They were pounding down the homestretch, thundering breaths and hooves hammering against our chests, the handicappers hollering, swearing. Then there was screaming, horrified gasps, our champion reined back with leg uplifted, swinging. Helpers, muscled stablehands hold that dark curtain up between us, faces tight and downcast, protecting softhearted viewers from the harsh and painful sight. I stretch and strain, desperate for just a single glance to know. A black muzzle, nostrils strained, appears. I crane around to meet his flashing, bloodshot eyes that give me answer.
He was a fighter. But he’s tired of fighting.