Happy birthday to Easy Goer, the horse that started it all. He was there just as my love of horses was beginning to run wild. It was the spring of 1989. I had just started taking riding lessons regularly. Sixth grade was nearing an end. Bon Jovi was my favorite band on the radio. And, I was watching my first races ever on TV – the Derby prep races. Easy Goer was my favorite. I eagerly scoured the Dayton Daily News for updates on his progress, and I was so sure he was going to win those roses. I felt the agony of defeat during the ABC coverage as Sunday Silence stole them away but figured he’d catch him next time. I was disappointed again, but the Belmont was oh so sweet.
Fast forward more years than I’d like to count, and here I am at the beginning of this wonderful journey – a collision of all my worlds. J is for Justify has been my opportunity to combine my love for horses with my professional design and illustration skills. Looking back, I’m not sure why I didn’t do it sooner. As I followed Justify last year, I felt that spark that I had felt all those years ago and realized that I knew just what to do with it. Even though the book will take you from American Pharoah to Zenyatta, my journey went by way of Easy Goer to Justify.
Somewhere buried in my office closet, there’s an old painting of mine featuring that 1989 Belmont victory. I wasn’t able to find it in time to post it for his birthday, but I promise to come back and add it to this post when I do. In the meantime, here is a sneak peak of Easy Goer’s spread in J is for Justify.