Horse Page

May 07, 2008

I was the biggest lop of shit in history Saturday. In fact, over the course of the weekend, I barely left the house over the whole 48-hour period. And I did nothing to clean up the yard or fix up the building at all. I didn't even look at my phone from when I put it down Friday evening until Monday morning.

Which is how I missed several calls, and a text from Shelly asking for my secret recipe for red beans. It turns out that I don't really have a recipe (like with actual measurements and all), but I do have a consistent process. For the first time every, I'm sharing my secret recipe here.

Saturday, I had the horse races from Churchill Downs on from about 10:30, through the coverage of the Kentucky Derby at around 6:30. I did take Vanya to the park once in the morning, and I went for a bike ride in the afternoon. Also, I was asleep for a couple of hours in there, so I really didn't come close to the 8 straight hours of racing that it seems like I did.

The name of this year's derby winner has allowed me to formulate a joke that I've already used three times. Just substitute the phrase, "a Kentucky Derby Champion" when you want to reference poop. For example, "Can you wait ten minutes before we go? I need to make a Kentucky Derby Champion." Or, "Do you have a Kentucky Derby Champion in your diaper?" If I were energetic enough, I would change the title on my home page to "theskinnyonbenny: making a Kentucky Derby Champion at 9:30 every morning."

On a more serious note, I want to ponder the fate of Eight Belles. Here was a filly (female horse, three years old or less. Older female horses are mares.) who was supposed to run in the Kentucky Oaks the prior Friday. This is the premier stakes race for fillies. It's rare for them to compete in the Derby, which is open to horses of both sexes.

Anyway, Eight Belles showed such promise that she was scratched from the Oaks so that she could run in the Derby. She ran a great race, finished second, and then broke both of her front legs in her cool-down. They euthanized her where she fell, after arranging two equine and one human ambulance around her so that the spectators would be spared the sight of it all.

One part of my mind knew what was happening when I saw the ambulances were pulling into position. But it was overridden by the thought of, "They're going to subject this horse to a painful improbable recovery like Barbaro. They should probably go ahead and put her down."

They did the right thing, but it was shocking nevertheless. NBC went to the track for an update, and it was already done. They showed one shot of the horse falling, and got the camera out of there.

I can't imagine the swing from high to low as, MY HORSE JUST WON THE KENTUCKY DERBY, to MY HORSE IS DEAD, as the owners of Eight Belles must have experienced. ESPN's Stuart Scott talked about watching the race with a young daughter, who was pulling for Eight Belles, as the only filly in the field. I would hate to have to explain that. It was too quick to change channels, so you would have gone from high-fiving the kid to consoling her and explaining about death. That would be horrible.

Getting back to Big Brown, he looked more than a little impressive. He was four or five wide going around every turn, and through most of the race, Kent Desormeaux seemed to be holding him back. When he turned the horse loose, he blew past everyone and looked to have more in the tank.

The Preakness is his to lose. The only question mark is that Big Brown will be running on two-week's rest, which is nothing for a horse. Most of the other Preakness entries will have not run in the Derby, so they'll be primed to go. It's a shorter race than the other two, and a Big Brown win will have the world buzzing about a triple crown.

The Belmont is just two more weeks away, and it's a whopping mile and a half. These horses run forever, and to win a triple crown, they have to do it as their third week in a month and a half. It's a grueling task, and I'm starting to suspect that the horses that are fast enough don't have the stamina to win all three. We may not see another triple crown winner in our lifetimes. Fathom that.