It’s no surprise that most people readily assume that I love horseracing. After all, my last mystery, TRIPLE CROSS, took place at the Kentucky Derby.
I do love watching horses run, but I don’t love horseracing. I love horses, and there’s the difference. In my opinion, any equine sport, whether it be the Olympic disciplines, barrel racing, endurance riding, etc., becomes less horse friendly at the upper levels where considerable prize money, reputations, and ego come into play. So, it was nice to see Rachel Alexandra’s connections (she won the 2009 Kentucky Oaks and Preakness) withdraw her from the Belmont Stakes scheduled this Saturday because they were thinking of her longtime health.
I applaud them. They put the horse first.
Now, if you haven’t seen this year’s Kentucky Derby or Oaks, you’ve missed two outstanding performances by two special horses.
In the 2009 Kentucky Derby, Calvin Borel (a.k.a. Calvin Bo-Rail for his penchant of sneaking horses through gaps that open up along the rail) guided Mine That Bird from dead last to a stunning victory that made the rest of the field look like it was running in slow-mo. An amazing performance. In fact, the announcer was so focused on the horses that had comprised the race most of the way around the oval, he didn’t even notice Mine That Bird until the horse had pulled into a comfortable lead. After watching the video, back it up just a bit and watch Borel and Mine that Bird fly over to the rail in three strides and explode down the rail.
If you were impressed with the Derby, the Kentucky Oaks will blow you away. Rachel Alexandra, who went on to win the Preakness, proves she can run with the boys, no problem. What a special horse.
Here’s to Saturday and the Belmont Stakes. I’m hoping Mine That Bird continues his winning ways.