There’s something magical about a Kentucky morning. Sun yawning awake, a vibrating light, mist skimming the bluegrass, and miles of board fence. Times past, fencing always stood white, but these days it’s often creosote brown.
Amble down to a race track and the scene morphs into something other worldly. Shapes, shrouded and gauzy, materialize before you through an ethereal fog. Muffled, rhythmic pounding slides into your consciousness. Horses snort in cadence, breath smoking in air, canter past before vanishing down track.
In these brief moments, you are witness to the sorting out of greatness, the separating of winners, the training of athletes destined for a brief glory flash or a page in racing annals.
“…Down row, a groom slipped an exercise saddle off a tall chestnut back from workout. Horse lowered his head for the halter and the pair turned toward a wash stand. Sweat and saddle marks melted as water splashed against his copper red coat. The colt shook himself. Droplets jumped into the air, hung in a bright halo, and disappeared in the time it took to draw a breath. The sharp tapping noise of a farrier’s hammer vibrated. In the distance, a dog barked. Veterinarians, eyes narrowed, moved in medicinal smelling whispers from horse to horse. The green odor of alfalfa and horse musk floated in the air.”
–Excerpt from short story “The Stooper”