Posts tagged “kentucky derby

Monday Reader: 4/28/2014

Posted on April 28, 2014

Photo: The New York Times

Photo: The New York Times

New rule instituted last year: I can write about horses, and I can read about horses, and I can ride them and love them and feed them oats. But I cannot give people advice on how to bet on them during the Triple Crown season. Last year, I gave a good friend of mine my opinion about how he should bet in the Kentucky Derby. I forget what I told him (I’ve since blocked it from my mind), but I know that at the end of the race, he sent me a text that read “To the moon, Alice.” Fortunately for me, our friendship has survived this great unpleasantness.

Having said that, The New York Times  ran a story today about Kentucky Derby favorite California Chrome. It’s the kind of story that makes me start thinking about Seabiscuit and I’ll Have Another, and equine glory on the Santa Anita track. It’s the kind of story I’d point the aforementioned friend to, if I were still in the business of giving betting advice this time of year. But because I’m out of that racket, I’ll just say here’s an interesting story about a plucky pony with the potential to be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. That’s all I’m saying. I promise.

Speaking of I’ll Have Another, The Vancouver Sun says his former jockey Mario Gutierrez is still looking for a great horse. Word is, he might have found it in Dancingtothestars, which won the Valentine’s Stakes at Santa Anita racetrack.

And, in The Sacramento Beetrainers debate the value of a pre-Derby workout on the Churchill Downs track.

Finally, The Washington Post looks at the widespread use of painkillers and performance-enhancing drugs in racehorses.

Addendum, posted on May 2, 2014 at 1:49 CST: The aforementioned friend in this Derby betting anecdote called my attention to a scene that wound up on the cutting room floor. It goes like this:

Friend who will go unnamed: …I’m probably with you on Lucky Day and Palice Malice. Goldencents will be too pricey due to Pitino’s involvement, and Orb is too much of a favorite. Revolutionary is out because he’s ridden by Borel – he’ll either be too expensive because of that, or if he’s cheap it’ll be because PawPaw has some inside scoop to stay away. But Lucky Day and PM seem to hit that sweet spot of not too pricey, but good shot at finishing in the money.
Paige:I have a hunch about Goldencents though, and, betting aside, I can’t seem to shake it. Maybe the name is too similar to a Bond film title, a fact that makes me think of Daniel Craig.
Friend who will go unnamed: I hope you’re right. Just got Goldencents for $675. Bidding on Lucky Day now.
Paige: Wait. Did I say Goldencents?
Friend who will go unnamed: You think you’re funny …
Paige: Goldencents is that stock car, right?



Posted on May 8, 2012

Sometime during my first year of graduate school, I sat up late one night wondering whether I had it in me to cross the finish line. I was tired. I was uncertain. I missed my usual level of contact with family and friends. I dreaded another week of 1,000+ pages of reading. I could not bear the thought of another paper that analyzed a book’s argument. I questioned why the hell I ever left Atlanta, moved to Louisiana and did this to myself and family too.

All of this over a dead Frenchman, but we’ll get to him at another time…

Across town, one of my classmates was suffering a similar bout of existential blues. That night, we exchanged inspirational You Tube videos featuring a battery of knockout punches, rah-rah speeches and the like, anything to spur each other on and remind each other that we could do it. One of the videos I sent him was the 1938 match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral. War Admiral was a Triple Crown winner and the odds-on favorite to win. Seabiscuit was a plucky little pony from the West Coast, a horse whose never-say-die style inspired Americans during the Great Depression.

Here’s that race:

There have been times when I’ve wanted to quit, drop out, say “enough is enough,” but I’ve kept going. I had faith that down the stretch I could make it across the finish line if I just kept digging. Some people have stuck by me throughout this process and cheered me on when I’ve fallen behind. For that I am grateful. Others have proven themselves to be less understanding. And you know what? That’s okay too. The finish line is so close I can taste it and as hard as this race has been, I can be proud of what I’ve accomplished so far and excited about what lies ahead.

I still have a final and a thesis defense before me, but I’ll take everything one length at a time.

In the meantime, I’ll be inspired by I’ll Have Another, a pony with Seabiscuit’s heart (and Left Coast successes), who took speedy Bodemeister by surprise this past weekend at the Kentucky Derby: