With almost 100 Rabbits in tow, we watched General Charley as he tried to extend his perfect season, by winning his 6th race in a row in as many starts.
But alas, our luck had run out and a tired General Charley ran dead last, but he
That's right, on September 24th, 2 days before the close of Arlington Park's 2010 meet, we entered Charley in a $27,500 claimer at a mile on the turf. We had drawn a horrible post position all the way out of the 9 hole. Eddie Perez was again in command - and we changed our tactics just a bit.
As there were several other speed horses in the race breaking to our inside, trainer Chris Block told Eddie to lay off these guys all the way round to the stretch pole and then see if Charley could run them down on a chase to the wire. We figured that the other horses were not going to let us get an easy lead and then allow us to slow the race down as Charley had done in his previous 5 wins.
Picture upper left show exactly that as 3-4 horses to our inside went to the lead and
kept us from saving any room along the fence. Eddie did exactly as he was told and kept Charley on the outside shoulder of the leaders - but had to race 3 wide around the whole track - which was soft and tiring.
At the head of the lane, Charley tried hard but you could see he was spent and Eddie eased up on him as there was no sense beating him up if an 'In The Money" finish was not going to happen.
After the race, Eddie said he had to use a lot of Charley up just to keep him with the leaders running 3 wide and when they got to the top of the stretch, Eddie asked him for what he had left - but Charley had little to give.
Trainer Block said to not be down on Charley as he is a different horse on the lead compared to when he is not. Southern Trainer Pessin watched the race with us on the apron said it was a long summer and Charley was probably just a bit tired. Neil reminded us that he was 8 years old.
So as a defeated General Charley trotted back to be unsaddled after the race, all the Rabbits, family and friends almost a hundred strong, cheered and hailed our horse with a Standing Ovation for the heart and courage he exhibited this whole summer.
It is hard to put into words the effect this horse has on ourselves and our friends. Case in point, my mother flew up from Florida to see Charley's last run of the meet. Her friends (our friends too) Dick & Gloria came up for the race as well. Brother In Law Jay Batz's Inlaws Walt & Shirley Weeden came out to see him for the first time. At my mom's church in Sarasota, Charley has multiple fans - the most avid of which is Barbara who sent us the e-mail before Charley's race....
THIS MAY BE A DAY THAT WILL GO DOWN IN HISTORY AND BECOME GENERAL CHARLIE DAY.
MY PRAYERS ARE FOR THIS TO HAPPEN AND THAT YOU ALL WILL JUST HAVE THE BEST TIME. WHATEVER, JUST HAVE A SPECIAL TIME TOGETHER KNOWING THAT YOU ARE ALL LOVED AND ALWAYS IN OUR PRAYERS. GENERAL CHARLIE IS BEAUTIFUL. HOPE TO SEE HIM SOMETIME IF HE EVER GETS CLOSER TO US HERE IN FLORIDA. I REALLY WOULD LOVE TO SEE HIM WALK DOWN THE AISLE IN CHURCH ON A SUNDAY. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE PASTOR'S FACE. I KNOW THAT THE CONGREGATION WOULD STAND AND CLAP. THE OFFERING PLATE WOULD OVERFLOW. LOVE YOU ALL. BARBARA