I wish I didn’t have to follow last week’s sad post with another one just as sad, but last Friday we lost another friend who can never be replaced, Shadow Caster.
By Future Storm out of Just Dance by Duck Dance, Shadow Caster was foaled in Florida in 1996. In a modest way he was a youthful prodigy, winning two sprint stakes at two, the 1998 Anthony DeSpirito Stakes at Suffolk Downs and Morven Stakes at the Meadowlands. Racing fans anticipated what he might do as he matured. At three he took the Faneuil Hall Stakes at a mile at Suffolk Downs, but it was at four that he showed what he could really do in the 2000 Forego (G2) at Saratoga.
That Grade 2 win at one of the most prestigious tracks in the country put him forever among the elite of racing. I remember that win. Though a longshot, he was every inch the confident professional. He was much the best. He continued to race in stakes and allowance races through 2002, retiring with earnings of nearly half a million dollars.
For a few years he did stud duty in Texas. He sired some winners but none nearly good as he was. To put it bluntly, his stud career wasn’t successful. In 2009 Shadow Caster began his retirement with us. If you’ve visited our main farm you may have noticed the hill and cute barn just to our north. For awhile we rented those premises and that’s where Shadow Caster’s first paddock was.
At first, what struck us was how much Shadow Caster looked like Futural. No wonder, since they had the same dad. As we got to know him, we realized Shadow Caster was even nicer than Futural, and that’s saying a lot. Over the years, Shadow Caster showed himself to be one of the sweetest, most peaceful, kindest horses we’ve ever had the privilege to know. He was exceptionally tuned into what the humans around him were feeling. When he sensed you were sad he’d hold still to be rubbed and he’d nuzzle you. He was just as good with his paddock mates, a horse that others in the herd liked to graze with and hang out with.
Life in a gelding herd is a lot like life in a fraternity house, and Shadow Caster was definitely a player in herd politics and frat parties. He and herd leader Maybesomaybenot were best buddies…Except when Bobby Sands was Maybesomaybenot’s best buddy…Except when Shadow Caster was.
On the other hand, Shadow Caster sort of liked to mess with Areyoutalkintome. One day a winter or three ago he decided he wanted to take Talkin’s blanket off.
In the end, the attempt wasn’t successful. Shadow Caster gave up and munched on some hay instead.
During his last few years Shadow Caster was given special care for back problems that caused us concern, and if you visited us during the last couple of months you may have fed him a carrot in the barn or the nearby round pen where he had his turn-out while being treated for a foot abscess. He was getting TLC for those reasons, but his colic last Friday was an unexpected shock. Honestly, his spinal issues didn’t look like he’d have had years and years, but losing him so suddenly is hard. Shadow Caster was loving, and he was much loved by all. Both the barn and Maybe’s herd look as if something is missing without Shadow Caster. And it is.
photos by Laura, the two arrival photos by Beth