Teen Phenomenon, Mario Gutierrez, brings forward 2012 Kentucky Derby winner ”I’ll Have Another,” following the thrilling opening anthem and glorious parade, to ready his mount to enter the starter’s gate, from there, springing whence, to wear Derby Roses, just minutes later…  derby12-7sMario’s most worthy, cunning, veteran opponent, Mike Smith, shown aboard Bodiemiester, who lead from the gate jump, appeared a sure winner deep and  late into the home lane, but, Mario’s horse brought forth such a breathtaking foot of acceleration, that in 2 jumps, Mike was past and his horse beaten:   Mike looks up in shock and awe~~~


That Magnificent Impossibility~~here, achieved!!

My dears, when I was young, long, long, years now, I had but 2 ambitions~~to be a great writer and an even better race rider.  Few get to live their dreams~~most of us are relegated to watching, in grief and some sadness, as others realize our dreams for us.

Before the savage combat, the Derby is led off, at parade to the post, by a song that, if it does not bring a tear to the eye, is evidence prima facie of one’s having no heart or emotion of any kind.  Attend~~

“My Old Kentucky Home” lyrics

State Song of Kentucky – Contemporary lyrics (1986)
Originally by Stephen Foster
The sun shines bright in My Old Kentucky Home,
‘Tis summer, the people are gay;
The corn-top’s ripe and the meadow’s in the bloom
While the birds make music all the day.
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
All merry, all happy and bright;
By ‘n’ by hard times comes a knocking at the door,
Then My Old Kentucky Home, good night!
Weep no more my lady
Oh weep no more today;
We will sing one song
For My Old Kentucky Home
For My Old Kentucky Home, far away.


Blood on the turf~~blood on the saddle~~

~~be it running in tumult and sweet triumph~~in fully extended  motion~~~or spilt in painful passion~~is royal, noble, pure, blue blood come Derby day~~

horse-racing-action_96019-1280x800 (1)

The great John Steinbeck described the Kentucky Derby as “one of the most beautiful and violent and satisfying things” he had ever experienced.

That Magnificent Impossibility Looms May 4, 2013.

The Kentucky Derby, run first Saturday of May at Churchill Downs beneath the Twin Spires, is what the irrepressible horseman and social gadabout John Daniel Begg long ago christened~~ “That Magnificent Impossibility.”  This year, That Magnificent Impossibility looms May 4, 2013.

The Kentucky Derby is, beyond argument, the most enchanting of all social and sporting events in the American calendar.  It is over in 2 minutes.  The Derby  is colorful, dramatic, thrilling, awe-inspiring and absolutely impossible to suss out.

The horses who compete in the Derby are babies~~the race is limited to 3 year olds~~but many are not even full that tender age.  All thoroughbreds have their birthday on January 1st, so, conceivably, a horse could be one minute old in real life and yet a full year old the next minute.  Conversely, one would like one’s horse born as early on New Year’s Day as possible~~just a minute past the champagne.  Both outcomes are unlikely as the foaling cycle is Spring~~but when in Spring is important~~one will have a “young three” or an “old three,” dependent upon one’s luck.

The difference of a few months is terribly important as the horses running in Derby are well off of being fully mature~~an age reached at full 4 years~~and many are just coming into themselves~~while others developed very young, already made their flash in the pan, and are already past their prime periods. They peaked too soon.


As with everything else of consequence with the Americans, The  Derby~~child of the English~~Dar~~BY~~called after Lord Dar~~BY~~~ well before we were born a nation, is imitative of the English version of things.  Here, Her Majesty appears keen of intent on taking her flyers at Epson with quite a good deal of seriousness.  Bravo, Mam!!


Lamentably, things here seem to have come a cropper for Queen, as she appears very much vexed by the outcome of a race in which she had taken, a quite serious, flyer.  So sorry, Mam.

Called, appropriately, The Sport of Kings, horse racing in America, and for that matter in England, is nevertheless  dominated on the one end by very poor men with holes in their soles, who support the business on the gray days of winter and on through the year.  At the high-end, by the silk hat crowd, who, in America and England, come out for the big dances–most notably~~the senior prom~~the one that counts~~~The Kentucky Derby here and The Epson Dar~BY over the waters..

On first Saturday, May, deep within the American middle orders, men of modest ambition and riches, and yet, far, far, worse taste in suits than their English cousins, succumb to Derby fever and That Magnificent Imposibility~~~some such~~

**********Credits~~The Kentucky Derby Museum and Derby Central*****************

US Presidents are fans of the Kentucky Derby

Posted: October 2nd, 2012

Download & Share our PRESIDENTS AT THE DERBY Infographic! 

The Kentucky Derby is rich in tradition and can be considered one of our nation’s greatest sporting events. So great, in fact, several of our nation’s Presidents have attended the Derby, one while in office. The Derby ties run even deeper when we examine details of those Presidential race fans visits. Here are some facts about our Commanders in Chief you might not know: Harry Truman

  • Kentucky Governor Earle Clements invited the President to attend the 75th running of the Derby in 1949. In a letter declining the invitation, Truman stated that he would like to attend “another Kentucky Derby” someday, because it was a spectacle he had enjoyed in the past. (Truman Library, President’s Personal File (PPF) 3550)
  • In a letter to a Kentucky friend, Truman pays tribute to the Derby as one of several great Kentucky traditions, although he does not mention attending the event. (Truman Library, President’s Personal File (PPF) 2575)
  • A pair of “Kentucky Derby cups” were presented to the President and the First Lady around March of 1952. (Truman Library, President’s Personal File (PPF) 9-G)

Lyndon Johnson

  • Senator Lyndon Johnson described his visit to the 1952 Kentucky Derby as “my day off”. (Louisville Courier-Journal, 5/4/1952)
  • Johnson in 1952: As Senator attending the Derby, he was said to be “uncommunicative” saying “I’m not talking. This is my day off.” (1993 Kentucky Derby Souvenir Magazine)

Richard Nixon

  • Nixon in 1968: attended the champagne toast for the winners with Kentucky Governor Louis B. Nunn and Churchill Downs President Wathen Knebelkamp. (1993 Kentucky Derby Souvenir Magazine)
  • Nixon in 1969: Several accounts say that he was touting the eventual winner Majestic Prince, which hailed from Nixon’s native California. As Majestic Prince crossed the finish line, Nixon apparently yelled, “He won, he won!” (1993 Kentucky Derby Souvenir Magazine)
  • When Nixon attended in 1969, it was not immediately known whether or not he placed a bet on a horse. He said he would “take the California horse” (Courier-Journal, 5/4/1969)
  • Nixon in 1969: He said, “I’m going to savor this race, Kentucky style” when asked whether or not he would try a mint julep. His usual drink was Scotch and soda. (Courier-Journal, 5/4/1969)
  • Nixon in 1969: He watched the sixth race on Derby Day with California Governor Ronald Reagan. (Courier-Journal, 5/4/1969)
  • Nixon in 1969: There are conflicting reports as to whether or not Nixon actually bet. In 1978, John V. Brennan, assistant to Nixon, claimed someone else placed a bet on Majestic Prince and gave the ticket to Nixon. (1993 Kentucky Derby Souvenir Magazine)
  • Nixon in 1969: “Security was tight from the spires on down to the tulip beds and over in the barn area. Secret Service men, whose serious mien was indistinguishable from that of the normal race track player, inconspicuously infiltrated Churchill Downs long before Richard Nixon became the first President of the United States to witness the Kentucky Derby. Louisville police, Kentucky state police, National Guard troops, Churchill Downs security guards, and Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau agents co-ordinated security efforts with walkie-talkies to insure protection, not only of the President, but of the Republican governors whose spring conference in Lexington was concluded the day before the Kentucky Derby.” (Jim Bolus, Derby Fever)

Gerald Ford

  • Gerald Ford has attended more Derbys than any former president with his wife, Betty. He stated that Genuine Risk was his favorite Derby winner. In 1989, said “We’ve always been thrilled with the excitement of the Kentucky Derby. It is one of the great American sporting events.” (1993 Kentucky Derby Souvenir Magazine)

Jimmy Carter

  • Carter in 1983: spent a lot of time with Kentucky breeder Tom Gentry. On Derby Day, Gentry lost Laffit Pincay, Jr. as the rider for Flag Admiral in the fourth race. Carter accompanied Gentry to the jockeys’ room to find a replacement rider. Apparently, Carter impressed many in the jocks’ room with his command of Spanish. (1993 Souvenir Magazine)
  • Carter in 1983: Dale Sights, Kentucky State Racing Commission member and Carter’s host for the Derby, stated that the former president accompanied Gentry to the paddock to help saddle Flag Admiral for the fourth race. Carter supposedly gave jockey Jorge Velasquez instructions on how to ride the race “and the race worked out exactly the way he told him to ride it.” (1993 Souvenir Magazine)
  • Carter in 1983: apparently had placed a bet on Flag Admiral on Derby Day. The colt ran in the Preakness two weeks later with Carter as part owner. Apparently, Carter stipulated that any financial gain from the investment go the Carter Library in Atlanta. (1993 Souvenir Magazine)

George H.W. Bush

  • George H.W. Bush attended the Derby in 1993, 1995 and 2000. In 1995, he bet on two horses for the Derby but kept his picks to himself. (Lexington Herald-Leader, 5/7/1995)
  • George H.W. Bush in 1993: wore a red, white and blue tie with stars, stripes and a Texas longhorn. His pick for the race was Personal Hope because the owners, Lee and Debi Lewis, were from Lubbock, Texas. (Personal Hope finished 4th.) Bush presented the trophy for the Churchill Downs Handicap. (Blood-Horse, 5/8/1993)
  • George H.W. Bush in 1993: Apparently had been betting and losing all day but said he would “…make it all back in the Derby.” He didn’t, as he bet on Union City, which finished 15th. (Jim Bolus, Derby Fever)
  • George H.W. Bush in 2000: Won big by betting on his friend Will Farish’s horse, Secret Status, in the Oaks; declined to say whether or not he placed a Derby bet saying “Don’t ask, don’t tell”. (The Courier-Journal, 5/7/2000)

Bill Clinton

  • Clinton in 1994: Clinton never attended but was the first president to call and congratulate the winner of the Derby (Go for Gin, 1994). (Jim Bolus, Derby Fever)

George W. Bush

  • George W. Bush in 2000: Attended as Texas governor; appeared in the paddock and made a presentation in the winner’s circle; dined in the Skye Terrace with his father, former president George H.W. Bush; said to press “I don’t think I’ll be wagering too much. This is a great day. It’s a spectacle.” (The Blood Horse, 5/13/2000)
  • George W. Bush in 2000: “I’m really glad I came. The energy of the crowd is magnificent, the horses are beautiful. It’s a fantastic experience.” (Thoroughbred Times, 5/13/2000)
  • George W. Bush in 2000: “I’m not a good bettor-I’m not against betting-I’m just against losing money, especially my own. You should have seen me 20 years ago. I would have been betting and drinking out here all day.” (Thoroughbred Times, 5/13/2000)
  • George W. Bush in 2000: Said he did not bet, but if had it would have been on The Deputy, which was “an interesting story”. (The Courier-Journal, 5/7/2000)
  • **********Credits~~The Kentucky Derby Museum and Derby Central*****************

I am asked the winner of this year’s Magnificent Impossibility, and very appropriately so, as I thought that name of it!!

My response is that the best 3-year-old under tack in America is a girl, who will run in Girl’s Derby 3rd May despite her having all good chance to best the boys in the main event Saturday, 4th May.   That tender, effortless giant-killer is owned by the Saudi Prince Abdullah and her name is Emollient.
Just watch her break from the far post, under the wiley veteran Mike Smith, who has a swell hand with the ladies, and simply glide to the lead and never look back~~she wins with consummate ease–watch the grace of her stride, her rhythm, her action, her motion.  Remarkable.  Remarkable.  Her only trouble in Girl’s Derby will come from another ace filly, Dreaming of Julia, but I am afraid Julia is out-gunned here, on the basis of this race~~~
 As for the Derby, there is some interest for the ladies as, at the moment, my pick is My Lute, who will be piloted by the very capable, and patient, Rosie Napravnik, who, if she comes a winner, will be the first girl jockette to take home Derby Roses in history~~either here or home in Her Majesty’s lush green grasses.   So, there is something for everyone Derby weekend, week hence.
 Will our Rosie wear Derby Roses?
Above~~Le Gran Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, a Longchamps, a Paris~~so brilliantly, so ferociously, so savagely, fast.  So exhilarating.  So terrifying.  So terribly dangerous.  Mr. Steinbeck was right to remark~~~”one of the most beautiful and violent and satisfying things” he had ever experienced.
Let us pray that it be God’s will that all who race and ride be spared the violent savagery that can, and does, attend this most beautiful of God’s Sports, even as many others have not been so spared in the going of ~~that happy, colorful event, that beautiful race~~That Magnificent Impossibility.


My Lute has been preparing well, and very quickly, over the Downs for weeks now, which is well and good as that is a tricky old course which needs familiarity for success.  In addition, My Lute has the very capable services of Rosie Napravnik, on Derby Day, 4th May.  Can Rosie and My Lute bring home Derby Roses and vanquish That Magnificent Impossibility?

I say, yes, Sir, I think so, Sir!!

John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Tuesday, 23rd April, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013


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