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Posted July 14, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Grace gets ready for her close-up on 'Today'

Amazing Grace smiles
Steve Foster makes his trick mule, Amazing Grace, smile on voice command. The pair will appear on NBC's "Today" show on Thursday. Dennis Grundman/Daily


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arrow Watch Steve Foster and Amazing Grace on NBC's Today Show

By Ben Orcutt -- borcutt@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Having tackled the movies, Steve Foster and his trick mule, Amazing Grace, are headed to New York this week for some time on the small screen.

Foster, 58, and Grace, who just turned 4, are slated to be guests Thursday on NBC's "Today" show. The invitation to appear comes on the heels of Grace winning America's Ultimate Horse Idol competition at Richmond International Raceway last year and then the announcement earlier this year that Foster and Grace will appear in the movie "Get Low," starring Academy Award winner Robert Duvall.

The cast also features Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray, with Foster slated to double in some scenes for Duvall. "Get Low" is scheduled to be released in October.

Foster thinks Duvall had a hand in getting him and Grace the appearance on "Today."

"I think Robert Duvall might have said something to [entertainment reporter] Jill Rappaport," Foster said. "He said something to her and then she called me."

Foster said NBC sent a film crew out to his Reliance Road home last week to get some footage of him and Grace, some of which will be aired on Thursday, in addition to their live appearance. He also expects a clip from the movie will be shown.

"I'm gonna leave Wednesday morning," Foster said.

Accompanying Foster on the drive north will be his wife, Pam, 46, and wrangler Kevin Patterson Jr., 23, of Front Royal.

"They're gonna put us up in a motel out there and then they're gonna escort us in and escort us out," Foster said. "Then we're gonna leave New York and I think we're going out to Jill's farm. She wants us to come out there. She has horses."

This will be Foster, Grace and their companions' first trip to the Big Apple, and Foster said they're all excited.

"Oh, yeah," Foster said. "Just got back from shopping for Grace and for ourselves and we're ready to roll. I've got her drinking a bottle of water and now we're kind of teaching her to dance a little bit. So we've got a lot of things we're working on right now."

Aside from the big movie break with Duvall, "Today" will be the biggest stage that Foster and Grace will have been on.

"Yep, this'll be the big one," Foster said. "I have no idea where it's leading to, just leading to the promised land is what I say."

Foster chuckled when told that it took a mule to get him and his wife their first trip to New York.

"Well, just look how a mule was used in the Bible," Foster said. "Look where it got some of them kings at. Read your Bible. If the Lord could use an ass, look what he can do with us."

Foster is working out the details of two performances with Grace set for Oct. 10 at Bing Crosby Stadium in Front Royal. He promises not to get a big head, though, after appearing with Grace on national television.

"I'll never change," Foster said. "I know where I come from. I've got to stay humble. The Lord giveth and the Lord can taketh away."

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