Saturday, May 3, 2008

Horsin' Around

Hey! Did you hear! Today's the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby! Did you squeeze into your jockey pants and perch yourself in front of your High-Def TV with surround sound in eager anticipation of the starting bell? Me neither. I don't have tiny jockey pants.

You would think that being a math teacher, I would LOVE to calculate the odds of horses with funny names likelihoods of winning (Big Brown is the 5-2 favorite to win today), but you'd be horribly mistaken (that's OK, it's probably not the first time.) Or perhaps because I spent 10 days in Louisville last summer with 1000 of my closest calculus friends that I would have an appreciation for all things derby, but again, that would be a mistake. Maybe you would conjecture that since my kids have been wearing their souvenir Derby shirts all year, that tuning into today's 1.250000001 mile race (to be exact) would validate our apparent fashionable support of the event for the last 11 months, but again, you'd be incorrect.

Although the names "Z Humor," "Denis of Cork," "Tale of Ekati (partial entry?)," "Big Truck," and "Anak Nakal" are intriguing, considering they're nothing more than horses who will run around an giant prolated ellipse (of which the foci have no real strategic advantage), the seductiveness of 2 minutes of hoof-stomping excitement is not enough for me to plan my day around. Now if their was a big truck entered into the race with a name of "fast horse," I might consider watching while my daughter's Easy Mac was boiling in the microwave. MMMMM . . . .Easy Mac. It's so yummy and . . . easy.

Anyway, we'd surely read about it on the third page of the sports section the next day, how some unexpected horse ran away with the crown (at 30-1, you can't quite statistically count out "Monba") and how they are now sudden favorites in the next two races, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes (yes, I have revealed that I know too much about horse racing or that I use Google.) OR we'll read that "Big Brown" won handily, cheered on by the Blue Bull and the Beautiful Baboon who were wildly cheering while biking backwards, blowing bubbles, only to bump black bug's, banana boxes and Billy Bunny's breadbasket and brother Bob's baseball bus and Buster Beagle's banjo bagpipe-bugle band. His victory surely broke baby bird's balloon (who was incidentally betting on "Bob Black Jack.") "Big Browns" victory only means that he has now all but guaranteed that he will NOT win the Triple Crown and will likely suffer some tragic injury (see Barbaro)

I certainly hope that's not the case. No one wants to see an animal in pain, especially one that is as exploited as a thoroughbred, especially since their fate is much more ephemeral. Nonetheless, the race itself is the anti-climactic climax to an entire week of equestrian fanfare that concludes with the winning jockey, whose name nobody can pronounce, much less remember, drinks a glass of milk while holding the Stanley cup over his head, while his winning filly poses for a picture on the top of the podium wearing a yellow jersey and a wreath of roses . . . or something like that.

Anyways, after a long day filled with unexpected grief and strife, I'm off to the Retama Race Track in Selma, Texas to enjoy an evening with some close friends to watch the gamblers sit around some close-circuit TVs watching hoping to strike it rich. The horse races will be fun too watch too.


Anonymous said...

Go "Pyro!" Light the track on fire!

kwkorpi said...

After the race yesterday, in which the favorite "Big Brown" won handily, the second-place finisher, "Eight Belles" went down a quarter-mile beyond the finish line. She had broker both of her front feet and had to be euthanized on the track.

It's amazing how powerful and majestic these animals and how advanced our science of medicine is, but by the same token, how fragile and prone to injury they are and how we are so incapable of helping them heal.