by Barbara van Tuyl
My friends, we have reached the end for Bonnie and Julie. I know it's hard to accept, but in time I feel we'll all be able to move on and lead fulfilling lives.
Bonnie just had to win the Marquesa Stakes and make her racing comeback. Everyone said she was good enough to do it. And it would mean everything to Bonnie's owner, Julie Jefferson, lying in a hospital bed after a cruel accident at the track. Yet Bonnie's return to her remarkable winning form did not end the run of bad luck for Julie and her trainer Monty Everett. For Bonnie was showing up positive in the track tests for drugs, and that meant trouble with a capital T! After all, what good was winning if you were accused of cheating and barred from racing?
But who would dope Bonnie? And how could the Deepwater crew catch the culprit and put Monty and Bonnie back in racing again...?
Well, I am remarkably less enthused about this installment. I think it's possibly because it's finally gotten on my last nerve that everyone loves Julie Jefferson to the point of worshiping at her feet. Also, Julie pulls a bit of a Cindy McLean in this book, and as we all know that's enough to set me on edge. Give me another seriously injured girl who won't shut up about winning races/seeing races/assisting the super special horse that needs her sublime presence and won't listen to medical advice to the point that she finds herself half-paralyzed and sprawled on a hospital floor...and I don't know what I will do. Probably start weeping as I hold the book to an open flame. Yeah...something melodramatic like that.
So, as we all know from several previous installments, Bonnie is the best racing filly that ever was. Julie is the most loved girl in horse racing, if not the world. Bonnie, however, has suffered some horrible luck and as a result got injured, suffered through some crazy breeding adventure, gave birth to twins, and is now back on the track looking at a come back. Everyone is thrilled except for Monty, who is simply cautiously optimistic. Monty is awesome, I have decided. He's really the only one who acts like he has a brain.
The book opens up with exercising Bonnie, and I guess she's training so well that Monty starts mentioning this Marquesa Stakes thing and this somehow leads him to a pancake house with Julie. They eat pancakes. I guess. I don't know...I read that part quite a while ago. I just know that this scene ends during a rainstorm and in the middle of the storm, while they're driving back to the farm, Julie sees "something alive" on the side of the road. Just guess what it is. Guess. I bet you will get it right on the first try.
It's another dog. Someone ran over it (while it was, like, not raining!) and left it to die. Yeah, poor it. I didn't really care all that much because all I was thinking was "Really? Another damned dog?" Monty is kinda thinking the same thing, proof positive for why he's awesome. Unfortunately Julie wears the pants in their non-relationship and insists that they take the dog to this vet and then she comes up with this idea that she'll open an animal shelter at Deepwater Farm and because Mr. T is rich he says sure? Something like that. And she keeps the dog. She names it Barney or something along those lines. She now has a Beagle, a St. Bernard, and this new dog, which is an Irish Wolfhound. How she manages this, I really don't know.
Moving on, Bonnie continues to be fantastic. Everyone exclaims on how fantastic she is. Oh, to be so fantastic! Then Julie kinda sorta gets squished by a crazy run away and injures her back. This is the END OF THE WORLD for everyone, pretty much. Because, as previously stated, Julie is everyone's personal Jesus in these books. So Bonnie's stakes race comes along and by that point there's been this long hospital drama I don't care to get into because there was all of that "but I have to see the race!" and more "like hell you do!" and more "but I really can walk! oh, wait... *collapses*" and then some "well, okay, but as long as you stay in your wheelchair..." and by that point I wanted someone to run a car over her.
But then Bonnie wins! Oh, bliss! She wins her race by seventeen lengths and sets a new track record of 2:01 and something which doesn't impress me. Everyone is thrilled. Only then they have to test her and a couple of days later they are informed that her tests are "cloudy" but not positive...so, yeah. Monty screams a lot and the racing secretary guy just sort of shrugs and since they are "cloudy" they are not disqualified? Well, whatever. It doesn't really matter because this means Julie has to immediately ask Monty why he did it. Wow, that's friendship for you.
Monty is suitably crushed. The girl he loves and wants to marry instantly suspects him of doping her equine soul mate. What is a boy to do? So everyone finally gets over Julie's super shininess to tell her she was being a bitch to Monty, and she's still determined to blame him because she figures he couldn't handle seeing her disappointed or some such.
Now, granted, Monty has been treating her like glass for five books now. I understand Julie's frustration because she's something like 22 at this point and I imagine she just wants to have sex already. Monty still sees her as a child, but really, it's just ridiculous. So then Julie finally realizes that this can't possibly be right. Monty wouldn't do such a thing because he's awesome.
So another race comes along. Bonnie wins by eleven or twelve lengths or something. She comes back with another positive test. Monty freaks again. Julie freaks. Everyone freaks. What's more, Monty gets suspended so they have to move Bonnie off to another trainer. Mr. T is NOT HAPPY. But because he's rich and therefore powerful, he pushes his weight around and gets Bonnie put in a stable to herself with 24/7 guard so she'll be under watch constantly. It is, theoretically, impossible for this horse to be tampered with. So what happens? Yeah, she comes back from another race (she wins it by ten lengths) and has yet another positive result. All hell breaks loose because at this point they're all questioning each other and so forth.
Mr. T has had it. He's ready to pull Bonnie off the track. But then someone comes up with the idea to send Bonnie to Cornell. Because they have some fancy lab equipment that they can put to use testing their horse to see if she'll randomly test positive for amphetamines. As it turns out, she does. So apparently she's just special and producing her own steroids? Well, whatever is happening, Bonnie is the source of all the drama because her metabolism changed after her pregnancy and no matter what she'll keep spitting out false positives.
I have no idea if this is possible. With people, kidney and liver disease will give you a false positive for amphetamines...as well as diabetes...but I don't know how this works for horses. I have no interest in finding out, either. As it happens.
Anyway, everyone is happy. Monty finally asks Julie to marry him and she says yes.
- Monty is as "hopelessly tongue-tied as a bashful lad out of the summer of 1875." Were lads especially bashful in the summer of 1875, or is this a reference I'm not catching?
- "The other boys would have loved to beat [Sunbonnet]. I know for a fact the boy on Ruby Frump bet a bundle on [Sunbonnet]..." Yeah, that's not possible. Jockeys can only bet races through the owner of the horse they're riding, only on the horse they're riding, and only to win. Also, who names a horse Ruby Frump?