Objects in the rear view are not as close as they appear.
When the horse racing posts started, the reception was less than lukewarm. The response list is always dominated with comments ranging from “horse racing is stupid” to “when are we going to know about Jasper.” Now, it’s clear that the majority of this board is dedicated to recruiting, and it does a wonderful job getting info about as quickly as possible (thanks Matt and Co.), but last Saturday, something happened: a horse won the Preakness by daylight, and his jockey didn’t need to bring his whip to the race. Not once did Kent Desormeaux hit his horse. He shook the reins a couple of times and won his third consecutive Grade 1 race going away. Hopefully, PETA was watching.
So, why not go ahead and let the Sport of Kings into your world for the next three weeks? Read up on the potential Triple Crown winner, don’t change the channel when he pops up on Sportscenter…hell, place a wager on the big guy and then save the winning ticket for your grandchildren and tell them you saw the first Triple Crown winner in thirty years. And don’t tell me that three weeks is too much hype for a horse race. The NBA playoffs are interminable, and the two weeks before the Super Bowl are a joke. Let’s face it, if you’re around thirty (as I am), you can remember the breaking of Hank Aaron’s record, the fall of Communism, UK football winning two consecutive bowl games, the UK basketball program experiencing five coaches and one probationary period, the advent of the Internet, two wars, and countless other unforgettable moments in history, but you haven’t seen a horse win the Triple Crown.
And the beauty of it all is that most of us live in the world’s epicenter of Horse Country. Why, as a Kentuckian, wouldn’t you be a fan of this sport? I understand that few of you care about the mundane drudgery of the racing week from Wed-Sunday, but on June 7, history will hang in the balance, and, against what the odds makers will tell you, it will be anything but easy. Casino Drive comes from Japan with only two races under his belt, one being a 5 3/4 lengths victory in the Peter Pan Stakes (Gr. II) at Belmont Park. Denis of Cork has had five weeks to rest after a game finish in the Derby. Plus, they go a mile-and-a-half.
Most importantly, Big Brown was born in Lexington’s-own Monticule Farm . He’s a Kentuckian, and he will spend his glorious days at stud in Lexington on Old Frankfort Pike at Three Chimneys Farm. Possibly one of the biggest sports stories in the past thirty years will live a majority of his life in Kentucky. He can only help the legend that is horse racing in the Bluegrass.
So, give the sport a chance. Nobody says you have to stop watching the playoffs, or get a subscription to the Daily Racing Form (which is expensive…I’ve checked), or quit following the saga that is Jasper in Cali, but it just seems like some people believe that there isn’t enough room for basketball, football, baseball, and the ponies. It’s fun being a sports fan from Kentucky right now. Rajon Rondo and Brandon Webb are making us fill with pride this spring as they put their mark on their respective sports. Just realize that on June 7, another Kentuckian will stride into battle to try and show the world where he’s from. The saddlecloth will read Big Brown, but, hopefully, he’ll have a lot of Big Blue behind him.