Friday, September 21, 2012

A Colt's Journey: Won Ton Win and Her Colt

Won Ton Win
Photo by Terri Cage
What defines a hard-working racehorse? There are many different ways to answer that question. Perhaps a horse that has made many starts, or maybe a horse that has overcome great adversity. There are many different ways to respond to that question, but perhaps that question could best be answered with an example: Won Ton Win.

Donna (Gowdy) Keen’s mare was honored as the Hardest Working Texas Racehorse in 2006 and deservedly so. Won Ton Win had been racing since 2000 and going into 2006, the mare had run 38 times, accumulating earnings of $112,540. She’d contested in four black-type races over her career, placing in two of them. By the end of her career, the daughter of Daring Damascus had started on 46 occasions, amassing 9 wins and $155,675 in earnings.

Those earnings, in the words of Donna Keen, “pretty much paid for this place.” What is ‘this place,” you may ask? The land on which Keen Farms and Remember Me Rescue operate. The land on which Won Ton Win – who Donna once saved from slaughter – now lives out her days as a broodmare.

WonTon has only had one foal to race so far: a son of the Keens’ stallion Final Row named Spinstopshere. He only raced three times, placing twice before going through the Remember Me program. But it is WonTon’s latest foal that has everyone excited.

WonTon was bred to the young, graded stakes-winning Ready’s Image – who already has a stakes winner from his first crop, which hit the track this year – in 2011 for a 2012 foal. A mare’s gestation period is approximately 340 days – give or take a few. WonTon was in foal with her Ready’s Image foal for 373 days – a year and eight days. It shouldn’t be a surprise that her stomach was incredibly large as the birth of the foal approached. Whenever it moved, you could see its movement if you gazed at her stomach. It seemed like the foal would never arrive!

Won Ton Win at a year and five days pregnant
Photo by Donna Keen
But on the night of May 13, he finally did. A big, healthy bay colt with a star and snip, the foal had finally arrived. It sure took him long enough! A day later, he was out in the paddock with his dam, enjoying the world around him.

Won Ton Win and her newborn colt
Photo by Donna Keen
It didn’t take long for the colt to begin to show how special he was. He grew quickly, beginning to fill out while never leaving behind his attitude. When WonTon’s foal was less than two months old, Donna told me, “This colt is special and I have a great feeling about this. I have seen a lot of babies. I have never met one like him.”

Won Ton Win and her Ready's Image colt at one day old
Photo by Donna Keen
A month later, the colt was already standing in the starting gate… the schooling one in the pasture, that is!

Photo by Donna Keen
The colt is certainly an attention hog with an abundance of attitude! As soon as he catches sight of you, he will scurry to the fence to greet you with a whinny, ready to be the center of attention. Considering he is still with his dam and already has this much self-confidence, one can only imagine how grand he will be when he matures into a racehorse. To think he will someday become a majestic athlete that graces the track, his presence absolutely riveting, is a thought that leaves you marveling. How could something so small become something so grand? He has a long way to go until he reaches that point, but what a journey he will take us on, especially if he has the perseverance of his dam. 

Photo by Terri Cage


  1. Mary, you are a great writer! I love your stories, keep going strong! Jutta

  2. He's a handsome little guy. Worth keeping an eye on!

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting! He certainly is!