Saturday, May 1, 2010

May 1: Derby Day

As is usual for the day of the Maine Land Conservation Conference--a day for which I am either in a car or in classrooms attending workshops all day--it was one of the most beautiful days of spring thus far. Well, duty called, so that was my day.

In addition to the first Saturday in May always being Conference day, it's also the traditional date of the Kentucky Derby. I've been an avid watcher of the Triple Crown races since I was ten and could recite all the Derby winners. I arrived home from Topsham tonight just in time to watch the post parade and then the race. Not having had time to do the research to make an informed decision about which horse might win, I chose by jockey. Calvin Borel has won two Kentucky Derbys in the past three years. He rides a great race. I figured if one of the best trainers in racing put him on his horse, even a horse that doesn't have a shining race record, the horse, Super Saver, must have a shot. Also, the trainer, Todd Pletcher, hasn't had a Derby winner yet despite winning many other Triple Crown races. He was due. Thus I found myself rooting for Super Saver.

I wish I'd had a bet on, because darned if Borel didn't ride that horse to a smooth victory. Watching horse races always makes me cry. Part of it is the thrill I get from watching these beautiful animals doing what they're bred to do and run as fast as they can. (I ended up becoming a competitive runner as in my youth because I was always running around pretending I was a race horse, so I relate to them on a personal level.) Part of it is watching the emotional responses of those involved with the horses--the sheer joy on the owner's face as his horse crosses the finish line ahead by 2-1/2 lengths. (Well, I thought he was the owner, but turns out he was the guy who won a sweepstakes that enabled him to place a $100,000 bet on Super Saver!) And a small part of it is, I think, a touch of nostalgia, remembering when I used to watch the Derby with my grandmother, who also loved horses.

A much younger self
races around Nana's house.
Run for the Roses!

No comments:

Post a Comment