OK, OK, I give in!
I’ve still got some pretty big reservations about this year’s Derby, but thanks to the thoughtful and persuasive comments on Sunday’s post, I agree that maybe I should re-consider my initial visceral reaction. I was impressed by the level of discourse and the thoughtfulness of (most of) the comments, so thanks to everyone for keeping it civil.
I’m never going to love over-the-top celebrating. I hate it when tennis players collapse, spread-eagled, on the court in faux exhaustion after a match; I wrinkle my nose when hockey players ride their sticks after a goal (cf. Theo Fleury); I though Joakim Noah’s primal scream after his basket the other night was distasteful. So while I can appreciate Borel’s genuine emotion, I guess that I just wished it were expressed a little less exuberantly. Personal taste, nothing more, nothing else.
I’m not there with some of you on the trainer—I think a little graciousness was in order, even if he were irritated by the media (and do we know that he was? Or are we speculating?), but by some accounts, he appears to have decided to enjoy this moment while it lasts. Good for him.
I’m hopeful that the idea that this was a victory for the little guy fades away pretty soon. OK, maybe Chip Woolley is a little guy, but Borel’s won multiple Grade I races, and the horse’s owners are millionaires, and possibly corrupt ones at that. So this is not exactly the refreshing change from IEAH that we might have originally thought.
As for the horse—I’ve always said that whoever wins the race deserves to win it, regardless of their prior “qualifications.” I’m not sure that I’m going to get behind a “Mine That Bird for the Triple Crown” campaign…but it’s good for the game that he’s going to Preakness, so on to Charm City.
A number of people at work know that I follow Thoroughbred racing pretty seriously, but we seldom talk about it. Yesterday, I lost count of how many people went out of their way to stop me, to come to my office, to ask me about the race. “How about that Derby?” “You didn’t have that horse, did you?” “That was amazing, the way he came from the back!”
People I would never have suspected of being interested not only watched the race, but wanted to talk about it. And I am happy to have been, if only for today, racing’s ambassador in my little academic world, and to help keep the racing conversation going for just a little longer.