Breeders' Cup Should Go to 70-Year-Old Trainer and His Lucky Charm

breeder's cupEverybody loves an underdog -- or, in this case, an underhorse. You could say trainer Scooter Dickey had to overcome decades' worth of obstacles to get a horse in the Breeders' Cup, but it was worth it: Not only is his thoroughbred Flat Out competing this weekend, the odds make the horse a 6-1 third choice to win the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Not bad, considering the state 70-year-old Dickey's career as a trainer was in before Flat Out came along, never mind the two years it took the horse to get over an injury that kept him out of the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

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Dickey's been known for years as a skilled trainer, but the biggest purse any of his horses ever won was a $100,000 purse at Louisiana Downs. Then his wife fell seriously ill. Dickey's career was understandably sidelined as he watched his spouse suffer through the long wait for a liver transplant.

Dickey was down to one injured horse in July 2008 when Rich Decker, racing manager for Preston Stables, offered DIckey four 2-year-olds (including Flat Out) to train in Saratoga Springs, New York for the summer.

Flat Out must be DIckey's good luck charm, because since he's been around, nothing seems to sideline the trainer for very long. Flat Out's aforementioned injury has healed completely, and a series of weird brushes with natural disasters left Dickey completely unscathed: He was playing poker at Churchill Downs when a tornado touched down in the barn area, missing his game; he was knocked out of his chair at Baltimore-Washington International Airport in August by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake; and he weathered Hurricane Irene at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

Sounds like things are definitely looking up for Dickey ... I guess we'll find out this weekend if Flat Out really is his trainer's lucky charm!

Do you think a special animal can change someone's life?


Image via The Javelina/Flickr

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