I’ve been too busy running around France with two-year-olds to catch up here, but things have been going pretty well. Justthewayyouare surprised all of us to win on Saturday in Chateaubriant. He really will be a better three-year-old because he’s a big, gangly colt, and he will certainly want a longer distance than the five-and-a-half furlongs he got on Saturday. But he was good enough for a relatively easy field there and Fabien Lefebvre rode him perfectly and survived a huge leap across the track in the home stretch. The only person who wasn’t pleased with this was the track announcer, who found his name completely too much to handle and so ignored the horse in the call for the whole race. He was forced to stumble through something when we crossed the line first, and came up with “Joostway000,” which was, I guess, close enough for jazz.
On Sunday, we sent Comment Dit (French, sort of, for “how say” – I think they were trying for “how do you say that,” but didn’t quite get it right) to Salon de Province, where she finished a good second (of only four runners, but who’s counting?). We had Twilight Allure and Runaway Sparkle (another unfortunate name that sounds vaguely Shetland pony-ish) in another race there, and they finished third and nowhere. It was a very strange race; there were eight runners, seven of them running for the first time. The favorite was the experienced one – three runs, three seconds. When they broke out of the gate, the favorite, on the far outside, lost not only her jockey but the entire saddle. I have no idea how this happened – I’ve never seen it before. It’s not like the saddle turned – it just fell to the ground like it was never girthed up. In any case, she went bowling along out front naked except for a bridle, and Sparkle went bowling right after her. The only problem is, when they got to the turn, the loose horse decided to go straight, leaving seven debutants suddenly leaderless. Legs flew everywhere as horses decided whether to listen to their jockeys telling them to turn or listen to their instincts telling them to follow the girl who looked like she new where she was going. The jockeys won, but it wasn’t pretty. Sparkle ran on well to hold third, and Twilight was never really in the game because she was too busy getting her tongue tangled up in the bit, which severely hindered her ability to breath. She’ll have a tongue-tie next time out, so maybe she can concentrate on moving her legs.
Today we sent Rose Fleur to debut in Toulouse, where she finished a very good second. Her jockey lost a stirrup in the home stretch, which slowed her down a bit, but I don’t think we would have won in any case. She debuted well and will come on from this. She is a huge filly and will also be better at three, although it’s clear she can run a bit now.
Tomorrow it’s off to Lyon for Golden Age and Rajasthani Princess tomorrow and Talawa and Hold That Emperor on Thursday. I haven’t been able to be at all the races, because there is just too much traveling involved, and it is strange to watch my horses on TV instead of being there. Luckily, jockeys have cell-phones. I made it to Wissembourg, Angers, St. Cloud, Longchamp and Chateaubriant last week; Toulouse and Salon de Province just weren’t possible. I will to go Lyon, though, and then we have a bit of a breather through the weekend.