Chapter 9

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"Caitlyn, are you sure you want me to do that? You know with-" Amelia said.

"What do you think?" I say throwing my hands up.

"Let me run a few, quick tests." She says taking blood samples and anything else she could test. Duchess looked pitiful. I got on my knees and rubbed her face and neck. 

"You'll be okay." I whisper. She continues to breath heavily. I sing to her in French which was my second favorite language I have learned, Philippine being the first. 

"Then Amelia come bursting into the stall, "Caitlyn, come look. You aren't going to believe this," I jump up and follow her to the lab, "Look," She says pointing to a piece of paper.

I read the results and looked at her, "Drugs?"

"Uh, yeah, and whatever it is, is killing blood cells. It is pretty much eating here from the inside out. She is on the verge of dying." 

"What about the-"

"I know. I have called drug specialists who will be here ASAP."

The drug specialists were there within a hour. They started were working forensically on Duchess. They asked us to leave; so we all went to the lobby and waited. Then the leader of the team Hunter came out.

"Caitlyn."

"Yes."

"May I have a word."

I nod my head and follow him into the stable.

"You can't see her right now, but we have saved them both. Note that they might have complications later on, but with our specialists it is a small chance."

I jump up and hug him, "Thank you, thank you, thank you." I cry. I give him a kiss on the cheek.Then I run back to the lobby, "THEY SAVED THEM!!!" I scream. They all jump up and scream. We have a huge group hug. "Mike."

"Yes."

"Schedule the conference for Friday." 

"Got it!" He says and pulls out his phone.

Duchess was quarantined for the remainder of the week. Other than the specialists, Amelia, 2 of her techs, and I were the only ones who could visit her, but when we did we had to go in full body suits. Duchess seemed to perk up everyday.

"Caitlyn?"

I turn to see Hunter with police behind him. I give him a face.

"Are there security cameras?" He says.

"Well of course! I've been here so long I know this place lik the back of my hand."

"Good, where are the monitors."

"May I ask why? They are this way though if you would like to see them."

"We think Duchess was drugged on purpose."

"I would never!"

"Not you. Someone who had a motive to kill her."

"Follow me."

We went into the room and watched the tapes form the night before Duchess was found. 

"We have doubled security since Duchess has been here. She is to famous and valuable to not be under tight security." I say playing the video. We all grab chairs and watch. A man with a hoodie prys the door open and goes to the alarm, plugs in a code, and it doesn't go off.

"Only my team and workers know that code. Unless-no."

We switched to Duchess' stall's camera. The man pulls a syringe out of his pocket. Duchess looked happy to see the person which meant she knew whoever it was. The man pulls the hood off his head.

"Oh.my.God. It's Jones," I say becoming short of breath. I watched till he started rubbing the spot he would inject it, and Duchess started to freak, "I can't watch it anymore!" I say walking out of the room. 

A officer comes up to me and asks for all of Jones' information. I told him, and he said he would be releasing an arrest warrant and would keep me posted.

Friday- Press conference day

Duchess looked good. Her coat was silky and smooth. She had been washed a million times already. She curled her lip up as to smile. I laugh and give her a kiss on the nose.

"I'm glad I never gave up on you." When I say this she nuzzles me in the shoulder. I giggle. Mike comes in. Are you ready. I nod and give Rosie a leg up. I walk Duchess through the breezeway (FYI My cover is supposed to be of this moment, but instead the flowers are pink roses) and out into the area the press conference was being held. When she came into few everyone stood and cheered. I heard whoops, cheers and hollers. We got our picture taken and did everything we would do in the Whitney Winner's Circle. We untacked her and sat down after that, and since Mike was at the end of the table he held Duchess' lead rope. We began the conference by my and Amelia's opening statements. Of course I said the big things.

"Welcome everyone. Thank you for your support of my filly. The original plan was for Duchess to go back to the track, but some things have been decided and come up and she will be retired," I heard many aww's and no's, "Further more a week ago Duchess was found on her death bed seizing in her stall," I heard many gasps, "She was drugged by a person who's name will not be released, but once we find them and they are in custody, we will release the remaining information. Knock on wood that it won't happen, but Duchess and another horse might be suitable to complications later on because of the drugs. The drug was made lethal, but to cause a slow, painful death. Luckily, drug specialist were able to work quickly and save these two horses," I looked out to see everyone's confused faces when I said "these two horses","Now, over these 5 months here Duchess was bred to Smarty Maniac. She and her foal are healthy and doing well since the drugs," The press erupted in applause, "She will be staying here until she has her foal."

Amelia cleared her throat, "Thank you for coming. I wanted to give a update on Duchess' leg. She re broke her long pastern, bruised her cannon, and chipped her knee. She is now doing extremely well and is going through therapy daily. She is released out into the paddock daily, and we ultrasound her every other week to every 3 weeks. Thankfully technology has allowed her to live. If it were to be the time Barbaro came through here, we wouldn't have been able to save Duchess. She would have been put in the ground before round 1 even started. Technology has come a long way since then. Questions?"

A teen jumped up, "Will Duchess be in a position to be visited?"

I spoke up, "Yes, but you will need to make an appointment. We don't need to be bombarded, you know." 

She nods.

A man jumps up, "Will you race her foal."

"Of course, but that depends on if the foal will be able to. But yes the plan is to."

A woman jumps up, "Where will you retire Duchess?"

"Lanes End."

Another woman jumps up, "What is your plans with Celtic Phantom."

"I haven't had a clue what has been going on in the world for 5months, haven't touched my phone which has been sitting in my car for 5 months, or talked to my partners since The Classic. You guys probably know more about him than I do, but to answer that question, I will be evaluating him in two weeks; therefore I'll know then."

The press conference dragged on. Afterwards we put Duchess in her stall and for the first time in 5 months I touched my phone. I called Nathan to catch up.

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