Pink Lloyd is 9-years-old now. There was talk of retiring him at the end of his eighth year.
But no. Here he is, at Woodbine, the only place he has ever raced, back in his stall close to trainer Bob Tiller’s office. It is as if he is best at Tiller’s hip, his horse for the Charge of the Light Brigade.
At nine, Pinkie still has it in him, that fire. You could see it in his drive to the wire in the $159,302 Vigil Stakes at Woodbine Aug. 1. But he seems to have met his match in Souper Stonehenge, four years his junior, a muscular Rolls Royce of a horse.
Pinkie fell short of victory by three-quarters of a length. But it still seems as if all eyes are still on him. People riding him in their hearts. People still wanting the most for a quirky fellow, admired for his 26 wins in 34 starts, 23 of them stakes races. He’s won more than $1.6-million, all at home, running the sprint stakes, hating to lose.
Souper Stonehenge went off at 1 to 5, Pinkie at 3 to 1. And so they finished. Nobody noticed that Not So Quiet finished third for Mark Casse. It was a two-horse race in many minds. Souper Stonehenge had defeated Pink Lloyd in their previous start, the Jacques Cartier on June 20. That day, Pink Lloyd finished four lengths behind him after being pinched earlier in the race.
This time, Pink Lloyd was shuffled back to the back of the six-horse field while Stonehenge marched off to a lead in 22.96 seconds for the quarter, a brisk 45.73 to the half, and 57.55 for five furlongs. Pink Lloyd had been tracking a group of four, all bunched, when he dropped behind them with rider Rafael Hernandez aboard. But he ended up sixth on the inside, with not much time to make amends.
He began to roll around the turn, cutting between horses, then heading for an outside run. Pink Lloyd put his ears back and gave it his all, and was reaching Stonehenge with every stride until they hit the finish line in 1:09.52. He ran out of real estate.
Patrick Husbands, riding Souper Stonehenge, calls him “one of his little favourites. They have a playful relationship. “He’s just a horse you want to be around,” he said.
Pinkie is a little more crusty. Loved no less.