Friday, March 22, 2013

A brilliant start to Friday

Undefeated super-mare Black Caviar cruised through her 24th race at 5:55am this morning, United States Central Time. A typical weekday for me begins at 7:30am but I was more than willing to get up at 5:30am for her, just in case TVG or HRTV showed her in the paddock or on the track, warming up prior to her race (alas, we were instead presented with a choice between a rousing 15-minute Sensa infomercial, courtesy of TVG, or a blurb on Akhal-Teke breeders in America, presented by HRTV. I chose the latter).

Then suddenly, HRTV switched gears and we were at Moonee Valley in Australia. It was post time and the camera shifted from trainer Peter Moody to the great mare herself. Each time I see Black Caviar, I study her close. At first glance, she is packaged plainly. Her coat, although shiny with health, is a standard deep dark bay with no discernible white markings. She doesn't have the swan-like features of Royal Delta, or the imposing size of Zenyatta.

But over the months and years, I've come to realize that she is one of the loveliest horses I've ever seen. She is incredibly well conformed, with a shapely sprinter's neck, strong shoulder, deep barrel, and a powerful engine within her hindquarters. Her finely fierce head, with its dished profile, is that of a Greco-Roman marble carving of a chariot horse in battle, nostrils flared and eyes flashing. And this morning, she tossed that fierce head again and again as she was circled behind the starting gate. She was ready.

Prior to the 2013 racing season, Peter Moody once said that Black Caviar was stronger than ever. I believe him. Although winning with little effort has always been Black Caviar's signature, she now conquers her races with breathtaking ease. I am not one to become emotional with every good race I see, but this morning--whether it was the early hour or the great mare's performance--I did so well before she cantered under the finish line. My husband was beside me and I, normally one to comment on races we watch together, found it difficult to speak through the lump in my throat. I was without words.

Moments later, the blue fingers of dawn touched the horizon to the east. The sliding glass door in our living room faces that way and I watched as the sky moved through the color palette of a new day--blue, pink, orange, pale yellow--as the sun rose and rays of light reached into our living room. But sun had already risen, in the form of a brilliant dark bay mare from the other side of the world.

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