Happy Derby Day…albeit more than a wee bit late!
Fun fact not all may know about me is that I used to work in the racing industry and once sold a Thoroughbred gelding I owned to Disney to be a movie horse…he got to play “Secretariat”! 🐎
Cyclone Larry was supposed to be MY Derby winner…the South Dakota Derby that is but alas, he wasn’t even fleet of foot enough to win at racing’s lowest tier. He was a big, bumbling lovable dude but had zero interest in running fast…he preferred hugs and snacks. Right about the time I was considering what his next career might be they posted a “casting call” for the Secretariat movie.
They were searching for bright chestnut, well built geldings that also had super calm, laid back personalities that could handle the hubbub of a busy movie set. It was perfect for Larry—he was so darn calm that it was pretty hard to get him excited about running super fast. 😂
So I sent in his resume and “head shot” (for real, I had to send a head shot!) and voila, he was chosen and a few short weeks later a top of the line fancy horse van came to pick him up and whisk him off to Hollywood!
He was on set for 4 months and that November, I got the call that they were done filming and would I like him back—heck yes I did! So for $1, Larry became mine once more and was dropped off in our driveway the week before Thanksgiving. He was racing fit and had zero winter hair (the last scenes were filmed in Louisiana) and we were about to head into a North Dakota winter! Luckily Larry was Dakota born and raised and so with a new blanket and extra dinners (and many snacks in between), he made out just fine.
We moved 2 states away for a new job the following spring and I wasn’t sure our tight family budget would allow taking and then boarding 2 horses with us when my former track intern asked if I might let Larry come live with her…they had fallen hard for each other before he had left the summer before. I said yes and the rest is a happy history—they showed, trail rode all over and he even helped her win the Jockey .Club Young Rider of the Year award!
And yes, when we watch the movie (as we did today), I absolutely know every single scene that my Larry boy is in!