"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages—and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot—
And whether Big Brown has wings."*
Over at The Blood-Horse blogs there's a separate thead just for people to wish Big Brown good luck in the Belmont. Interestin' read—'specially those writers who don't seem to be thinkin' before typin'—like the lady who posted "To all the runners - please, please, please come home for dinner." Nice sentiment but tactless phrasin'.
'Round here we've been Big Brown fans from the start, first 'cause AHM really wants to see another Triple Crown winner and second 'cause he so obviously reeeeaaally loves what he's doin'. That's one horse who's havin' a whole lotta' fun winnin'. And I know what I'm talkin' about here, people, 'cause I'm the same way, just like my dad. AHM tried retirin' Dad for a whole month and he pitched a fit whenever the rest of us trotted off the the show ring without him. He was un-retired in a hurry—and went on winnin' 'til he was over seventy dog years old.
If ya' haven't been in the showin' biz ya' won't understand. When I was just a pup—6 months and 3 days old—I walked into my first show ring. Gotta' say I didn't know what was goin' on with all the walkin' and standin' and gropin' when AHM was trainin' me so I was pretty much of a pain. We arrived at that big ole' show arena and there I was, all of ten puppy pounds with Chows to the right of me; German Shepherds to the left of me; bright lights over my head; and a whole pack of Aussies all around me. Then AHM and me walked into the ring and I looked up to see all the people in the stands watchin' me! Well that's all she wrote. I wiped up the rubber mattin' with all those other pups, comin' in second (Reserve) to the big grown-up Winners Dog. (I was only six months old, for pete's sake.)
That's what I see in Big Brown. Everybody's watchin' him and he knows it. When he leads the post parade onto that huge Belmont track and the roar of the crowd shakes the ground, he'll know it's for him. Yeah, they might be cheerin' for the others too (like they were for the other dogs at my first show) but he won't even think of that—any more than I did. Never underestimate the power of a big ego, human, canine, or equine. (Okay, so fe-lyings have big egos too but they never acoomplish anything so it doesn't count.)
But the clincher for Big Brown—the real piece of racin' luck—is he's avoided the dreaded Jinx of the Sports Illustrated Cover.
"[A]n in depth survey of every cover in SI's history from its debut issue in 1954 through 2002 which found the following:
"Of the 2,456 covers SI had run, 913 featured a person who, or team that, suffered some verifiable misfortune that conformed to our definition -- a Jinx rate of 37.2%. The majority of those instances (52.7%) were bad losses or lousy performances by a team, followed by declines in individual performance (44.6%), bad loss or lousy performance by an individual (25.2%), postseason failure (13.4%), injury or death (11.8%) and blunder or bad play (4.6%)."
The study only went through 2002. If ya' keep going to 2004 you'd see another victim of the Jinx on the May 10, 2004 cover. And the athlete in question?…
UPDATE: As of this mornin' the status of Casino Drive is in doubt 'cause of a stone bruise. Hopefully they play it smart and save their colt if there is the slightest question of unsoundness. Horse racin' does not need another tragic accident.
*With apologies to Lewis Carroll
posted by Harrison at 3:53 PM