Finding family connections can bring the sweetest surprise. As Ann Banks learned one day while absently researching the pedigree of a nondescript T’bred, and suddenly coming face to face with her own storied past.
There in the historic annals of the Dam’s side of Texas racehorse Absotively was Bank’s extended family of old-time horsemen, who helped establish great Thoroughbred bloodlines.
“The whole female side of this horse’s family are horses bred by my extended family,” Banks says. “It’s just unbelievably cool!”
Home-breds brought into this world by the family of Hal Price Headley, founder of Keeneland, and by his daughter (and Banks’ former mother-law) Patrica Headley Green go back for generations. And just seeing their names again— Sing Sing, Fuchsia Filch, Regal Purple— excited her so much that the lady who says she needs another horse “like a hole in the head” was unable to resist purchasing this one, who carried in him the greatness of her past, and of horse racing’s past.
Sire: Silent Picture
Dam: Truth by Ruth
Foal date: April 10, 2010“I usually have a problem with people bragging about breeding. But then I find this horse, and I’m saying to myself, ‘oh my God! Oh my God!’—There are just generations and generations of homebred mares, which is the way great farms like Calumet and the Phipps family used to do it.”
And this is how one humble Texas-bred, entirely lacking in shine and track performance, came to find a new home in Kentucky this month.
Absotively was picked up from Sam Houston, loaded on a trailer, and with the help of CANTER-Texas, Banks and the horse’s former owner struck a deal.
On March 15, Banks purchased Absotively, and is being delivered this week to Wild Aire Farm.
“I’m so excited. I haven’t been this excited about a horse in a long, long time,” she says. “He’s coming here at the perfect time, because the grass is just beginning to grow.”
When he arrives, a farrier and Banks’ veterinarian will immediately tend to the 4-year-old, she says. Once his needs are assessed, and he is given time to chill out and enjoy the Kentucky bluegrass, Banks will enlist the help of her go-to trainer Lauren Lambert. “He will eventually end up Eventing,” Banks says.
While Banks waits for the trailer to pull up her driveway bearing all the history, of horses and of her family, she muses about the strange business of life.
“I don’t know what made me look up his pedigree,” she says. “I keep track of horses who turn up looking for homes, I always like to keep an eye out in case one of my former racehorses is in a bad place. I knew I didn’t have any Texas-breds, but I looked him up anyway.”
And when he comes home to Kentucky, the cradle of horse racing, Banks plans to make it her mission to see that from here on out, Absotively lives the life he so richly deserves.
“Every horse in his lineage is a ‘wow,’ ” Banks says. “It’s unusual to find a horse that has 10 generations of homebreds!”