Larry Phillips has a special look about him these days. Oh, he's a happy enough guy anyway. Has Sharon and the kids and is proud of all of them. His job's not bad and he makes a living. Bowling on Tuesday nights, that sort of thing.
But it's more than that. You see, Junior's a yearling now, and he's looking good.
Of course, Junior is just what Larry and the family call him. He has a real name, registered with the Jockey Club, that is about that long and means Junior will be eligible for having his shot at racing someday.
Of course, being a yearling, he's too young to ride. That's at the very least a year off. But Larry has this pasture and he loves watching Junior run around on it. He sees those churning legs flying through the pasture grass, but what Larry is really seeing are those legs churning up the dirt on the home stretch of the Kentucky Derby in two years. Churning up the dirt with Junior out in front of the rest of them, of course.
Larry and Sharon bought Junior's mother after saving up for a long time. Sharon took in ironing and Larry worked two jobs for a while until they could afford it. The old mare died a month ago of just being tired, I guess, but she left Junior behind.
And with Junior ... who knows? Of course the racing competition will be tough, but that's just the name of the game. Look at Junior there. Doesn't he have that look of eagles in his eyes? Can't you picture him getting his picture taken with Larry and Sharon and the jockey in the winner's circle?
It's happened before. Fast horses come from unlikely places, sometimes. You can't see the future, of course. But there's one benefit to having Junior around that's built in and is already in effect.
It's a fact; no one with a yearling ever stops enjoying life.