JC / Railbird

The Moment

When trainer John Shirreffs knew that he wanted to work with Thoroughbreds:

“I got on his back, and I could feel his heart pumping under my legs,” Shirreffs, 68, said. “It was so clear that he wanted to work with me. It was magnificent, and from then on I wanted to know everything about them and the people who worked with them.”

Less poetically, it was 10 years ago today that I and Mr. Railbird went to Suffolk Downs for the first time and won $39 on a chestnut gelding named Ascot Doll. My life hasn’t been the same since, and I couldn’t be more grateful — for every friend I’ve met through horse racing, for every opportunity I’ve been given in the game, and to every horse I’ve watched run.