The Owls Approve is having an adorable blog hop for the next four+ months leading up to her pony’s 18th birthday. The first question is a great one for me, because I love pondering Murray’s history — and it actually got me tons of information on Murray through my googling! I found an owner of his dam on the Grooming Supplies forum (though she has since been banned) and DeviantArt, and through that pictures of his dam. Is this total stalking? Certainly. Is it also the glory of the internet? Definitely.
History of the Horse
Before you met, where was your horse? Who bred him/her? What do you know about his sire and his dam? What do you know where he came from? Tell me about the time before he had a trainer.
Murray, registered as Ima Looking Cool, was bred by Running Luck Ranch (also known as RL Enterprises, they have had several registered names in their time) in Parlier, Southern California. He is the progeny of Dontsellmeshort (a graded stakes winning Sire) and Ima Princess Royal (Royal Egyptian x Iciness).
California Thoroughbred Breeders Association stud advertisement picture for Don’tsellmeshort
Don’tsellmeshort (Benchmark x Miss Soft Sell – Siyah Kalem) is a 2001, gray stallion with 18 starts and over $400,000 in earnings. He did best as a two-year-old in 2003, winning Maiden Special Weight and Stakes classes. He continued to race well throughout 2004 and 2005, and then retired to stud. Don’tsellmeshort is full brother to Brother Derek, though never matched his brother in earnings.
Ima Princess Royal (Royal Egyptian x Iciness – Ice Age) won her maiden race and little else, and was allegedly retired due to a career-ending injury.
I’m surprised that with two downhill-ish parents (I won’t repost the picture of his dam as I can’t find its owner, but she is, trust me), Murray turned out to be a relatively uphill guy. Ima Princess Royal also looks quite chunky, but reports of Don’tsellmeshort tell me that he’s a smallish guy, so perhaps that’s where Murray got his slender build. I have to say that I’m pretty glad Murray didn’t inherit his father’s pinhead (sorry dude, but you’re a touch too refined for me) or colour — gorgeous as he is, I’m so not into keeping a gray clean.
I have contacted RLR for baby photos, but alas, there are none to be had. Murray was among Don’tsellmeshort’s first crop of foals, and was sold as a colt in the CTBA Yearling Sales on August 17, 2010 for the whopping sum of $1000. Several other trainers at the Pleasanton track also bought Don’tsellmeshort yearlings that year, probably hoping to repeat the success of their sire. I’m not sure where Murray went between August of 2010 and when his training began around February of 2011 (I should check with Reina, honestly), but he was probably put out on pasture for a little while. In 2011, Murray started training at the track.
I’ve only talked to Murray’s trainer, Reina, briefly about his time at the track, and from what I can glean, he and his half-siblings were pretty much hellions. When I last visited, Reina made a point of telling other trainers what Murray (formerly “Rico the Freako” when he was with her) was up to now — namely, carrying me over large obstacles. All were amazed. When Murray arrived, he wasn’t trailered like a gentleman or even dropped off a truck like a wild creature. No, no, no. Nothing so simple for my Murray. He had to be chased from pasture into the trailer, and then the trailer was backed into his stall at the track and he was unloaded. The next day, it took Reina half an hour to catch him with a halter — in his stall. He was not her favourite.
Murray made a point of making everything difficult: no work ethic, didn’t trust people, was too smart, rolled on the hot walker — with other horses!! — and extremely cinchy (oddly enough, all of his half-siblings are extremely cinchy also). Airs above the ground were such a part of his daily routine that his jockey worried about getting him into and out of the start gate for his first race. But race he did, four times, and by October of 2011 it was clear that racing was not for him, and Reina was actively looking for a new home for Rico the Freako, and so he arrived at my trainer’s barn around Christmas.
This is where I technically first met Murray. He stayed at our barn for around two weeks during Christmas of 2011. In that time, a couple of potential buyers came to look at him, but none worked out. Finally, my trainer’s mother met him when she came to drop off her haflingers for training and fell in love with him, so Murray went to Oregon for some much-needed growing up.
Murray came to our barn a couple of times for a few months of training, but mostly hung out in pasture in Oregon being pampered by his new owners. I saw him each of these times, and each time thought he was pretty neat. Mostly, though, I heard what my trainer and a few others were saying about him: that there was something special under that semi-feral and highly suspicious demeanor.
Murray entered training for good in July 2013, and I came into the picture shortly after that. He was definitely not abused (perhaps benignly neglected by his breeders), nor was he mistreated, he simply likes to act like he was (OH DO NOT TOUCH ME WITH THE BALING TWINE THAT IS CLEARLY DEMONIC). But really, he’s just a clever, suspicious guy with lots of ‘tude. Alydar progeny have a reputation for attitude, and the Royal Egyptian son I know is completely full of himself, so I guess he came by it honestly. The only other thing his pedigree suggests is that he should make a great pleasure horse — Benchmark babies supposedly do — but I can’t imagine anyone would have mistaken him for a pleasure horse a few years ago.
SO. That is the long story of Murray. I love writing about him. It’s fun. Go join the blog hop and tell us about your horses!!