yellowstone downs

 Jockeys Waiting for a Horse

In which we find ourselves not betting on Jetomatic Mama because the jockey seems too tall. In which Jetomatic Mama breaks the track record in the second race.

In which we learn there are six categories listed in the program to explain a horse’s sex. And stallion isn’t one.

In which we learn the little boy in blue boots thinks we are funny because we don’t know why a trainer holds a horse’s tail in the air. We were in the bleachers behind him, studying the horses before they were saddled up. Maybe it would soothe the horse (as in: how we sweep our hair off our necks when we get agitated.) Maybe it was a fast way to cool a horse down.

Hewhoknowsmorethanusatseven turned to his mom and grinned. She turned to us and explained trainers do this to keep the horse from backing up.


What more could she tell us? She pointed out her boyfriend, the trainer for the horses in stall 1 and stall 2. Real quick she shared the bloodlines of the sibling horses and how no one would realize how well Brother Tate could run because he was this year’s sleeper.

In which we learn too late not to listen to inside tips. In which Brother Tate stopped running in the back stretch. As in: failed to finish the race.

In which I study the program more thoroughly after the day is done;  the  three-dollar program offers charter’s comments, revealing  in poetic terms how each horse has fared in each race this past year.  As in: Rail trip-no excuse; closed willingly; broke slow & out bid; failed to menace.

I find my flashlight and the keys to my locked car. On the floorboards behind the driver’s seat is last week’s program. I look up the charter’s comments about the winning horse in the first race my daughter bet on because he was named Too Much Snow, almost the name of my blog. (And was a gray horse, with a female jockey who wore purple silks.)

Unhurried early.

In which I have no idea what that means. As in: dueled early & wants her own blue boots.


Photos taken on the sly with my camera phone. Shhh . . .



About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website:

6 responses to “yellowstone downs

  1. i want those blue boots, unhurried early please.

    • redmitten

      i have a side-photo of little blue boots boy but capturing him on my cell phone camera…my gosh, those feet were in constant motion and the barn was dimly lit.

  2. Rose Hunter

    AND purple…. ::

  3. kerry

    When I was in Ireland we went to the ‘Punchestown Races’ (sort of the Irish Kentucky Derby) and discovered a whole other world to horses…language, like yours, that I didn’t understand…the science of picking a winner…knowing when to stop betting and have another Guiness! We also dicovered the obsession with ladies and their hats.

    • redmitten

      the language is wonderful! and that knowing when to stop, well that must be an art, you think? here, there are no hats unless you count the cowboy hats. very informal and laid-back at yellowstone downs. but good horses and jockeys. good to hear from you, kerry!

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