Dream Boy's tracking for a loving home

"You take your chances in harness racing, especially with the young ones."

That speaker could be anyone involved in the sport but in this case it was Robert Murphy, the highly successful horse owner from White Rock.

Murphy got together last week to talk about one of his horses, Red Star Dream Boy. The four-year-old gelding has had nothing but difficulties.

Now the intention of this story is not meant to make anyone feel sorry for Murphy. He obviously knows, as well as anyone, the trials of the sport. But Dream Boy is a prime example of how nothing is for sure.

A big item separating the son of Jennas Beach Boy out of Some Kinda Dream (who is by Forrest Skipper) from most others is his purchase price. Anyone who knows breeding realizes the aforementioned names would prick most ears. It did to Murphy and he spent $120,000 American for the colt in the yearling sale at Harrisburg, Penn.

"I got a phone call from Ross (Croghan, a trainer based in the eastern U.S. who does some training for Murphy)," explained Murphy. "He told me about this mare that had been sold to Hanover Shoe Farms (a famous breeding operation) and whose first colt had sold in the sale for $240,000. That colt has gone on to win $3 million but Ross said he had seen another of its colts and it was 'the most perfect horse he had seen in a long time.' "

Red Star Dream Boy was broken and trained early in Kentucky by Croghan. But as Murphy added, "He seemed to be plagued since he started to be trained down."

He picked up pneumonia right after he turned two and was laid up for six months.

"Then," Murphy continued, "he had some problems setting down so we had him gelded (which took away from his value). We got him qualified but we never got him into a race and he had a breathing problem."

That breathing problem has led to two surgeries, one in the East and the other here at home for about $5,000.

Dream Boy has been in B.C. since the beginning of July. He was in the hands of trainer Brent Beelby when work was stopped for the second surgery in September.

On Oct. 29 he was in a qualifying race with trainer/driver Rene Goulet but had to be pulled up early. It was not until Dec. 22 that another attempt was made -- and was successful.

On Dec. 30, just two days away from becoming a four-year-old, he made his first start. He finished second but his time was an ordinary 2:06.3.

Last Sunday he made his second start, a maiden race with a $7,500 claiming price for him. Bedecked in some extra equipment including a neck can (placed beneath his jaw to force him to keep his head up to aid his breathing) he finished a fading fourth. He was seven lengths behind the winner, who covered the mile in a less-than blistering 2:07.4.

He was not claimed and now an agonizing decision must be made.

Shortly after the running of the race Murphy said, "I would like to see him go to a good home for a saddle horse."

Perhaps some child's dream boy.

- 30 -