Spokane horse breeder and former Eastern Washington running back Tim Floyd didn’t meet his biological mother until he was 30.
Long before Floyd helped EWU win its first NCAA Division I-AA playoff game in 1985 and flourished on the school’s now-defunct wrestling team, he was adopted.
A 16-year-old gave birth to Floyd, who was surrendered to Catholic Charities and ultimately paired with a man and woman who positively shaped his life.
“I have the greatest parents you could have asked for, always supportive, always went to my games,” said Floyd, who grew up in Othello, Washington. “I don’t know what it’s like to be raised by a biological parent. It gave me more respect for them, because I’m not their biological son and they loved me.”
He chronicled a similar love on his 35-acre property in south Spokane County, home to Warlock Stables, a thoroughbred breeding and racing operation that houses more than 30 horses.
It, too, was derived from misfortune.
Two years ago, a mare owned by Floyd was struck with the often-fatal colic, a painful abdominal condition that led to the animal being put down.
Compounding the horse’s death was a weeks-old foal that lost its mother and needed to be nursed.
Floyd acted quickly, responding to a Facebook post from a friend, Lisa Emtman, whose paint mare Allure in Spokane had recently lost a foal, advertising the milk-heavy mother’s services.
The orphan was shipped to Spokane and was swiftly accepted by the grieving mare despite their different breeds, the premise of Floyd’s book, “Baby Haynes: A True Story About Adoption and Unconditional Love.”
“She loves her foals, and when she doesn’t have one, she’s the babysitter. Very maternal,” Emtman said. “I was pretty confident (the pairing would work).”
That young horse – now a strong and healthy 2-year-old that goes by the racing name “Myuddermamasapaint” – has a rich pedigree.
Baby Haynes is the son of Haynesfield, a thoroughbred that earned more than $1.3 million in racing earnings in his career.
His mother, In Vitro, who appeared in 12 races before her 2018 death, is the daughter of Demon Warlock, the 2004 Washington Horse of the Year.
Legendary race horse Secretariat is also in Baby Haynes’ bloodline.
Baby Haynes made his debut last month at Emerald Downs, placing third. He placed fifth on Thursday at the same venue, taking home $5,250 in earnings between the two races.
“He has a lot of potential,” Floyd said of Baby Haynes. “He’s the biggest horse in the race with a big, long stride.”
Floyd, Washington’s Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s Breeder of the Year in 2017, would know.
Like Floyd, his young horse’s life was enriched by an adopted mother, Allure, with little resistance.
But it took a little work.
Allure’s milk and other bodily fluids were rubbed onto Baby Haynes in their initial interaction. It took about a few hours for Allure to believe Haynes was her son.
“They really hit it off,” Floyd said. “As someone who is adopted myself, I could relate.”
“By the time (Allure) went to Tim’s, it was a few days out and doing OK,” Emtman said. “She is the happiest when a foal is at her side.”
Floyd’s 22-page, picture-heavy book is told from the perspective of Baby Hayes and was released in March at the beginning of the coronavirus shutdown.
“We hoped to get the book in stores around the country, but COVID messed that up,” Floyd said.
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