03 May 2007

Saturday, My Heart Will Be in Louisville

The 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby will be taking place this Saturday. Even though I grew up in Louisville, the extent of my Derby participation was attending Derby parties in whatever color silks I could find each year.

dminmem, circa 1982, ten days after my 21st birthday at a friend's Derby Party in Louisville, wearing the only color of silks I could find that year.

Since I've lived in Memphis I have stopped everything during the afternoon of the first Saturday in May to watch the festivities on television, with the exception of the once a few years ago when I'd stayed at Home Depot too late and had to listen to the race on the old Delco AM/FM in the Grand Prix. Something about listening to the race on the radio, though, brought back many childhood memories. Even though I didn't actually see the race I was still "home".

Usually I pick a horse to root for by names I've liked or stories I've listened to in the pre-race coverage. This year I have been looking at articles from the "The New York Times", National Thoroughbred Racing Association, various websites and weblogs to see what's the latest buzz about the field slated for the starting gates at Churchill Downs on May 5, my friend Thom's birthday.

I know that Scat Daddy beat early favorite No Biz like Shobiz (his second loss against three wins) at Florida's Gulfstream Park in the Fountain of Youth Stakes. But it was a narrow loss, and he rebounded to win the Wood Memorial on my Grandmother's birthday, April 7, at Aqueduct.

The owner Elizabeth Valando and the trainer Barclay Tagg, right, with Nobiz Like Shobiz after he won the Wood Memorial. Caption: The New York Times; Photo and Sarah K. Andrew

And I love the story about owner Elizabeth Valando in "The Times". I've enjoyed reading about No Biz' trainer, Barclay Tagg. He's been involved with some amazing, history-making thoroughbreds and some amazing stories throughout his career.

No Biz Like Shobiz at the Wood Memorial. Photo: Coglianese Photos

There are, I'm sure, stories about Curlin, Scat Daddy and Street Sense that would tug at my heartstrings, bring tears to my eyes and make me wish I was living in Louisville for at least the last few weeks of April and the first week of May (Derby Festival, you know). But, with No Biz' victory on my Grandmother's birthday and his running in the derby on Thom's birthday, it's No Biz Like Shobiz for me for the 133rd Run for the Roses.

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