Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Horse is a Horse, Of Course, Of Course

I, along with millions of other sports fans, was seated in front of a television on Saturday to watch the Belmont Stakes. Unlike most other folks, though, I certainly didn't think the outcome was a mere finality. Big Brown's trainer, Rick Dutrow, Jr., had simply mouthed off too much. Where I come from, we call it 'your mouth writing a check your ass can't cash'. Simply put, everyone, human animal or other animal, has a bad day. How many times have you seen a pitcher come off a 3 hitter and get shelled in the first inning on his next outing? Receivers win a game one week and have butter fingers the next? Cyclists simply blow up and drop out after winning a stage in the Tour de France? Me, have a fantastic workout one day, feeling like I could climb Mt. Everest (or at least leave all the chicks in the Friday 'Housewife Circuit' Class panting in the dust), to wanting to curl up in a non-exercise ball and die the next morning?

People have bad days. Dogs have bad days. Horses have bad days. Anyone with eyes and half a brain could see Big Brown started badly and never hit his stride. He fought the jockey, danced all over the track and simply didn't want, or need, to run. And Kent Desormeaux, the jockey, knew the race was over and pulled the horse up so there was no danger of injury. While I do think running those horses in that kind of heat is a dubious practice at best, I think even PETA would have to agree there was no doubt that Desormeaux had Big Brown's best interests at heart. The trainer? Maybe not so much. I think there was a little matter of the debt his mouth had incurred. While Dutrow has backed off his statement that the loss was the jockey's fault, he might want to keep his mouth shut until Big Brown's next race on August 23rd. It might cost more than he bargained for.