Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Beaten favorite

For those who haven't picked up The Saratogian, walked by a vending box or may have otherwise avoided eye contact with its front page, Barbaro was euthanized Monday, ending a storied 254-day struggle to nurse the crippled thoroughbred back to health.

As anyone not living in Antarctica and/or a drug haze for the past year might recall, the 3-year-old horse enraptured the American public and media after gruesomely shattering his right hind leg during the running of the Preakness in Baltimore. It was only his seventh career race.

Journalistically speaking, aside from the general reaction angle --or even the recipe angle one now-defunct blogger posted last summer --what does this have to do with the Capital Region you ask? Well, just about nothing.

Tragic as the death may be, Barbaro never had a chance to run at the historic Saratoga Race Course. And while the name could frequently be heard floating among spectators attending the meet last summer, his connection with the Spa City is tenuous at best.
Of course, that didn't stop The Saratogian from allocating space for three articles penned by three different writers lamenting the thoroughbred's long-expected demise.

True, the heart-felt accounts of the horse's actual and symbolic meaning to thoroughbred racing were well written --albeit a bit on the sappy nostalgic side at times. But three articles about a horse that never even raced in Saratoga much less New York? Pardon the expression, but that's beating a dead horse, even in a community know for its horse-racing affinities.

Given the general dearth of news coverage, perhaps the Barbaro obituaries were necessary to bulk the paper a bit. Then again, maybe such overkill will goad one of the area's cash-heavy plutocrats into opening their wallets and establishing something worthwhile to memorialize the eight months of suffering this horse endured while serving as filler for newspapers around the nation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roy and Gretchen Jackson kept Barbaro alive because they had visions of Storm Cat stud fees dancing in their heads.

I wouldn't be surprised if Dr. Dean Richardson, the hack who ran the operation at New Bolton, had cut some sort of side deal for either an annual breeding share in Barbaro or even a percentage of the total take of the horse's stud fees had he survived.

Anybody who knows horse racing will tell you that animal should have been put down the day of the Preakness. He suffered extensive, traumatic injuries and had absolutely no chance at recovery. Anyone who claims otherwise is telling you the tallest of tall tales.

I adore horse racing and those animals. Barbaro suffered in agony for several months because the Jacksons simply got greedy, the media salivated for a fairy tale happy ending, and the pubic serves as only a bunch of ill-informed, easily manipulated patsies.

12:25 PM  

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