My tribute to a very special horse that has passed (RIP - Best Kept Secret - Feb 27, 2016 to Jun 19, 2021).
On May 27th, 2021, Best Kept Secret and her Owner, Trainer, and Jockey, won their first stakes; however, for the past 5 years she has showered her breeders' and the family at Flying H Stables with the excitement of having a horse that was as sound, fast, and easy to love as any horse you can imagine.
As a 4 year old, she shipped to Robert N. Cline, the trainer, with hope for post-shutdown (2020) enthusiasm at Canterbury Park. I said to him, "All that have met her, love her and I hope, Kelsi Harr, the jockey, will fall in love with her, too! Robert, Kelsi, and Lacey Jo did and they cared for her as if she was sent from heaven, and I believe she was... a gift to a bunch of horsemen and women bringing hope and anticipation to those who do this again and again because the love of the game and especially the love for the horse! When she headed to the track on that day, I asked a friend, "Where do you find a jockey who is willing to groom her stakes horse and take it over as the favorite!" Kelsi didn't let a hair be out of place on Best Kept Secret!
In just one year, BKS won $175,649 under Robert N. Cline's care and conditioning. We raced against the likes of Beach Flower, Frank's Rockette, Kimari, Amy's Challenge, and Edgeway. Robert never "crawfished" out of a race and while we didn't win them all, BKS won our hearts with her "HEART"! Her performance in the American Beauty was enough to call for breeding her dam to "Mitole" with continuous anticipation!
When asked, she gave, and when we found her distance she won, convincingly! I asked Robert Cline, what was it that set her apart, that caused her to be such a horse to so many that worked with her and got on her back? His words, "She was Fast-Easy!"
I went back and watched her races and tried to see and imagine the difference. As a rider, I get it, but not at that level and that speed. Kelsi Harr piloted her so efficiently, but aggressively.
The stall remains empty but our walls, our blogs, our hearts, and our souls are so full... Full of the facts, the stories, the dreams, the realization of what was, and what is to come because an unassuming Best Kept Secret was placed in our hands for a moment in time. She carried our hearts to a level beyond the cheers of the stretch run to emotions of sadness and joy, while knowing that the story, while intense, was written for us and those who were a part. We are soo blessed to have had those moments!