We hardly had time to enjoy the finish when we heard the news about Eight Belles. I knew what was coming. First the disbelief, then the onslaught of media spin, hypersensitivity and non-sensitivity. I've been watching all the network and wire service stories today. Most of them are either so lightweight or just plain get it wrong.
In racing the highs are the highest and the lows are the lowest. When they come so close together, it's an earthquake.
I never planned to write any "I told you sos" about Big Brown. I said my piece two days before the race and cashed my tickets with the rest. It was his day and that performance will always stand tall. Sometimes when I go to the track and chat with people I can't resist the urge to tell them something I know about either a jockey or the sire or dam, or a trainer or some other bit of information I have come by in my years following the sport and writing for The Blood-Horse. Now, being in Portland and knowing very few folks who go to the races I just keep quiet. But I could hear Kent Desormeaux saying, "I took the freeway" as he angled Big Brown from the outside...way outside in the 20th position, all the way around and then stepped on the pedal to cruise home. He used that phrase some years back when I had a chance to talk to him after winning a race in Northern California. He knows that when your have the right vehicle being in the fast lane can be on the outside. Avoid the surface streets, take the freeway.
Saturday evening I just crashed. It was all I wanted to do. I'd planned to have a shot of Maker's Mark and watch the race again. Another time, perhaps. There is more sorting out to do. Put in perspective with auto racing, boxing, skiing, and here in Oregon, mountain climbing, the sport of horse racing will survive. If nothing else, hopefully more folks will learn more about horses, the people that care for them and their athletic ability.