A lot has been going on at the farm. A few weeks ago we were saddened to lose Ukiah. To racegoers, he was just a horse. Bred and raced in his early career by Jerry and Ann Moss, he was by the superlative sire Unbridled’s Song, but of his 20 races, he won only 2. When he’d been racing for two years with only one win, he went into the claiming ranks and was acquired by trainer Doug O’Neil for partners Dennis O’Neil, Paul Reddam, and Westsiderentals.com, for whom he got his second win. He was tried in a stakes race, the Californian (G2), but couldn’t beat those. Before long he was back in the claiming ranks, where he stayed and was claimed another time or two. By 2010 and the age of eight he’d done about all he could and was by then racing for the low tag of $7,500. Ukiah retired to Old Friends in 2010 thanks to the Mosses’ support for their former homebred.
At Old Friends, Ukiah was never on the main tour route. Chances are you didn’t meet him. We knew him as a small but gutsy little grey guy who got along well with his paddock mates, but 2002 Kentucky Derby contender Easy Grades knew Ukiah as his best friend in the whole world. Those two were close to inseparable during Ukiah’s entire eight years with us.
Ukiah was never a squeaky wheel. He had a happy 8 years with us until the day he had a severe colic attack. Brought to the barn and treated by Dr. Waldridge, he seemed at first to be better, but soon it was clear he needed hospital care. As we watched Ukiah load onto the trailer, his small, grey form seeming so vulnerable in the big open doorway, all of us at the barn thought he’d be coming back home to us. But colic can surprise in harsh ways. Despite the best attempts to save Ukiah’s life, it was not to be. We miss him. So do his paddock buddies, especially Easy Grades. But Easy is doing well.
Instead of thinking about his last illness, the link below is how I like to remember Ukiah. This is the time he tried top company in the Californian Stakes. When I found this race online, what do you know. Look who all is in this race. Ukiah’s the only grey, easy to spot. That pretty red horse is future OF resident Awesome Gem. And look who’s up front battling for the lead during most of the race. None other than our own sassy guys, Rail Trip and Ball Four. This race may be the record for most OF horses in a single race, ever. Ukiah liked herd life, so even though he didn’t win this race, I love this goodbye image of him running with so many horses we’ve come to know and love.
Though no horse can take another’s place, we have had some arrivals I look forward to posting about and are expecting another soon. Stay tuned for more about that.
As we approach spring we’re still providing hay and other winter care, now working in the mud instead of the ice or snow, but the horses all seem to have spring fever. Everybody’s mellow. Everybody wants to nap half the day away, recharging their batteries, so to speak, whenever the rain stops and when – like today – the sun comes out. Tours have picked back up again, too. Can it really be spring this early? Time will tell, but for now, there’s definitely a spring feeling among the horses.
And guess what. We can share that feeling with you, thanks to staff members Tammy Crump who took this little video and James Crump who posted it on Youtube. Enjoy!
photos by Laura
video by Tammy