Herald-Journal
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, March 15, 1999

Fancy Dancer wins the big race

By OPAL "GRANDMA" HABISCH

Once there was a race horse named Fancy Dancer. He lived in a stable with many other race horses.

Dancer's best friend was Supper Boy. He would give Dancer tips about the other horses before a race. For example, he would say, "You have to be careful around the third bend, Dancer. Speedy will try to move in." Dancer appreciated hearing these tips from Supper Boy.

There was a big race coming up and Dancer was sure he could win. His owner's daughter, Mary, worked with him and got him ready for the race. She brought him sugar lumps and told him, "I know you are going to win the big race, Dancer."

"Be careful," she told him. "Don't lose your stride. I've ridden the other horses, but they don't have it. It is up to you."

Mary worked Dancer hard and, each time they worked, Dancer improved his time. This made Mary very happy. As she gave Dancer his sugar and rubbed him down, she told the stable boys, "Don't worry about Dancer. I will take care of him."

She even used hair shampoo on his mane and tail. When she was done, Dancer looked very nice.

Finally it was the morning of the day of the big race. Mary rubbed Dancer down and said, "This is your day. I know I will be with you in the winner's square.

"Now, hit your stride and keep it. Don't wear yourself out, but on that last run, you give it your all. Listen to your jockey. He will tell you when to go. I will be watching you come in a winner." Dancer was put into a van and off they went to the race track.

It had rained during the night and the track was wet. Dancer was glad that he had a lot of practice running on wet tracks. Many of the other horses hadn't had that experience. As they lined the horses up, Dancer saw Speedo, the horse that would probably be his toughest competition.

The big bell went off and so did the horses. Dancer wanted to take off and pass all of the other horses, but he remembered what Mary said and he kept his stride.

In the last lap, the jockey yelled, "Dancer, go get 'em." And Dancer did. He passed one horse after another and then, he was in the lead. Dancer looked like he was flying.

The people in the stands went wild as Dancer crossed the finish line. And there was Mary, waiting for him.

She threw her arms around his neck and said, "I knew you could do it, Dancer. I knew you would win the race."

Mary led Dancer to the winner's square. People were taking pictures and someone put flowers around his neck.

Then Mary led Dancer to the stable where she brushed him down to cool him off and gave him a sugar cube and a little water to drink. Dancer was very tired and very happy.

Now, it was my grandpa who owned Dancer and this was 75 years ago. I wanted to write this story to tell you about Dancer. He was my horse, too.

Maybe someday you will have a pal like Dancer. If you race him, good luck.


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