Dolly had a passion for all things horses. She loved them and followed Thoroughbred horse racing and the Arabian Horse Show Circuit with such enthusiasm, that it was hard not to get caught up in the excitement alongside her. I met Dolly when I boarded my unbelievably charming, Arabian gelding named Champagnne Flight at Acacia Arabians. She couldn’t afford to have a horse of her own, but instead, always volunteered as a show hostess and did grooming and other such things; anything to be around these magnificent animals.
When I lived near her in Encinitas, California, we would sneak behind the scenes and check out the latest racing star at the Del Mar Race Track. Dolly knew how to act important and pretend that she belonged at the stables with the trainers and jockeys. She had an uncanny ability to pick out winners and knew most of the older jockeys by name that had been around for awhile. Dolly would say hello and shout out support and compliments to both horse and rider, while I would trot around behind her with a camera around my neck and snap photographs. I actually got blisters on my heels the first time I went there with her because she was so animated and thrilled to be at Del Mar, that we walked from one end of the racetrack to the other.
Dolly turned me on to the fairytale story of Zenyatta and how she loved the camera and her large, mare ears would point and follow the crowds of adoring fans as she posed attentively for her audience. She is a large, bay mare that could hold her own with the boys, and when she would head toward the racetrack, Zenyatta had a big, bold, extended foreleg walk that emanated royalty. When California Chrome raced, we were at the Del Mar track and she was screaming and yelling encouragement and I too got caught up in the moment! American Pharoah was another favorite of hers and she knew he would be a Triple Crown winner. She loved the Candy Ride lineage and tracked the fillies and colts that started to come of age. For Dolly, it was an obsession. Justify was her latest favorite star and she called him a “monster of a horse” and was so excited when he won the first two races of the Triple Crown series. Bob Baffert was one of her favorite trainers and the jockey, Mike Smith, said hi to her personally when we were at Del Mar. Justify will be a very tired horse for the last of the Triple Crown races coming up soon, but wouldn’t that be amazing if he were to win?
Rest In Peace Dolly, I shall follow Justify and the Belmont race and be thinking of you as the big chestnut colt thunders down the track. It was awesome watching him win the Preakness when he jumped over imaginary trucks in the driving rain and deep, wet mud. When he finished the race and came in first, he hardly had any mud on him. He is a talented and sweet-natured stallion. We texted back and forth during the race and were overjoyed when he won.
I will miss you every day but am at peace knowing that you aren’t suffering anymore. I just wish that you had reached out and shared your pain and concerns with me, but you were not one to complain about anything other than politics. I hope America can right itself again and when I asked you last week about voting, you said you had already sent in your absentee ballot. I Love you, Dolly! When the timing is right, we will let your friends know the place and the date and we will spread your ashes along the beach where the thoroughbred horses used to be exercised in the surf and the sand, and where the sun shines bright and the air is filled with salt and the faint scent of horses and leather and sweat. We will send you off in style Dolly and you will be surrounded by friends who remember your laugh and your smile and your love for all things horses.
Dolly and American Paroah