A hardscrabble bay who earned the nickname “One Eye” after powering on in a racing career after losing an eye, has entered training for a second calling as a barrel racer.
Generation Speed suffered the loss of his left eye as a 5-year-old when a dirt-born infection caused his eye to rupture. But with unparalleled spirit and the heart of a champ, he continued to race aggressively and win against tough competition.
Now, the big bay is attacking the barrels as he once attacked the racecourse—full speed ahead— as he readies for the Ultimate X Showdown on Sept. 5.
Trainer Jimbo Albritton, who took up the challenge of training the one-eyed Thoroughbred for the event, admits he had to think twice before saying yes.
Sire: Wind Whipper
Foal date: Feb. 15, 2006
Earnings: $52,781“I was a little concerned about his eye when I first agreed to use him,” says Kissimmee, Fla. horseman. The longtime barrel racer finally agreed after Generation Speed’s owner Beth Worton regaled him with tales of courage on the track.
Worton told Albritton how the gelding not only kept racing after losing his eye, but was so fierce he bit at other horses and pinned his ears to back them down. Said to give all that he had to the sport, he also proved to be quick thinking, and protective of his riders.
In a race at Tampa Bay Downs one winter, he fell so hard that spectators feared he had died of a heart attack. When they drew closer, they could hear the soft voice of his pinned jockey imploring the fallen horse to “stay still boy, stay still.”
This story ended well for everyone. The jockey sustained less serious injuries than he would have had the horse thrashed. And, “One Eye,” who was credited with saving the jockey’s life, came away with a bruise that required a month off from racing.
After a conversation with Worton about the remarkable animal, Albritton agreed to take a test ride.
Though Albritton “shopped around” for other prospective trainees, in the end, it was Generation Speed’s inquisitiveness and surprising ability to learn quickly that convinced him.
“What really surprised me was that although he’s missing his left eye, he’s more responsive on his left side than his right,” he says.
Building on the animal’s natural aptitude, Albritton plans to improve his maneuverability in the hind end and work to get him used to one barrel at a time. In a few months he expects the racehorse will throw everything he’s got into his new career.
“I have no doubt ‘One Eye’ will put his whole heart into learning a second career around the barrels,” he says, noting that the horse may look a little strange, but inside that head is a good brain. “He just doesn’t panic.”