Monday, June 11, 2007

Grrrl Power

"Like a lot of good fillies I've been around, you wouldn't want to mess with her a whole lot. She's a very classy filly. Push a button, you can do anything you want with her. She's a little bossy, too. That's what makes her good."

~Todd Pletcher

Well, in case you weren't paying attention on Saturday evening, horse racing fans had a real treat in the Belmont Stakes: a battle of the sexes that came down to the wire. Rags to Riches was only the 22nd filly to run the final Triple Crown race in 139 years. The last time a filly won? 102 years ago.

Now, I never realized how unusual it was for girl horses to race in such a prestigious event, but isn't it just the greatest metaphor? Here's yet another area of life that's dominated by males. They enter in droves, they race alongside each other, they battle each other down to the wire. And now along comes this talented female that not many people have heard of, and all of a sudden, she's battling with the big boys.

Before the race even began, the odds were stacked against her. Even worse, she stumbled coming out of the starting gate (watch for this in the opening seconds; she's on the far left) and she had to settle into 5th position for most of the race. The commentator didn't mention her much at all, since she didn't make any kind of move until the final 1/4 mile. But, you have to watch the race to the finish line, and tell me you're not rooting for her the entire way:

Let's hear it for the girl!!


Marianne Arkins said...

It was so exciting! Yay for the girls...

I can still remember watching Genuine Risk win the Kentucky Derby so many years ago. What a race that was.

bunnygirl said...

I read about this in the paper but hadn't seen the video yet.

Did you notice she took the long way around? She was on the outside for the first turn, so she covered more ground than the others.

But if you look closely, you'll also see that the jockey was pulling her in most of the way. Look closely at how high her head is, compared to the others, especially to the bay who was in the lead on the final turn. A horse with his neck stretched out like that is going as fast as he can. He's got nothing left.

But Rags to Riches and the colt she ran with on the final stretch both had their heads up in the final turn and you can see that the jockeys are fighting to keep them from taking off.

Then they let them out after the turn and the rest is history.

Amazing. Thanks for posting the vid!

Mel said...

Makes me think of Seabiscuit. It's great when the announcer loses all professionalism when something wonderful and unexpected happens.

Clover said...

102 years? Wow. Never underestimate a female. Just give us a chance and watch us go. Or don't, and we'll make our own chances. Have a great day.