By and by hard times
But the Kentucky Derby is to me what The Masters is to some people. It's summer's official herald. More than a golf match could be, I think, because it's got colts and fillies getting out in the warmth and running. How can the Augusta He-Man Woman-Hater's Klub compete with that?
So Barbaro's run for the roses was like spring personified to me. He came blasting out of that pack and extended his lead just for the joy of running as fast as he could. And, lucky me, that'll always be my memory of him.
We went out Saturday afternoon and evening, just happening home long enough to set up the DVR. We watched a little bit of NBC's coverage, and headed out. It was the next morning, on NPR, that we heard how Barbaro was coming out of surgery, and we steeled ourselves to watch the race. It's a tribute to Prado's horsemanship that we could even get through it. He was a genius, and perhaps a saint, to get that horse calmed so quickly.
There are a couple of pieces of media coverage I wanted to highlight. On one hand, Pat Forde at ESPN says that there are safer track substances out there, and calls for them to be adopted more widely. Seems like a no-brainer to me. Horse racing needs to have stars with longer careers if it wants to get a bigger share of the TV market.
On the other hand, the Washington Post's Andrew Beyer suggests that the economics of horse breeding have changed to devalue durability. Like the money problems in any other sport, I don't see a way to fix this. How could the purses increase enough to pay for the risk of increased racing, when stud fees are so lucrative?
And from across the pond, Lydia Hislop of The Times looks at the British coverage, and wonders if the horrific NBC replays are better for fans than the BBC's edited coverage. I think she makes an excellent point; the fans need to see the risks involved in sport. It also seems to me that the NBC crew were genuinely trying to figure out what was happening, and had to review the film to learn; this was no Joe Theisman film.
I'm no horseman, and I don't know what the answers are. I just want you to get better, Barbaro.