Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hy Lime Time: Finally!

Hy Lime Time
Photo: Terri Cage
As Hy Lime Time’s chestnut frame flew down the turf course at Remington Park, excitement began to build. He flashed under the wire in second, but he was incredibly impressive in defeat. After a horrible break in the seven and one-half-furlong maiden special weight for two-year-olds, the chestnut son of Limehouse rallied remarkably in late stretch to miss by a half-length. With his spectacular stretch run, Hy Lime Time gave his connections high hopes for his future.

Unfortunately, Hy Lime Time became sick and did not start again until March, finishing seventh on the main track at Fair Grounds. Before long, it seemed as if the colt could never win despite his obvious talent. From his first race onward, he lost thirteen races in a row. However, he had finished in good company, racing against the winners of three graded stakes and four ungraded stakes races altogether, including the grade one-winning Ultimate Eagle. He also raced against runners who had placed in a total of five graded stakes races and three ungraded stakes. He’d run at six different tracks, in five different states, on three different surfaces,and at five different distances.

I’d followed the colt since his maiden and each time he raced, I eagerly hoped that the unlucky chestnut would finally cross the wire in front. I couldn't wait to see him race in person. Dallas Keen, the colt’s trainer, and his wife, Donna, had raved about him and were clearly excited about his potential. It was obvious that he was a gifted colt but just couldn’t catch a break.

I hoped that he would catch that break on July 2, 2011, when I got to see him in person for the first time. I saw him in the barn that morning, along with True Swither, a gelding that would claim the seventh race on the Lone Star Park card for the Keens. After the seventh race, my parents, my best friend, and I ran into the Keens on the first floor of the grandstand. We congratulated them on True Swither’s win and Donna even told us that she’d have let us in the winner’s circle with them if we’d have been down there. I optimistically told her we would join them in the winner’s enclosure later that day after Hy Lime Time’s race.

As the ninth race approached, I stood along the rail of the saddling paddock with my parents and best friend. Hy Lime Time was the first horse that sauntered into the paddock, his beautiful chestnut coat gleaming as he carried himself with much class. He looked tremendous, exceeding my expectations for how grand of an individual he was.

We took our place along the rail as the maidens paraded in front of the grandstand. As the field of ten loaded into the starting gate for the mile and one-sixteenth race on the turf, I fixed my eyes on the first gate. When the horses broke from the starting gate, Hy Lime Time settled near the rear, traveling wide around the first turn.

As the field came around the far turn, I grew excited as Hy Lime Time began to make his move. He had to travel wide yet again, but he was absolutely flying onthe outside, displaying his usual electrifying late kick. My best friend and I found ourselves hopping up and down, cheering for the colt as if he was our own horse. With his long stride, the son of Limehouse strived to reach the wire first. But the finish line came too soon. I felt my heart sink as Hy Lime Time missed by a scant head. He’d been closing incredibly fast; the final sixteenth was in a time of 5.80 seconds. Despite the fact that he had lost, Hy Lime Time came cantering back to the frontside like a champion.

Hy Lime Time crossing the wire in his July 2, 2011 race
Photo: Terri Cage
Though I’d been a fan of his ever since the beginning of his career, witnessing his thrilling race in person led me to follow his racing endeavors even more closely. With each of his next six races, I was disappointed with yet another loss, but left with the hope that once he did break his maiden, it would be in spectacular fashion.

On opening night of Lone Star Park’s 2012 Thoroughbred meet, Hy Lime Time went to post for the fourteenth time. However, this time was different than all the other times he’d contested in a race; he was starting for a claiming tag for the first time. In the seven and one-half-furlong $25,000 claiming, Hy Lime Time was forwardly placed before taking the lead and never looking back, drawing away over a firm turf course to win by 7 ¼ lengths. Just as I’d hoped,the colt had broken his maiden in remarkable style. In addition, he was fortunately not claimed and therefore not taken away from the Keens and owners Roger Sofer and Jack Randall.

Finally entering the winner’s circle must have been a huge confidence boost for Hy Lime Time. He soon faced winners for the first time, taking a step up when he entered a first-level allowance race for May 6 at Lone Star. In yet another seven and one-half-furlong turf race, Hy Lime Time settled near the back of the pack around the first turn prior to inching forward in position down the backstretch. Rounding the far turn, the chestnut colt swung wide under Larry Taylor, striking to the lead and drawing away to an impressive 5 ¾-length victory, boosting his career earnings to $71,100.

It took him over a year and half to get it done, but now that Hy Lime Time has had his picture taken in the winner’s enclosure, he is on a roll. The potential for him to become a successful racehorse was there all along in his pedigree. A $23,000 yearling purchase at the Fasig-Tipton July Sale in Lexington, Kentucky, Hy Lime Time walked into the auction ring with a strong pedigree.

He is sired by Limehouse, a four-time graded stakes winner who stands at Vinery Stud in Kentucky. Since entering stud in 2006, the millionaire son of Grand Slam has sired the Canadian classic-winning Miami Deco, the graded stakes-winning Humble and Hungry, and the multiple stakes-winning and graded stakes-placed Delightful Mary.

The dam of Hy Lime Time is Saratoga Rhythm, a daughter of the grade one-winning stallion Saratoga Six and the stakes-winning mare Dancing Blade. Saratoga Rhythm is also the dam of the multiple stakes-winning and graded stakes-placed Saratoga’s Magic and the stakes-placed Six Numbers. Notably, Hy Lime Time’s fourth dam, Crème Brulee, is the dam of the multiple stakes-winning and graded stakes-placed Cloudy Dawn – who finished third behind Riva Ridge in the 1972 Belmont Stakes – and Hedevar – who was a stakes winner and world record-equaling rabbit of the Hall of Famer Damascus.

From the outset, Hy Lime Time has had the potential to become a lucrative racehorse. Plagued by bad luck, the stunning chestnut colt has finally found his groove and could not look any better. Big things are expected from Hy Lime Time. They’ve always been expected; he just needed to break through with a victory. Now he has a pair of wins to his credit and seems to be a rising star. Not only would seeing him succeed and continue to improve be rewarding since I have followed him since the commencement of his racing career and have become attached to him through his races, but his connections certainly deserve a gifted horse like Hy Lime Time.

For a race replay of Hy Lime Time's allowance win, please click

6-4-12: Sadly, Hy Lime Time broke down at Lone Star Park on June 3, 2012 while making a dazzling move and is no longer with us. It was truly devastating and I missed him from the instant I found out he was gone. You will never be forgotten, Hy Lime Time. You were a special horse and one I will always hold dear to my heart. I can't believe you're gone. I love you, buddy.
Hy Lime Time
Photo by Mary Cage

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  1. This is a wonderful articlt about Hy Lime Time! My family bred this horse. You have written such a beautiful piece about him. It makes me proud to read that he has made such an impression on you. I am creating a link to your blog from the website we have for the farm. Thank you so much!

    1. Awesome, thank you so much! I'm very glad that you enjoyed my piece. I love this horse so much and think he is so talented and am glad to share his story with my readers!