Heart warming story…
Bet puts man and horse on healthy course – SFGate
Pleasanton is home to the oldest (built in 1858) 1-mile horse-racing track in the United States, and where Sam DiLaura’s love of horses began. DiLaura grew up in the once-small East Bay town where his parents operated DiLaura’s, a family restaurant, on Main Street. After the restaurant was sold in 1974, the young man spent summer vacations helping his parents cook at California race tracks. Eventually, DiLaura became a local truck driver, but his wife, Debbie, knew her husband never lost his love of horses.
In 2005, Sam, then 50, was diagnosed with throat cancer. After undergoing surgery and radiation treatments, Sam and I shared meaningful, late-night discussions about the fragility of life. We agreed it’s important to enjoy each day of life as we never know what the future will bring. When Sam told me that he no longer found his job fulfilling, I asked what he would do if he had his pick. Without missing a beat, Sam said he wanted to own a race horse.
That’s why, on a rainy December day in 2005, Sam claimed his first horse when a beautiful 3-year-old Thoroughbred named Sophisticated Wager was entered in a claiming race. This is a race in which any horse entered can be purchased at a fixed price by anyone who makes a bid or claim before the start of the race, thereby “claiming” a horse.
However, when Sam brought his new horse back to Pleasanton, he learned that Sophisticated Wager also had a throat problem, a condition called laryngeal hemiplegia, in which a paralyzed throat flap makes breathing difficult and results in a decreased performance. The upper respiratory-tract condition is sometimes also referred to as roaring because of the distinct noise a horse with the condition makes when exerting itself.