The stewards got it right
I’ve joked in this space from time to time about Dear Readers, irritated by something yours truly has written, arming themselves with pitchforks and torches and heading towards the Sun. Of course, it’s never happened, because people here are too darn nice, most don’t have pitchforks, and fewer still have good old-fashioned torches. So I’ve pretty much given up on my “Frankenstein”-related fantasy, but … Maybe my thoughts on the 145th Kentucky Derby will lead to at least one critical email or phone call, which I will welcome, because fielding such things is part of the job and because I need the attention. (email@example.com or 873-4131, ext. 13.) The stewards made the right call. I am no expert on horses, or horse racing. I am aware that the animals that made us the self-proclaimed Horse Capital of the World have one end that kicks, and another that bites, and that they are large and fast and, sometimes, unpredictable. I have no idea whether Maximum Security crossed over into other horses’ lanes because he was spooked by the crowd, or, at not quite three years old, a very young horse, or both. I believe jockey Luis Saez did what he could to move him back to the inside as quickly as possible. However, as the endless replays showed (as well as still photographs later), Maximum Security’s veer outside nearly caused the horses in their lanes to go down, with others likely following. How many horses and jockeys would have been injured or even killed? Some folks argued that Maximum Security was clearly the best horse, and that those he impeded wouldn’t have caught him, and maybe they’re right. But that’s not the point. As those supporting the stewards’ decision pointed out, horse racing is not NASCAR, there’s a potentially life-and-death difference between a bump and a veer, and rules are rules, whether it’s a claiming race at Keeneland or the Kentucky Derby. The sport has changed. These days, it’s common for horses entered in the Kentucky Derby to have only a few career races, which makes the likely spooking of Maximum Security more likely. Reducing the field to, say, 16 would help reduce the chances of injuries, but don’t bet on that to happening anytime soon, because big money’s involved. So there’s my mostly-uninformed opinion on the subject. Feel free to respond in any way you wish – I’d love to fill up page two with Dear John letters. Good things Last Friday, I stopped by Woodford County High School for a photo of the biannual Jack Kain Ford-sponsored “Drive 4 Ur School” event. More than 300 people took test drives, generating the maximum donation of $8,000 by Ford Motor Company to WCHS’s Project Graduation. Volunteer work by plenty of parents and others helped make the event a success. Saturday, Mortenson Family Dental, the Woodford Health Department, the Blue Grass Community Action Partnership and Versailles Presbyterian Church will join forces to provide a free dental clinic and round-trip transportation. (The story’s on the front page.) The volunteer work by these folks, particularly the dentists and techs at Mortenson, will help up to 50 people and perhaps more get needed dental care. Saturday is also the rescheduled Earth Day at Big Spring Park. Volunteers will clean up the park and nearby areas. Sense a trend? If not, let me volunteer the notion that the folks who do things for others, free of charge and sometimes without even a “thank you” in return, are who make Woodford County great. Of course, the horses are pretty cool, too.