Yesterday was the Bustles and Bows Stakes at Fairplex, carrying on a long tradition of debuting some of the best two-year-old fillies in Caliornia. A fitting day to honor the memory of Vol Au Vent, our late retiree who won the Bustles and Bows Stakes in 1974. Not a misprint. Vol Au Vent was a foal of 1972, and she was already twenty-five years old when I rescued her in the winter of 1997, shortly before the opening of Tranquility Farm.
It was two days before Christmas and in an incredibly wet and miserable el nino winter when I received a call that two “good old mares” were about to be loaded on a slaughter truck from a farm dispersal. The caller volunteered to bring the mares to me, and I accepted my unusual Christmas gift with with no questions asked. Horse rescue is not for everyone. One of these mares turned out to be Vol Au Vent, who was in terrible condition from neglect and the weather.
Vol Au Vent's benefactor stuffed her papers in my pocket before driving off into the stormy night, and as I unfolded them I was suprised to learn that she had won nine races, including the St. Frances Stakes, the Courtship Stakes, and La Merced Stakes at Santa Anita, all now faded into history.I had a real racehorse in the barn. I nursed Vol Au Vent all through that winter and the remarkable constitiuion that had enabled her to produce thirteen live foals after her brilliant racing career saw her improve almost daily. By spring she looked amazing for her age.
Vol Au Vent at Traquility Farm, age 30.
Vol Au Vent had a great retirement here at Tranquility Farm, and she lived to be thirty-three years old. She passed away peacefully in 2005, and she is buried by her good friends Fortunate Betty and Victorian Heiress, grand old mares in their own right...stories for another day.