Black Gold : Race Horse
This is a story of love, triumph, dedication and sorrow. A story of a horse that gave his all, literally, to his last dying breath. Black Gold was born on 17 February 1921, was sired by Black Toney and was born from the mare U-see-it. U-see-it was the beloved horse of Al Hoots and his wife Rosa. Al Hoots adored his mare, and she won many short distance races for him. She was almost lost to Al, when he foolishly entered her into a claims race in 1917. His gamble went wrong and U-see-it was claimed by a horseman named Ramsey. Al was devastated by the prospect of losing his mare and held Ramsey at bay with his shotgun, leading to U-see-it and Al receiving a lifetime ban from the racing track. Al Hoots’ health was ailing, and on his deathbed he urged Rosa to have U-see-it covered by the stallion, Black Toney. Views do differ on this part of the story, but the result remained the same. U-see-it and Black Toney conceived the bravest and most courageous racehorse in history, Black Gold.
Even before his debut on the race track, the then two-year old colt had people talking and other owners staring nervously at this promising horse. Black Gold won his first race, which was at the Fair Grounds, and in the following eighteen starts, Black Gold would take nine. Rosa Hoots was offered large sums of money on many occasions, to purchase the fiery colt, but Rosa was not prepared to part with her husband's dream, and the son of their much loved mare.
The more Black Gold raced, the more word started to spread, that this horse was truly gold. His odds in the upcoming Derby races improved from 30-1 to a staggering 12-1. The Golden Jubilee Derby that was held in 1924 would be a race to be remembered. Saddled by J.D. Mooney, Black Gold broke from the rail and ran into a lot of interference whilst trying to catch up to the frontrunner, Chilhowee. Mooney managed to find a gap, and Black Gold seemed to gain more and more momentum, with each determined stride. Chilhowee was in a strong lead to win, but not strong enough for the courageous colt that was gaining ground. Black Gold won the race, and his owner, Rosa Hoot, became the first woman in history that bred and owned a Kentucky Derby winning horse.
Black Gold went on to win four more Derbies, but after a quarter crack injury, Black Gold seemed to go down hill, losing almost every race that followed. The over raced horse was retired, after winning many races and being a noteworthy competitor to many. Unfortunately, Black Gold was sterile and in 1927, against many objections, Black Gold was returned to the race track. He was older, not as strong and plagued by his old injuries. But Black Gold would not let pain or lack of physical strength dampen his courageous and willing spirit. And this is where your heart gets broken, your throat goes dry, and tears cannot be held back. On 18 January 1928, Black Gold stepped onto the track for the last time. He tried desperately to make up ground and catch the frontrunner, but he broke down during the race. Black Gold did not give up and he finished the race on three legs, and was put to rest after the race. He is buried near his mother's long time rival, Pan Zareta, in the infield. He was written in the Thoroughbred Record “…as good a horse as ever stood on plates.” Black Gold was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1989, and remains the story that will be retold for centuries to come.