It was his very first race, he was six years old and he was the first horse that Jim and I raced together with our own stable. Jim went to the Vallejo Fairgrounds racetrack early the morning of the race to be with Jasonic. I arrived in the early afternoon with our new friend named Bob, who lived in Calistoga and liked to bet on the races. Jim’s brother Bob and Bob’s girlfriend Darlene arrived at the track a bit later in the day in their motor home. Bob had lung cancer and had lost all of his hair from chemotherapy, but he and Darlene were there to support us.
Jasonic was a big strapping horse, about 17.1 hands. Jim’s friends Carl and Mickie Pitti from Hemet had given him to us a couple of years before, after my mother had taken all of her horses off the ranch and we were left without any other horses than my riding horse, Zacker. Jasonic was in the last race of the day. The second to the last race is generally the biggest race of the day. After that one, most people start packing up and going home. The stands were emptying out as Jasonic was brought to the paddock.
When Jasonic was already in the paddock preparing to be saddled, Jim’s appointed jockey informed him that he had a stomach ache and wouldn’t ride the horse. In desperation Jim ran into the Jock’s room (The Jockeys dressing room) and looked for another rider. The other jockeys who were not riding in that race were changing and getting ready to leave the track. But one rider, J.C. Martinez jumped at the opportunity to ride any horse he could and took the mount. Jim told the jockey to break him very alert and do what ever he could, “see what he’s got.” When the gate opened up, Jasonic roared to the front; another horse challenged him on the outside for the lead halfway down the back stretch. J.C. slapped him on the shoulder and he kept the lead and opened up by a length and a half in the stretch.
As we were all standing near the finish line and screaming “go Jasonic go” he maintained the lead and finished first. The five of us were jumping up and down and screaming so loud we must have been a sight to behold. He paid $20 on a two dollar ticket and we were all winners that day. After we posed for the win picture, cashed in our tickets, and waited for Jasonic to be drug tested and cooled down, we drove back to Napa Valley and went to the Rutherford Grill to celebrate.
The staff put us at the large table near the window where you can see their famous roasted chicken cooking on a spit. We were all giddy from our exciting win and ordered the most extravagant dishes on the menu.