Sunday, May 06, 2012

Here's mud in their eye!

Good horsie!
I normally don't pay attention to horseraces, but I saw this picture of Kentucky Derby victor I'll Have Another and something about this marvelous beast reminded me of Praline. He started the race from a position from whence no horse has won previously, and strided solidly in the middle of a pack moving at a blistering pace. He's filthy. He's covered in mud and he's happier than clam at high tide. I found the video of the race and it really is exciting, actually, the way this horse seems to bolt forward to take the race by more than a length in the last quarter mile. I'm not saying I'll be watching horse races, but it is exciting to see a powerful, intelligent athletic animal put through their paces. Praline, after a squirrel kill, is covered in blood and breathing heavy, at her very happiest. She resents when I clean the blood off her. I like it to imagine this is because she earned her war paint. Anyway, it's a lovely sight to see this horse covered in mud and wearing it so well.


Old NFO said...

Yep, I 'think' they were a tad bit happy with that...LOL

FarmGirl said...

I usually make my picks for the Derby as they're doing the post parade... But this year I was dead wrong, even though I should know better. To me, I'll Have Another looked too tense and nervous to perform well. This coming from the gal that knows for sure that a horse can perform beyond your wildest expectations after serious problems prior to the job being in front of him (Monkey.)

I was cheering him on that last kick, anyway, he performed beautifully and you could see that he wasn't even giving everything he had. It's possible that we'll get a Triple Crown winner this year, I think.

Another thing I love about this story is that the jockey, Mario Gutierrez, sort of had this horse fall into his lap out of sheer luck... the owner saw him ride once and decided to try him on I'll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby. That got him his very first ride in the Kentucky Derby, where he did an amazing job and brought home the roses.

I always enjoy seeing someone who hasn't won the Derby cross that finish line, but this year I think it's extra special that he did it on his first try.

phlegmfatale said...

Old NFO - A teeny bit, at least! :)

Farmgirl - Thanks for your input here-- you know your horseflesh! I thought he looked like it was a cakewalk in the end. Do you think Mario held him back as a point of strategy, or the horse was choosing his moment? It was an incredible, bracing finish in any case. I hope they do take the triple. Not bad for the bargain bin year-old who sold for $11,000. Good on Mario Gutierrez, too. His grin was megawatt, as befits the scale of the victory. This is the kind of underdog story I really like. :)

Thanks again for your two cents, FG!

FarmGirl said...

Phlegmmy, there was strategy to it, definitely, Mario rode the colt really well. Watching on tv rather than the video of the tv, I could see him managing the colt around the turn for home... He wasn't fighting with him or really holding him back, but there was a lot of communication going on there between horse and jockey. I could see Mario telling the colt "not yet, wait for it. Soon, I promise, but not yet."

It looked to me like he was riding the fine line between getting the best possible chance for his horse and discouraging him by holding him back too much, and clearly he did it well, since he won.

Not every race horse has the ability to have that kind of discussion, although more and more of them are going beyond the point of enter gate, run, that used to be pretty much the extent of training a race horse that was easily visible and quantifiable. More and more these days I'm seeing race horses giving to the bit in exercise rides, and I'm extremely pleased to see it... There are a lot of things that can be trained for along side a good racing regime that don't take a thing away from the speed and ability of the horse, and increase safety and the ability to handle the horse both on and off the track enormously.

I only pay attention to Thoroughbred racing one little span of time a year, but the Triple Crown is so absolutely iconic that I don't know how anyone can ignore it. I really do hope I'll Have Another at least wins the upcoming Preakness, if only to pun on his own name, which, by the way, originates in a plate of delicious cookies :)