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My Heart Was Set On It
I was born into this world a race horse, born to run, born to train for races. I wasn’t very old when I began my intense training. From the very beginning, my heart was set on it. My heart was set on striving to win every race I competed in. My life was mostly work and no play, although I loved my work. Every morning I was awaken so that my trainers could work me on the track. I loved to run; it was my favorite thing in the world to do.
As my first race loomed up upon me, I worked extremely hard. My heart was set on it, set on winning my first race. The day of the race I was rested up and very energetic. I loaded into the gate perfectly; it didn’t scare me. Rarely did anything scare me. Several of the other horses balked as they were loaded into their gates, so I had to wait in anticipation for a few moments longer.
Finally, the moment came, the moment when the crowd falls silent, the moment when nothing can be heard except the restlessness of the horses. It is the moment right before everything goes up in the air.
Ring! Clang! The gate that held me prisoner flung open and I exploded out into the lead position. My jockey pulled me back, though, and I was confused; didn’t he want me to win? I quickly realized why he had pulled me back. He was holding me back so that I could save my strength for the end. Many horses start out too fast, and then run out of energy before the end of the race. I noted that was a very good strategy, and I slowed more. This time, my jockey was the one who didn’t understand; suddenly he wanted me to go forward, but I ignored his orders and the sting of the whip. I slowed until I was in last place. My jockey continued to force me forward, but I continued to ignore him.
The boom of the loud speaker echoed in my ears, and as we neared the coveted finish line I thought of only one thing. My heart was set on it. As we reached the home stretch, my jockey let me have all the rein that I wanted. Lengthening my stride, I surged forward, using all of my pent up energy. One by one I passed the horses that had once been in front of me. Nothing distracted me, all of my focus was at the invisible line that marked the end of the race. I passed each and every horse; the finish line loomed up upon us and I gave it all I had. With three long, powerful strides I passed the final horse and took the lead, going faster and faster with every step.
I knew I had won the race when my jockey began pulling me up. My breath was labored and heavy, but I ignored it. I was proud of myself. I had won my very first race because my heart was set on it.
I received special treatment for the next few days; however, it wasn’t long before I began training for the next race. My owner was very proud of me, and had high hopes that I would do well in every race that I ran in.
Months passed, and I continued to run in races. I did exceptionally well in every one. If I didn’t get first, I would usually come in second or third. I kept to my strategy, staying in the back until the very end. I was a racer, and my heart was set on it.
A year later, I discovered that I was going to be running in a very important race, The Kentucky Derby. I worked hard for it, and trained intensely. The day finally came, and I was ready for it.
Throughout the stadium, you could feel the anticipation as the horses were loaded into the gates. Many of the horses around me whinnied and pranced in place. Finally the moment came and the gates flew open.
I stayed in last during the first half of the race, but as we approached the home stretch, I made my move. I surged forward, passing horse after horse. Eight strides away from the finish line there were still two horses in front of me. I strained myself as my jockey pushed me forward, and as I took the last stride, I pushed my nose in front of the last horse. I had won. I had won the Kentucky Derby.
Next, I would be going to the Preakness. Three weeks later, I won that race by a hair. It was that close.
As the Belmont Stakes loomed up upon me I could tell that everyone around me was stressed. This was a crucial race that I needed to win. A race that if I won, I would become a Triple Crown winner. I knew that I could win the Triple Crown. I knew because, my heart was set on it.
I arrived the day of the race. Fresh, alert, and full of energy, I was ready for the race. I pranced as we began warming up on the track. I was ready to race! My heart was set on it, set on becoming a Triple Crown winner. One by one they loaded us into the gates. A few horses balked, but I went in willingly and proudly. I wasn’t afraid of anything.
Finally, the moment came. The moment when everything was silent, not a sound, not even the chirp of a bird could be heard as we waited for the bell.
Ring! I exploded out of the gate, stretching my legs out before me, striving to keep up with the horse pack. I didn’t shoot to first. I ignored the instructions of my rider and kept to my strategy. It wasn’t long before I fell into last, and it was there that I stayed for most of the race.
The sound of pounding hooves rang in my ears, and clods of mud flew past me and into my face. As we made the final turn into the home stretch, one thought was in my mind. My heart was set on it. I lengthened my stride, bursting from last to the middle of the pack, using more energy than I thought I had. All the horses around me picked up their pace, but I wouldn’t let them pass me. I was faster and stronger, and my heart was set on it. I gave it all I had. I passed horse after horse until I found myself in the lead. Nothing could stop me now. Two horses came up, one my right and one on my left, and I gave it all I had. My nose was in front; I was still in the lead.
As the finish line loomed in front of me, something happened, something excruciatingly painful. My legs were no longer underneath me, and as I reached the finish line, I fell, plummeting towards the ground. My jockey flew several feet in front of me as I landed in a tangled heap. I could hear the hoof beats of horses passing me, but the sound was muffled, and the pain was unbearable. It shot up my front legs like a wildfire burning through a forest. I tried to stand, but my legs wouldn’t work; they wouldn’t stay beneath me.
People rushed towards me and the vet drove up. They stroked me and tried to keep me calm, and wouldn’t let me get up, even though I continued to try. I heard the vet say, “Both of her cannons in the front legs are broke, I’m afraid that she’ll have to immediately put down.” I knew before I heard those dreaded words that it was over for me.
I would never stand, walk, or run another race again, but my heart had been set on it, and I had won it. I was a Triple Crown winner. My name would be passed down through history. I had done my best, and my best had been enough. I had given my all. I remained calm as the vet stuck the needle in my neck; everything around me faded, but right before everything went black, I thought of one thing. I was a Triple Crown Winner, and my heart was set on it.