The Story of Shiny Penny
Having attended last year’s Birthday Party, I was disappointed about missing the annual event, but what happened at Morton Meadows Farm in north Florida was more than incredible. I was so tired from “foaling- watch duty” for 5 consecutive nights that I lost track of what day it was until Jackie Comeau, a Crown of Glory Racing partner, (who was at the Meadows) called to check on things and made a comment about the toasting party. At first, there was silence on the other end of the phone when I told her what time the colt was born and then an exuberant voice blurted out, “You mean he was born on Secretariat’s Birthday? “ I don’t remember my exact words, but it was most likely, “Oh my God!” Then the lights went on and I realized that this double Secretariat pedigree colt’s “late” arrival happened at an unbelievable time. It was something of a miracle!
At last, all the waiting was over for my first hands-on foaling experience. Three earlier crops had been foaled at a farm in Ocala which was too far away for me to be present at the moment of birth. I was determined to participate this time around. Of three expecting mares, the two Secretariat descendant mares were due on the same day. Both were maiden mares and since they were well beyond their due-dates, my anxiety level was off the charts. Missing the Secretariat Birthday celebration and the “overdue” stress levels was more than worth it for the blessing of having a “Birthday Boy” has I nick-named him for the first year of his life.
He’s been an extraordinary colt and this year, I had the privilege of relating my story at the Secretariat Birthday Bash where I showed a YouTube clip of him and announced his registered name, Shiny Penny. The video showed him running in large circles going in a counter-clock direction as if he “knew” that was the proper direction he would run on a racetrack. He just kept running until his mother chased after him and whinnied. He came to an immediate stop. I feel truly blessed by this seemingly providential sequence of events and stand in awe of Shiny Penny’s potential racing future.
I’m not a believer in reincarnation, but I marvel at the “strange coincidences” and am amazed by the series of unbelievable events. The fact that I didn’t pay attention to the time except that the owner of the farm looked at his watch and said its 11:44. That I clearly remember, but it still didn’t register what day it was because I was so caught up with the wonder of my first foaling experience. Had he arrived 16 minutes later he would have been born on my son’s birthday. Either way, it was more than special for me.
The whole mission to “Keep The Secretariat Legacy Alive” has been laced with blessings, along with some hardships. The last of seven foals born from my first crop in 2011 was Secretariat’s Glory. His dam, Secretariat’s Fire, (from Secretariat’s last foal crop) was born on my 63rd birthday; Secretariat son, Tinner’s Way, (also from his last crop) was born on my birthday and Citation won the Triple Crown the year I was born in 1948... The questions, “What’s it all about Alfie” and, “Why me” still looms heavy on my mind, but my faith holds strong. My only response is that “It’s bigger than me”. I pray for guidance as I put one foot in front of the other day by day. Life is a miracle and I’m enjoying the process.