To Win The Triple Crown - Part 5 - The Belmont
 By Stay Untamed   •   24th Oct 2012   •   1,963 views   •   1 comments
To Win The Triple Crown

I arrive at the Belmont track tired and wanting to move. Marie gets me off the trailer and starts walking me around instead of putting me in my stall, wherever it may be. I thank her silently for it and walk next to her, grateful to stretch my sore legs. She notices me limping a little from the stiffness and calls someone over to bring the vet and watch me walk.

They come back a minute later and tell Marie that the vet is coming. Marie thanks her and gives her some green things before the person leaves. When my muscles still haven't relaxed, I try to trot to stretch them out, but Marie keeps a firm hold on my line.

The vet comes as we're having the fight and goes immediately to my legs. I stand still as she checks them over and over. Finally, when I get bored and want to move, she stands and looks at Marie.

"They feel fine, but very sore and tight. I want you to start heating them. A week before the race I'll determine if she can race or not, for now heat twice a day, once in the morning once at night for an hour. I'll try to come by daily to check how she's doing."

"What about exercises? The Belmont is in two weeks, she'll need to be ready."

The vet nods. "Hand walk her and maybe lounge, but nobody rides her until I say so, got it? Good, go ahead and ice them tonight and start heating them tomorrow. Bye!" The vet waves goodbye and walks off, looking at her wrist.

Marie sighs and sadly pats my neck. "It's okay girl, we'll do everything we can to let you run the Belmont."

That night I lay down to sleep since my legs can't bear the weight of standing. I start to worry that I won't be able to run.

The next day, Marie heats my legs as told. When she takes the wraps off, my muscles feel loosened up like normal. I want to run and celebrate, but Marie hand walks me up and down the trail to the track. She trots me a little, but my front legs stiffen again and I have to stop. I want to cry, if I could, like I've seen humans do. Marie does, she has a feeling that I won't be able to run. She says I have too much talent to pass up running in the Belmont. When she puts me in my stall for lunch hay, she bangs her head and fists against the stall door, with wet drops streaming down her face.

As Marie heats my legs again that night, the vet, Amy, comes and checks them. She seems happy that the heat wraps are working and says it's a good sign. I hope so; I want to run this race for myself and for Marie. I want to win for Eric and Bill. I want to win for myself, to prove that I really can run. I want to show everybody my ability and that a girl can win the triple crown. I've never wanted anything so badly in my life, and I will do whatever it takes to run this race and win.

A week before the race, Marie, Eric, Bill, and Amy come to see me. Marie brings me out my stall and leans against the stall door as she holds me. Eric stands next to her, an anxious look on his face. Bill looks sad and he strokes my neck, and I don't know if it's to comfort him or myself. Amy nods at them then bends down to check my legs.

I stand as still as I ever have for her. I want to race just as much as the others want me to race. Marie leans away into Eric, who wraps a tight arm around her to prop them both up. Bill starts to lean against the stall door beside them. Amy runs her hands down my last leg, lingering a little on my hock, then stands up straight and walks around to the others. She looks at them all for a minute then looks at me. She stares at me for the first time since I've met her. She looks at me and we just stare at each other. I try to show my hope and determination to win in my eyes. I hope she sees it.

She finally looks away from me to Bill.

"I'm sorry. You won't be able to return home with her soon until she wins the Triple Crown."

They all look at each other, confused and not understanding her, but I do. I bob my head up and down and rear a little. Making the others nervous for my legs, so I settle down and push Bill into Marie and Eric, who all stumble. Amy joins in with my celebration, which is when the others catch on too.

"She can run!" Marie cries.

Everyone hugs each other and Bill is laughing and crying at the same time.

Amy gets serious though. "But, I want you to keep the exercises light. Only cantering and when nobody else is on the track. Also, Marie, keep heating her legs twice a day as usual. Congrats guys, and good luck." Amy hugs all three of them then walks away, laughing as she goes.

Bill and Marie hug my neck as they laugh while Eric hugs my face. I pull back, not liking too much contact and they start hugging each other again.

After a minute, I neigh and snort a little, wanting to walk around. Marie takes me around so I can trot beside her on the line. Eric and Bill watch me for a minute then both leave to do whatever. Marie puts me in my stall and gives me my feed. I nudge her as she leaves. She hugs my face and puts her mouth right next to my ear.

"Zara, you are privileged to get a second chance and to be able to race. This means that he wants you to do something special and I feel it's along the lines of winning. You go run that race and I want you to run with everything you got. You win that Triple Crown Zara."

The day of the race, Marie comes at around mid-morning instead of early in the morning. She heat wraps my legs as she and the groom brush me and saddle me up. They lead me to the loading stalls, still with the heat wraps.

Bill comes to see me and brings Amy the vet with him. She checks my legs as usual, after Marie takes the wraps off.

"Well, she seems fit to race, but she might be really sore and tired after the race." She pats my neck then walks off.

Marie wraps my legs in my racing wraps after Bill's okay. He looks worried and anxious. He paces around the stall and glances at me and my legs as he does. Marie stands quietly by my head, stroking my forehead. The other groom stands beside her, also looking worried for me.

Eric comes through the crowd and pats my neck reassuringly. He talks with Bill for a minute then comes and whispers in my ear.

"Look, I know that Bill wants me to take it easy, but I agree with Marie. If you were given the chance to run after all this, then you need to run your hardest. Good luck. I'll still come and see if even if I never get to be your jockey again."

He gives me a kiss on the nose, and then gets a leg-up from Bill. Marie leads us off behind another horse down to the track. I walk quietly beside her, not wanting to possibly hurt my legs in any way. The other horses prance and show-off.

I notice people in the crowd holding white things that say my name. The people holding them all look sad and worried for me. I shake my head, not wanting all this worry put on me. I will win. I know it.

I load into the starting gate seven. I've decided it's my new lucky number, since I always get that gate. Eric holds me quietly and talks to me softly, trying to tell me things that I'm not listening to since I'm concentrated in the race.

Nine other horses are loaded into the gates before and after me, including my opponent from the Preakness. He's in the gate next to me, so I see him nod to the horse next to him, but pin his ears at me. I act like I don't see.

The bell goes off and my gate opens with a loud thud! I place myself in the middle of the pack, around fifth place. My opponent takes a position of third place, I notice. The first place and second place horses are barely running ahead of the pack. The fourth place runs with his butt at my neck and his head at my opponent's girth. The other five horses all run behind me, seeming to not run too hard at this point in the race.

We coast around like this for awhile, before Eric gives me a kick to tell me it's time to run! I pick up speed and pull to the outside of the fourth place horse, who is tiring. He barely seems to notice when I pass him. My opponent has moved to first place.

I glide around the third place horse, who I have to battle with for a minute, but then they tire, already haven used their energy. The second place horse holds out well and we battle for second until the turn for the home-stretch. I lengthen my stride and pick up speed as I come up with my opponent.

He barely seems winded, feeling great. As we come around the turn, with me on the inside, he picks up speed and starts to gain in front of me. I try to catch up, but this is the moment when my legs decide they've had enough. They start to feel tight and constricted. Eric seems to sense this, so he gives me my head to do what I need. I try to catch up with the other horse, but as we turn the corner, he plants his butt right in my face.

Eric has to jerk my head up so I don't plow into him as we run at full speed. I pick up my rhythm again and finish right behind the lead horse by a head. The rest of the horses follow by five lengths.

Eric pulls up as soon as we pass the finish line. He gets me to walk and then completely stops. Other horses slowly pass us, some of the jockeys wondering what's wrong. Marie comes running up to me and starts to take my wraps off. She replaces them with heat wraps and then walks with us to the winner's circle for second place.

Bill comes up besides us as we walk in. He sounds angry and flails his arms around as he talks. I notice he keeps pointing at my opponent horse, who stands in the first place position looking quite satisfied with himself.

As we walk to my place, people point at me and whisper things to other people. Soon, a round of applause goes through the people as I walk to my position. When I stop, it grows louder until we can't hear what my opponent's owners are saying. They look at me, mad and confused.

When the applause dies down, they start to give Bill the trophy. He shoves back to them.

"I would like to say that Grateful Tears, the first place horse, did not win fair and square."

Everyone starts talking. I look over at the first place horse who looks mad, like his owner while the jockey looks guilty.

"He cut my horse off when they were rounding the corner to the home-stretch. I would like for the Stewards to check this and to decide if they should be disqualified." Bill continues.

Some people start nodding at what he says, while others look to each other and talk. The person who hands out the trophies says that the Stewards will look at it, but we have to wait a few minutes.

Marie re-positions my leg wraps as we wait. Eric strokes my neck absentmindedly while Bill stares daggers at my opponent's, Grateful Tears, as their owners do the same to him. People in the crowd all look at black boxes in their hands, or look at me. Some, mostly girls, all watch me with water in their eyes and some gliding down their faces. The guys all watch me with compassion or hate.

The trophy guy finally comes back and stands in between Bill and the other owner to give the verdict.

Bill holds on to my mane, while Marie and Eric, who's gotten off, are holding hands and petting my neck.

"The Stewards have decided that Grateful Tears is disqualified for cutting off and disadvantaging the opponent. I hereby say congratulations to your 2012 Belmont winner, Zara Avenue!"

Everyone cheers and yells. I toss my head up and down while Marie and Eric hug and jump with Bill, who can't contain them selves. Marie leads me into the first place spot, which brings more cheering.

With much throat clearing and yelling, the trophy guy finally gets our attention again.

"And, since Zara Avenue has won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and now the Belmont, I would like to congratulate her with the title of 2012 Triple Crown winner!"

Everyone cries out and jumps around even more than before. I even trot around myself.

I won. I did what I wanted to do. I won the Triple Crown.
Still haven't seen a deep closer make it at Belmont. I almost thought Ron The Greek would do it in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but such foolishness is rarely rewarded. Big Sandy is a pain for closers, I'm glad we won't have the BC there for a while. I liked it when it was at woodbine, though.

Triple crown by DQ... Interesting. Did you get this idea from Big Brown?
  Oct 25, 2012  •  2,183 views
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