Off to the races: Meet the little horse that could

CONNERSVILLE, Ind. -- For as long as her parents can remember, 11-year old Breana Carsey has had this crazy dream. She has always wanted a broodmare -- a mommy horse -- that could give birth to a baby horse -- that could then grow up to become a racing champion.

"Absolutely, this was a fairy tale for her from day one. We put it off for five years almost, because we don't have a farm," Breana's father Brian Carsey said.

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Breana's childhood drawings of the horse she always wanted The Carsey Family

Why doesn't he just say no? "Well...she has me wrapped around her finger."

Her foal -- an Ohio standardbred -- was born in the spring of 2013. She named him MJB Got Faith. MJB for the initials of the kids in her family -- and Got Faith for the faith she instantly had in him.

"I really loved him," Breana said of her first time meeting MJB Got Faith. "He's super soft too."

Sweet, but that quick bond posed a real problem for her dad. See, for whatever reason, Brian thought once he explained to his daughter that her horse could never race -- that it was a runt from poor breeding stock -- she would just agree to sell it. But obviously not.

"She's like, there's no price daddy. So I'm talking to my wife and it's like, we really got ourselves in a mess here. And I don't know how we're going to get out of this," Brian said. "So we stake him to the races.This horse that I thought we should have gotten rid of already."

Breana said her dad couldn't see what she saw in MJB. "He didn't believe in him."

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Breana and her horse MJB Got Faith CBS News

So now Brian's committed to boarding and training a horse that has no logical reason to race. And this is not a wealthy family. Brian runs a small logistics company. Ohio racing -- which is harness-style racing -- is a $900 million a year industry.

MJB Got Faith was so slow he barely even qualified to compete -- but then somehow, someway -- won his first race.

Then his second race.

Then his third and his fourth, qualifying him for the state championship held recently in Columbus, Ohio.

"I said 'Baby, if you finish third, you should be so thankful,'" Brian remembered telling his daughter. "She goes, 'Daddy, if he finishes last I'm going to be thankful. But he's going to win.'"

And so it was that a little horse with no pedigree -- a pet with no reason for racing beyond the blind faith of a little girl -- won an Ohio Sire Stakes championship.

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Breana took home $100,000 that day. She has already given away half of it to charity. As for the other half, she plans to use that money as a down payment on a farm.

"I just want to be able to have a farm and go out my backdoor and see him."

That's her plan for happily ever after -- just a girl, her horse, and knowing her father ... maybe a cat too.

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.