Posted by Avram Freedberg
…and he didn’t even get to run. When he arrived at the paddock, Linda said, “I don’t want to alarm you but look at the way he is walking.” She showed me that it looked like he was lame. Linda thought it was a sign he was tying up ( a nervous condition where lactic acid builds up in his body and makes him sick and very tight). Awakino Cat is known as a horse with this malady, which is very rare in a 5 year-old gelding. In fact, you may remember that when he was racing against Ahvee’s Destiny, Linda often did not give him much of a chance because he was always tying up.
In any case, she decided to let Cornelio Velasquez take him out to the track and see if he would be able gallop it out. If so, he’d race. If not, he’d scratch. When we saw Cornelio get off him on the backstretch, we knew he would not be racing today… his late scratch from the race was announced by Tom Durkin.
However, it was not over yet. By the time, the horse got back to the tunnel that he would take back to the paddock and then to the barn, he was shuddering, sweating and could almost not move it at all. It was pitiful. The track vet administered medication and commented on how rare this condition was in a 5-yr. old gelding. They called the horse ambulance and managed to get him into it to take him back to the barn. It was so awful.
Now the fear was colic. Colic in a horse can be fatal. So, when they got him back to the barn, they administered IV fluids. We’d met 3 generations of a family at the track. Carly, the 11-yr old (almost) grandchild who had already showed me her school report on her trip to visit us in Saratoga, offered me her “lucky charm” horse necklace, so I could hold it close to help with Awakino Cat’s recovery. It brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t stop crying while I thanked her for her compassion, sensitivity and friendship. I told her to keep it and asked her to pray for the horse. Rhoda told me that she saw Carly crying while they got Awakino into the ambulance. It was very touching. Nothing is worse than seeing the horse ambulance cart your beautiful animal away. At least he was alive. Usually when that big syringe comes out, you think it’s all over.
We went to dinner and got a report that Awakino Cat seemed to be resting comfortably. Now, we just have to wait and see. The health of these horses can be so fickle. Let’s hope he recovers and does so quickly. Of course, his racing season is now done… no Canada $500K race, no Breeder’s Cup. BTW, the sprint race we passed up for him in Kentucky was won by Silver Timber, whom Awakino had defeated this summer at Saratoga. Silver Timber will be going to the Breeder’s Cup Sprint.
Ah, the joys of horse racing.
Our sympathies to Veronica and the family of Nicholas Eckman, a centenarian whose funeral was today. No matter how old they are, it is difficult to lose them.
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