Friday, September 16, 2005

Million Dollar Baby

The horse is an archetypal symbol which will always find ways to stir up deep and moving ancestral memories in every human being. - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Million Dollar Baby, a Darley Arabian, had seen better days. The constant flash of the cameras, the adulation and attention, his trainer's smile of pride, the star that he once used to be, that was Million Dollar Baby. He was discovered in the Middle East, and brought to England by Charles Pedigree, owner one of the largest stables in Britain. It was from his stable, that history witnessed some of the greatest stallions, to ever have adorned the racetracks. Charles had noticed the Darley Arabian, on one of his tours to the Middle East, in search of the best stallions.

The gleam of his jet-black coat, a splash of white on his forehead, a pair of sharp intelligent eyes, which seemed to be reading your every thought, stirred something deep within Charles's soul. He christened him Million Dollar Baby. It was not just the stallion's speed and endurance that caught Charlie's attention, but it was also the complete abandonment of spirit with which he coursed through the tracks that struck a chord in Charlie’s soul and the cheering crowds. Charlie's gamble paid off, and Million Dollar Baby did not disappoint his benefactor.

The sweet smell of success came with winning the Triple Crown in 1996, beating the all time favourite Dare Devil. That year, the three year old, won 19 of the 20 starts, losing only once to his arch rival, Super Star in the Kentucky Derby. His career also saw the invincible Forego laid to rest at the Kentucky Horse Park, near the Hall of Champions, where he spent sixteen years delighting fans. In his 54 career starts, Forego only finished out of the money seven times. Forego's invincibility also reminded the stallion about the vulnerability of his own career. Life it seemed was as fragile as a blade of grass.

The incident spurred more wins and more dollars for Million Dollar Baby. His climatic moment came when he won the Belmont Stakes in record time. The win saw him grace the covers of the Sports Illustrated, the Times and Newsweek. His career race earnings were well within $10 million to $100 million. Charles and Million Dollar Baby traveled to Dubai, and won the Dubai Cup by commanding margins.

When he was being exercised for the Kailasphat Singhania Trophy in Mumbai, Million Dollar Baby injured his ankle, and retired from active racing. The racetracks hailed him as a true rarity in racing, and the cameras snapped for the last time. The deluge of tourists and visitors, who came to see the stallion, marked his post retirement days. Charles later took Million Dollar Baby back to Kentucky, where he distinguished himself as a sire. Daunting Dreams, Sundance, and Passion, were chips of the old block. Charles saw the spirit of Million Dollar Baby in all three, and something deep within his soul stirred once again.

1 comment:

Known Stranger said...

i like this drawing. I would reproduce in my own style. but i really like this sketch.