Sunday, May 3, 2009

I must pay tribute to a great horse, Mine that Bird!

I can't let a very exciting Kentucky Derby pass by without recognition. Damn, that was one spectacular win. I could almost have placed the cowboy trainer, Benny Wooley Jr., in Utah instead of coming all the way from New Mexico with this horse in a trailer, nursing a broken leg yet! The jockey, Calvin Borel, had never seen the horse until he arrived, but he was the very kind of rider to go to the inside rail and snake that horse through a hole just wide enough for him, and to a 50-1 long shot win, 6 and 3/4 lengths ahead, the second biggest upset in Kentucky Derby history! (Assault won by 8 lengths in 1946)
There is nothing like a great race to rekindle the excitement in horse racing. I posted the graphic above, sent me by Connie, another horse lover, with me about the age when I was still involved in cow punching for my dad and doing some mighty scary tasks to me out on the range.
I have always been grateful that I was raised with horses. But I could not spend my adult life with horses as my dad and grand dad did, along with many other ranchers and cowboys of that golden time. My dad sold out, as he knew that the day was coming when running cattle on the open range would be too much hassle to make it pay. And the work was so rough, he did not think it was a job for girls. I didn't either. After all, who would have the kids and do the cooking? He had no sons so if he wanted family company on the trails he made do with daughters.
Now there is only one rancher left in the Boulder-Escalante area who still runs cattle as he did in the 'old' days. Rugged Boulder land has been bought up by outsiders who have no interest in old time cow punching. Those days are gone, to live only in the memories of those who did the work.
My dad had a big interest in race horses, moved to Phoenix and bought land close to the track and built a house there. He claimed a horse in a race that won a few times and then got claimed again. But he was too old and decrepit to take care of horses anymore, so that part of his life he reluctantly let go.
Still he would have loved this race. He and my mother trekked back to Kentucky and went to the Derby one year. Anybody who loves horses as he did and taught me to love them, too, is always going to appreciate a great horse! Salute' Mine That Bird!


Connies Photos said...

I missed the race...
Oh Gerry -horses become part of our soul- even when we no longer own them-they are a part of us...

Ann said...

Wasn't that a great race? I loved how the horse won and how the jocky acted. It was how all jockys should act after winning the Kentucky Derby! I want to know more about that horse. He's a reminder of the great Sea Bisquit!


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