Category Archives: Sport

Eight Belles

It’s painful and sad to see a horse go down during a horse race. I’ve watched it several times and each time it happens, I shudder. The joy and pleasure of the Kentucky Derby was diminished a bit upon hearing that Eight Belles, the talented filly who ran second to Big Brown, had gone down on the gallop out and had to be euthanized.

Since that harsh event, there has been a bit of an uproar about the death of Eight Belles. Photos and videos of her falling appear daily, although I’ll watch none of them. There are cries of animal cruelty, banning the jockey, Gabriel Saez, punishing the jockey for animal cruelty, banning horse racing. The list goes on and on.

I love horse racing. I hate to see these beautiful animals die when such an event occurs. I’m am not going to be an apologist for this sport either. There are dangers in racing both to horse and rider. Most jockeys have broken many bones in their bodies during their careers of riding on top of 1200 pound animals traveling at 35-40 miles and hour. Several have been paralyzed for life, and others have died during a race.

I’m not even sure they know when or how the injury to Eight Belles occurred. Most racing injuries are to one leg, Eight Belles painfully broke both ankles. That’s very rare.

The answers are not simple. There are some positive safety results in using a synthetic racing surface such as the one at Keeneland. Three year-olds are young animals, their bodies are not completely developed yet. Horses are bred (and significantly inbred), favoring speed over strength and stamina. Performance altering drugs are rampant in the industry.

Horse racing is dangerous for all participants. So is car racing and football. The argument about those sports is that the participants in those sports make a choice, where horses do not.

I will continue to love and enjoy these beautiful animals in racing. I’ll celebrate their achievements and be saddened by their deaths. I’m glad, in some respects, that a discussion is going on about racing. It is needed. On the other hand, a knee-jerk reaction is not.

Paul Daley, a columnist for the Lowell Sun (Mass.), whose words on the subject of horse racing I respect, recently published a column on the topic.

Your comments are welcome.

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Derby Picks

The 134th running of the Kentucky Derby is over. Big Brown won. Decisively. Here’s the chart.

If you’ve followed my blog for the past few days, you’d know that I’ve teased you, dear reader, with the possibility of offering you my expert Derby picks. If, like many, you were awaiting my selections with baited breath prior to placing your wagers, then you must be happy. I saved you money.

Had you taken my selections to the windows, you would not have cashed your ticket. I liked Gayego, Pyro, and Court Vision. Obviously, they did not hit the board, as they finished 17th, 8th, and 12th respectively.

I was skeptical about Big Brown as the favorite and ultimate winner. Although he’d won all three of his previous races decisively, I was skeptical. Especially from the 20 hole.

What do I know? His rider, Kent Desormeaux, hustled him towards the front and kept him on the outside, out of traffic and trouble. He appeared relaxed and strong, and when heading into the turn and asked “the question”, he responded, full of run and drawing away.

The media keeps hyping this guy as a Triple Crown winner. I don’t know. He won the first leg, but it remains to be seen if he’s that good. Maybe he is, we’ll see in the next leg at the Preakness Stakes in two weeks.

Still No Derby Picks

Stay tuned for my Derby picks later this week. Here are the post positions for the 134th running of The Kentucky Derby. So everyone get out their pens and start handicapping this race.

Below you will find, post position, runner, jockey and morning line.

1. Cool Coal Man, J.Leparoux, 20-1
2. Tale of Ekati, E.Coa, 15-1
3. Anak Nakal, R.Bejarano, 30-1
4. Court Vision, G.Gomez, 20-1
5. Eight Belles, G.Saez, 20-1
6. Z Fortune, R.Albarado, 15-1
7. Big Truck, J.Castellano, 50-1
8. Visionaire, J.Lezcano, 20-1
9. Pyro, S.Bridgmohan, 6-1
10. Colonel John, C. Nakatani, 4-1
11. Z Humor, R.Douglas, 30-1
12. Smooth Air, M.Cruz, 20-1
13. Bob Black Jack, R.Migliore, 20-1
14. Monba, R.Dominguez, 15-1
15. Adriano, E.Prado, 30-1
16. Denis of Cork, C.Borel, 20-1
17. Cowboy Cal, J.Velazquez, 20-1
18. Recapturetheglory, E.T.Baird, 20-1
19. Gayego, M.Smith, 15-1
20. Big Brown, K.Desormeaux, 3-1

Feel free to post your selections in the comments, and be sure to come back by Friday to see what my picks might be. I’ll have several tickets available for you to use or avoid.

So who do ya like??

No Derby Picks Yet

OK. It’s the start of Derby Week. I’m supposed to have “expert picks” for this race on The First Saturday in May. I’m mean, I am a horse racing fan. So I should have Derby Picks.

To appease my dear readers for the next several days, let me offer up this Rolling Stones video of their song, Dead Flowers instead.

And I promise, later on in the week. Derby Picks.

Now, back to you Chet…or Quinella Queen. David?

Quotable for Spring

In honor of the opening of the baseball season, I offer a series of baseball related quotes.

Baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical.
— Yogi Berra (1925 – )

Baseball is a skilled game. It’s America’s game — it, and high taxes.
— Will Rogers (1879 – 1935)

Opera in English is, in the main, just about as sensible as baseball in Italian.
— H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956)

Baseball has the great advantage over cricket of being sooner ended.
— George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)

If the fans don’t wanna come out to the ballpark, no one can stop ’em.
— Yogi Berra (1925 – )

Although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it’s open to anybody who owns hideous clothing.
— Dave Barry (1947 – )

Opening Day

Opening Day, that rite of spring whereupon the first baseball game was played, is a holiday in the Cincinnati area. Since the Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first professional baseball team, Major League baseball used to commemorate that tradition by having the now Cincinnati Reds play the first baseball game of the season. Until they sold out to television, which decided it preferable to play the first game during prime time on Sunday night before the “official” Opening Day. Cincinnati commemorates the day with a parade from Findlay Market, a party on Fountain Square, marching bands, and a baseball game that gets sold out in minutes to the scalpers, I mean, ticket resellers.

I don’t enjoy baseball much anymore. It’s not because my favorite teams, the aforementioned Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates are so darn lousy. Baseball was always so rich in tradition with strong appeal and connection to the fans. Much of that has been lost on me for quite some time now. Escalating ticket prices, poor pitching, spoiled players, as well as prevalence of performance-altering chemicals cause me to look elsewhere for my entertainment.

However, it is Opening Day of a new season. It’s spring and “hope springs eternal” (Alexander Pope). Winter is over, the smell of spring is in the air! The Reds will get some pitching this year. The team won’t be out of the division race by June.

At the time of posting of this article, the score was Diamondbacks 4 – Reds 4.  Middle of the 7th.

WTF

If you don’t know what “WTF” means, maybe you shouldn’t be playin’. I know because I have two teens-one in college, one in high school-that are skilled in “texting” (another example of a noun turned into a verb.)

Seen on the Super Bowl broadcast. Mostly ads.

  • Some vacuum cleaner is blowing air into some robot. Hose gets disconnected, blowing dust all over the screen. WTF.
  • Something like, “Dunkin Donuts gets things done each morning.” WTF.
  • For all those wanting to watch all the Super Bowl ads, go to some web site after the game. WTF.
  • We get to watch some dog lapping water out of a stainless steel bowl. In high def, the reflections off the bowl look pretty neat. But, WTF.
  • Several female people with names I didn’t recognize, sitting in those suites that us normal people couldn’t get close to. Were they drunk and/or pregnant? WTF.
  • Some guy takes a set of jumper cables, connected to a car battery, and attaches them to his nipples. Drinks some drink. Some other car starts. WTF.

And finally, the Giants have beaten the Patriots. 17-14. WTF.