The cost of a ticket to history

by the squid

What do the Presidential Election, Belmont Stakes and the nightly news have in common?


The horse racing scene gets but a few days a year where it is fashionable to be at the stables and looking over betting sheets, when novice betters get to try their hand at a sport that normally only consumes the thoughts and dollars of a select few.

If you have ever gone the a race track on “non-event” days, you know what I mean. The environment is seedy, stale and depressing.

However, during these few times when it is acceptable to get on your Sunday best for a Saturday event that mixes the rich with the poor, all have the expectation of witnessing history. This year, the media, sports-minded sportsmen, trainers and laymen were all assured a blowout.

When Casino Drive was scratched Friday, the odds of witnessing Big Brown’s historic victory doubled. When Big Brown was led, kicking and snorting to the starting gate, everyone who had gone to the betting window and said “Big to win” had bought a ticket to history to say, “I was at the Belmont when Big Brown won, and here is the ticket I bought.”

Belmont Race Park and the New York Racing Association (NYRA) both made sure they could cover the bets made. When the bell went off, all the fans heard vocabulary they had never heard before, but automatically they knew was not good. They heard phrases like “coming up Lame,” “started to ride him,” “pulled him up,” “deep track,” “slipped in the first turn,” and other such terms that confirmed a different version of history was being made.

At the finish line, Big Brown moseyed across it, as if he had already won. But the blanket of carnations went to another horse, and the media didn’t know what to do or say. The media kept looking for answers, they wanted a reasonable explanation on how they had gotten it all so wrong.

This evening, NBC’s Evening News with Brian Williams had a montage of commencement speeches for the Graduating Class of 2008. The montage included: Democrats, Musicians, Entertainers, and one Republican. The breakdown is as follows:





David Patterson

President Bush

Steve Winwood

Brian Williams

Barak Obama

Earth Wind and Fire

J.K. Rowling

Martin Sheen

David McCollough

Vernon Jordan

Tonight, the media showed its ugly bias. Did John McCain not have a commencement speech? Was George Will home baking cookies? Were Karl Rove and Dick Cheney off shooting squirrels somewhere? Were Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito doing crossword puzzles at Starbucks? I suspect, however, that their view simply did not fit what NBC was looking for at the time. And that is a shame.

In a NY Times Op –Ed piece, Roger Cohen, writing from France, listed Barak Obama as a “Good American” along with John F. and Jackie Kennedy, Al Gore, Woody Allen and Micheal Moore. Of all the “Good Americans” Mr. Cohen could have listed, he offered up Woody “borderline pedophile” Allen and Michael “leftwing socialist” Moore. Mr. Moore has a good heart and is compassionate, but his delivery and hat need to be tossed into the garbage heap.

If the NY Times is going to offer this type of commentary on behalf of Senator Obama, then the Democrats are drinking their own bathwater in believing that Senator Obama is going to breeze through the election.

Senator McCain, who ought to be re-branded as “the Phoenix,” may do to the upcoming election what Da-Tara did to this year’s Belmont Stakes. This time next year, we could all be rooting for another Triple Crown winner; however, we won’t be able to vote for another president until 2012.

Senator Obama, Chairman Dean, and everyone else, please don’t believe the hype and don’t celebrate until your nose is the first across the line.

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