Two-Minute Warning

Sometimes you ride the bear, and sometimes, well, he rides you.

So last year around this time we were chatting about some important issue of the day, and then somebody said Look! Horsies!, and then we thought, well, this might be interesting, and then we wondered what the hell happened, it was over so fast.

Which is as good excuse as anything to declare it a tradition.

And so with no point other than the joy of inventing legends on the fly, we welcome you to the Second Annual Kentucky Derby Open Thread/Existential Crisis, in which we spend an hour anticipating a moment that will pass faster than a pinball game.

Hey, could be worse. Could be NASCAR.


NBC: Up Close & Personal with Insanely Wealthy People.

Plus: Silly hats!

Do all jockeys take a whiff of helium before interviews?

Flomax may cause a decrease in semen. Just in case you were wondering.

In an attempt to inject an “issue” here — there’s the whole safety thing. It looks like Polytrack has a significant effect on racing injuries (1.47 fatalities per thousand starts, vs. 2.02/thousand on good ol’ fashioned dirt). The bigger issue, however, is just plain inbreeding. That, and massive amounts of drugs.

And yet: I heart racing. Don’t ask me why, but I think it’s great.

@chicago bureau: So, pretending I have a clue about any of this, Polytrack has the reverse effect of Astroturf? Because one of the beefs about Astroturf was that it increased football injuries.

Although, speaking from experience, it’s much easier to march on. Especially with a tuba.

And now to the picks:

$5 win on 18 (Nowhere To Hide — love that slop!)
$5 win on 15 (Dunkirk — best value of the favs)
$2 exacta box: 5 (Hold Me Back) 12 (General Quarters) and 18
$1 trifecta box, 12-15-18.

$28 total stake. Riders up, bitchez!

Is it too much to ask that everyone break out in a number from My Fair Lady?

nojo: From what I know — Polytrack is basically polyester and fibreglass fibers, with a clay base. Cushions the hooves, supposedly. But there’s the rub — horses put enormous pressure on the hooves and the ankles. You could run horses on goosedown pillows and you’d still have fatal injuries.

And the Lollipop Kids Guild takes the field.

(Memory is the first to go.)

nojo: “Is it too much to ask that everyone break out in a number from My Fair Lady?”


@chicago bureau: Polytrack is basically polyester and fibreglass fibers, with a clay base.

I had a suit like that once.

Part of the love for horse racing — Tom Durkin, the race caller for the New York tracks (esp. Saratoga). His excitement knobs go to eleven.

Stunning Admissions: I used to enjoy watching bowling on Saturday afternoons.

nojo: Further info on Polytrack:

The engineered synthetic top layer is composed of recycled polypropylene fibers, recycled rubber and silica sand. All of the components are carefully weighed, mixed and thoroughly coated with wax. The wax coating prevents moisture absorption, allowing water to flow quickly through the top surface into the vertical drainage system. The vertical drainage system is comprised of a layer of porous macadam, drainage stone and a system of drainage pipes that carry water away from underneath the track. The result is a kinder, more consistent surface as compared to a conventional dirt track.

So there. (I thought there was fibreglass. I was wrong. Sry.)

Installed at a number of top tracks, but there is resistance among horsemen who grew up with, and prefer, sand. [ADD: Churchill Downs is dirt.]

@nojo: I refuse to Costasize this. I refuse to Costasize anything. I need a string quartet behind me to do it right. And if you don’t do it right, what’s the point.


(doo-doo-doot doot doot, doot doot doot, doo-doo-doo-dooooot)

Land of the Empire Builders
Land of the Golden Wesssssssssst

Hey, coming from the Northwest, it’s all we’ve got.

@nojo: “Come on, Dover, move yer bloomin’ ass!!”

@Mistress Cynica: Everyone get ready to cue up Spike Jones.

Please, Lord, do not let Jenny Craig’s horse win.

Good story — that old fart who owns General Quarters bought his one horse for $20k. That’s dirt (erm) cheap for race horses, you know.

Hey guys, when do they let the rabbit loose?

OK, late to the party. Is one of the horses owned by a rapper? I thought I saw Diddy. Am I hallucinating?

@chicago bureau: What do horses chase then, cougars? Cuz I’m seeing quite a few of them in the stands.

BOY! Out of it until the stretch, Calvin Borel. Louisiana in the house! Wow!

So, was it a down on your luck jockey riding a horse destined for the glue factory in a race that will lift up the spirits of an economically depressed nation?

Wait, is there crying in horse racing?

Srsly — when Calvin says geaux, the horse geaux. Incredible.

Did that horse get bumped on the rail?

nojo: Have to look at the replay. But it looked clean.

@Nabisco: is there crying in horse racing?
Only when a horsie gets hurt.

@Nabisco: Only if the jockey can swing from the canyons of Manhattan.

That horse is worth less than my Civic.

nojo: Not anymore he ain’t. And now: stud fees. In Soviet Kentucky, horses pay you!

@Nabisco: Answer: That jockey is quickly becoming America’s Sweetheart.

@nojo: I’m already tired of him.

/side note: I was an elder among kids at a punk rock show last night, and showed that I was not to be fucked with in the mosh pit. There are rules dammit, and hitting faces is not one of them./

Replay shows a clean ride along the rail. And that horse just ‘sploded. Good God.

@Nabisco: I’ll let him have his moment. And that was a slick move threading the pack in the stretch.

Footnote: none of the horses died. Good.

I may be 50, but I still don’t want to hear about old people pestorking.

@nojo: It was. I like horse races, but then I grew up with Wide World of Sport so I also learned to like curling.

Can I put in a bid now for an open thread on one of the weekend stages of the Tour de France this summer? They only last for like four hours (except the timetrials, when everyone dresses like Speed Racer).

Missed the race, although I understand a New Mexico horse won.

@Nabisco: Google up the news for Lance Armstrong riding in the Tour of the Gila here in New Mexico this weekend.

Wolverine movie rocked, btw.

Yes well horsies. And product placement.

Did any of them die?

Good. The OH is off somewhere gloating – or not.

@nojo: I may be 50, but I still don’t want to hear about old people pestorking. Good luck with that.

@Nabisco: Me too, and I also like curling. I like the manic stiff-bristled brush action.

@redmanlaw: Missed it, too. But I’ve got some news:

The Mormons have dead dunked Obama’s mother. Hmmm, but not his father. But definitely his mother. They keep all of those genealogy records in case one of our progeny converts so they can do baptisms for the dead, endowment ceremonies, sealings, etc. in their temples. Problem is, they aren’t supposed to be necro dunking (and all that other business) people whose relatives are not Mormons or without permission. I think after a waiting period they may, but they’re generally not supposed to run around dead dunking folks.

Other folks of note who have had proxy rituals performed for them:
Theodore Bundy (who I think was LDS at one point)
Holocaust Victims. Jewish groups protested the dead dunking of Holocaust victims, and the church first denied they were doing it, and then they agreed to remove the names from the records. It has been reported, however, that they continue to necro dunk these people.

nojo: No, seriously now: shut up.

(There’s a reason why I bet horses very, very rarely.)

WTF, I’m watching Bono interviewing George Clooney and they’re talking about being named “world’s most sexiest” whatever. I get the cheeky inside jokester shit, but Bono – LOSE THOSE STUPID FREAKIN GLASSES ALREADY!

Sorry for the all caps, but I feel strongly about my anti-Bono bias.

ooh, Bono injecting himself in a discussion about how hard it is to be famous (“as you are…um…and I am….”). Oh, and they’re both wearing boots. Is that code for something?

@Nabisco: I too have some visceral stabby reaction to the sight of Bono in those ridiculous glasses.

Now James Carville is reading an essay about Brad Pitt. WTF is going on in the world?

@JNOV: Are you watching this JNOV? It’s so terrible I can’t-turn-it-off. “The women of the View – NEXT”

@redmanlaw: I’m getting his twitter feed on FB. Dude seems to be back on track.

@Nabisco: Naw — my TV is off. I’m exchanging emails with my mom and watching the exmos flip out over gay marriage. They argue about it everyday. It’s getting old. Maybe it has some effect on the lurkers, but the vocal folks don’t budge.

@Nabisco: @JNOV: Oh good, I thought I was the only person in the world who hates the sight and sound of Bono. I have a visceral dislike for that man.

Nabisco, good on you for setting those jackasses right. I was in a mosh pit a couple of years ago, when some dipshit decided at the beginning of the concert that he wanted to crowd surf. Of course, nobody supported him, and down he came, kicking me in the face in the process. He was immediately hustled out of there. Moran.

@Nabisco: I was always impressed by the “code of the mosh pit.” My nephew taught me, I would only go near the mosh pit if I was with him, he’s a big hunk of meat. The “don’t step on people who go down, and help them up” was nice. I never went in, but I was willing to stand in the front row and serve as a bumper, throwing people back in as necessary.

At a Rancid concert I saw the most amazing thing, the band encouraged the mosh pit to start roaming, the mosh pit moved en masse around in a big circle, out into the crowd and then back in front, very fun. Saw a dude dive from the top of a speaker stack into it, at least 15 feet, I am amazed people didn’t die.

I’m glad Stinque follows the Derby so I don’t have to.

And I heartily agree on everything said so far about Bono.

Mosh pits, well, I haven’t been near one since an early-eighties Husker Du concert. I think that’s why I’m still alive. That, and because alcohol acts as a preservative (until it doesn’t).

I had no idea Jack Kemp was still alive until I learned he died tonight.

Oh well.

The OH is an inveterate backer of the horsies. I never look at races because whenever I do a horse invariably fractures its ankles or has seizures or something. I don’t even like to like at the horsies in Equus, preferring to have a nice nap instead. But I gather the fave was scratched and a rank outsider came in at 50-1 or something.

@Mistress Cynica: Not to be nit-picky, darling, but it’s “Move your bloomin’ arse!” I played Pickering in that show once. It’s a lot of fun if you don’t mind being sung at (the part only exists so that the others can tell him things the author wants the audience to know). And I had very good clothes including a frock coat that provoked a good deal of comment on the width of my shoulders compared to the narrowness of my hips. That was before everything spread and sort of met in the middle. The Ascot Gavotte is one of those blessed times when the chorus has to do all the work and you can’t be roped into the number to boost the tenors because you have to make a big deal entrance with Eliza right after it’s over.

And yes, my working life has been that trivial. Others may work to end world hunger, I worry about quick changes.

@Benedick: Thanks, darling. I can’t believe I made such a silly error. They’ll be coming after my Anglophile license if I’m not careful.

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