Only in America | TSLN.com

Only in America

Hope you watched the Kentucky Derby – was that an “only in America” moment? When a $9,500 yearling hauled behind a pickup in a trailer for 21 hours from New Mexico goes to the gate at 50-1 odds, then gets slammed like a sandwich between two horses in the first jumps out of the gate… yet comes from behind the whole pack and beats the best racing Thoroughbreds today by a huge distance in the coveted Run for the Roses, is that what you call an “upset”?!

The only ‘horse race’ there was for 2nd, 3rd and 4th! Many of the horses Mine That Bird outran are valued in “six figures” – two were jetted in from Dubai, and the race favorite, according to money bet, came in 18th in a field of 19!

It tickled me to see how nearly speechless all the television commentators were right after the race. Bits of dead air floated all over, because they didn’t know a thing about this horse or his connections. They really didn’t know what to talk to the owners about. It was several minutes before the pedigree of the winner was announced. It was almost the close of coverage before someone announced Mine That Bird had been voted Top Running 2-year-old in Canada last year. Shame on the press!

They picked up the human interest story of a 75-year-old man with a dream and a $20,000 claimer… but they totally missed the horse that came to town from a win in some obscure Santa Rosa Derby, not even a Graded Stakes race. No horse that cheap, with such a slim record, hauled that far, not seasoned at Churchill, could possibly win. What do you bet they know something about all the horses before the gate cracks next year?

Maybe the low altitude gave Mine That Bird a real boost of energy. Maybe the sloppy track suited him. Without question he was piloted by one of the greatest jockeys… after all Calvin Borel had already won the prestigious Kentucky Oaks for fillies that day. He won the Derby two years ago with Street Sense and he was third in the Derby last year. This was his first ride on Mine That Bird, but he got it right. There’s a reason everyone at the track calls him Calvin BoRAIL… that rail belongs to him. Maybe the bad hit they took just out of the gate, that caused them to pull behind and onto the rail, was their best break of the day… at any rate the rest is history.

Mine That Bird’s trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley turned to race training after a serious injury riding bareback broncs. He was curt with Derby media who wanted to dwell on his motorcycle-wrecked ankle, his crutches, and his long road trip from New Mexico. After the race one commented, “Nobody even knows you!” to which he growled, “Well, maybe they’ll know me now.” Yet Wooley was gracious in taking the mic to point out, “A guy named Dave Cody in Canada is the one that really qualified this colt to be here and he deserves a lot of credit.”

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Now the question is – can Mine That Bird and Calvin Borel make a mark in the Triple Crown chase? Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey was animated on Derby Day when he told the TV cameras, from what he had just seen, he had no doubt the horse would be a serious challenger there. After all the horses and races Bailey has seen, I trust his judgment.

As ironic as it was for a $9,500 yearling trailered in from the deserts of New Mexico to defeat the horses of Sheik Mohammed of Dubai at Churchill Downs… it’s equally ironic that one of Mine That Bird’s owners (Mark Allen, heir of Bill Allen who cleaned up the Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska) ran a $500,000 yearling in a maiden race at Farmington, New Mexico later in the week! I haven’t heard if he won or not.

Holding onto the good news but getting closer to home, HB 418 became law in Montana, in spite of Governor Schweitzer not signing it. Montana Quarter Horse Association President Stan Weaver says, “The Montana Horse Industry owes him a big “Thank You.”

Weaver further expressed his appreciation to the public, saying, “I think each one of you can take credit in the fact that we got this bill passed. It is because of all of your phone calls, letters, faxes and e-mails that you took the time to do in order to show your passion for this cause that produced such a positive outcome. Being involved made all the difference. This was a true grass roots effort and Representative Ed Butcher told me that at the end of our campaign, calls from just Montanans were 80 percent in favor of the bill. That is outstanding – and really shows what a grass roots effort can do.”

“This whole process just shows how important it is for us to get involved and do what we can,” Weaver continued. “It is a different world than it was in our grandparent’s day or even our parents. Now days there are people who sit in an office in Washington, D.C. or New York City, or Los Angeles and they have never calved a wild heifer or had to suckle a chilled down calf. They never had a colt buck every time they jumped him out, and knew they had to be hand enough to ride him or end up walking back to the house since there was not a horse trailer and pickup close by. Yet, these people feel that we have been doing this wrong for generations and they are sure that if they legislate their ideas it will force us to abide by them. We must be aware of what goes on around us and we must become active in preserving our way of life. I was contacted by several animal owners that have different issues with the legislature this year. I feel that before the next legislation there will be some sort of animal owners or animal/agriculture coalition to help fight and support bills in the 2011 legislation. The tide is turning.”

Weaver noted, “Our next big push will be HR 503 before the U.S. House of Representatives. This is the bill to criminalize the transport of horses that will be sold for human consumption. It is scheduled to be heard this fall. The AQHA and several of its affiliates (including Montana) will work hard to defeat this bill. I will keep you all informed as to its progress and when we need to make our move and become involved.”

To postscript our recent coverage of the polo pony tragedy in Florida – the New York Times has confirmed, “A Florida pharmacy acknowledged incorrectly mixing a medication given to the 21 polo ponies that died before a tournament in Florida last week.”

Nature never mixes a bad batch of oats, barley, corn or hay… and you can tie that to the the end of your ol’ lariat rope and take it to the bank.

Hope you watched the Kentucky Derby – was that an “only in America” moment? When a $9,500 yearling hauled behind a pickup in a trailer for 21 hours from New Mexico goes to the gate at 50-1 odds, then gets slammed like a sandwich between two horses in the first jumps out of the gate… yet comes from behind the whole pack and beats the best racing Thoroughbreds today by a huge distance in the coveted Run for the Roses, is that what you call an “upset”?!

The only ‘horse race’ there was for 2nd, 3rd and 4th! Many of the horses Mine That Bird outran are valued in “six figures” – two were jetted in from Dubai, and the race favorite, according to money bet, came in 18th in a field of 19!

It tickled me to see how nearly speechless all the television commentators were right after the race. Bits of dead air floated all over, because they didn’t know a thing about this horse or his connections. They really didn’t know what to talk to the owners about. It was several minutes before the pedigree of the winner was announced. It was almost the close of coverage before someone announced Mine That Bird had been voted Top Running 2-year-old in Canada last year. Shame on the press!

They picked up the human interest story of a 75-year-old man with a dream and a $20,000 claimer… but they totally missed the horse that came to town from a win in some obscure Santa Rosa Derby, not even a Graded Stakes race. No horse that cheap, with such a slim record, hauled that far, not seasoned at Churchill, could possibly win. What do you bet they know something about all the horses before the gate cracks next year?

Maybe the low altitude gave Mine That Bird a real boost of energy. Maybe the sloppy track suited him. Without question he was piloted by one of the greatest jockeys… after all Calvin Borel had already won the prestigious Kentucky Oaks for fillies that day. He won the Derby two years ago with Street Sense and he was third in the Derby last year. This was his first ride on Mine That Bird, but he got it right. There’s a reason everyone at the track calls him Calvin BoRAIL… that rail belongs to him. Maybe the bad hit they took just out of the gate, that caused them to pull behind and onto the rail, was their best break of the day… at any rate the rest is history.

Mine That Bird’s trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley turned to race training after a serious injury riding bareback broncs. He was curt with Derby media who wanted to dwell on his motorcycle-wrecked ankle, his crutches, and his long road trip from New Mexico. After the race one commented, “Nobody even knows you!” to which he growled, “Well, maybe they’ll know me now.” Yet Wooley was gracious in taking the mic to point out, “A guy named Dave Cody in Canada is the one that really qualified this colt to be here and he deserves a lot of credit.”

Now the question is – can Mine That Bird and Calvin Borel make a mark in the Triple Crown chase? Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey was animated on Derby Day when he told the TV cameras, from what he had just seen, he had no doubt the horse would be a serious challenger there. After all the horses and races Bailey has seen, I trust his judgment.

As ironic as it was for a $9,500 yearling trailered in from the deserts of New Mexico to defeat the horses of Sheik Mohammed of Dubai at Churchill Downs… it’s equally ironic that one of Mine That Bird’s owners (Mark Allen, heir of Bill Allen who cleaned up the Exxon Valdez oil spill off the coast of Alaska) ran a $500,000 yearling in a maiden race at Farmington, New Mexico later in the week! I haven’t heard if he won or not.

Holding onto the good news but getting closer to home, HB 418 became law in Montana, in spite of Governor Schweitzer not signing it. Montana Quarter Horse Association President Stan Weaver says, “The Montana Horse Industry owes him a big “Thank You.”

Weaver further expressed his appreciation to the public, saying, “I think each one of you can take credit in the fact that we got this bill passed. It is because of all of your phone calls, letters, faxes and e-mails that you took the time to do in order to show your passion for this cause that produced such a positive outcome. Being involved made all the difference. This was a true grass roots effort and Representative Ed Butcher told me that at the end of our campaign, calls from just Montanans were 80 percent in favor of the bill. That is outstanding – and really shows what a grass roots effort can do.”

“This whole process just shows how important it is for us to get involved and do what we can,” Weaver continued. “It is a different world than it was in our grandparent’s day or even our parents. Now days there are people who sit in an office in Washington, D.C. or New York City, or Los Angeles and they have never calved a wild heifer or had to suckle a chilled down calf. They never had a colt buck every time they jumped him out, and knew they had to be hand enough to ride him or end up walking back to the house since there was not a horse trailer and pickup close by. Yet, these people feel that we have been doing this wrong for generations and they are sure that if they legislate their ideas it will force us to abide by them. We must be aware of what goes on around us and we must become active in preserving our way of life. I was contacted by several animal owners that have different issues with the legislature this year. I feel that before the next legislation there will be some sort of animal owners or animal/agriculture coalition to help fight and support bills in the 2011 legislation. The tide is turning.”

Weaver noted, “Our next big push will be HR 503 before the U.S. House of Representatives. This is the bill to criminalize the transport of horses that will be sold for human consumption. It is scheduled to be heard this fall. The AQHA and several of its affiliates (including Montana) will work hard to defeat this bill. I will keep you all informed as to its progress and when we need to make our move and become involved.”

To postscript our recent coverage of the polo pony tragedy in Florida – the New York Times has confirmed, “A Florida pharmacy acknowledged incorrectly mixing a medication given to the 21 polo ponies that died before a tournament in Florida last week.”

Nature never mixes a bad batch of oats, barley, corn or hay… and you can tie that to the the end of your ol’ lariat rope and take it to the bank.