May Story Contest

Deadly Shadows
By: Jennifer45611
Age: 12

Henry Brown's stomach was knotting up as he put on his red, blue, and white racing silks. Today was the American Cup race, he was racing his own colt, Ruskin, in it. Henry took a look at the windowless jockey's quarters and sighed. It was filled with lockers, ping pong tables, and card tables for the jockey's enjoyment. Then he grabbed his lightweight racing saddle and went to weigh in.

The man at the weigh station was old and frail, "Go ahead Brown." he said," Your good, next please!"
Henry walked out into the bright sunny morning and went over to the open-end saddling areas, where Ruskin's trainer, Luke Larson, was walking him up and down the aisle. Luke led Ruskin into the saddling area and hoisted the saddle neatly onto Ruskin's broad red back, then tightened the surcingle that held the racing saddle in place.
"Looks about right." remarked Luke,"What's wrong Henry, you look like your stomach is wrenching tight."
"It is." replied Henry,
"Don't let what they said get to you, so what they think the undefeated colt Ruskin will end his racing courier here, now. It's not true." said Luke, the old trainers brows furrowed even deeper after he said that.
"It's hard not to let it get to me though." whispered Henry quietly, "I know it is, believe me I do." said Luke," But try to focus on Ruskin, and the race, try to push it out of your mind and do your best on the track." said Luke quietly to Henry.
"I will." said Henry softly as he lifted himself up into the saddle and warmed up Ruskin. Ruskin did good in the warm-up, thought Henry positively as he listened to the clip-clop of Ruskin's iron shoes on the pavement as they walked to the starting gates.

Post time was 12:59am, the race would start at 1:00 o'clock.One minute left till the race started. Henry leaned into a high 2-point and grabbed a handful of Ruskin's red mane for balance. The starter pressed the button that opened the gates, Ruskin started out in the back, trying to grab the track with his feet, he finally got grip after 40 yards and pulled up to fourth, then Henry let him have his head a little and pulled up next to the leading horse, Cielo Grande, and his jockey Hector Morales. "Take 'em Ruskin." whispered Henry to Ruskin.

The day was sunny and there where a few low hanging clouds, just as they reached the 220 yard mark, a cloud passed the sun and sent a shadow from the flagpole down onto the track, Cielo Grande saw the shadow and leapt up into the air, he didn't take it in his stride, so when he landed he tripped and fell, the crowd gasped as Hector catapulted out of the saddle and landed with a thud, Ruskin won the race, but when Henry heard the thud, he knew exactly what happened.

Instead of going straight to the winners circle, Henry did another lap and stopped in front of Cielo Grande, another horse, Spin Doctor, was injured from tripping over Cielo, and was standing on three legs near the inside rail. An ambulance drove onto the track and picked up Hector, Spin Doctors jockey escaped with only bruises and a sprain. Then two equine ambulance's drove up, and after the vet examined Cielo, they put up a white sheet to shield the brown colt from the crowd, everyone involved in racing knew what that meant, the colt had to be put down.

The End

In Memory of Cielo Grande and Spin Doctor, who later on was examined and had irreversable spinal damage, and sadly also had to be put down, Ruskin later died from shying at a shadow and had to be put down also.