I had to give some love to this little girl because she will be imperative in the FUTURE. Not yet, but soon. Also ten points if you know where the title is coming from
Pose is referenced from a lovely shot of turf runner Zagora who I imagine Dory looks like just scaled down, compacted slightly, and built for dirt [link]
***“I think we should aim him to the Breeders’ Cup,” Mike said suddenly one cool September morning after breezing the he in questions.
Jonah arched an eyebrow and watched as Sal hosed off the colt. Mike Torrez had no shortage of Juvenile mounts, which meant that his opinion held genuine weight.
“We could stick him in the Champagne,” Jonah mused, watching as the Medaglia d’Oro colt tried to bite the end of the hose in a playful gesture. After his impressive maiden win Jonah had tried to keep him under wraps, steady, and focused. Last Saturday Jonah had run him in a 75,000 allowance race at 7 f, the colt had won gamely and had even handled the larger crowd well.
“Against Paranormal? I was thinking something out in California.”
Another option, but Jonah had to admit he was curious to see how the two Triple Birch two year olds measured up against one another. Paranormal had a few races more experience but Gabe had always clocked better times.
“He’s going to see him in the Juvy,” Jonah said with a shrug, “If McCailen likes the idea I don’t see why not.”
Later, after the workouts were all finished Jonah dropped a line to John McCailen. He explained the idea of racing the two colts against one another with the most tact he could muster. He gave reasons why to keep Gabe here instead of shipping him out. It was a well thought out pitch but in response all John said was, ‘Why the hell not?’
Sometimes things were just too easy.
Quick Wit, despite his name, was not a quick study. The colt was so damn temperamental that any progress made could just as easily be forgotten and thrown out the window. In the few months that Lacey had been allowed to ride him she’d taught him to rate half a dozen times, what the difference between a gallop and a breeze was (and the signals which indicated which one she wanted) at least two dozen times, and what slow down meant more times than her brain could even recall. It was painfully slow, frustrating, and ultimately infuriating work.
The colt did not use his rider’s fury to his advantage but rather dreamed up imagined slights and anger of his own to match. Ironically those few times where Lacey had been so furious at him had been the times he’d posted wicked fast times. Clearly there was something laying in the combined strength of their fury. Unfortunately the instances were also incredibly dangerous to Wit and Lacey as well as anyone who happened to be on the track, which was why Jonah had her out on top of the golden bay in the September darkness of morning.
Lacey had arrived at the track grumpy that her early rising was for the asshole of an animal, and was only compounded when said animal tossed her off the second she said on his back. Seeing the twisted glee on the colt’s face had been more than enough to encourage her to ignore the soreness from the fall and force a good work out of the bastard.
Mike watched anxiously from the sidelines, he didn’t like Lacey exercising the worst of the bunch, he’d been the one who dragged her off of the black War Emblem colt after he tossed her a time too many. Lacey, who had incredibly lucky with injury, hadn’t yet broken a bone despite the hundreds of times she’d been tossed and still didn’t quite grasp the concept of her own mortality had been extremely pissed at Mike. Granted now the black colt was gone, but it only made her more determined to keep her ride on the golden colt.
The golden colt, despite his actions that seemed to support the opposite, did in fact like Lacey the best out of any of Jonah’s exercise riders. By ‘like’ the colt meant ‘tossed off less and never super seriously tried to murder,’ which was better than all the boys Jonah had stuck on him before in hopes of avoiding Mike’s concern and potential wrath.
Once Lacey was seated tightly on the colt’s back again Estefan sent them loose on the track. The Street Sense son wouldn’t put up with lead ponies of any sort, it had to be him alone or else a meltdown would ensure. Everyone liked to avoid meltdowns as best as possible. Which was the idea behind having the colt put in the first workout of the day, before anyone else even bothered thinking about getting their horses out.
The colt seemed to sense the great dark and empty space around him before he’d even made his first trip around and surprisingly it seemed to excite him in a completely nondestructive way. Lacey noted his stride lengthening and loosening, his usually dead locked jaw opened up and Lacey even dared to believe she felt the colt roll his tongue against the bit, thinking and relaxing as he enjoyed his dominion without the presence of others. Lacey still held that anger though, but she kept it under the surface, quiet and building until she asked for the canter at the half mile pole.
The colt exploded.
The sheer force of his push off caused Lacey to lose her balance and nearly tumble to the dirt, a quick hand snapped out to grab mane and the colt’s relative straightness allowed her regain her balance. The colt eased up on the pace within a few strides acting as though he actually remembered the process of working into a breeze. Lacey let him go a full time around at this pace, let him slip into his stride and enjoy himself for once. Then again at the half mile pole Lacey asked for more, for a breeze, this time burying all her fingers in his mane.
The colt did not disappoint. The second launch was as powerful as the first, propelling the pair into the fastest gallop Lacey had ever felt. For a split second she was actually scared, but as quick as she identified that possibility she got angry at it, Wit felt that, took it, and worked it out for the both of them on the Belmont dirt. He was angry himself, ears pinned, teeth grinding, legs striking and destroying the surface underneath him. He ran crooked, left a few strides, and then right, but the sheer force coming out of his hind end kept him going forward at an alarming rate.
He wore himself out within two furlongs, which was no surprise to anyone, but the second the colt came back Lacey broke out laughing, realizing that she’d just had the most fun in her entire life, that the experience felt surprisingly like therapy.
Scout had religiously avoided watching any of Mal’s races since they began their foray into what could be called a relationship. She avoided labeling just as religiously, but today seemed set to make her define the current station of her life.
Jonah had called in sick and sounded it, which was truly nothing of a big issue. The barn could more than run by itself, the only issue was that Scout had to watch Mal take Double Up for a spin in the Matron Stakes (GII). Still recovering from the previous night’s celebration after Sling’s stunning win in the Gold Cup, Scout was not in any sort of state of mind to be doing so. She’d managed to endure the pre-race process without showing any considerably anxiety to the filly, to Mal, or to the press, but now as she sat alone in Triple Birch’s box she was struggling to contain it. Her mind was rattling off lists of everything that could go wrong as Dory’s chestnut rump slid out of view as the filly walked into the gate.
More obviously was the fact that the filly was easily outclassed in this race, and in Scout’s opinion didn’t truly belong in it. The filly had some talent, but her gawky frame and strange mind indicated a need for time, something which she had, something which everyone was denying her. The obvious reason was the Breeders’ Cup madness, everyone wanted a horse in a race, those who had a horse in a race wanted another horse in the race. It had infected all the racetracks across America, and even some in Europe. Jonah and John, thoughtful and patient as they were had been hapless victims to it. Gunslinger was going, Eminence provided she won the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (GII) next weekend at Keeneland, Marzanna was already the predicted winner of the Juvy Fillies, and both Paranormal and Golden Age were pointed to the Juvy. There was absolutely no reason to push Dory in that direction. Her race would be the Juvy Fillies and there was simply no way (barring some sort of calamitous event) the chestnut wouldn’t get massacred by her stable mate.
It was too late now to do anything. The rest of the field was loaded in and then in tandem sprung out. Dory, slow as she tended to be in her thought process was immediately overwhelmed and balked despite Mal’s encouragement. The bigger, classier, and more experienced filly’s took advantage of the little chesnut’s confusion and pushed her out, one a big bay smacked so hard into Dory that Scout seemed to feel the sensation pulse through the ground into her own body. The filly sunk and string constricted around Scout’s heart, her pulse sped and slowed as she watched the filly scramble for footing all while Mal scrambled for a handful of anything to keep himself from slamming into the dirt.
Please, please, please, Scout begged silently closing her eyes, please don’t let them break. Please.
The gasping crowd around her changed abruptly to cheering. Her eyes fluttered open to the side of the chestnut filly righting herself, Mal snug tight against her neck. Her heart was still panicked, her limbs weak and the rest of her jelly but her mind studied and watched as the filly tore down Belmont’s track, some fourteen lengths off the back of the pack.
Just pull her up Mal, Scout thought, just pull her up.
He very well may have been trying to do that, but either way the filly would have none of it. She stretched and pushed and pulled a the dirt, remaking the world under her to suit her purpose with those glorious legs of hers. Determination pulsed out of her skinny copper body as she lessened the gap between her and the rest as the pack coursed around the turn for home. By the time they spilled into home the chestnut was fifth in a field of eight, and then out of sheer determination fourth, and then third. It was plain that the filly was faltering, her stride was shortening, her neck struggling to keep her body seeking more ground, but her expression was set, she would not give in, not today.
Still third was the best she could do, she returned to Scout sweat stained and clad in mud, but she was satisfied. Through her quick shallow breaths, through the shaking of her exhausted muscles, through the blood streaming down on her knees you could see that she was proud, gloriously proud of herself.
The aftermath of the race was a swirl. Mal pissed off at the check had gone straight to the stewards and demanded a foul be called on the bay filly and her jockey. Careful reviews of the tape deemed such an action necessary, the bay filly’s win was stolen from her and allotted to the second place runner and Dory surprisingly found herself in the possession of second. It hadn’t stopped there though, the x-rays came back shockingly clean, although Dory would be sore for quite a while and out of training for a month or so the prognosis was excellent. In the end though it was the story run about her in Bloodhorse, they claimed that their filly, their hapless blue tang, would have earned the win prompting the bay hadn’t knocked her. That Marzanna had lost a worthy competitor in the Filly’s Juvenile, but Scout knew the truth, knew that the press had it all wrong. The filly had ran because she’d been hit, she needed a reason, and the bay filly had provided it. One day the filly might run for herself, for glory and fame, but not today.
Name: Double Up
Nickname: Dory, Dor
Markings: A blaze and three white stockings
Genotype: ee aa
Preferred Distance: Not Applicable
Running Style: Not Applicable
Sire/Dam: Double Or Nothing
For Stud/Lease: No (too young)
Personality: Is a quiet, calm sort of horse. Something of a loner with both people and horses but is personable enough when she is around others. She seems to be very intelligent and is infinitely curious about everything, as a result she’s quite easy to train.