Read the full story in our magazine online:
By Emily Shields
Madeline and Harris Auerbach know that racing can be a cyclical game. You can be lucky enough to get a sprinkling of stakes wins, followed by a lengthy drought. You could also have a hand in two graded stakes wins just 10 days apart.
For the Auerbachs, all these things have happened, with the latter extreme coming via California-breds from Nov. 23 through Dec. 3. The Auerbach-bred and -sold How Unusual won the Red Carpet Handicap (G3T) on Thanksgiving, and then homebred Majestic Heat took the Bayakoa Stakes (G2). These victories came at the tail end of a tough year for the well-known California breeders, who lost their foundation stallion, Unusual Heat, in May. But for Madeline, patience has always been the most important part of the game.
“When you’ve been doing it as long as we have,” she said, “it’s very validating because you know you’re doing things right. This business is an infinite test of patience and resources, but mostly patience. I believe that’s very difficult to remember sometimes.”
Madeline was particularly fond of How Unusual when the daughter of Unusual Heat — Veela, by Bartok, was young.
“I got to know our young horses very well,” she said. “When How Unusual came to the track (they) said she was very difficult and to watch myself. She came right over and laid her head in my arms. I don’t doubt that she was a spitfire, but she always had a wonderful connection with me.”