Saturday, June 7, 2014

Belmont Stakes

For those that might not have noticed, there’s an important horse race to be run today at Belmont Park, New York.

To begin, California Chrome has a chance to win the Triple Crown, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 1978. This entails winning three consecutive races against the best three year-old Thoroughbreds in the country, The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and finally the Belmont Stakes. While there are more valuable races, none carry the prestige of these three classics.

The race takes on particular significance this year. California Chrome is owned by a pair of working class men and their wives, hardly Thoroughbred racing elite. The owners of the horse also were his breeders; he’s the product of a relatively cheap mare and a second-tier stallion, a California home-bred in an industry dominated by Kentucky elites.

Kentucky is hardly a center of power among states until you talk Thoroughbreds. It’s there that the kings and power players of the world operate with a relative strangle-hold on the best racing bloodlines to be had. If they don’t own the best, they soon will.

Texans, New Yorkers, Floridians, Californians, Saudis, Japanese, British royalty; they and more all bow to the Kentucky elite.

The consolidation of power in the Thoroughbred industry is not unlike what you see in public and private industry with the empire of the United States or the European Union, perhaps the newly emerging BRICS nations, Wal-Mart, Monsanto, Microsoft, the Federal Reserve bank, etc.: bigger entities dominate, subdue, and swallow smaller competitors to the point of elimination. Submit or die.

One may say that is not the desired effect of these entities; that point is arguable; the result is not; they have in effect wiped out most adversaries.

The battle is not over. Nature favors entropy: a big body forms; wind and rain and storms break that body into smaller pieces.

Cajuns want to be Cajuns; a mountain man will do as he wills. A Northern California hippie lives as he sees fit, as does a Maine fisherman. Puritans fled the Church of England; Martin Luther broke from the Catholic Church. Afghani tribesmen live as they wish as do Arab Bedouins. An Oregon logger lives in a different world than a New York stock broker.

People refuse to submit to a one-size-fits-all mentality.

When it became apparent that Perry Martin and Steve Coburn owned a freak of nature, an anomaly, the big horse from humble origin, they were offered 6 million dollars for a 51% stake in the animal.

They refused the offer.

They are not wealthy.

But they had a dream and that dream was not for sale.

They kept their horse and to date, they have beaten the big boys.

They acknowledge that the horse is no longer theirs, that it has become property of the people, all the little guys out there with dreams of one day rising from the fray, not to make money, but just to be.


Go California Chrome.

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