The morning started out the same way it usually does on a typical Saturday. Stalls being mucked, feedbuckets scrubbed, waterbuckets filled, horses being readied for the morning sets. Agents stopping by to see if we need anything. Kevin Witte making sure I don't forget my entries for his jock.
Celtic Innis staring out of stall 1 (6a), wondering where he was going today. He knows the routine. He can tell when I'm getting ready to send him out for another race. He should. I have done it 41 times now over the past six seasons. Today he would only have to travel out of his stall and to the paddock for Laurel's feature, the Fire Plug Stakes.
He had been training very well up to the race today. But as usual there were several horses I just wasn't sure we could beat today. I knew he would be right there in the end. He usually is.
After a basketball game, wrestling matches and a playdate, Rumsey and the kids all made it to the races. My oldest daughter wouldn't have missed it for the world. Danielle, the kids past kindergarden teacher and my father also made it to Laurel. Allen and Audrey were all dressed for the occasion as were their son and daughter-in-law Kent and Donna.
In the paddock Celtic walks around quietly, with his head up and his ears pricked. He loves doing this. He is sure everyone outside the paddock is here to watch him.
Sheldon Russell is always ready for his races. He comes into the paddock with a game plan for every race – $5,000 claimer or $70,000 stakes, it doesn't matter. He liked our chances on the outside today. And he did just what he said he would do with Celtic. He broke sharp and was kept within 3-4 lengths of the leaders.
Digger went straight for the uncontested lead. Ravalo was a length back. Celtic and Malibu Kid were next. Turning for home Celtic swung wide and came flying. Digger was set down for the stretch run and never looked back, winning by 3 1/2 lengths. Celtic gave his all and ended up second, a head in front of Malibu Kid. Ravalo finished fourth at 15-1. Celtic was again a good investment for all of his supporters, paying $10.80 and $8.80.
Celtic Innis finished his race day the same way he usually does – by beating most of his opponents, going to the detention barn, getting a bath, blood and urine tests, legs bandaged, dinner, hay and a good night's rest.
Good job today Celtic. As usual.