Did You See That?

As the Preakness is etched into the pages of history we have more questions than answers. – Was War of Will the real deal? – Could Maximum Security have taken all three legs of the Triple Crown? – We’ll never know. But one thing is for sure. These past few weeks have been pretty action-packed.

The advent of social media is a way to discuss, stay in touch and be a part of what’s going on. – I get it. It can also be a pain in the ass at times when the discussion turns into an argument. I never thought there would be a DQ in the Derby, but after watching the race, I agree. The proper call was made and the world can go back to showing pictures of their dinner. – But even if I didn’t agree, it doesn’t matter. A decision was made by top-level officials who are paid to oversee the races. – Will this lead us down the slippery slope of questioning every ball or strike? Did the officials miss the replay of the receiver dragging his back foot? – The answer is yes. We already do.

War of Will slipped right up the rail and proved he was the best winning the Preakness. – There was even an inquiry, but it was into the start of the race as Bodexpress lost his rider at the start. – USA Today had a great piece about the start and a quote from the rider; A 20-to-1 shot to win the Preakness, Bodexpress threw his jockey, John Velazquez, off right out of the gate. Luckily, Velazquez wasn’t hurt and Bodexpress didn’t interfere with any of the other horses running the race. The jockey told NBCSN that the horse just hadn’t been able to settle down that day and was being slightly ornery.

“He wasn’t behaving well in the gate,” Velazquez said. “He got me against the wall. Obviously, when the doors opened…I lost my balance and went off. I’m disappointed.”

Ok, we have a little better idea of what took place and great coverage from one of my favorite papers. – But, going down a few more sentences I read some quotes that looked like argument baiting and not solid reporting. – I must admit it was cleverly written, but  readers want to know the story and not hear a bedtime version:

While we may never know what the horse was actually thinking, it’s a good bet that Bodexpress probably just didn’t feel like being whipped that day.

I mean, look at this horse run. He’s having a great time. He even kept running after the race was over! He is the horse we didn’t realize we needed! What a hero!  
Him running that race without a jockey and totally free was one of the best things in sports I have seen in a long time.

Anyway, take that Bodexpress energy into your work week! Shake off the metaphysical jockey on your back and run free!

It was a cleverly written piece. Can’t squabble with that. – But the readers want to know about the race and not just stoking the “Twitter-sphere” fires. – How about the winner, the race, or even the crowd having a great time? – No, let’s see if we can wake up social media monsters and have a good laugh. – What started as a way to discuss and chat with each other has turned into open-mic night.

I have worked in racing the majority of my life and I’ve loved every second. – There are no better people than the men and women who take care of the horses. I once heard the best line from an old trainer; ” The horses bathe and eat before I do. They come first.” – How about the owners who plunk down millions to invest in the sport and keep it alive? – Or the tracks who fight competition and struggle to make the game great? – What about the people who bring the hay? Tend the stalls? Haul the horses safely? Riders, trainers, and grooms who make a living and keep the taxes flowing?  What about the mutuel clerks who sell tickets? The dining and concession people who make a living from waiting on you? – They all hold their breath when something happens on the track because they love the sport and the people involved.

I know it was all in fun, and showing the loose horse was a hoot for many. – But, things happen in sports and racing is not exempt. – So when the NFL goes to two-hand touch, NASCAR has bumper cars traveling 10 mph, and MLB will now have underhanded softball throws not to exceed 5 mph. – I guess we’ll all be happy campers who pick up our phones to show “Throwback Thursday” pics of when sports was different.

Here’s a little recap of what happened yesterday:

War of Will skimmed along the rail and showed the heart of a champion in front of millions winning the Preakness. – Put down your phone and enjoy the game. You’re missing a whole lotta fun.