Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Breeders' Cup

The Kentucky Derby has the lore, but Saturday's Breeders' Cup is the greatest horse racing day. It's the Super Bowl for pony players and it is an amazing event to experience in person. Too bad the Sport of Kings has faded behind soccer and boxing in the public's imagination, but in the history of sportswriting the track has inspired some of the greatest writing--Seabiscuit, the most recent masterwork.

William Nack is just brilliant when it comes to writing about thoroughbreds. Here is his lede from his 1990 Sports Illustrated article "Pure Heart": "Just before noon the horse was led haltingly into a van next to the stallion barn, and there a concentrated barbiturate was injected into his jugular. Forty-five seconds later there was a crash as the stallion collapsed. His body was trucked immediately to Lexington, Kentucky, where Dr. Thomas Swerczek, a professor of veterinary science at the University of Kentucky, performed the necropsy. All of the horse's vital organs were normal in size except for the heart."


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