My story today is a warm, fuzzy tale about a horse named Wallenda. In 1992 I bought a two-year-old by Gulch out of a mare named So Glad, paying $43,000 for him. We named him Wallenda after the patriarch of the great circus aerialist family, The Flying Wallendas. This would have been Karl Wallenda, who once walked a quarter of a mile on the high wire across Tallulah Gorge in Georgia with 1,000 feet below him. Carrying a 30-foot pole, he stopped halfway across, balanced the pole and did two handstands. I will never forget it. Because our colt was by Gulch – and we considered this somewhat of a gorge - we named him Wallenda.
He went on to win well over a million dollars, including the Super Derby, ran in the Kentucky Derby, and he went to stud and was less than moderately successful. He then went to Japan to stand as a stallion, and recently at age 17 it was decided that nobody wanted to breed to him anymore. Because we are all aware that some grand old American racehorses have come to an unhappy end in Japan when they were no longer useful, Old Friends — a fine equine retirement farm in Kentucky — decided that Wallenda should be brought back to the States to live out his days with some other old equine luminaries of yesteryear.
It costs a fair amount to bring the horse back, and Dogwood and others are happy to be participating in financing this move. The delightful thing about it is that Wallenda is due to arrive here in April, and in July, The Flying Wallendas, part of Circus Flora, are going to do a benefit in Lexington to help pay for bringing the old horse back.
Reportedly, CBS News and Katie Couric are going to cover this colorful story.
I am proud of Old Friends, always proud of Wallenda, and proud especially of the Wallenda family who have appreciation for a gutsy campaigner. Altogether a warm and fuzzy horse story. There should be more of them.
This is Cot Campbell and this is my view.