I recorded the Kentucky Derby because I had to attend an early Mother’s Day pizza party for a dear friend who always includes me in her family get togethers. The race result was spoiled when someone there announced the winner via their smart phone, but I still watched the recording. I find the California Chrome story very inspiring and very timely in light of current events. The two owners, Steve Coburn and Perry Martin were called dumb asses for their $8,000 purchase of Love the Chase. Instead of becoming defensive they incorporated the name into their partnership by calling themselves the Dumb Ass Partners. Their racing silks and CC’s blinkers proudly proclaim DAP on the front with a buck toothed jack ass on the back. That is the perfect application of my current belief that true freedom comes from ignoring negative comments or better yet incorporating them to show self-esteem and individual value does not ride the fickle winds of outsider opinion. This is so much wiser and more productive than the current rush to paint any opinion not considered positive as defined by the current definition of political correctness as an evil to be punished. First amendment rights guarantee any citizen room to make dumb or insensitive comments as long as they don’t threaten harm to another person or property. Political correctness and the desire to legislate opinion has turned us into a nation of wimps and tattlers ever ready to point a finger at anyone whose opinion is judged offensive. In the process we are selling out our freedom of speech on the altar of collectively accepted opinion. Bravo to two men who have the courage to stand in the face of negative opinion and prove words have no power unless we assign them power.
When the filly proved unsuccessful on the track they held to their belief in her and bred her to see what kind of foal she would produce which is basically a three year blind faith commitment before the foal is old enough to ride. They say Perry studied her pedigree and thought it would match well with that of Lucky Pulpit who had a modest $2,500 stud fee. I’ve studied the two pedigrees and was not overly impressed. I saw some good bloodlines, but nothing outstanding other than Seattle Slew four generations back on the stud side and Northern Dancer four generations and five generations back on the dam side. But ink and paper are only parts of what creates a dream in the hearts of men and they saw what others might not. They followed their dream and their partnership forged by an arranged meeting and a handshake grew into the dream of a lifetime. To accomplish their shared dream they found another aging dreamer with horses forged into his lifeblood from his youth. Art Sherman came alongside them to add his trainer talents and the never ending wonder of those who have lived close to those magical creatures who inhabit racing barns and pastures. And so, on the second Saturday in May 2014 their shared dreams raced to the finish line aboard a cocky sorrel stallion with chrome and charisma that might never have been if dumb ass had been taken as a warning instead of a challenge.
I found the jockey, Victor Espenoza, exuding his own brand of cocky, which is pretty common with the trade. He rode a good ride and often commented that he gets along well with CC because he lets him run his own race. As a now arm chair jockey/trainer I would have had to ask, in private of course, why he found the need to whip so aggressively on the back stretch when CC was so obviously in command of his race. Horses are stride locked which means they breathe once for every stride. Over whipping to increase speed is a good way to cause lung damage and produce a bleeder, not to mention CC has two hard races in his too near future. Just an arm chair observation, but I’ll be saying extra prayers for unhindered soundness because we all will be doing California dreaming for a new Triple Crown contender.