As I was going through some paperwork in my office I found this writing from our owner Roger Sofer. He sent it to us shortly after his filly Enchanted Landing won her first race. Roger was brand new to horse racing. He purchased Enchanted Landing from the Fasig Tipton 2 Year Old In Training Sale at Lone Star Park in April of 2005. Roger has not only purchased several more horses since his beginning but has become a close friend as well as a business partner. This story should be read by anyone thinking of buying their first racehorse. Enjoy.
The First Win, by Roger Sofer
Having been an avid fan for almost 40 years and being a limited partner in several horse partnerships with friends; I can assure you the first win with your own horse is beyond comprehension. I purchased Enchanted Landing, my first 2 year old filly at the Fasig Tipton sale at Lone Star Park under the watchful eye of super trainer, Dallas Keen. He liked the way she strided and her confirmation was excellent.
After a few days of getting her acclimated, she was ready for her first work. Dallas has an excellent reputation with young horses and is very cautious with their development. So after giving the jockey strict instructions to take it easy, he proceeds to take her 3 furlongs in 35.3. Naturally, two things happened; Landing shin bucked and the jockey was fired.
Rather than pin fire her, Dallas decided to put her on a very light schedule and to let her heal under his constant attention; which she did. We knew that we had a fast horse with competitive attitude, but what we did not know was that she hated the mud, would displace, and would stop if you touched her with the whip.
We started in Remington Park on a night when the jockey fell asleep missing the break, then to Louisiana Downs for the substitute Fairgrounds meet. Top purses for top horses. We ran against an offspring of Silver Charm and maidens of that breeding class. We did reasonably well but no winner’s circle. Oaklawn brought us bad weather, bad luck, bumps in the stretch, and a nose lose to a 4 year old daughter of Menifee.
Now to Lone Star Park to run against Texas Bred Maidens. First race we run against fractions of 21.4, 44.3, 57.0 and 1:10. The fastest time of the entire night. We ran 5th, 8 lengths back. The next race we got a muddy, sloppy track and got slammed on the turn for home while racing on the lead. Dallas is concerned, the breeder is nervous, my friends are muttering but my wife and I think she will break through. I make my only training decision since the original purchase. Landing will not run in the mud again!
Last Thursday, June 22, 2006 the magic moment happened. On a dry track, in a 14 horse field, we break on top, fight off challengers and win on a very game effort. Our jockey, Larry Taylor rode a great race. As I write this, the jubilation inside of me has still not subsided. Owning race horses for me is not about winning money; it’s about your team getting highly intelligent, competitive, and magnificent athletes prepared for top performance. I wanted this win for Ellie (Enchanted Landing) and for Dallas who worked so hard to try and get us in the winner’s circle. It had been a very long and frustrating year up to that point but I am good to go and ready to build a successful stable and to take many, many, more pictures.
*As a side note, my other horse Posey Joe won the 9th race on the same card. So in a 3 hour period I take my first 2 pictures as an owner.