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Friday, December 24, 2010

A Visit from St. Nicholas

(with apologies to Clement Moore—and lovers of good poetry everywhere)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all around the tracks,
Not a creature was stirring, not even the cats.
Rumors were spread by inside sources with care,
In hopes that Ray Paulick soon would be there.

The horses were nestled all snug in their stalls,
Blissfully unaware of embarrassing jockey brawls.
And for horsemen in Maryland, a much-needed reprieve,
Though bully Frank Stronach continues to deceive.

When out at Lone Star Park there arose such a clatter,
as John Records’ layoff made Post Parade sadder.
The economy sucks, that much is fact,
But pity for the death of New York’s OTBs is just out of whack.

Despite Zenyatta’s loss to Blame in the Breeders Cup Classic,
Rejecting her as Horse of the Year is myopic and drastic.
And yet we continue to argue about such things,
When it’s the far-more sordid issues that tug the heartstrings.

The Toddster escaped unpunished from the Life at Ten fiasco,
While litigation-happy Michael Gill daily appears more psycho.
Ruining Mine That Bird wasn’t enough for D. Wayne Lukas,
As hopes in promising Dublin proved to be baseless.

On the hand, in the Derby Borel rode Super Saver a treat,
But with a dry track in the Preakness he couldn’t repeat.
Lookin at Lucky skipped the Belmont, much to fans’ chagrin,
But they cheered loudly when Drosselmeyer gave Bill Mott his first Triple Crown race win.

Yet, it was fillies and mares who arguably dominated our sport,
With battlers Blind Luck and Havre de Grace equally worthy of support.
Add No Such Word, along with turfsters Proviso and Midday among others,
Buena Vista in Japan and undefeated Black Caviar down under.

Unfortunately, sending Zenyatta to the breeding shed does her no favors,
As the best race mares historically don’t always make the best breeders.
Thank God, though, for the connections of Goldikova and Snow Fairy,
For promising to return in 2011, making many a fan merry.

Sometime the big fish in the little pool makes the largest splash,
And we rejoice when they do, as they are gutsy and brash.
So, kudos to Star Guitar, as well as Aces N Kings,
And little Florida-bred Awesome Feather who dreams of bigger things.

Too early we lost Odysseus, as well as Melbourne Cup winner Viewed,
Dixieland Band and his son Dixie Union saw their last of their brood.
Mr. Greeley and Singspiel, Tiz Chrome and Big Truck,
The deaths of mares Flanders and Personal Ensign in the paddock.

Thus, 2010 is nearly over, but before we bid adieu,
Let’s take a moment to say a big “Thank You.”
To the horses and their caretakers, in and out of the limelight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”