Monday, May 04, 2009

Mine that Bird and His Common Rider

For the first time in my complex life, I watched the Kentucky Derby. I decided to call one of my friends and tell him that I was watching; and in typical fashion he attempted to make me feel stupid by ridiculing me because I had never watched a group of horses that are forced to run around a dirt track, little men who are underpaid ride on the backs of million dollar horses, and a bunch of people, mostly Americans, stand around with enormous hats on (women) and men perpetrating in Seersucker suits. Of course, this dude’s efforts did not affect me one bit. But, his shallow insistence did encourage me to travel to Kentucky next year and ‘front’ like most of the people there. However, one thing will continue before I take off to the mid-west seeking a good party:

I will conduct more research on the two minute event e.g. its origins, previous black jockeys, and possible black owners of horses in the NTRA (National Thoroughbred Racing Association).
Mine That Bird shocks Derby at 50-1 - NTRA.

Speaking of black folk. I did see Michael Jordon there in a hideous suit and that big azz hoop earring. Michael Jordan Pictures - Celebrities At The Kentucky Derby - Zimbio. Why does he wear that ear piece? Ironically, his former trade’s championship game series is not the most watched sporting event in the United States. Not even the Super Bowl! The Kentucky Derby wins that honor. Guess what? That smart mouth dude who attempted to humiliate me did not know this.

At the end of the race I was hooked.

One thing that will not get lost in my partying when I go next May:

The Race - (A thrilling TWO minutes)

Mine that Bird was determined to win! At the end of the day, Mine That Bird went down in history as the “Spoiler”. I prefer to call him The Horse that Had the Jockey who Wanted to Win - How a common man rode to greatness:

“A Common Man”

I like that. An average man from the country side of Louisiana won…while surely pleasing the high-rollers in the overpriced VIP sections. I will be outside the gates next year in a rented RV.

Written by Brian E. Payne.


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

You know I do recall reading or seeing a piece re: a Black horse jockey who won the KD, and ended up being sent to Europe, where I believe he lived his remaining years. If I'm correct, the piece proposed that Black jockeys used to be common place in horse racing, but I can't remember what the article attributed the disappearance of Black jockeys to. That should be interesting research for you.

I didn't watch it this year, but I've always enjoyed all of the majesty and pomp, that is the Kentucky Derby. I am especially intrigued by the
various names given to the horses, much in the same manner that I enjoy unravelling the names and origins of boats at the marina.....there's always a story behind the name and origin of the vessel......and, likewise, a horse.


Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Muata shares info:

"The accomplishments of African-American horsemen in the early years of the sport are often forgotten, but in the years between the Civil War and the turn of the century, they were very influential. In the first Kentucky Derby Aristides was trained by African-American Ansel Williamson and guided to victory by Oliver Lewis, one of 15 black jockeys in that race. Over all, 15 of the first 28 Kentucky Derbys were won by black jockeys and 5 were trained by black trainers."

"In recent years, African-Americans have started coming back into the mainstream of racing. MC Hammer had the successful Oaktown Stable which raced the excellent filly Lite Light, winner of the Kentucky Oaks and other prestigious races. Barry Gordy of Motown fame has also had some success with his horses. More recently, the young jockey Marlon St. Julien has been very successful in the Texas and Chicago racing circuits. However, there is still a long way to go before the old prejudices die so young jockeys can get a fair chance at a career in racing despite the advances made by black owners and trainers."

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

The book Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Black Athlete by William Rhoden goes in-depth about the unfortunate, but true racial aspects, of what came to be known as the decline of the Black jockey. It's a great book about the history of Black athletes. You'd be wise to pick it up in your research. ;-)


Nandi Asase Yaa

Muata, The Shadow, The Black Rebel said...

Reader Response:

I don't know why I didn't think to research this. I was a history major in undergraduate and am fully aware of our presence and influence in almost every aspect of American culture an history. I had no idea, however, of the roll we played in the Kentucky Derby. I am not surprised with your findings. When we are serious, we are the best at everything we do. If my grandfathers were alive today, they would both be thrilled to have received this e-mail from you.

Keep me informed.


Yvette said...

I watched the Kentucky Derby for the first time this year and I was hooked too. Like someone else mentioned I was intrigued by the whole "show" from the horses to the grounds to people that were stylin. As I was kept watching they broadcasters kept mentioning how it was the 135th anniversary (I believe) of the Derby and that made me think about how it was in USA in 1874. In the south, in KY, at the Derby. Blacks were treated less that human even though they got their "freedom" just 9 yrs prior. The south was more violent than ever with the birth of the KKK. I'm sure blacks weren't allowed at the Derby unless they were serving or cleaning. Slaves probably built the Derby. It's just an interesting thought. It shakes me to the core when I think about it was (I think) for BIacks back then. I'm looking forward to reading your findings about Black jockeys.