about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” –