Horse enthusiasts await spring as one of the most exciting times of year ! Lush new grass emerging from the fertile soil, refreshed after a long winter’s rest. Pastures dotted with anxious Mares trying to keep up with their frolicking Foals just finding the speed and strength in those lovely long legs . These gorgeous Colts and Fillies will grow up to RUN!!! It is the time of year when racing fans flock to Louisville Ky.for the Kentucky Derby, to witness ” the most exciting 2 minutes in sports” !!!
My Family always watched the Kentucky Derby on T.V. it was an all day event, we would watch all the horses being groomed . The Farms where they had been bred,born and raised were showcased, they interviewed the owners, who gave detailed stories of the long pedigrees . We listened to the trainers and jockeys of each Horse, some had funny tales of the quirky behavior that these sleek beauties possess. The winning Horse is adorned with a beautiful garland of roses, therefor many people call the Kentucky Derby “The run for the Roses” . “Run for the roses” is also a song and one of my favorite songs ever, I get misty eyed listening to such a beautiful dedication to Thoroughbred Race Horses. We always watched all three races that make up the triple crown .
To win the triple crown is the highest racing accomplishment in the United States . The Kentucky Derby is the first race or jewel in the Triple Crown followed by the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness . 2011 will be the 137th year of the ” Derby” . The Kentucky Derby is known for all the ladies coming out in fancy dresses, very extravagant hats and elegant little parasols. I have never tasted a Mint Julep, the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby, but I did buy a Derby Pie at the Louisville airport, when I flew in to attend a Horse Expo .
The Kentucky Derby is run by 3 yr. old registered Thoroughbred race horses with bloodlines that run back farther than any humans I know, save probably Royalty, I don’t know any one of Royal blood personally. I was able to trace back my OTTB ( off track Thoroughbred) to the early 1700s . July 6th 1975 was the last time I watched a race, it was a match race, only two Horses on the track . Match races are very heated races, high emotion for the fans as well as two Horses. This race had been publicized for weeks, “Battle of the Sexes”. The television aired constant jeers and dittys taunting, boys are better than girls/ girls are better than boys !
That day with the racing grounds filled, pink and blue banners flagging the stands, Ruffian wasn’t just a race Horse, she was Female America. The Bugles sounded, the the gates opened in an explosion of horse power. Ruffian hit her shoulder on the gate coming out of it but recovered quickly, straightening herself out and running like the champion she was. Ruffian was ahead by half a length then both her Sesamoid bones in her right front leg broke. Her jockey tried to rein her in but she kept on running, pastern and hoof flopping from the fetlock down. The track Veterinarians did extensive surgery on her but she thrashed, running as she lay on her side in the recovery stall, ripping her surgery apart. She could not stop running , she was born to run and run she did , she ran her heart out, Ruffian ran until she breathed her last breath.
That was the last race I have ever or will ever watch again. I can never enjoy the Kentucky Derby or any other Horse race for that matter, after witnessing the devastating match race between Ruffian and Foolish Pleasure to the horror of the Nation the greatest racing Filly and one of the greatest race Horses ever was lost . Ruffian was Euthanized July 7th, 1974.