“Gramps, don’t tell anyone,” said Jane Allen Blayman to Bert Allen on a late December day in 2009. “But, I’m on my way to Hagerstown to get this horse. People are worried.”
As she raced to rescue a weanling, sight unseen, the fourth-generation horseman and her grandfather “rattled awhile” —an expression he used to describe their lengthy phone conversations—about a horse who would subsequently be saved and named in tribute to the dear old man and the good horsemanship he espoused.
The weanling grew to neither big nor gorgeous by racehorse standards, Blayman says. But she was special.
She was the last racehorse she discussed with her grandfather before he died. Blayman named the filly Rattle Awhile after the family colloquialism, in tribute to him.
Dam: Miss Amazona
Foal date: May 6, 2009“I had her for 30 days before my grandfather died. So when I decided to register her and name her” I chose the name in remembrance of him, she says. And when she was ready for training, she prevailed upon her father, a race-trainer in his own right, to get her prepped and ready for the track.
Rattle Awhile ran at Pimlico and Colonial Downs from 2012 to 2013 until Blayman made the difficult decision to sell her.
“At the time, I was pregnant, and someone wanted to buy her. So I sold her with the right of first refusal, but regretted the decision after that,” she says.
She kept tabs on the filly after placing her in her virtual stable, and privately rejoiced when the filly turned in a first-place finish in January this year. After five more races with somewhat lackluster results, Rattle Awhile dropped off Blayman’s radar, and the horseman immediately tried to get answers.
“I learned in July that the horse had been sold,” she says. “I was in the process of trying to find out which riding facility had my horse” when two months later, she learned the worst.
The unremarkable looking racehorse turned up in posts on the OTTB Connect Facebook page over the Labor Day weekend: she was at New Holland and needed to be bailed out.
“I was pissed, I couldn’t believe she wound up at New Holland,” she says.
Picking up the phone, she contacted Nancy Carson Hynes who had paid $600 to buy the Thoroughbred from the meat buyer and quickly made arrangements to get her back. Agreeing to refund the entire purchase price to Hynes, she set out on Sept. 4 to East Lancaster Maryland to pick up her old friend.
“The whole time I was driving out there, I was reminiscing about the conversation I had with my grandfather,” she says. And when she arrived to collect the bay Thoroughbred, all bathed, and waiting, the pair didn’t miss a beat as she led the animal to the van, and drove her back home. “What Rattle Awhile went through is something that never should have happened,” she says. “She’s a viable, young horse who’s in good shape. This is a business where you’re not supposed to form sentimental attachments, so I guess I’ve broken that rule with her.”
—Blayman notes that the work to rescue Rattle Awhile would not have been possible without the help of Daun Imeratore, Nancy Diaz, Kelly Conner, Diana Levy and Lowcountry Lens and Nancy Carson Hynes. ♥