I first met Dancin Thea in October 24, 2015. Her copper coat, amongst a sea of bay would be enough to make her stick out, but what caught me was her quiet, loving energy. I’d just finished touring the backside of Batavia Downs, trying to introduce myself and ROC the Standardbred to as many people as possible. While many of the horses greeted us with some level of disdain, Thea let her head hang over her stall door while I loved on her. I’d started a casual look for a chestnut gelding, so I was slightly disappointed that she didn’t come with the right, um, “options.” Tessa Roland owned her at that point, and when she came over I made sure to tell her to let me know when she was ready to retire Thea. Tessa mentioned that the mare would be harder to place, having vision issues in her left eye. Nothing to make me shy away! I made sure to follow Thea on social media and saw that, eventually, she’d been claimed. I didn’t know the new owners, but, I kept watching for the results of her races.
In 2016, I really started to try and ramp up momentum with ROC the Standardbred. In April, I lost my father and everything went on hold for several months while I dealt with the details of his estate. As things settled, and I had more time, I turned back to my efforts with the group. On August 28th, I decided to meet up with Kirsten Campbell to discuss ideas. We met at Batavia Downs, and as I walked out onto the skirt, I heard my red mare’s name over the PA. When Kirsten arrived, I told her all about Thea. We watched the races and then went into the bar for a brainstorming session. Kirsten then asked me if I wanted to go look at a property she had in mind for a Standardbred transition program. I happily obliged. We met with the manager in his office and chatted for awhile. I told them the story about my latest horse, KC, my chestnut gelding who was blind on the left. We then headed out for the tour. To my surprise, the first horse we came across was a chestnut and I made sure to point that out. The manager said, “…she just raced today.” (Insert shocked face here.) I asked if it was Thea. He confirmed, here in front of me was my mare! I made sure to leave my contact information for the new owners, again, should she decide to be retired I wanted to know. Kirsten and I agreed that it was very strange and serendipitous to have run into her like that.
The following week, I contacted Chrissy Haslip, via Facebook, and asked her if she wouldn’t mind looking up Dancin Thea’s performance report for me. I was daydreaming about taking Thea and trying to make her into a RUS horse. Chrissy sent me her stats, but also mentioned that she knew one of Thea’s former owners who’d raced her in Saratoga. Now, what are the odds I would be asking someone from Florida about a NY mare and that person know one of the NY owners?
Fast forward to Saturday, October 22, 2016, almost one year since meeting Thea… I was on my way to Country Max when my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, so I let it go t