Thursday, March 1, 2012

Miss Fifty's Miracle

If you have not read The Story of Miss Fifty, please read it before reading this story.

There were just minutes to post until Miss Fifty’s sixteenth race. Like usual, I was perched before both my television and computer, watching TVG’s coverage and the live feed on Charles Town’s website. I had formed a prayer chain between my family, my friends, and me, praying for Fifty to stay safe in the running of the race. It wasn’t much different than any other time she’d raced.

Miss Fifty with me at Churchill Downs
Photo: Terri Cage
There were some differences, however. For one, Fifty was returning to the allowance level. She had raced at that level in her most recent start, but the jockey had lost the irons at the start and she had run up on the heels of other horses. She had finished last, but it was not because of a lack of talent. I was eager to see how she would compete at the higher level and hoped that she would have a fairer chance this time around. 

The main difference was the one that worried me the most: the track was extremely sloppy. Fifty had never raced over a sloppy track before. I was sure she could handle it, but I was worried nonetheless.

From the start of the race, things were not completely okay. The horse that broke from the rail, Ideal Thoughts, stumbled out of the gate and caused the jockey to lose his irons, though he regained his seat. I fixed my eyes on Fifty as the horses raced down the backstretch. She found a position behind the leaders along the rail and was gaining ground on the inside as the field rounded the far turn. I was certain she was about to run a huge race.

Then everything changed. The horse on the lead, Sharp Beauty, suddenly broke down in Fifty’s path. I lost my breath and watched in horror as Fifty miraculously scrambled over the fallen horse as the other horses in the field fell like dominos. I was shaking uncontrollably as Fifty continued on under Oswald Pereira, crossing the finish line all alone. The remainder of the horses had either fallen or lost the jockey.

I was relieved that Fifty had not gone down, but I was still extremely worried. I was concerned that she had received an injury from clambering over the fallen horses and was also afraid that a loose horse would collide with her.

The latter fear nearly became reality in the gallop out. After pulling her up after crossing the finish line, Oswald Pereira guided Fifty to the outside rail with hopes of avoiding the riderless horses. However, one of the loose horses neared Fifty at full speed and with seconds to spare, managed to avoid colliding with her. My mother and I, watching the television screen in dread, let out a giant sigh of relief.

I soon received word from Miss Fifty’s owner that the filly had received some cuts on her legs that required stitches, but would be okay. Miraculously, Fifty had avoided disaster. And that’s exactly what the incident had been for her: a miracle. She had every chance to go down or to be slammed into, but somehow, those things did not happen. God was watching over her.

Thank you, everyone, for your prayers! Please continue to pray for Fifty to heal. Also, please pray for the others involved. Rest in peace, Sharp Beauty.

Also, thank you, Mr. Vrable, for updating me on Miss Fifty, not just in this situation but ever since I first contacted you about her. And thank you, Oswald, for taking such good care of her doing this horrific race!

To read the official news release, please click here.

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  1. What a terrible tragedy. My heart goes out to all concerned. I'm so glad Miss Fifty is healing well. I hope she is yours very soon. I found you on the Zenyatta website and have read all about your wonderful story of Miss Fifty.

  2. Just got done reading your backstory on Fifty, what a history you two have!!! In as much as I wish all the horses in that fateful race finished, I'm so very happy for you (and for Fifty!) that it was she that made it through. I hope you two are reunited again soon, and permanently. Thank you for the wonderful stories! Fifty is SO lucky to have you as a fan!!!!

  3. I hope when Fifty is finished with her career, she finds her forever home with you. I love your story about her, and I, too, believe God was protecting her from harm. We raise some WV breds, and sell them as yearlings. I hold my breath every time they race, praying that they cross the finish line safely. R.I.P. Sharp Beauty, and may all the other horses in the race heal from their wounds. Stay in racing! The racing world needs young people like you!

  4. Hi! I'm Jamie stokes, miss fifty's trainer's fiancé (scooter Davis.) we adore her and LOVE your blog!!! I'm inspired by your story to go in and take some nice pics of her the next time she works. Please come by and visit if you ever happen to be in town, we would just love to meet you and of course have a reunion with miss fifty! Friend me on Facebook, I can't find you!

  5. Two of the other horses who raced that night ran yesterday and got 2nd/3rd...and another runs tonight. Hope Miss Fifty is doing well, look forward to going to see her run again soon.

  6. my mom is Julie calvert she works for scooter davis. She takes care of miss fifty. I am pleased to tell you she is doing exellent! she only cut her leg but now shes all better. I love her to death just like you. When i go to work with mom the first thing I do is go see her. I know jamie too. she is real nice.hope to see you at the front of miss fiftys stall real soon!