Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Morning After

The Derby has been run and Giacomo, a long shot, is the winner. I watched the race here in Louisville on a big screen TV surrounded by partiers who couldn’t tell the difference between a Thoroughbred and a Quarter Horse. Of course, that doesn’t mean anything where partying is concerned. I’ve been in the same situation at Super Bowl parties where there were folks who knew more about designer jeans than football. When it comes to partying, the event doesn’t make any difference: it is the revelry that counts!

Horse racing is a big deal here in Kentucky. A lot of people make a lot of money out of the sport. And if the number of stretch limousines I saw around Louisville the past few days is any indication, then the Kentucky Derby brings a lot of people and money into this town. That’s OK with me.

Last week we witnessed a political race in the United Kingdom and a horse race in the United States. I can’t help but recall something that I wrote on the blackboard in my English teacher’s room some forty or so years ago.

As a high school senior, I had taken to going to his room each morning and writing some quotation on his black board. I suppose I received some points from my teacher for doing his, but for me the routine was simply fun. I would search books for “cute” quotations and had a bunch of them ready for any occasion. The one I am reminded of by this week’s news is: The only difference between a political race and a horse race is that in a horse race the whole horse wins.

I am not saying that Mr. Blair is a horse’s ass, although from listening to some comments on the BBC World Service I perceive that a number of his countrymen and countrywomen (is there a better gender inclusive way of putting that?) think of him as the back side of a horse. I rather like Mr. Blair, even though his center-right politics sometimes have grieved my liberal political sense.

I had the same feelings about my own country’s ex-President, Bill Clinton. I voted for him twice and it disturbed me that he and the Democratic Party moved from Left to Center and then over the line to a “Centralist Right” philosophy.

But, hey—or is that “hay?”—I was talking about a horse race, wasn’t I? Or, at least that the horse race is over. Now the cleaning up begins and I am glad that I am not one of those with the job of removing all that trash of the infield of the newly renovated Churchill Downs.

Many of the visitors are preparing to depart from Louisville and many more are recovering from yesterday’s partying. And some, if the three telephone calls I have received this morning are any indication, are still partying.

So I commend Giacomo on his victory and congratulate those smart enough to bet on a horse that produced the second-highest win payoff in Derby history: $102.60 on a $2 win ticket. And I hope things in Louisville will some return to “normal”—whatever that is.

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