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Friday, May 06, 2005

A week spent loading up on smoked meat and Labatt's with our neighbors to the North has left me feeling satisfyingly bloated but severely lacking in blog energy, therefore I'm passing the conch to one Mr. Mann, who can be found each and ever day over at Left At The Gate, a ponies and politics blog. Below, Mann gives us his annual rundown of the race for the roses, the Kentucky Derby. I was going to ask Laura Bush to guest-blog the preview for us this year but decided against it for fear she'd take the horse-jerk jokes too far and get us shut down by the FCC. So, without further ado, Days proudly presents: Blue Blood in a Red State, a Kentucky Derby Primer. Enjoy.

Blue Blood in a Red State: The 131st Kentucky Derby
This Saturday, in Louisville, KY, where a couple of weekends ago, religious conservatives, and Bill Frist Headroom, gathered to spread their messages of hate and intolerance, around 150,000 people of all races, faiths, sexual orientations, shoe sizes, and opinions on how to handicap a horse race will gather at Churchill Downs for one of America’s most celebrated events, the so-called ”most exciting two minutes in sports,” the Kentucky Derby. There will gather some of the most royally bred equines and humans in the country - as well as some who are distinctly not so. The last two Derbies, won by Funny Cide, a New York-bred owned by a group of regular guys from upstate, and the modestly-bred Smarty Jones, proved that the race is truly the stuff that the American dream is made of.

This is the one time of the year that the sport, suffering from bad publicity and increased competition from increased legal gambling, captures the attention of people and the press alike. The New York Times has had two front page stories on the race this week, which is two more than the number of stories they, or most anyone else in the mainstream media, has run on the revelations that a British official was told by Bush Administration officials in July, 2002 that “intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy,” that policy being the unprovoked invasion of Iraq.

The bad press for racing is over some indictments and positive tests regarding illegal medication administered to horses, and there will be armed guards present in the barn area to prevent any hanky-panky. Of course, Kentuckians re-elected Jim Bunning despite the fact that he cheated in a debate against Democrat opponent Daniel Mongirdo by reading from a teleprompter, but cheating in the Derby? Egads!

So that you may better enjoy the race, which will be televised by NBC starting at 5 PM in the east despite complaints by the American Family Council, who object to the way men hug each other in the winners’ circle after their horses win, as well as the fact that two of the horses have the word “High” in their name, below is a brief preview of the main contenders.

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Left at the Gate
Kentucky Derby (Official)
Daily Racing Form (Derby)
Derby History (Wikipedia)

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