Banter Bites

Cinderella Wears Horseshoes?

What were the odds a Kentucky Derby winner would “sit out” the second of the Triple Crown races?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Everybody loves a good sports comeback story, but what about when the story’s about someone (or, in this case, some horse) that no one ever expected to even be in the race, let alone win; but while Red’s amazed by the story, Black’s more focused on the initial mindset and subsequent decisions.

While growing up, Red would watch the Kentucky Derby with our dad, although now she’s more interested in movies about horse racing. In fact, one of her favorite movies is “Seabiscuit,” which tells the real-life story of a horse (not to mention a jockey and a trainer) that overcame all odds by beating the Triple Crown winner War Admiral by four lengths in a two-horse special race.

Even if the movie is on in the background (she’ll never convince Black it’s just “white noise” and not distracting), the recreated scenes in the movie always make Red stop and watch. But nothing quite prepared her for watching the real-life video of Rich Strike seemingly coming out of nowhere, as she was far back in the field for much of the race.

Watching Rich Strike expertly and elegantly weaving, at increasing speed, in and out of the “lanes” at Churchill Downs left me in awe of the athleticism of the horse and skill of the jockey. But, at the same time, I couldn’t help but laugh as it reminded me of busy Texas highways with drivers that insist on ducking and weaving through traffic at high speeds.

Black, on the other hand, appreciates the statistics – Rich Strike was not only a long shot (80-1), but the second greatest longshot in Derby history, with a first-time Kentucky Derby jockey and trainer. And what that meant was, against all odds, including not training at a high-profile stable and without an extremely wealthy owner, they came to the gate a bunch of “no names” but with an extraordinary combination of ability, preparation, and a commitment to never give up.

Less than a week later, Rich Strike’s owner, Rick Dawson, shocked the horse racing world by announcing they wouldn’t be running the Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown, explaining it was part of the original plan to give Rich Strike more recovery time and rest between races. And when Red asked her if she believed that, Black explained,

If it is true, it makes sense. And, even if it was not part of the original plan, it still makes sense. After the Kentucky Derby, they said they only enter races they think they can win. So, following that logic, they will get more press if they do not run the Preakness than if they do and do not win. And, will get more excitement going (and time to train) if they run Belmont. Regardless, stating they are doing what is the right decision for the horse is something great to see.

Even though there will not be a Triple Crown contender this year, this season already has a winner that will go down in history … with a made-for-movies Cinderella story.

This is one of Red’s favorite Banter Bites in large part because of Black’s “corny” puns, but also because fresh corn is a summer staple – whether cooked on the grill or in the microwave, whether eaten on its own or as a primary ingredient in refreshing summer salads

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Quick! If someone says "Julius Caesar," what comes to mind?

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