Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Kingdom for a Horse

So many horses, so little time!

It's been a great racing summer at Saratoga, judging by all I've read. Great horses, exciting races and budding rivalries...just what it ought to be.

I'd intended to get up to The Spa earlier in the season, but I'm thrilled to say I'll be there on Saturday for the day and I couldn't be more excited. I'll try to post pics here, but I'll surely be posting them to my Twitter feed--ThePaperTyger--so follow my day there, too, for all the sights and sounds. (And no doubt crowds, too. It's going to be a gorgeous late summer day in upstate NY and I expect everyone will be out!)

Will Rachel prevail? Who can say. I think I'm right in saying this will be the toughest test--by a long shot, actually--that she's faced yet. Cool Coal Man, another Bird horse, Macho Again, and the big and bullish Bullsbay all want to keep the filly at heel, so it should be exciting. If she wins, all issues about HOY should be put to rest, I think. These are big boys and they have more experience than Rachel does and I'm sure they'd like to give her a little schooling :) Steve Haskins from has a very subjective analysis of Rachel's chances HERE, and his look at what might be next for Rachel & Co is HERE. There is talk of Rachel and Zenyatta both running in the Beldame at Belmont on October 3, 2009. So much to look forward to as we ramp up to the Breeders Cup races in November.

One other note, you may have noticed that the Boston Mounted Unit was utterly missing from Senator Kennedy's funeral procession. Their disbanding earlier this year for what were termed "budgetary reasons" left a real gap in the procession for we horse people. Chris Matthews even commented on the lack of horses then basically saying that motorcades these days are all cars and motorcycles. I did yell at the TV, but I'm pretty sure that neither Chris Matthews or Keith Olbermann heard me. The missing horse presence had nothing to do with the march of progress or "the times," it was about a ridiculous budget cut that's not saving the City of Boston very much money. Caparisoned horses and riderless horses are traditional to honor the fallen--whether it is a President, a Senator or any hero--and history is rich with these memorable horses. (In the US Military the caparisoned horse is formally part of the military honors given to an Army or Marine Corps officer who was a colonel or above; this includes the President, by virtue of having been the nation's military commander in chief and the Secretary of Defense, having overseen the armed forces.) From Black Jack who was so graceful in President John F. Kennedy's funeral procession to Sergeant York who was kitted out with Ronald Reagan's own riding boots--facing backward in the stirrups to denote the fallen leader--these beautiful animals have imprinted on our collective memory. I fully appreciate that protocol may not have allowed for the full equestrian treatment in Washington, but even a small presence of the Historic Boston Mounted Unit would have been most memorable, I'm certain.

Photo at the top is of Sergeant York --the Standardbred "Allaboard Jules" in his previous life!

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