"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

5.03.2008

the first Saturday in May

"This is the week when dear little old ladies in Shawano, Wis., get to know about sports figures named Spectacular Bid and Flying Paster. Spectacular Bid and Flying Paster are thoroughbred race horses, and there are vast and sinless areas in this country where they and their like are regarded as instruments of Satan 51 weeks a year. Then comes the week of the Kentucky Derby, and sinless newspapers that wouldn’t mention a horse any other time unless he kicked the mayor to death are suddenly full of information about steeds that will run and the people they will run for at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday of May. In cities all over the land stenographers invest their silver in office pools, in cities and towns and on farms the sinless old ladies study the entries and on Saturday almost everyone tunes in on television." - Red Smith, 1979


"The Kentucky Derby, whatever it is—a race, an emotion, a turbulence, an explosion—is one of the most beautiful and violent and satisfying things I have ever experienced." - John Steinbeck, 1956

2 Comments:

Anonymous Michael Westmoreland-White said...

I've now lived in Louisville for nearly 25 years, with intermittent absences, and I have STILL yet to understand the hooplah over a 2 minute horse race. Today's tragedy, however, was horrific, since I am an animal lover.

Sunday, May 04, 2008 1:53:00 AM

 
Blogger texasinafrica said...

I can't explain it; I just love it. That's why I like Red Smith's piece so much.

Monday, May 05, 2008 9:54:00 PM

 

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