Saturday, May 5, 2012

Grab a Hat and a Drink

Today marks the 138th anniversary of the Run for the Roses, a celebration that typically includes horses, hats, and mint juleps.

As you already know, I don’t watch races. And I discovered this morning that I suffer from a condition known as PPS: Pretty Pony Syndrome—meaning that if I were a betting person, which I’m not, I’d be swayed by the aesthetics of the horses. In today’s lineup, I’m particularly drawn to Hansen and Creative Cause.

In case you overdo it on the juleps this afternoon, here are a couple of sobering facts about the racing industry:
1. 750 horses die on U.S. racecourses each year.
(Would we allow a stat like that to exist for professional ball players in this country?)
2. More than 10,000 U.S. Thoroughbreds are shipped for slaughter each year.
(That’s just the Thoroughbreds, mind you. There are plenty of other breeds headed for slaughter each day.)

Sorry to be the killjoy, but if you’re watching the Derby, you need to know what you’re supporting.

For previous (mostly happier) posts about the Kentucky Derby, see “Dressing for Derby Day”—which includes info on hats and mint julep recipes, “Derby Day Is Here,” “WordGazing: Derby Tip for Grammarians,” “137th Derby Follow-Up,” and “May Day, May Day!

[Top pic: Amber, owned by Fox’s Biscuits, wears a Stephen Jones hat at Royal Ascot, Britain’s historic Thoroughbred racecourse.]

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