It’s Saturday, May 6 just a few hours before the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby.
Mr. Ed, a talking horse on a TV show 77 years ago and now retired but still mentally sharp, enters the horse’s paddock at Louisville’s Churchill Downs.
Hunting for a story angle for his blog, Sammy Sportface confronts the off-white horse to gain some insights into how horses think and what they do.
“What do horses do in here before the race?”
“Duh, Sportface, they get it on,” said Mr. Ed.
Two pairs of horses competing in today’s Derby, you could even call them couples, hook up with the doors wide open for visitors to watch. In one stall Rocket Can climbs aboard Skinner; in the other Practical Move mounts Reincarnate.
“Do horses always mate in the paddock before races?” asks Sportface.
“Of course they do,” said Mr. Ed. “It gets them aroused for the races. Horses are like humans – they enjoy becoming aroused. Their heart rates rise and they get a good sweat going. In horse culture, it’s well established, almost a credo, that you don’t want to ever start a race as a horse without copulating just before it with another horse. Doesn’t matter which horse really, just any horse. It’s a pretty random process.”
Sportface hears groaning in one stall. Rocket Can is skin-rubbing with Skinner and gets so excited that Rocket shoots out a poop that looks like a family-size loaf of wheat bread.
“Do they always poop when they mate?” asks Sportface.
“Not always,” said Mr. Ed. “Usually if the mating is passionate they poop, but if it’s just an ordinary mating session, what you humans would characterize as casual sex, the horses aren’t as prone to pooping.”
“I can relate,” says Sportface. “How long do these pre-race mauling sessions last?”
“Couple of hours, usually,” said Mr. Ed. “Horses have a lot of stamina compared with humans on and off the track.”
“Doesn’t that tire them out when running the Kentucky Derby?”
“Not really. Besides, they all get it on before every race — they’ve got remarkable discipline about this – so it levels the horse track riding field,” said Mr. Ed.
Sportface keeps staring at the acts of intimacy.
“Seen enough mating, Sportface?” Mr. Ed asks. “You seem into this? It’s disturbing to watch you watch them. I need a drink.”
Strolling across the paddock, Mr. Ed escorts Sportface to a barrel full of mint julep, the traditional booze that everyone has been guzzling every year at the Kentucky Derby for 149 straight years. The beverage is a concoction of bourbon, sugar, fresh mint, and crushed ice.
“Horses drink mint juleps?” Sportface asks. “Doesn’t that make them drunk for the race?”
“Horses don’t care if they’re drunk,” said Mr. Ed. “They also don’t care about running in the Kentucky Derby or any other race. They’ll drink anything and if it’s mint juleps at the Kentucky Derby, so be it. Horses can’t think or reason, Sportface. You ought to be able to relate to that.”
The four mating horses stop by and start slurping from the mint julep barrel. All four of them are huffing and puffing, perspiring all over.
“So they get it on, drink juleps and then go run the Kentucky Derby?” Sportface asks.
“That’s right, Sportface. Not sure why that’s so hard for you to get your head around. But there’s one other thing. They bet on their own races.”
Mr. Ed. pulls out his smartphone to the Kentucky Derby website. Practical Move takes out his phone and places his bet on Reincarnate.
“I feel reincarnated after my mating session with Reincarnate,” said Practical Move. “And after the stamina that horse showed me in the stall, how could I not bet on her to win the Kentucky Derby today? She’s given me a new life. I died and was born again in one stall session. Run, Reincarnate, run.”
Rocket Can places his bet on Skinner. “She showed me a lot of skin in that stall,” he said. “I got to believe she’s got the horsepower to win today given how much she showed me the past two hours. I’ll put me skin in the game with Skinner, who will be today’s sinner.”
The horses keep guzzling the mint juleps.
“So what’s your story angle for today’s race?” asks Mr. Ed.
“I think it’s about mating, primarily, and horses getting drunk on mint juleps.”
“What about that Mr. Ed and these other horses can talk? Most horses can’t. That seems like an angle for your readers.
“Nah, my readers don’t care about talking horses. They care about horses getting busy and then drunk before racing in front of millions of fans drunk on mint juleps.”
“Just because I can talk doesn’t mean I can’t handle my liquor,” said Mr. Ed. “And just because these horses have a lot of sex before races don’t mean they don’t know how to place a bet on their smartphones. You need to get out more, Sportface. You need to talk less and drink more. Then come back to me and we’ll have a real conversation.”
Sammy Sportface, a sports blogger, galvanizes, inspires, and amuses The Baby Boomer Brotherhood. And you can learn about his vision and join this group's Facebook page here:
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