Sure Fire Winner
Sure Fire Winner
This story is about Fever's son. If you haven't, please read my first story "Fever" before this. Thank you.
And just like his father, Fever, Sure Fire Winner had a spark. Yes, he would run and chase the wind in the field he grazes in, and he would jump and be crazy. But that all ended soon, sooner then you could say "racehorse".
Since Fever died and became history, or you may say a hero, the ranch went downhill. Fever was the one and only racehorse who could win the Triple Crown for our ranch. We had good horses, don't get me wrong, but Fever had something about him you couldn't beat.
Our mares have gotten old, and Sure Fire Winner's mother was to be put down because of sickness. Sure Fire Winner was really the only hope for me and the others... a hope to save the ranch and continue to breed and raise racehorses.
Sure Fire Winner was just a yearling. He was spunky and hyper, and didn't care about anything else but going into the field every evening and grazing.
We all planned on using Fever's bridle and saddle, but Sure Fire Winner just didn't grow. He seemed like he was the same size for decades, his tail stayed short and fuzzy, and never did length like Fever's did or even his own mother's mane and tail.
Children that came over on field trips always went over to Sure Fire Winner's stall and he hated being patted on his muzzle unlike his father. He'd rather be scratched behind the ear and on the back.
A little girl who took interest on the T mark on his forehead began to call him "Little T" and another small little girl shouted out "Tommy". I just stood there as Sure Fire Winner whinnied as she shouted out "Tommy". It was like Sure Fire Winner was excited about that name.
After that and many months later...
It was his second birthday. His mother passed and the ranch got even sicker. We just lost our best mare and still haven't had the time to properly train Sure Fire Winner.
The man who owned the biggest Thoroughbred ranch just miles down the road brought over his two-year old stallion, "Oh Bop", which means "he's a thief" in Russian. The owner said he would take Sure Fire Winner off our hands, no charge, no nothing, but just to take Sure Fire Winner for himself.
I didn't go with it. I said no. He hung his head, sighed and then walked away. I didn't care even if he would have given us a billion dollars for that horse, there was no way I was letting Sure Fire Winner go.
That man knew something I didn't know about Sure Fire Winner. I got a weird feeling when I got closer to that crooked man. His horse was fabulous, why would he want my colt?
But I couldn't worry, we had to start preparing Sure Fire Winner for his first race, the Kentucky Derby...
The shortest race distance is one and one-quarter miles long but it would be the longest for Sure Fire Winner as we've never ran him for this long. We should have, but never got around to doing it.
The days went by, the Kentucky Derby arrived, and Sure Fire Winner was a complete mess.
Oh Bop trotted out proud and the crowd went wild. Sure Fire Winner's ears went back in fright but he was a good boy and behaved in the crowd. And in spite of his fright, I still had second thoughts about Oh Bop beating us.
The same little girl at the ranch cheered, "Go Tommy!"
I was scared for my life...
The crowd cheered more as the horses got farther into the track and into the starting gates.
Oh Bop (He's a Thief) loaded first ready to run. Sure Fire Winner reared up a bit scared, he was nothing like his father at this point. I stand up and sing with many more "My Old Kentucky Home". After that, we sit down and hear the screeching beep from the bell.
"AND THEY'RE OFF!" The man yells rambling on with who’s in the lead.
I kept my eye on Sure Fire Winner. It seemed like this race never ended. It was the longest 2 minutes I've ever waited.
Finally, the finish line... I stand up looking at the others. I hadn't had a clue who won. It was so close, I swear it was neck to neck with the two stallions, Oh Bop and Sure Fire Winner.
"Who won?" I yelled as I sprinted to the main office. The door had a sign saying, "Unofficial Winner", so I had no choice but to turn around and wait.
Finally, the announcer came on and many people rushed to the Winner's Circle. The official winner was Sure Fire Winner! Well, he didn't get that name for nothing! I knew he had it in him... I just knew it!
Beautiful red roses hung over the arched and sweaty neck of Sure Fire Winner as the man who asked for the reins clapped please to see the cup. But one thing he wasn't pleased about, it wasn't in his hands.
Many hours later, the celebration was over and I walked out to the stall of Sure Fire Winner, apologizing for never thinking he had it in him, that spark. I mean I knew he had it but just didn't believe it.
"Oh Bop is absolutely amazing. He has the color, the legs, the heart, but he has one thing you don't have," I said as I rub the T mark on his forehead, "the history".
Sure Fire Winner whinnied. I got the feeling he knew what I was talking about?
All of a sudden, I felt a tug on my jacket. As I swung around it was that little girl. "Can I ride him?" She asked as she pulled a bucket to see over the stall gate.
"Maybe, someday." I reply as her mother came and got her.
That night I thought about it. That little girl thought he was a pony to ride and that man laughed in my face. Oh Bop was no joke. He was big, and in racehorses, bigger is better. You want a lengthy horse like Oh Bop.
Fever was ready by now and ready by a million points to win and I still had second thoughts about Sure Fire Winner. I really didn't know if he was ready to run the second longest race but I couldn't tell the future.
The days passed and The Preakness was right up our alley. Just thinking about it was scary.
Press Panel, which meant the newspaper people wanted more info about our boys running in the race, I told them the truth, I didn't lie when they asked if my horse could win the second race. I said I can't tell the future and just gave them honest replies.
That's all I could do.
I knew after that, it all of a sudden turned real. Sure Fire winner was now a real horse. He won the Kentucky Derby, now he must win the Preakness.
Oh Bop was ready. I know I've said that before but it's the truth. He's ready to beat my boy Sure Fire Winner.
Finally, about 2 weeks later, it was time for that race. A big semi truck hauled Sure Fire Winner into his stall making a screeching beep backing up.
The two men grabbed Sure Fire Winner clinching their hands around his halter. Sure Fire Winner led great but there was something off.
I looked down the aisle of stalls as the men loaded him into his. There at the paddock, my eyes caught Oh Bop and his owner. There were many people with cameras and many people without, but not one to my horse.
So as my cocky self, I walk up to Oh Bop's stall.
I run Oh Bop's nose. It seemed like he liked it and was a complete new horse. He was nothing like I thought he would be like. He was kind and gentle.
"Uhm.." I hear a mumble behind me.
I turn around.
"This is my horse." The man who owned Oh Bop mumbled.
"I know." I said as I turn back to Oh Bop. "I just wanted to say hello to the stallion who might win." I said, rubbing his neck gently.
"Guards! Please tell her to leave or I may press charges." The man says walking away as many guards and police walked around me.
"No need to fret, I'll leave." I said walking back to my horse.
Sure Fire Winner ate his feed in his bucket. He was calm and it was almost like I saw Fever in that stall.
"Run good today, okay boy?" I smile as I walk away. I couldn't believe how fast time flew by. Last time I looked, it was 2 hours from the race, now it's 2 minutes. I couldn’t believe it.
People started dragging Sure Fire Winner out of his stall, saddling him up, and before I knew it, a man yelled "Riders Up!" I knew at that moment, the race was right around the corner. Literally.
Oh Bop bucked and pretty much dragged the men to the race track. The man who owned him, sat tapping his foot to the hoof beats of the stallions trotting.
"And they're off!" The announcer yells and the horses take off in the flash of lightning.
Sure Fire Winner took the lead but not for long. Oh Bop was right behind him. I swear this time, Oh Bop's hooves were smoking and I don't say that about every horse. I knew Oh Bop wanted the lead and not just him but the jockey and his owner.
His horse had the front page of the newspaper. I was shocked. I knew the crew and I had to step it up.
The first turn of the race, it was about 1:50:4. I kept an eye on my watch as the second turn came around. The thunder of horses running was so loud. Every hoof that touched the ground I would count. I had a timer and everything that I thought I needed.
"He's gonna do it... He's gonna do it!" The announcer yells but I didn't have a clue as to who he was talking about. Was it my boy or that man's stallion? WHO WAS IT?
Again, an unofficial winner...
"This can't keep happening!" I panicked.Continued in Comments Section below.