"You've no business buying a mare like that, but buy her if you must."
He bit the end off his cigar and spat it in the dust.
"She's old, she's lame, and barren too; she's not worth feeding hay,
But I'll give her this:"—he blew smoke at me—"She was something in her day.
"I recall her well ten years ago; she was a winner in her prime.
She was fast and lean and willing, but they raced her past her time,
And though she had the heart, her legs were gone, and it wasn't see hard to see
They kept her at it in the hopes of one more small victory.
"So she was shunted round from track to track, from Kentucky up to Maine.
They'd run her in cheap claimers, all doped up to mask her pain,
And if it's my advice you want, I'd say: The poor thing's had her day.
You'd be throwing good cash after bad. It's best—." He turned away.
Oh, they led her round the auction shed and bidding started low.
"She'll go for dog-food," someone said. "The market's been that slow."
But she raised her head and pricked her ears, and before the hammer fell,
She's was mine. My friend turned round to me: "You're soft-headed, I can tell."
"But she's been shoved from pillar to post," said I, "and always done her best.
They used her up; they wrung her dry; you'd think she'd earned her rest,
So if she does naught but end her days beneath some shady tree,
I'll have saved her from the knacker's yard, and that's enough for me."
Oh, that was near two years ago; she's filled out some since then,
The more so since she's been in foal; she eats enough for ten,
And this morn as I crept to the barn around 'bout half-past three,
There stood nursing on still trembling legs one more "small victory".