[1st of February]
The bell rang, the gates opened, and the seven horses galloped out onto the bright green turf as they started their mile long lap around the Santa Anita course. In the blue colors of third and the blue colors of Skyview Stables, Storm Chant, the seven year old veteran of fifty races, flew out of his stall with the others, hooves pounding across the turf course rated hard. On the outside, coming from the sixth post, the light grey blur speckled with light brown known as Ivory burst out and started moving to the inside as he settled into first.
Storm Chant drifted into fourth as they covered the homestretch's expanse of green, about two lengths off Ivory's slow pace. Stormy was forced two wide around the first turn with the one horse to his inside and the five horse a head ahead of him on the outside. The first quarter went in :25 2/5, and the half in :50 as Ivory loped along on an uncontested lead, three horses bunched now two lengths behind him with three lengths to the rest of the field. As they reached the backstretch, the jockey on the five horse to Storm Chant's outside decided to pressure the pace a little and egged her mount forward after Ivory.
Ivory and his jockey evidently did not agree with this and sped up slightly down the backstretch with the five horse now half a length behind. Storm Chant wanted to go after the horse, but his jockey, Adras, held him back with stern hands simply telling him 'No, and wait, we'll get there at the end of the race'. Obstinate, Storm Chant challenged Adras, and sped up just enough to pass the one horse and fall right behind the five horse before relenting around the final turn.
Three quarters went in 1:13 and four, Ivory holding off the five's challenge for the lead. Adras started guiding Stormy to the outside slowly to find open ground for their stretch run. Almost completely around the turn, Adras let loose a bit of rein, and Storm Chant snatched it, seeking to pass the five horse, and then Ivory for the victory. When at last they turned onto the expanse of grass down the homestretch again, the three horses were side by side.
On the inside ran GI winning Ivory, seeking to maintain his lead to the wire, on the outside Storm Chant, the now three time winner of the Breeders' Cup Mile, and in between them the horse with the green saddle cloth of the fifth post, an allowance runner debuting in stakes company. Bit by bit the five horse gave, until he was out of the competition for first, fading behind as Ivory and Storm Chant glared each other down the stretch, neither giving. They had met on the track before in previous years, and both knew the other and that, in order to win, they would have to simply put more effort than their rival.
Half a furlong out from the wire, they still ran in tandem, daring the other to back out. Storm Chant was well known for his prowess in drives to the finish, his stubbornness proving its use in his refusal to back down. Ivory had also been in his fair share of duels down the length of the stretch, and he was no slouch at it either, but this time he was facing a stallion aggravated over his loss a month before, a stallion determined to score a victory and willing to keep at it for as long as necessary.
Slowly, inch by inch, the gallant grey horse backed out, and Storm Chant grabbed the bit with renewed energy. He was winning, and no one was going to stop him! His short lead never opened daylight before the wire, but he still managed to post a three quarter length victory over Ivory as he thundered past the wire, only reluctantly slowing down by the strong pull of Adras, his nostrils flaring, mane rumpled and tossed in the wind, legs still pounding the turf, head bowed almost to his chest, exhilaration over a hard fought victory still coursing through his veins.
[2nd of February]
The very next day, Lost Colony went out for his five year old debut. He was coming off of a second in his final race of the previous year and two very fast bullet works down the Santa Anita track. The popular sprinter with a unique running style was the favorite for the upcoming GII Palos Verdes Stakes, a race he taken a year ago by storm, drawing away to a seven length romp before the cheering crowd.
This year however, trainer Isa and owner Rosalind were not looking for theatrics, just a good prep to bring him back into the racing world and start pointing him to a third run in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Evidently, no one told Lost Colony this. He was in a boastful mood, eager to show off his speed and talent to everyone who saw him. Although the bettors were impressed, the one mare in the field wasn't.
The post parade and paddock went as fine as could be expected, although Lost took the opportunity to make a few small kicks and bucks into the air. Just before loading, as the horses and jockeys waited to enter the gates, Lost gave a small unprovoked leap into the air, nearly losing his rider, Melanie Aue, as he came back down to earth. She held on tightly though and managed to stay on the capricious bay stallion.
He was soon under control again, and one of the starter's assistants came to lead him into the stall. Lost Colony flat out refused, only moving with heavy pressure from both Melanie and several starting assistants. Even then, he managed to crow hop and side step his way out of having to load. At last, they blindfolded him and tried leading him in again. This time Lost had no problem and walked into the waiting stall as if he had been born doing it.
By that time, however, the rest of the field was already loaded and getting antsy. Thankfully, the doors had scarcely closed behind Lost before the gates flew open and he leaped out of the gate to grab the early lead. He held it for a bit less than the first sixteenth before a chestnut took it from him and Lost settled back, running in fifth and last along the rail.
The pace was moderate, for a sprint, the chestnut being pressured only half-heartedly by a seal bay as he darted off a quarter in :23 and two and the half in :46 and three. By then, the race was almost over, the field was on the final turn. The horses behind the leader moved to the outside, and Lost started inching forward along the rail. He passed a lagging bay for fourth, and then passed a light, golden chestnut for third as they turned onto the stretch.
Just the length of the stretch to go, and the chestnut that had led the way was fading in the face of a challenge from the seal bay on the outside. Still along the rail, Lost continued to slowly close four lengths off the lead, looking for the room for a final, frantic charge to the wire. The tiring chestnut bobbled slightly to the outside, and that was all Lost needed. He bunched together and then exploded forward, easily passing the lagging chestnut and setting his sights on the seal bay now in the lead.
With every stride, Lost gained on the seal bay. The lighter bay's strides may have been shorter and less clean than the grand, sweeping strides of his opponent's, but they came faster, propelling Lost forward and closer to the finish at a faster pace. A length to make up, a half length to make up, a neck to make up, a head to make up, a nose to make up, a nose to spare, a head to spare, a neck to spare, a half length to spare, a length to spare, and finish! The race was done! Lost had registered his first victory as a five year old.
[8th of February]
The first day of February brought fresh victor's laurels to Skyview Stables, and the second the same. A week later, and Linheraraptor went out to capture more in the San Antonio Stakes. This was to be the white flecked black's final prep before heading out for his main goal at Santa Anita: the Big 'Cap, the Hundred Grander: the Santa Anita Handicap. After that... well, the plans were still hazy, but a repeat attempt in the Stephen Foster was there, and of course an attempt to run in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Today, however, there was but one goal: win the race. He was already the favorite in the field of seven, breaking from the first gate. Being a horse that preferred the pack to the lead, being so close to the rail gave cause to worry about getting boxed in. He was well mannered in the paddock (excusing the saddling time - he just barely missed one of the grooms with a well-timed kick), and led the parade well, walking calmly next to Huxley, the track pony.
He left Huxley easily for the warm-up, gliding away effortlessly at a smooth canter, his head held high with ears pricked and nostrils flaring to pick up all the smells of the track. The field came back, headed by RaRa, and he was the first to load. His demeanor in the gate was stellar, and soon the rest of the field joined him. Then it was a few moments to start, followed by the gates springing. Off they galloped to begin their nine furlong journey around Santa Anita's racecourse.
A speedball of a dark bay rushed to the lead, quickly opening four lengths on the chestnut content to wait in second. RaRa broke a bit slow, but managed to find a bubble of space behind the horses vying for the third position early. Adras took advantage of it and swept RaRa out a bit to avoid getting boxed in. In the meantime, those horses were slowing down and filling the space between RaRa and the rail, even if it was only wide enough for two.
The dark bay kept the lead, edging forward a bit more as he entered the turn. The chestnut was holding off a grey for second, and then it was three lengths back to Linheraraptor on the outside of two horses, three across the track. Just behind them a closer settled into place. The opening quarter went in twenty-three and change.
Into the backstretch the seven went, RaRa still on the outside, but slowly starting to pass the two horses on his inside. The leader seemed to lag a bit as he went into the first turn after a half in :45 and 4/5, and the chestnut started a move with the grey just to his outside, shadowing him around the track. Linheraraptor continued his creep forward, eventually getting far enough ahead to pass the two to his inside and seek a shorter path.
The chestnut caught the dark bay at the top of the stretch and ran past him, the grey still three quarters of a length behind him. RaRa truly began to run as he hit the stretch. To Adras, it felt as if the stallion leaned back slightly, dipped down, and then leaped forward, a long, elastic stride closing the gap between him and the chestnut. He moved slightly to the outside to pass the grey, who was starting to flag between horses.
Then it was just the chestnut and the wire in front of RaRa, and he was going to get there first. He kept his strides at the same pace, but they were just enough longer than his opponent's for him to reach the front at the wire and win by a head, the chestnut second and two lengths ahead of the deep closer who had passed the grey for third.
RaRa let himself be drawn up, breathing deeply but not harshly, ears pricked through the entire race. Adras just smiled and patted his mount's shoulder. They had won the race, and the GIs were next, just waiting for the son of Velociraptor to take them for Skyview Stables.
[17th of February]
It was mid February. Less than a month until Santa Anita Handicap day. Isa sat on her horse, Moniker, next to the outer rail, watching Lost Colony breeze down the main track. He was being surprisingly amiable that day, eager to work but not fighting the exercise rider. It was a fast, timed work, four furlongs around the main dirt track. He did it professionally, short, quick strides around the turn and down the stretch, before being slowly and carefully pulled up.
The exercise rider, a new one Isa had hired to ride for the day, soon had Lost down to a trot, bouncing up and down with each step the bay took. Lost was breathing hard, but that was to be expected from such a work in just under 46 seconds. All had gone well, and the bay stallion was looking good in his preparations for his next race.
[8th of March]
The call to post sounded for the first stakes race of the day, the GII San Carlos Stakes, and the jockeys were given leg ups onto their mounts. The post parade at Santa Anita began, the nine horses entered walking and trotting out onto the track. Lost had the outside post, and the lowest odds, as he tried for a repeat win in the seven furlong event.
The field loaded calmly before the race itself began. Lost broke sharply, but let the other horses on the inside pass him as he geared down to run seventh and moved to the inside, just outside the horse running eighth and two lengths clear of the last horse. The field left the dirt chute quickly and entered the backstretch of he main track, a fast pace with the quarter in :22 and three.
The lead horse had a several lengths lead as he entered the one turn in the race, the turn for home. It was on the turn that the stalkers and midpack runners picked up their pace, and as they straightened out onto the final stretch, that lead was gone. On the far outside, Lost was putting in his final bid, bearing down the horses tired from the fast pace. The jockey only needed to touch Lost with the whip, and he knew what to do.
Several of the horses hanging near the back now had the lead in the final furlong, but Lost managed to put them away to win by two.
The next race on the card was the feature. Once again, Skyview Stables owned the favorite: Linheraraptor. He was coming in off two Grade Two scores in the Strub and San Antonio Stakes and had been training well after a fairly successful campaign the previous season. All in all, a logical favorite. He kept his cool through the whole process of tacking up and paddock time, for once not making too large of a fuss during the saddling. There had been a change in equipment, as his blinkers were removed after the saddle was put on. Robert had thought it worthwhile to try a change.
The horses were led out of the saddling area to the paddock. RaRa continued to be calm through the call of riders up and the procession to the track and the post parade. The horses cantered off around the track to warm up before returning to the gates that had been brought into position at the front of the chute. They loaded up, the gates clanking closed behind the field of eight.
The starter let them loose, the gates opening with a loud crack as the horses took to the field, starting their mile and a quarter race around the track. Linheraraptor broke slowly, starting out in the back of the field before moving up into sixth down the homestretch for the first time. They passed the finish line, the quarter popping up in :23 and three. Around the first turn, the field fairly spread out, RaRa eight lengths off the lead, still in sixth.
The half went up in :47 and one with the pace slowing down as the field went down the backstretch. One horse kept the lead with marginal pressure from another horse a length behind. Six furlongs continued with an even more leisurely pace, 1:12 and two. Then the speed turned on. It started at the back, one stride an inch longer than the last, a fraction of a second sooner, speed picking up. It rippled forward through the field, soon reaching Linheraraptor. He took off, pushing away from the earth as the field charged around the final turn to home. The black racehorse reached third as they finished the mile in 1:35 and four. He was in second at the eight pole, coming up next to the leader, and he crossed the wire in 2:00 and three, three lengths clear. Adras stood up in his stirrups and raised the whip to the clear Californian sky above, shouting their victory across the track.
After that it was the old fighter's turn. The Frank E. Kilroe Mile was an old staple at Santa Anita, having been won by such horses as Exceller and Gio Ponti - and Storm Chant himself two years in a row prior to this. He was the third Skyview favorite of the day, and his old challenger Ivory was a solid second in the betting. Around Seabiscuit's statue, and out through and onto the track, Stormy's bay coat gleamed in the sunlight. The warm-up, the gates, the cheering crowd, all familiar. The break, and the race, also familiar. Ivory went to the lead, Storm Chant hung back in fourth of the ten horse field, keeping his eye on the grey in front of him by seven lengths. They charged around the course, the pace fast. 23, 46 and change. 1:10 for six, and hten only the final stretch remained. Stormy started his charge, eyes still locked on the grey in front.
Ivory increased his stride length from pressure to his outside, slowly kicking away, the rest of the field in hot pursuit. A dark bay charged late, closing in on Ivory, but too late! The bay finished second by three quarters. The green silks of Allaway Thoroughbreds were born into the winner's circle by Ivory as the first four finishers we put up. 3 in first, 1 in second, 7 in third, and 10 in fourth.
Storm Chant was gradually pulled up on the turf course by Adras. When he at last came to a halt, the jockey hopped off, and the grooms came forward to help untack. After loosening the girth, the saddle and pink saddlecloth bearing the black number eight came off in one go and the sweaty bay joined the rest of the field in walking off of the track.
The story is a bit meh, but it was mostly written early last year, so that's to be expected. I really like how the art came out - RaRa was fun to shade! (Although his black coat covers most of the shading). Also Ivory is finally shown! And remember how I mentioned that the silks worn by the one racehorse here
would be popping up again? Here they are, hidden behind Stormy! I was going to add more, but I'm tired, technology is being a pain, and I want to finally get this out there, so the more I want to add will come with the next installment, which will hopefully be more timely.Summary
Storm Chant, Linheraraptor, and Lost Colony
Seasons: 6 (8yo), 4 (5yo), 4 (5yo)
Record: 3:1-1-0, 3:3-0-0. 2:2-0-0
Earnings: $172,000, $1,020,000, $270,000
8 furlong GII Arcadia Stakes ($200,000)
, Won by ¾ lengths ($120,000)
Santa Anita 02/01
8 furlong GI Frank E. Kilroe Mile ($400,000)
, Beaten by 10¾ lengths ($12,000)
Santa Anita 03/08
9 furlong GII San Antonio Stakes ($500,000)
, Won by hd ($300,000)
Santa Anita 02/08
10 furlong GI Santa Anita Handicap ($1,000,000)
, Won by 3 lengths ($600,000)
Santa Anita 03/08
6 furlong GII Palos Verses Stakes ($200,000)
, Won by 1 length ($120,000)
Santa Anita 02/02
7 furlong GII San Carlos Stakes ($250,000)
, Won by 2 lengths ($150,000)
Santa Anita 03/08
Name: Storm Chant
Barn Name: Stormy
Height: 17.0 hh
Color: Dark Bay
Markings: Front left coronet, snip, star, stripe
Bloodlines: War Chant X Hot Storm (Stormy Atlantis)
Discipline: Thoroughbred Flat Racing
Genetics: Ee AAt
Temperament: Stormy is stubborn, and likes to think that the world is his stage to mess around on. He gets a little better, when he learns that racing is going to be involved, but he doesn't listen to the jockey that much.
Barn Name: RaRa
Height: 16.0½ hh
Color: Black Rabicano Minimum Expression Sabiano
Markings: Blaze, BL Coronet, BR Half-Pastern, Cat Tracks
Bloodlines: Velociraptor X Sunny's Colors (Sunny's Halo)
Discipline: Thoroughbred Flat Racing
Genetics: Ee aa Rbn Sbn
Personality: RaRa will do whatever you say. You say run, and he says how fast? Well, unless there is a saddle. For some reason RaRa hates these belly hugging contraptions and will get out of the way, leading to lots of creative ways to get the saddle on. Oh, and RaRa needs to have some kind of attention on him. He tends to throw temper tantrums if no one is paying attention to him
.Name: Lost ColonyBarn Name: LostGender: ColtAge: 4Height: Projected 15.3 hhColor: BayMarkings: Faint Star, BR coronetBreed: ThoroughbredBloodlines: A. P. Delta X When it Rains (Salt Lake)Discipline: Thoroughbred Flat RacingGenetics: Ee AAPersonality: Erratic. One day Lost will spook at everything, the next he'll ignore everything, and the next he'll get distracted by anything. No-one knows if he's a secret super-genius messing with minds or half-crazy.
, Stormy & Ivory