Did you watch the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago? California Chrome ran a perfect race – just off the pace until the last furlong, but then in perfect position to push through to the finish ahead of everyone else. He won by a length and three quarters.
Here’s what one analyst says about how this colt races: “It wasn’t just that California Chrome was running fast, but how he was running fast that so impressed me. He ran completely relaxed, no wasted energy. Then, when it was time, the colt, with one devastating move, ended his races” (Daily Racing Form, May 7). You can catch photos of the race at this LINK.
What hubs and I especially love about this year’s Triple Crown race is the rags-to-riches story behind this colt, so much like our heroine’s dad, Tug O’Hanlon, in Cassie’s Hope (Riders Up, Book One). California Chrome’s owners, Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, bought the dam for only $8,000. When they decided to breed her, they were told only a “dumbass” would do that. They boldly named their racing stable “Dumb Ass Partners” and their racing silks sport a donkey on the back.
They bred the dam into a line we’ve been following for years – the sire, Lucky Pulpit, is a son of Pulpit, out of AP Indy. We wrote those bloodlines into Cassie’s Hope. Early on, Clint tells Tug, “The Pulpit and his lines should add some vigor to your foal crops. Could give you some interesting nicks in the future.”
So you can bet we’ll be pulling for California Chrome and thinking of Tug O’Hanlon when the starting gates open at this week’s Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown.
To celebrate, Book Two in our Riders Up series will be FREE all day Saturday, the day of the race. Be sure to stop by this LINK on Saturday May 17 and pick up your copy!
During an oppressive Iowa summer of drought and farm foreclosures, widowed Maggie Anderson makes a bold decision: She’ll merge her love of horses and her family’s three hundred and twenty acres into a horse farm and try her hand at nearby Prairie Meadows Race Track, where racing purses have just been augmented by the recently added casino gambling.
Down on his luck after being falsely accused in a racing scandal and banned from training, former Arlington Race Track trainer Ed Harrington has skulked home to Des Moines to drown his sorrows and wait for the dust to clear. He’s unprepared for the piercing robin’s-egg-blue eyes of pint-sized Maggie Anderson, who finds him at a flophouse and offers him a job. Can he pull himself together and meet the challenge?
As the two forge a tumultuous working partnership, they soon discover someone is out to get Maggie’s farm and will stop at almost nothing to force her off the land. Can they find and stop the culprit before someone is killed? Can they survive the far greater danger unleashed by the raw passion simmering just beneath the surface of their relationship?
Five stars at Amazon:
Heartfelt with mystery and hope…made me cry. Spot on interplay between the main characters…well written and extremely enjoyable to read. Donna H.
I felt like I was on a roller coaster reading this story! Laughing one second, then felt like crying the next, always on the edge wanting to know what is going to happen next. Amy B.
FREE all day Saturday, May 17, to celebrate the running of the Preakness Stakes!
Maggie couldn’t get away from him. He was too close; too much a man. They’d worked side by side for two weeks refurbishing the barn, making plans for purchasing horses, and developing a vision for the long term growth of Anderson Stables. Harrington had proven to be a good teacher.
Though he could be gruff and sparse with words, he exhibited much more patience with her than she had imagined possible. His knowledge of thoroughbreds and what was required to turn them into competitive race horses was expansive. And her pulse quickened when his eyes caught fire with the awe and thrill he clearly felt for the challenge of horseracing. There was no question she’d hired the right man for the job.
But she couldn’t get away from him.
Snap! “Shit,” Maggie blurted, examining the spatula she used for scraping dishes. She avoided glancing at Harrington, who was sitting at the table finishing his last cup of coffee, oblivious to her turmoil.
As was part of the original agreement, he ate his meals with her family. But he also slept in the same house and used the same bathroom. Hers was a farmhouse, not some expensive home in the woods built by people trying to escape the city for fresh country air.
His scent invaded her space; it was as simple as that. Not that they were unpleasant smells, but they were man smells, and they were undeniably Harrington smells.