At 1, life's a bucket of oats for 'Mary Bo' Former Miss Piggy lives quiet, pampered life, and that suits owners fine

April 17, 1997|By Mike Klingaman | Mike Klingaman,SUN STAFF

At breakfast, she received an extra carrot, a pat on the head and a birthday card from a couple of fans.

Mary Bo Quoit turned 1 today.

Otherwise, the filly, whose life is being chronicled in The Sun, was to pass the day like any other: several buckets of oats and a romp in the rolling pasture at Liberty Run Farm in Carroll County.

There is not much ado in the lives of yearlings bound for the track. Training starts at age 2. Languid spring days are spent grazing in the field, dozing in the sun. Milestones are rare. Last week, for the first time, Mary Bo Quoit had her feet trimmed. Stop the presses.

"She's just hanging out, eating grass, taking it easy," said Bill Brasaemle. "With racehorses, no news is good news until they start running. If you can't remember anything happening to them growing up, that's good. If her life is nice and boring right now, everyone is happy."

Brasaemle and his wife, Mary Joanne Hughes, head a partnership that purchased Mary Bo Quoit last month. Hughes is farm manager at Liberty Run and a trainer; her husband charts races for the Daily Racing Form. They have raised Mary Bo Quoit from the start, observing the foal's smooth delivery at 2: 30 on a cold, windy morning in a dimly lighted barn.

Officially, all thoroughbreds mark their birthdays on Jan. 1. But small, family farms such as Liberty Run like to circle the calendar on the day their horses were actually born.

Are there surprises in store for Mary Bo Quoit?

"Bill is baking her a carrot cake," Hughes said.

"Am not," Brasaemle replied.

Hughes rolled her eyes. "Bill's got her so spoiled, she's hooked on carrots. She rifles through your pockets for them. She thinks every carrot has her name on it."

Every feedbag, too. Not a meal goes by that Mary Bo Quoit -- a.k.a. Miss Piggy -- doesn't push past her peers for chow. Tuesday night, she bolted ahead of Wally and J.J., her pen pals, to scarf down a bucket of oats. When a second bucket appeared, Mary Bo Quoit seized that one, too, drawing a reprimand for bullying the pair.

"You think they're getting something extra in their bucket? You bad thing!" Brasaemle said, chiding the filly while scratching her ears. Clearly, he likes what he sees of the birthday girl, whose stock seems to rise with each triumph posted by her 6-year-old half-brother, Mary's Buckaroo (13 victories, including three of his past five starts).

Mary's Buckaroo, a gelding owned and trained by Hughes, is slated to race at Pimlico on Saturday in the $100,000 Jennings Handicap.

But today belongs to Mary Bo Quoit, who has won a few hearts, if not races, since taking her tentative first steps on spidery legs one year ago. How many horses receive birthday cards? This one arrived at the farm, addressed to Mary Bo Quoit:

Hope your day's a special one,

Filled with treats and lots of fun,

Kicking up your heels in the warm spring sun.

And when it's over, hope you'll neigh,

"That really was a super day!"

You truly are a "one year old" today,

And you now have a permanent home to stay.

Hope your name brings you luck aplenty,

You are already loved by many. (Signed), Ann and Jimmie Eustace


Brasaemle was to share the card with Mary Bo Quoit at breakfast this morning, though it's doubtful she would stop eating long enough to listen.

"Put a little whipped cream on the card," Hughes suggested.

Brasaemle winced and shook his head. "She's not a pet," he said emphatically. "She may think she is, but she's not."

Pub Date: 4/17/97

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