Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Not to decide is to decide...or is it?

A lovely family friend has said, for as long as I can recall, that not to decide is to decide. To an extent he's right. By not choosing you are making a sort of choice, or at least allowing other forces, in some cases, to make your choice for you.

So here we are, less than a week out from the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby, and I guess I've decided not to decide. (For the record, The Viola Gopher Count in the wee hamlet of Viola, Minnesota, was first held in 1874, a year before the inaugural Kentucky Derby. The folks in Viola still hold the Gopher Count and are pretty proud that it predates the Derby by a year. Here's their website, I'll leave it up to my intrepid readers to learn how the "count" is accomplished.  (http://gophercount.com/)

Right...rodent census festivities aside, I don't have a Derby horse. Not in any sense. If you've stopped by here before you know that I've already bemoaned my lack of an equine favorite for the big day. This could be in part, at least, because I was so uninspired by Mine That Bird last season. The game little gelding just never did it for me. Having fallen in serious love with Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra, my affections and attentions were simply engaged elsewhere.

I've heard and read of many others having my same dilemma and all expressed it very well and with great humor. The fact is that when you are known to be "horsey" by others, they automatically assume you have a favorite for the Triple Crown season. This year those who have posed that question to me have been answered with a shrug and mumbled 'dunno. There is a furrowing of their brow, usually, incredulous that I--the girl with an opinion on everything under the sun, not to mention a ready argument as to why I'm right--didn't have a Derby horse to tout.

I'll say again that I prefer a dark bay or a dappled gray to the usual assortment of chestnuts. And there are some trainers I've come to respect more than others. Smarty Jones and Funny Cide grew on me, I'd be lying if I said they were my choices before their respective Derby wins. In the case of Funny Cide, I was a fan of Empire Maker who, ironically, would deny the little gelding the Triple Crown by defeating him on the wide, sweeping turns of Belmont Park. And obviously I don't have personal connections to any of the trainers, owners, breeders or jockeys, so my little biases and favorites are based on my gut and small tidbits I hear and read. Neither scientific nor fair, but there we are.

So where does this leave me? Well, I have a few horses I'm "in like" with, so I'll wait and see what happens. I have like for Jackson Bend, though I don't think he's likely the winner; I also have some like for Super Saver and Calvin Borel...they may have a shot; Devil May Care, a filly in the Derby is interesting...I'd be happy for a sistah to win. Paddy O'Prado is a lovely gray, but one report from earlier today suggested he didn't like the slop at all (and who could blame him?) so he may not run his best over a runny mess on Saturday either. So we're back at the beginning, aren't we?

Quite frankly, I'm more excited by some of the races on Friday, Kentucky Oaks day, and their entrants. Rachel Alexandra has been pointed toward the La Troienne and will have a rematch against Zardana who defeated the HotY a few weeks ago. And Unrivaled Belle is interesting, too, I'll be curious to see how she fares against little Z and Rachel.

All that said, I still love this time of year, the promise of a Triple Crown is alive and the possibilities for all of these talented three-year-olds are fun to ponder. And the good news? Just about anything can happen...hey, the Habs tied up the series with the Caps, that should allow for nearly boundless hope where horses are concerned. I refuse to listen to the trash-talkers and nay-sayers who seem to get a good deal of enjoyment out of tossing about the "not a chance" retorts when a horse's name is thrown into the ring. To be sure they know exponentially more about the odds and entrants than I ever will, but on any given day anything can happen...that's why they run the race. Go with your heart and bet on who you love...and if you can get a great price, so much the better. Just enjoy these wonderful weeks when we get to welcome--albeit temporarily--the rest of the country into the horse racing fold.

1 comment:

sid fernando said...

Very impressed, M, that you mentioned Super Saver/CB and Paddy, as well as Unrivaled Belle....all a week out!