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A 'Magical' Story Comes To Life

Published: January 19, 2021 9:58 pm ET

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A miracle for David & Renata Lumsden has now been chronicled for everyone to read.

Close to seven years ago, a foal from the millionaire mare Illusionist was born early as a result of intense gestational stress put on the dam. The horse, named Magical Albert, survived through intensive care while his dam recovered from the pregnancy and the cesarean section. But despite the near-fatal breeding, Magical Albert has matured into a winning racehorse.

“He’s remarkable,” said Renata Lumsden, wife of the gelding’s owner and breeder David Lumsden, on CHCH's "Morning Live". “Magical Albert chronicled his journey from preemie to adulthood, and he’s amazing. He’s kind, sensitive, attention seeking, rambunctious; and he’s a competitor in harness racing.

“We weren’t really sure when he was born what lay ahead for him because he did have his struggles. They didn’t end at the Ontario Veterinary College. He was in and out of surgery a bit, and we wondered if he’d be in an endless loop of surgery, recovery, jogging, training, back to surgery. He was raised on milk replacer, and he loves his job. He’s quite handsome, too, I have to say.”

The success did not come for Magical Albert immediately. His seemingly endless health complications kept him off the track for all of his two-year-old year and nearly the entirety of his three-year-old season. But on Feb. 1, 2018, Magical Albert landed in the winner’s circle for the first time when taking a $14,000 maiden event at Mohawk in 1:55.4. Since then, he has won on six occasions at three different racetracks and earned $58,953. His story, written by Lumsden titled Magical Albert: How A Preemie Foal Changed One Couple’s Definition of a Family Forever, is now available for purchase.

“I hope that the book is able to educate people in a very nice way -- lead them on that it takes a village to raise a harness racehorse. And they don’t all make it; Albert had to be bucket fed every hour on the hour. Training takes time and care and patience, and the grooms that work with him are remarkable. It’s like teaching a different learner...they all have different abilities, and they all need to be taught a different way. They’ve been very patient with Albert.”

The Lumsdens call Ancaster, Ont. their home, and they -- like many others in the harness racing industry -- are currently enduring an increasingly-long shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a surge of cases in the province.

“It’s been very hard on them,” Lumsden said of the horsemen dealing with the shutdown. “It’s the second time that harness racing’s been shut down because of the pandemic. They put together some very good COVID racing policy so that they could go back for the last seven months. But right now it’s been really hard on them. The horses always need care. They don’t know that it’s a pandemic, so their needs and their expenses are still ongoing. And we’d like to see those horses get back to competing, and get the people back working and use the online aspect and put those COVID policies back together because they did a very good job. Paramount is safety, but it’d be nice to get the athletes back working again and get the sport going again.”

The full feature from CHCH is available below.

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