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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Breeders' Cup Debacle! Braids: It's All About the Braids. Horse and Human.


Thanks Torrie Ann Needham for this great shot! Beautiful.

I've decided I think I know how Bo Derek really got elected to the head of the CHRB. Thank the braids. It's always been about THE BRAIDS. Race horse owners, trainers and the team of people who care for the horses on a daily basis like to fancy up their manes for big races, by braiding them.

Clearly, somebody who was a huge fan of Ms. Derek's assumed that similarity was enough to ensure she'd be a credible, useful, capable, hopefully outstanding, Director. After this year's BC Classic starting gate debacle, I hope whoever thought that, is somewhere acknowledging his error, even if only privately. Unless the goal and responsibility of the racing board's first vice chair is to help selective trainers injure a competing trainer's horse, Ms. Derek has once again failed miserably at properly or graciously executing her duties.

Yes, an argument solely blaming the Santa Anita stewards regarding Bayern's ridiculous win certainly deserves to be made and maintained in social media until changes happen that reflect a healthier, less-preferential treatment. But the SA stewards ultimately answer (to a strong degree) to the California Horse Racing Board. Ms. Bo Derek.

I was okay, disgusted with but ultimately disgruntledly okay, at the decision by SA stewards NOT to disqualify Bayern due to the jockey's [Martin Garcia] reckless start at the gate. Scott Cheney gave a reason at the press conference the following morning explaining their choice, blahbideeblah, California HRB rule number blahbideeblah made us pick this way.

Blah, blah, blah...

That was before I read an article that not only discussed the egregious, (my new word of the day, word of the week after seeing the Classic go off like that! EGREGIOUS. Look it up if you don't know it and then think Bob Baffert.) harried, chaotic and dangerous bad start intentionally initiated by Baffert and his jockey towards the herd to Bayern's left.

Cut to the chase aftermath. Moreno who got slammed when Bayern hit Shared Belief is now required to get ankle surgery because of jockey Garcia and trainer Baffert's tactics. Ankle surgery. The elegant tiny legs, ankles and hooves of a horse constantly fascinate and impress me. The way they carry all that weight (a thousand pounds plus) while running at speeds up to forty miles per hour. Unbelievably amazing.

Unfortunately, that slim, delicate little ankle is also a racehorse's worst enemy. It doesn't take much to damage it and when it gets smacked or slammed or trampled or trolloped or whacked, it breaks or cracks or has some other wretched thing happen to it that, regardless of a surgeon's skill, doesn't allow the horse to ever run the same way again. (I'm not saying you should root for the Cowboys, I prefer the Texans, but think Tony Romo and his back. He had surgery to correct issues but still after minimal hits, he develops significant problems that unavoidably affect his game.

Some people like to say horse racing, being a jockey and tough competition, is a man's sport. I disagree. Because in order to believe that I'd have to believe men are organically, innately dumb. And I don't think that at all. It's ludicrous.

The reason I put it that way is because if I am to accept that Bob Baffert's instructing his jockey to do whatever it takes to get the lead or out in front at the onset of the race is right-minded and hugely common, then I'd also be accepting that all men in the sport of horse racing are perfectly fine and comfortable, think it's their inherent right and job to get a win, no matter how egregious the tactics. A win is a win and that's all that matters.

Bob Baffert = annoying.
SA stewards = "I don't know what I think. It depends on the day and the race."
The California Horse Racing Board = don't even get me started.

In short, if Ms. Derek's earlier braids had anything to do with affecting her current decision making process, NOBODY EVER BRAID YOUR HAIR AGAIN, EVER.

I love Santa Anita race track. It's so beautiful, that mountainous backdrop, blue skies. Great fashion in SoCal. But thank God that the Breeders' Cup people have decided to take the races to Keeneland race track next year. Personally, I don't think they should return to California until the state racing rules or stewards change.

I know CA, as a state, has generally always been out there. That people like to do their own thing. And that's cool. But when your "thing" is stealing five million dollars and forcing an innocent horse to need ankle surgery, altering the rest of his entire career, let there be no misconception about you. Bob Baffert, you are not cool!

I hope you heel up fast, Moreno. You certainly deserved a better 2014 BC Classic run than that. And jockey Mike Smith, I'm sorry I didn't actually get to see you run the race you intended on Shared Belief. Lucky for you, I'm sure you'll get multiple more opportunities at BC wins in the future.

Keeneland, please bring some integrity back to the Breeders' Cup. It's up to you, because apparently California isn't interested in or think integrity's important.

P.S. I didn't intend for this post to be about bashing Bob Baffert. He just made it so easy.







Flaming Inspiration-A Writer's Tool

Burn idea, Burn. I mean that in a good way.

Recently, I was gabbing about writing. Tossing around ideas, trying to figure out how one comes to full fruition. Novel form, specifically, perplexes me. Maybe it's the innumerable amount of potential ingredients one can cast into a single recipe? Maybe it's the vast number of untapped possibilities lingering just out of reach? Whatever the case, the sweet feat of crafting a single story horrifies me.

Whose perspective do I tell it from? Why that person's? How much should the storyteller or author distance herself from the activity and exploration of the narrative? And what the heck is tone? These are questions that boggle my mind, even when I sleep.

I wish I could pretend that the longer I sit still, the more brilliant I naturally become and then all things of man, mind, and spirit magically reveal themselves to me. Alas, I am not a fairy with a magical wand, nor do I share pedigree with the impressive unicorn gene pool. I don't walk with ancient Greek gods when I slumber. Nor am I privileged to have secret conversations in my dreams with any other non-human entity who could perhaps take pity on me and provide me with helpful answers.

Without all these fancy mechanisms at my disposal, you may wonder how I ever come to any conclusions about anything. Enter, my fireplace. I love a good fire. Love everything about it. The way one log burns vigorously, ferociously like it's attacking a long-standing, family feud dragon. While another one flickers its embers so meekly that I'm convinced it's decided to burn itself in itty-bitty sections just to poke fun at the audaciousness of its outlandish counterpart?

Most ideas that I mine for intricate story are like the latter. Or worse. They sit center-fireplace failing to catch fire, mocking my initial moment of inspiration. Year after year passes and that tarnished, unlit, yet burnt beyond recognition kernel of truth just sits there. And when the log finally catches and embers start agreeably cracking, I'm left with only more questions. Was that the ember, the idea, I was born to contemplate and see through to full fruition?

Frustrating.

One story in particular comes to mind. I've been working on it, technically, since spring 2002. I say, technically, because as much as I love the characters, two young sisters, they aggravate me to no end. I swear I have at least a few gray hairs milling about my head because of them. Their unwillingness to fully show themselves. Let me into their world. See why they run and hide, the way they say they must. What's that even mean? You either hide or you show yourself.

I've decided this...an idea remains indefinitely untapped and untouchable until it's ready to share its brilliance. Until its author is willing to take the time to properly mine it for the gold that it is. I've been pecking away at the core ingredients in my sisters' novel for over ten years. You'd think those characters would trust me by now. But no! They've got ideas of their own that they insist I listen to. Preferably, that I include in my book.
Talk about cheeky!

I've also decided this...ideas are egomaniacs. They want your full attention and accept nothing less. They catch fire only when they feel confident that you are willing to fully vet them for emotional, psychological and physical credibility and connectivity. Connectivity because ideas are really little pieces of potential that want their chance to meet their destiny just like their author.

So, it's back to the fireplace, I go. May the logs I light, rise up against me in giant flames and infuse my imagination with spicy, revealing revelations.  And may I instinctively know how to identify the righteous ideas and carry them onto paper.