Kirkpatrick & Co. Presents In Their Care: Lindsy Reed The 'Right Hand' Of Family Stable That Shocked The Derby - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Kirkpatrick & Co. Presents In Their Care: Lindsy Reed The ‘Right Hand’ Of Family Stable That Shocked The Derby

Lindsy Reed with Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike

Lindsy Reed sensed trouble the instant the phone rang at approximately 1 a.m. on Dec. 18, 2016. When she heard her mother's frightened voice, she was sure of it.

“You need to get to the farm now. The barn is on fire!” Kay told her.

“Excuse me?”

“Get your ass to the barn!”

When Lindsy finally arrived at Mercury Equine Center in Lexington, Ky. – a facility that represented a  dream come true for her racing family – all that remained of one of three barns was a smoldering tin roof.

She shuddered at the sight.

“It was a feeling of my heart being ripped out of my chest. Right now, I get cold just talking about it,” Lindsy said. “Those horses, just because they're gone doesn't mean I don't remember them and I don't remember how much love they showed me and how much trust they had in me to protect them. And I couldn't do it that night because I wasn't there.”

She could not do anything to bring back the 23 horses — most of them yearlings — that perished in a fire attributed to a rare December lightning strike. Thirteen horses were saved. She committed herself to the future of the 60-acre farm by moving into a renovated house there.

Her father, Eric, was so heartbroken he wondered whether he could continue as a trainer. Much of his equipment and memorabilia were gone. Lindsy's determination and her willingness to be an all-day, everyday presence encouraged him to persevere.

This story, of course, took an unbelievably wonderful turn. Rich Strike, an against-all-odds product of the Reeds' love and devotion, staged a breathtaking rally for unheralded jockey Sonny Leon to win the May 7 Kentucky Derby at 80-1 odds. The former $30,000 claimer, 1-for-7 lifetime, had been in the throes of a five-race losing streak. Only 91-1 Donerail, in 1913, brought home the roses as a longer shot.

“It's shocking and it's exciting,” said Lindsy, 26. “It's great to let the world know that we're here. We're the little guys and we did what the big guys said we couldn't do. We don't have to have 400 head of horses to prove that.”

Eric, Kay and Lindsy continue to apply lessons taught by Eric's father, Herbert. “We put our horses first. We are always at their beck and call,” Kay said. “The main thing is the love for the horses.”

“Basically, she's my right hand,” Kay Reed says of daughter Lindsy

Many say that. The Reed family means it. So much so that they and owner Richard Dawson refused to yield to pressure and pulled another shocker. They spurned a Triple Crown bid to stick to their plan of running distance-loving Rich Strike in the mile-and-a-half Belmont Stakes on June 11.

Lindsy joined the family business in 2015, learning from the ground up and now ranking as an assistant trainer. She was a reluctant participant at first.

“I didn't think the horses were going to be my thing,” she said. “I was young and I was lazy and I didn't want to do the hard work. That passion kind of grew like a wildfire and didn't stop.”

It is impossible to imagine a more driven person. As a backup plan, she is studying medical administration through an online program offered by DeVry University.

“Sleep is invisible to me now, but it's worth it,” she said. “It's another achievement.”

She acknowledges that meeting horses' daily needs appeals to her much more than medical administration. She has become an integral part of Mercury Equine Center, which features 160 stalls, a 5/8-mile training track and an equine pool.

“Basically, she's my right hand,” Kay said.

Lindsy brings a youthful energy and a fresh perspective that energizes her parents. “She's always known about horses. The longer she works with racehorses, the more she's learning and sometimes teaching us new tricks,” Kay said.

Lindsy credits her mother with inspiring her. “She's taught me the seriousness and responsibility of it,” she said. “She's taught me if you want to be taken seriously, you have to act the role and you have to do it daily. She says, 'It's a male-dominated sport, but you're going to show the boys how it's done.'”

Lindsy is still young. Yet she must feel as though she has been through several lifetimes, overcoming tragedy to experience the ultimate triumph that hard-charging Rich Strike delivered.

“He's our phoenix, that's who he is,” she said. “He rose up from the ashes.”

Whatever the future brings, Lindsy will never forget that magical afternoon at Churchill Downs, when she stood beside members of her close-knit family and watched the unthinkable happen.

“I'll cherish it for the rest of my life. I was there the day my daddy proved you can do what you want to do,” she said. “You just have to believe in it.”

Tom Pedulla wrote for USA Today from 1995-2012 and has been a contributor to the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Blood-Horse, America's Best Racing and other publications.

If you wish to suggest someone as a potential subject for In Their Care, please send an email to [email protected] that includes the person's name and contact information in addition to a brief description of the individual's background.

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