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The Sport of Kings
Monday, May 07, 2007

I don't know much about horses, but I used to ride them during summer vacations while visiting family.

We used to get up early in the mornings to take the "ganado" out to pasture, and go back in the afternoons to bring it back into the stable.

A horse was always around. No, it was not of the heroic breed of the Bucephalus lineage, nor anything compared to the racing horses in the major derbies around the US. But good old Mambo carried me around the dusty trails faithfully and securely.

Horse racing is said to be the sport of kings. Since I am no king (except in my castle), I can not say for sure if it is or it is not, however, the Kentucky Derby has always had this aura of gallantry, beauty, and mysticism.

And no, I have never been there myself. So my beauty comment comes from evidence of secondary sources, if TV and magazine pictures are still considered a secondary source.

The derby's grounds look impeccable. And although the reality of things seems a bit rough on close inspection, the Kentucky Derby is still indeed a good place for a queen to hang around and consume cheap whisky.

That is if you believe Hunter S. Thompson of how classy this place can be, as described in his essay "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved." To sell you on the idea of spending a few minutes reading his essay, I thought that any writing with the following warning is worth a read:
    SPECIAL NOTE: Parental discretion advised for this essay, as it is rated R. It includes adult language, references to drug and alcohol abuse, and other generalizations and behavior which readers might find quite shocking.
Shocking, indeed. Entertaining, you bet.

12:40 PM | 3 comment(s) |


That essay is definitely entertaining... First time I saw him was in a Conan O'Brien interview, and at the time I thought the man must be absolutely crazy. Seems the clip has been removed from Youtube, but it is pretty damn funny.
By Anonymous Matt Geneau, at 12:40 AM

Thompson seemed crazy, and was very unconventional.

I haven't made up my mind on him, as he had this disturbed way of looking at things. It can be argued that his point of view was distorted by all the drugs he used, but look at Picasso, Botero or Rembrandt's work now: it is different from the mainstream, but it is more valued now because of its differences.

Needless to say, he was an excellent writer and literally invented "gonzo-journalism."

I haven't had a chance to read that essay but having been to Kentucky Derby myself, it is definitely nothing like what you seen on TV or in magazines.

I was about 16 years old when I went to the Derby. I drove down with my neighbour's family. We spent the day on the inner field at the track. The closest comparison I can think of is what I've seen in videos of Woodstock '94. There were topless girls, mud slides, riot police and lots of drunk hooligans. I was too young (and responsible) to partake in these shenanigans though. I did manage to win $100 US off a $2 bet though, and some friendly women gave me an orange that they had injected with vodka.

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