Horse racing means different things to different people. For some, it’s a Saturday afternoon in the Spring with friends and fresh mint juleps. For others, it’s a chance to solve the mysterious puzzles found within a racing form in search of a winning ticket. For one person, it was much more than that.
Horse racing – and more specifically a horse and her jockey – became a reason to smile and find hope again.
Here is the heart warming story of Dee Englehart, in her own words.
“On February 14th 2008, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had to undergo 2 surgeries. I was at a point in my life where nothing could make me feel better, or so I thought. While I was recuperating, I had no desire to get out of bed or shower or even eat. I didn’t want to talk to anyone or do anything. I felt like there wasn’t anything to feel good about anymore.
But then one day when I was laying in bed, I started channel surfing and came upon HRTV, so I left it there. All of a sudden this beautiful horse in the walking ring caught my eye. Her name was Zenyatta, and she was being ridden by my favorite jockey, Mike Smith. As I watched the race, I found myself lost in what was happening on the track. She won that race by a mile and all I could say was ‘wow’.
Then I saw Mike’s smile… and I started to smile because his smile is infectious.
I couldn’t wait for her next race. Soon I started to look forward to Zenyatta’s race days, and on those days, I got out of bed, showered, had a snack, and sat in front of the TV in the living room so excited because she would soon take to the track. Zenyatta and Mike showed me that there were things to be happy about and things in life that could make you smile again. They showed me that just because I had cancer, it didn’t mean I didn’t have a life to live and plenty of things to make living worthwhile. I sent a message to Mike and he sent me an autographed photo of him with the beautiful Zenyatta winning the Breeders Cup Classic.
Mike and Zenyatta will always hold a very special place in my heart because they gave me a second chance to be happy.”
Dee, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story with us, and it is my hope that maybe someone else in need of inspiration facing a battle like the one you faced will find hope in your words and story.
If you have a special story about your connection, love and experiences with horse racing that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you. Follow the link and tell us your story.