After making quite a few phone calls over the past week, I have learned about Linus's past...
Just like every other racehorse, Linus is tattooed on his upper lip. The tattoo is made up of 6 characters: one letter followed by five numbers. The letter states which year they were born, the number states which horse they are. Linus's tattoo reads, "V24136". The "V" means he was born in 1992, making him 17 years old!
I called the Jockey Club and double checked to make sure his tattoo matched his markings. I told them that he had a left hind sock and a "smudge" of a star on his upper forehead. Sure enough, it was him! His real name is "Literary Claim"!
I looked up his record, and here's what I found:
-> He was born California on March 27, 1992.
-> He was sold at Barretts Equine Ltd Auction in 1994 as a two-year-old. He was purchased for $2,500.
-> In 1996 and 1997, he raced as a 4- and 5-year-old. He made 9 starts, won a single race in 1994, and won a total of $6,785.
-> The comments on his race record speak volumes of his ability on the track. The comment for his winning race was "big move, proved best". The other comments are: "outrun", "showed little", "broke slowly", "rushed and tired", "best stride late", and "outfinished". Ok, so he's not a derby winner, but he's still a special boy!
Where Linus went and what he did from 1997 to 2003 is unknown.
Then, in 2003, Linus showed up at Crowley's Auction in Agawam, MA. After he went through the sale, he was brought to his new home in Grafton, Mass.
In one of their farm's turnout pens, Linus ran away from the other horses and his leg became entangled in the gate. He stood back up, but only on three legs. His front left leg was torn wide open. They aptly decided to name him "Cutter".
They nursed his wounds back to health, and he lived at the farm in Grafton for four years. The farm is a lesson and trail riding stable, and he was a valuable part of their team. Linus's job was to teach beginner lessons and trail rides, and he did so willingly. He taught many kids how to trot and canter, and was frequently seen jumping 18" courses.
From there, his luck went downhill, but we don't want to dwell on the negative. What we know now is that he is safe, well fed, and as comfortable as we can make him.
Linus appears happy at his new home, and is exceptionally friendly and well behaved. He nickers to everyone who walks through the door, and really seems to enjoy the company of children. And he just loves ginger snap cookies!
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Yesterday I spoke again to the lady who was the instructor at Linus's old barn in Grafton. She loved Linus to pieces and taught many children to ride on his trustworthy back. Although she was heartbroken to hear about what had happened to him, she was glad to know he was being taken care of. She will be coming to visit him tomorrow afternoon, and I'm sure the meeting will be bittersweet.