Horse lovers and racing fans all over the world consider the first Saturday in May to be the High Holy Day of Horse Racing. Today is Kentucky Derby Day. So ladies, put on your big hats and everyone gather round for mint juleps. We might just have a Triple Crown Winner today.

There has not been a Triple Crown Winner in 31 years. The 70’s were good years for the Triple Crown. Great racing athletes like Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), and Affirmed (1978) all ‘ran for the roses’ and walked away with the most coveted prize of all, the Triple Crown.

Technically speaking, a race horse only ‘runs for the roses’ in the Kentucky Derby. In 2 weeks, the horses will run in the Preakness, for the black eyed Susan. Those running in the Belmont will run for the blanket of white carnations. The Belmont Stakes will be held June 6 at Belmont Park in New York.

Every year fans keep their fingers crossed that this will be the year—the year of a Triple Crown Winner. Things are a little wobbly at the moment. Today, Kentucky Derby favored I want Revenge was scratched due to a wretched front ankle. He will go on to Pimlico early in hopes of being well for the Preakness in 2 weeks. Whoever wins today’s derby, might just lose out in the Preakness if I want Revenge is back to normal and is as strong of a runner as some feel he is.

List of 20th Century Triple Crown Winners

Historical pictures of the Derby

Official Kentucky Derby Site

Video of former Triple Crown Winners

More information on that fine Virginia athlete, Secretariat (1970-1989)

Who is your favorite? Will we have a Triple Crown winner this year? Has anyone ever been to the Kentucky Derby? How many people frequent Charles Town?  Should horse racing be banned, as some animal rights activists want?  Will the swine flu scare keep crowds low at the Derby?

[ED:  Gainesville Resident has found the following link that shows an aerial shot of the race as well as a heart-warming interview with Jockey Cal ‘Bo-RAIL’  Borel.]

35 Thoughts to “Run for the Roses 2009”

  1. Poor Richard

    I’ve seen some good race horses in my day, but only one truly great
    one – Secretariat.

  2. Chris

    Mine That Bird wins!!!
    What a race. I love seeing the underdog win. I almost have to laugh that all the favorites finish in the bottom half.

  3. City guy


  4. Moon-howler

    2nd biggest upset in the history of the Kentucky Derby = Mine the Bird

    What a beautiful race!

    Poor Richard, I agree with you about Secretariat. That is why I put him as the lead on this thread. 🙂

  5. NoVA Scout

    Far more important and interesting were the Virginia Gold Cup races today. Horses going on a grass course over jumps on uneven ground in races between just over 2 miles to over 4 miles are far more interesting than watching three-year olds running flat out on level ground. I looked for you folks there, but was disappointed.

  6. Gainesville Resident

    Wow – that was really something to see – I just watched the video posted here on the website as I heard about the race on the radio this evening while in the car. Never watched much horse racing but that was pretty exciting to see that horse win!

  7. Moon-howler

    Oh Nova Scout, you missed a fabulous race. Second biggest upset in the history of the Kentucky Derby.

    I agree that the gold cup is an interesting race. Too bad the weather was so questionable.

    Gainesville, that horse appeared to have come out of no where! The jockey, Cal Borel is nicknamed Calvin Bo-RAIL at Churchhill downs because he is known for doing just what he did today. I didn’t realize it but he was the jockey for Street Sense who won the Derby in 2007. He pulled the same trick. Brought the horse up along the rail.

    I watched at Damons. They had it on 2 of the mega-screens. Even then, inconsiderate jerks got up and just stood there.

  8. Gainesville Resident

    MH – I watched that video twice, as the first time I couldn’t even figure out where Mine that Bird came from! I was listening to the announcer and then all of the sudden saw that horse way in the lead. Rewatching it, I still find it hard to see where he managed to come from to pull out ahead of the pack on the left side. That was really exciting, even though I didn’t see it live and saw it here on antibvbl instead hours later, it still was like being on the edge of the seat for those 2+ minutes! By the way, saw nice horses today – not race horses but the Budweiser Clydesdales, at Sea World San Antonio. They had several of them there, really beautiful horses. Glad you posted that video, as I wouldn’t have seen it otherwise although I’m sure it’s out there on the web.

  9. Gainesville Resident

    Oops – I see the horse’s name is Mine the Bird, NOT Mine that Bird like I wrote above. What do I know about race horse’s names anyway?

  10. Luis Ramirez is murdered by a white gang in shenandoah, pa and the all white jury just found the teenagers innocent of all serious charges despite the witness testimony and evidence. Despite the testimony of two of the attackers.

    What exactly does it take?

    What exactly does it take to actually see a post about this here?

    How is run for the roses more important?

    Jury foreman Eric Macklin of Schuylkill Haven said he was the lone holdout when the jury voted 11-1 for acquittal at 5 p.m. after deliberating for just two hours.,0,457571.story

  11. Moon-howler

    Wonderful story here. Mine The Bird is also a gelding who cost $9500 at auction originally. Most race horses are stallions that spend a cushy life after a fairly brief racing career, being stud horses.

    Cal Borel is amazing. His post race happiness was like none I have ever seen. Laughter, tears, whooping it up for sure. Bo-RAIL has a grade school education. This cajun boy began racing at age 8 in southern Louisiana.

    Chip Woolly, the trainer was on crutches and drove Mine The Bird to Churchill Downs himself. 21 hour drive from New Mexico.

  12. Moon-howler

    Mackie, Run for the Roses isn’t more important, it was probably more visible to more people. Every once in a while we do threads that aren’t of a serious nature.

    Thank you for posting the link. It would have probably fit better under the scapegoating thread.

  13. Chris

    @NoVA Scout
    I’ve not been to the Gold Cup in years, and it sounds like the crowd gets bigger and bigger each year. Did you catch the Terrier races too?
    How was the turn out given the weather?

  14. Moon-howler

    What are the terrier races, Chris?

  15. NoVA Scout

    Not to take anything away from the Derby – I saw that on television when I got home from The Plains. It was an amazing race for all the reasons posted here. But somehow, it would have been more fun if the field had been on grass, going up and down hills and taking a few jumps in the process. That might have opened up the pack a bit for Mr. Borel. Chris – I missed the terrier races this year. I was with my teenage daughter and one of her friends. That made it a bit harder to get there for the preliminaries. Had to get their hats just so, don’t you know. The crowd seemed a little smaller than in past years, but I am a notoriously bad estimator of these things. The organizers and the State Police did a super job of keeping things moving. I recommend the event to anyone who loves more intimate horse events and wonderful atmosphere, in a classic Virginia setting.

  16. Poor Richard

    Have been to the Kentucky Derby and several Gold Cups, thankfully
    on days with great weather, and admired the racing and the
    ambience of the events. The ladies and their great hats are part
    of the show — asked a friend if she remembered who
    won when we went to the Gold Cup several years ago and she
    didn’t, but she remembered and could describe, in detail, her
    hat and that of every other woman in the group. Such is life.

  17. Punchak

    Was invited to the Gold Cup once; went and couldn’t quite get the gist of it all. Seemed to be an outing for the “haves” who set up fancy tables with fancy food and drink and with women in big hats.

    The best part was the opening when several parachuters were circling overhead and landed perfectly. – Mrs. super rich Johnson sang at the opening. Not bad, actually.

  18. Chris

    Terriers have a race of their own prior to the horses.

  19. Chris

    @NoVA Scout
    Smaller crowd sounds good. It sounds like you enjoyed the day inspite the weather. I’m impressed you got two teens out to the event. Classic Virginia setting, indeed. I’m biased when it comes to the Plains, my grandfather is from there. Love those rolling hills!!

  20. Mackie, Run for the Roses isn’t more important, it was probably more visible to more people.

    You mean white people.

    Please learn to recognize that when you say ‘people’, you’re usually saying ‘white people’. When you say ‘those in the middle’ you’re usually saying ‘those white people in the middle’. When you say ‘the moderates this blog is trying to appeal to’, you’re usually saying ‘those white moderates this blog is trying to appeal to’.

    Please learn to reflect, in the way you speak and write, that the white experience is not the same as those of us of color. From privilege to discrimination, our experience is not the same and out priorities do not match. Your communication is filled with assumptions that you’ve probably never questioned because you never had to.

  21. Chris

    Here’s a clip from the news this week. Look down to the middle of the page and you can watch a Pre-Gold Cup Terrier Race, and see an actual race from the past. Also, you can enter your dog’s picture to be on a VA lottery game scratcher. All the details are in the link.

  22. Chris

    FYI-The first people I thought of enjoying the Derby is a black couple that I’ve been friends with for decades. and have attending the Gold Cup on many occassions with as well. Only you would turn the Kentucky Derby into a racial issue.

  23. Moon-howler


    You have obviously never been to the race track or you would know horse racing isn’t just for white people. You ought to get out more often instead of sitting around thinking up perceived wrongs done by others and you would realize how many diverse a race trace really is.

    Just out of curiosity, what ethnicity do you think Eddie Arcaro and the all time winningest jockey Jorge Richardo are?

    Mackie, furthermore, I don’t really owe you an explanation nor will I apologize for being white. You obviously are not comfortable in your own skin which is not my problem. I know many people from many different ethnicities who are quite comfortable and don’t go around whining about it all the time. I am probably much more color blind than you will ever be. Bottom line: Get over it.

  24. Moon-howler,

    I’m glad you think you’re color-blind, but you’re wrong. It’s impossible to be colorblind.

    Perhaps if a gang of 6 white teenagers beat a race horse to death, we might see a post about it here.

  25. Rebecca

    Why would a gang of teenagers beat a race horse to death? They might not win that fight.

  26. Punchak

    ” ‘Tis summer and the darkies are gay…

    The young folks roll on the little cabin floor
    all merry, all happy and bright…”

    Wonderful to see all those chic women heartily joining in in singing My old Kentucky home. (rolling on the floor – in a little cabin)

    I thought that song was dead and buried. – Yes, I know some of the words have been changed, but “the little cabin floor” is still there.

  27. Firedancer

    Thanks so much for posting the race, MH! We were away for the weekend and didn’t get to see it live My husband and I just watched it over and over trying to figure out where Mine That Bird came from. Even the announcer seemed confused.

  28. Moon-howler

    Firedancer, I think that the announcer simply never noticed that Mine The Bird had come from nowhere. I don’t think he saw him. He was shouting on about Pioneerof the Nile and Dunkirk. (or some other horses)

    Punchak, I think probably lots of kids grew up on cabin floors in the days when Stephen Foster wrote that song.

    Here are all the words to My Old Kentucky Home, the official state song of Kentucky. (click the blue)

  29. Gainesville Resident

    Found a video that shows where Mine That Bird came from in the race. This is a longer version of the video posted here – wait for around the 7 minute mark and you’ll see an overhead view that really shows it well! I also could not figure out where he came from – just too hard to tell during the “live” race video. Also this has very good interview with the jockey imediately after the race. It is

  30. Moon-howler

    Thank you for finding this video, Gainesville. This is the one I have been looking for! This was just an amazing race. I also want to see the joy that jockey displayed. I was in a public place for the race and it was loud. Hard to hear all the words of that happy Cajun man.

  31. Firedancer

    Thanks from me, too, Gainesville. That’s a great video!

  32. Gainesville Resident

    Yes, that interview was great and finally I figured out how Mine That Bird came from behind. But I really enjoyed the interview with that jockey – great for him (and the horse too)! I was glad I found that video too.

  33. Chris

    @Gainesville Resident
    Thanks for the video. I really enjoyed the jockey’s enthusiasm and the interview. Just a great story all the way around.

  34. Gainesville Resident

    Agreed Chris. You could really see the emotion and happiness in the jockey. Great victory for him. If all professional sports stars could be like him. Too bad his parents weren’t alive to see his victory. I was glad I got to see the interview with him too.

  35. Moon-howler

    I thought the segment about his parents was touching also. That was just pure raw emotion. I agree with Gainesville that he really was a model for all professional athletes. That joy was just contagious! I am so glad that Gainesville found the video with Borel’s post race interview and post over to the awards presentation.

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