my kingdom for a gelded horse


This past weekend, a horse named Funny Cide competed in the Belmont Stakes, attempting to become the first horse in twenty-five years to win the Triple Crown. Funny Cide had been a surprise winner of both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, the first two legs of the Triple Crown. If Funny Cide won the Belmont, he'd win a multimillion dollar bonus and achieve the status of legend. And I couldn't care less, since horse racing isn't a sport.

Horse racing is an elaborate gambling exercise, not a real athletic competition. Horses aren't athletes, for one, because they're horses. For another, whips are prominently used in horse races. Any "athlete" that gets regularly struck with a whip during competition is something less than self-motivated. That, or they play basketball for Bobby Knight.

Mainly, I have a problem with horse racing because the "athletes" are all one minor leg injury away from being shot in the head. What if baseball were like that?

"Slow roller to short. Vizcaino throws to first and just gets Ray Durham by a step. And Durham is hurt. He's clutching his hamstring. Here comes trainer Stan Conte.... And he has shot Ray Durham in the head. Ray Durham, shot in the head. What a career for this great second baseman! That hamstring pull would have left Durham in pain, so it's best that he went quickly."

And later: "Fly ball to left, medium deep. Bagwell tags up. Bonds is going to have a play at the plate. Here's the throw and there's a huge collision at home plate, and Bagwell is out! Bagwell and Santiago are both slow to get up, and... both are shot in the head! Wow! What a turn of events! I cannot believe Benito Santiago held on... even in death, his glove clutches the ball. So we go the bottom of the seventh, where the Giants will send up Aurilia, Bonds, and a pinch-hitter."

To be fair, a leg injury isn't necessarily a death sentence for a horse. In 1999, a Triple Crown aspirant named Charismatic broke its leg at the Belmont and was saved by its jockey. Still, that rescue and medical care was motivated not only by concern for the animal, but also concern for the millions of dollars in stud fees the champion horse would later command. Funny Cide is a gelding, and sans testicules, is not a candidate for breeding. If Funny Cide had broken a nail on its charge down the stretch, it would have been at the glue factory by Monday morning.

Before the race went off on Sunday, I told anyone that would listen that Funny Cide didn't have the stones to win the Triple Crown. I also pre-emptively claimed that, due to the wet track, Funny Cide's potential Triple Crown would be "tainted." The record book did not require an asterisk, however, as Empire Maker denied Funny Cide by winning the Belmont. Plus, Empire Maker still has his testicles, so it's like a double victory.

As for me, I won a dollar each betting against Funny Cide and Supervisor (the most mediocre horse name in history), but lost it back after giving an Empire Maker bettor 2:1 odds. Since I also still have both my testicles, I consider it a win.

The final word on the Belmont Stakes comes from SF Chronicle sportswriter Gwen Knapp, who wrote something funnier than I could even make up:

A surgeon took his manhood biologically, but in every other sense, this horse had not been neutered.


someone quick shoot him in the head and take his testicles!

does funny cide mean killing funny? i guess once your testicles are gone you have trouble seeing the funny cide of things.

Horse racing does suck. I'm often tempted to go to the track at Bay Meadows, but it smells like horse shit there. How can those rich pricks stand it?!

when meli and i went to the l.a. county fair last year we watched horse racing, and two of the jockeys got into a fight after one of the races. they were little and angry. we also saw a llama show. and ate CORN.

NOT BENITO!! Please god, no.

Horse Racing is not as bad as you make it sound. And for horses, many times a broken leg is a death sentence. Horses do not understand that in order to recover they must stay still and not put weight on their leg. Their instinct is to be constantly moving and so being stuck in a stall for a few months is not easy for them. If the injury is bad enough many of them will thrash around and hurt themselves worse. alot of the time, they resist the cast put on them. They are not like humans. Humans can stay in bed for a few months without going insane and can also get around in a wheelchair and on crutches. Horses cannot do that. Funny Cide was a good horse and by no means would he have gone to the glue factory. It sickens me that you would even say that. He is now a very famous horse having won the Kentucky Derby and been yet another horse to make the bid for the Triple Crown. You need serious help if you can talk about these beautiful, talented animals like that .

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on June 10, 2003 2:53 PM.

the observational comic encounters... the physics midterm was the previous entry in this blog.

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