Friday, April 30, 2010

He Says The Horse "Can Do"..... The Run For The Roses

The first time I heard the song "Fugue For Tinhorns" from the movie adaptation of the Broadway production of "Guys & Dolls", I loved the song. I think it is just one of the cleverest songs ever. Then, in 1980 Dan Fogelberg released a new CD called "The Innocent Age" which introduced the world to his beautiful song called "Run For The Roses"; a tribute to the Kentucky Derby. It remains one of my favorite songs to this day.

I was attending horse races at Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico with my maternal grandfather before I could even talk, which probably explains my love of horse racing. Over the years my grandfather taught me a few important things about picking a winning horse. One of them is to look for a horse with really long back legs, which I always do. There are just so many factors when picking a horse and it's gotten even more complicated over time. You have to look at the bloodline extensively and those lines have gotten really long.

One year, my grandfather was at the races and noticed one of the horses running, was just ever so slightly dragging his back hoof, causing the horse to lose the race. After seeing that, my grandfather went home and began the design for a tool that would one day become one of the most useful tools in the entire world of horses, but especially horse racing. I'm not certain as to how many years it took him to complete the design and come up with his first working model but when he finally did, he called it The Ruidoso Hoof Gauge and he sold millions thousands of them to horse supply companies during his 97 years (I think he was like 60 around the time he invented it).

Basically, the hoof gauge works like a canting machine in snow skiing. They are both used to measure the alignment of a stance. In other words, how a person or a horse stands level or to whatever ever degree they are *off*. Naturally, if a horse (or person) is bow-legged or knock-kneed, they do not stand level (or flush) with a flat surface. The gauge allows you to measure how far off they are from level and gives you an accurate measurement, allowing you to do whatever needs to be done in order to assure a proper stance. Horse hooves and the bottom of plastic material ski boots can be shaved to just the right angle, forcing you to have that proper stance. These days, the best ski boots have the canting feature built into them but a tool is still required for the old horse hoof. I guess they can also use different sizes of horseshoes to achieve this as well. I hope that makes sense.

So anyway... Yes. I've been around horse racing and loved it, a great deal of my life. My mother's (The Brown Recluse) half brother runs the business now. 

Now, when my best friend Susan was still alive we used to start planning which horse we were going to bet on weeks before the derby was even to begin. Back then, we used to go to the most fun Kentucky Derby parties where they even had computer betting and mint juleps (which I abhor). So, Susan and I were always determined to be the winners, which we often were. I've rather lost interest in it all since Susan isn't here to goad me on. Still, I continue to go to the official Kentucky Derby web site every year, quietly deciding which horse will be mine.

After much studying and brain pain, I have finally decided on my horse for this year. Let me introduce you to Sidney's Candy. I mean, look at those long back legs! His last three races, he won first place in all three. However, he is a 5-1 odds at this point and I always like to have an underdog as well. So, I have also chosen Make Music For Me who is a 50-1 odds (and a much more substantial pay-off if he wins). I chose him because he had Barbaro somewhere down the line in his pedigree. I chose Barbaro the year he won....

Tomorrow at post time, I'll don my best hat, with martini in hand, and I'll see if my predictions come to fruition this year. Have a great day at the races everyone!


The Incredible Woody said...

Looking forward to seeing a pic of you in that hat!!

Snooty Primadona said...

That won't be happening. Please just refer to mechanical bull riding pictures.


Mental P Mama said...

No julep Snooty? LOL I'd actually prefer a martini, too;)

Beth Dunn said...

Happy Derby Day!

Daryl said...

LOVE that song .. 'got a horse right here, name of Paul Revere ...'

Heather said...

The Derby is a big part of our family tradition. My mom was out in LA visiting my brother this year. It wasn't the same without her. :o(

My daughter still can't talk about Barbaro without getting teary eyed. I wonder where she gets that?


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