Friday, December 11, 2009

Hang in there, Kip; Christmas is coming

In a season of my own discontent, I woke up Friday to some difficult news.

One of my favorite racehorses, Kip Deville, is in critical condition. The odds of survival are stacked against him.

The winner of the 2007 Breeders' Cup Mile is suffering from a seemingly routine case of colic that preceded a bout of laminitis, from which he might not recover.

Kip won my heart as a 3-year-old when he bolted to the lead -- and I do mean "lead" -- in the Colonial Turf Cup. The gray colt was utterly unable to rate at that stage of his career, and led by some 20 lengths on the back stretch. He should've been used up and beaten by the entire field by the finish line, but Kip, as he always did, remained game. Only the splendid Barclay Tagg trainee Showing Up finally passed him (by about 3 1/4 lengths), and Kip on that day settled for second.

It aided Kip's popularity with me that he was an Okie-bred. As a Kansan with some family roots in Oklahoma, I know full-well that it isn't often a horse born in those states really makes an appearance on the national stage. (Kansas can, at least, lay claim to one Kentucky Derby winner: Lawrin, 1938.)

So I looked forward to each of Kip's races. Not long after his Colonial Turf Cup display, he was purchased by IEAH Stables, who campaigned him with expectations equal to a Kentucky blueblood. And he delivered, winning four Grade 1 races from ages 4 to 6: The Frank E. Kilroe Handicap and Breeders' Cup Mile in 2007; the Maker's Mark Mile in 2008; and the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap early this year.

In his last race, the Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga in August, Kip faded badly to finish eighth of nine. Maybe that was an early sign of fatal things to come.

But while Kip's health waxes and wanes, and as this holiday season progresses, I'm going to keep hoping for a Christmas miracle.


  1. Hoping it's a "Wonderful Life"
    for Kip and The Chief this season.

    Happy Holidays !

  2. Sadly, there's no such thing as a "routine" bout of colic.

  3. This is true, Rachel, and a poor choice of word that I lamented myself after the fact.


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