Turnovers … by Alan B. Gibson

Posted May 11, 2017 at 10:09 am

Run for the Roses #143 – a muddy mess and it’s all relative

“That was a good race” was the text message that came across my phone just seconds after the conclusion of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

That message from John reminded me that all things are relative to each individual fan watching a sporting event.

While John thought it was a good race, I thought it was one of the poorest spectacles of a Kentucky Derby that I could remember ever watching.

Could be that in all likelihood my friend had fared much better at the Derby betting window than I had – which is usually the case anyway when we compare our winning picks.

Yes, the winning horse – Always Dreaming – was the favorite, and a beautiful specimen that had been trained by well respected trainer Todd Pletcher and expertly ridden out in front most of the way by John R. Velázquez, a jockey with a Hall of Fame worthy resume.

But the race itself was a muddy mess.

Still, it wasn’t the mud and two days of rain that made Saturday’s race a sorry excuse for a horse race in my opinion as opposed to the way my friend saw it – again, it’s all relative to each individual fan’s perspective.

My perspective was that none of the three horses I had picked to come out in front of the field,did that.

In fact, the horse that I had banked on being my upset win – Thunder Snow – is still out there for all I know – he hasn’t crossed the finish line yet.

On a serious note, apparently Thunder Snow, a Dubai raised thoroughbred, simply didn’t like the muddy conditions, threw a little fit just a few yards after leaving the gate, and was expertly calmed and taken out of the race, most importantly uninjured, by his jockey.

Still, my fave pick for the day, finished in last place, although, technically, he actually didn’t finish at all.

My other two picks for what should have been a big payoff – Girvin and Practical Joke, finished 13th and 5th, respectively. Neither 13th place or 5th place, pays out.

So – the 143rd Derby, now behind us, wasn’t my best effort and in fact, may have possibly been my worst. I usually cash a ticket or two, sometimes in a big way, other times in ways that at least keep me close to even.

But I don’t think I’ve ever had a Derby Day when a week later, I’m still waiting for my horse to cross the finish line.

When it’s a good outcome for this bettor, I’m always quick to brag in this space the following week. Never let it be said that I won’t own up to an admission of complete failure when my picks were so far off base that a last place finish was really just a charity – if you don’t ever cross the finish line, well you never really deserve a place in the record. “WD” comes to mind.

A good race? It was a muddy mess and a terrible spectacle. But it was a reminder that we’re in this for the fun, and a reminder that the outcome of any sporting event for any fan is always relative to the hopes of that fan.

Mad? Nope. Disappointed? Sure. Through with horse racing. Not a chance.

I can’t wait until #144.

Let’s take it outside!