Eighteen hundred and seventy-five.Ulysses Grant was president. The first hockey game was played.And in Kentucky, Oliver Lewis rode Aristide to victory in the first Kentucky Derby.Nearly a century and …
Eighteen hundred and seventy-five.
Ulysses Grant was president. The first hockey game was played.
And in Kentucky, Oliver Lewis rode Aristide to victory in the first Kentucky Derby.
Nearly a century and a half later filled with mint juleps, cigars, seersucker suits, big hats and big money, the winner was disqualified.
I’ve always been a sports fan. I know a lot about basketball, football and tennis, and a fair amount about baseball.
I don’t know much about soccer or hockey beyond the fact that every once in a blue moon — and never when I’m watching for some reason — a projectile goes into a net for one whole point.
But I know virtually nothing about horse racing — primarily because I only watch two minutes of horse racing each year.
Kim and I always make a date to watch the Derby for some reason.
She always gets misty-eyed watching it. But then again, she gets misty-eyed when that little TV lizard talks about how in just 15 minutes she can save on car insurance.
I can’t say much. I have to fight getting emotional as well watching the Derby. The strength and majesty of the horses, the lifetime dedication of the jockeys and 150,000 people cheering them on moves me.
After Maximum Security won the race on Saturday, I stayed around and listened to the interviews with the jockey and the owner.
In case you didn’t see it, jockey Luis Saez spoke only a fair amount of English. But he didn’t need to speak much to convey the ecstasy he was experiencing.
He came to the U.S. from Panama when he was 16 on a work visa to ride horses. And on Saturday, his horse finished first in the Kentucky Derby.
Few people in the world have ever experienced a feeling like that, and I was proud for him.
Then I left to run a quick errand.
In 10 minutes or so, Kim called.
“Are you listening to the news?”
Anytime anyone asks if you are listening to the news, something bad has hap-pened. Nobody asks you if you’re listening to the news just to report something mundane.
Obviously, she was calling to say Maximum Security had been disqualified.
I couldn’t wait to get back to the television and see exactly why.
And when I did, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
The experts on TV showed the replay where Maximum Security impeded the horse immediately behind it by moving over in front of it maybe six inches.
So, let’s get this straight.
Here, we have 20 thoroughbreds ferociously running at 45 mph around an oval mile-and-a-quarter sloppy track banging each other around and slinging mud everywhere; and then at the very end, the horse that had led the whole time was was flagged for a technicality.
In today’s society, everybody gets to have an opinion on everything, so here’s mine on the disqualification.
Was it technically the right call?
From what I understand from people who watch more than two minutes of horse racing annually, it probably was.
Should the call have been made?
Come on. It was unprecedented. And after 149 years, a sporting event doesn’t need anything unprecedented.
But then again, I only watch two minutes of horse racing a year.
(About the writer: Barry Currin is founder and president of White Oak Advertising and Public Relations, based in Cleveland. “Stories of a World Gone Mad” is published weekly. Email the writer at email@example.com.)
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