(PHOTO - From the pages of the recent SPEEDHORSE Magazine, AMBER HICKS (centre) at the Heritage Place Winter Mixed Sale in Oklahoma City in January with Bill and Belinda Taggart)
Amber Hicks didn’t have buying a horse on her mind when she accompanied her boyfriend Bill Taggart and his mother Belinda to the Heritage Place Winter Mixed Sale in January in Oklahoma City.
Oh, she’s been a horse lover since she was younger, with pleasure horses often in her life. Her interest in Quarter Horse racing revved up during the last few years when she became enamored with one very fast grey fellow named One Kool Wave..
Now the 38-year-old Hicks has gone from a devoted follower of one special Quarter Horse to a co-owner of her first horse, a colt named Cold Hard Dash who is expected to arrive in Ontario from Oklahoma by the end of February.
The path that led Hicks to this exciting moment had a lot to do with One Kool Wave, who began his career in 2010 at Ajax Downs when Hicks began frequenting the races.
“He won all of his races that year, he was undefeated, and I started to follow him. He is grey too and I love grey horses,” said Hicks.
One Kool Wave, the 2010 Horse of the Year in Ontario, has since gone on to win a total of 21 races, two more in 2016, and is certainly one of the best horses to have raced in Ajax in the history of the (old and new) track.
Virtually every time the horse raced, Hicks went to see him run. She also had neighbours, the late Kevin Rundle and his wife Lori, who raced at Ajax and she cheered on their horses with her family.
“I love Quarter Horse racing,” said Hicks, who lives about 45 minutes north of Ajax Downs in the Kawartha Lakes community of Valentia. “I love the speed of it.”
Hicks met Bill Taggart in a local pub where she has some part-time work (she is also the manager of a golf course) and his family have race horses for almost two decades. According to Equibase statistics, Bill has won 31 races from 65 starts. Taggart also owns a 4-year-old full brother to One Kool Wave named Two Kool to Wave (his barn name is Sheldon) who showed plenty of promise in his first season of racing in 2016.
When the Taggarts headed south in January to the Heritage sale, Hicks went along. She left there as a co-owner of her first horse.
"It’s kind of a shock,” laughed Hicks. “But it was a great way to get into my first horse, buying part of a one with other people."
There are half a dozen owners in the syndicate that own Cold Hard Dash, a lightly raced son of top sire First Down Dash. The attractive colt, who cost $22,000 (US), is expected to race at Ajax Downs this year and eventually be a stallion in Ontario.
"That’s how it happens: you get into watching racing, you follow a horse who catches your eye or you become friends with people who have a stake in the industry and the next thing you know.. you’re a horse owner.”
Hicks can thank One Kool Wave for what has been already been a fun ride into the world of Quarter Horse racing.
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