Monday, June 9, 2008

That's What Makes Horse Races

Well, the room was more than stunned as we watched Big Brown patiently run in the number three position for much of the Belmont and, as we cajoled the TV that it was time to make the move to the front, he just faded.

Of the women present, one was a classical riding trainer and three others ride regularly, so we all know that there are days when a horse is just not interested. My trainer Gayle says "that's why we call them horses, not motorcycles or bicycles."

It does raise bigger questions about what effect steroids do have on a race horse--and, in particular, what effect they had on this horse. It will be a better racing world when steroids are banned from racing and all the horses are on a level playing field.

I was sorry that Casino Drive needed to be scratched, but better a scratch then a damaged animal.

Sally Jenkins wrote a terrific article in the Washington Post, praising Kent Desormeaux for doing what was best for Big Brown when it was clear that something wasn't right with him. She is straight-forward about the unsavory people who own and train the horse, but recognizes that the jockey isn't one of them. Mr. Desormeaux left a press conference saying he will never doubt what he did was right, which is a good place to be for a man who seemed tortured by the press for his loss of the Triple Crown in 1998 on Real Quiet.


Grey Horse Matters said...

It certainly was an interesting race. I was a little shocked to see the jockey pull the horse up. I do give him all the credit in the world for taking care of the horse and worrying more about him than a paycheck. All jockeys should be like him. Steroids should be banned to level the playing field,you are right about that.No one will really know why Big Brown just didn't want to race that day. Could be the heat,lack of steroids, could also be the quarter crack,(but the trainer or owners will never say it was because of that). I'm not saying it was just it could have been and if that were the case , they would get so much flack for racing him with a damaged hoof, no one will ever know. I'm still very impressed by the jockey and will check out that article you mentioned. Hope your party was a success and all had a great time.

M. C. Valada said...

The party was definitely a success, despite the outcome of the race. I forgot to take pictures of the food, which was lovely. My friend Laurie brought flowers to decorate the dishes, and there was a great variety of goodies from which to choose.

Here's another piece from the New York Times written before the race ( which explains why the writer would have congratulated Big Brown on a win, but wasn't rooting for him to win. He thinks that the people around Big Brown represent what is the worst of horse racing and a win would have put more horses in danger by making them more of a commodity than the living, breathing athletes they are.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Just read the N.Y.Times opinion article and couldn't agree with the author more. He's got it all right.