This week, Mark texted Doug, to make a connection between Doug and some friends of ours, who are searching for a trainer.
(Our friends are people of color, and we knew Doug would be happy to do so - unlike some other trainers we won't mention ;)
Doug texted back he'd be happy to meet with them, and then invited us both to come to Churchill, last weekend, to see Hot Rod Charlie exercise - but we wanted for me to get that second vaccination shot before being around crowds ;)
Regardless, you know we totally heart YOU, Doug O'Neill - and wish you (and Hot Rod Charlie) a safe, fair race and the very best!
(Look for the red nose-band - Doug's horses always have a red nose band ;)
Also wishing a special welcome and good luck to jockey Kevin Carmouche on Bourbonic, who will be the first black jockey in the derby since 2013.
Once upon a time, roughly half of all "cowboys" were black, and nearly all of the grooms, stable hands, and jockeys were black.
In fact, the very first jockey inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga was Isaac Burns Murphy, born in 1861, right here in Lexington, Kentucky :)
Since that time, people of color became scarce in the horse industry.
I hate to say this, but it's true - even cheaper labor then people of color are Latinos (particularly undocumented ones, living 4 to 5 to a stall next to the horses) :(
Thus, I say, welcome back, people of color - and a continued welcome to Latinos - how about we stop exploiting everyone, especially based on race, and paying everyone properly?
As stable hands, grooms, hot-walkers, and jockeys - and now, even owners - which will be the case, if all works out for our friends! :)
PS - By the way, don't believe the garbage you read about Doug.
How can I say this without getting anyone in trouble?
Okay, so - you know how certain recent politicians often accuse/project onto other politicians of what they are doing, to deflect suspicion off themselves?
Let's just say the same is true in horse-racing ;)
So if you really believe Bob Baffert can win as many times as he has, in recent years, in a sport dependent on often unpredictable horses - without being dirty/not cheating - then you'll believe I'm Mother Theresa ;)
However, Baffert is always the first one crying if the slightest thing goes wrong, and accusing everybody else of being dirty and cheating, as well as trying to find various (dishonest?) ways to get competitors disqualified.
Additionally, remember I've met Baffert, while asking if our group of terminally/chronically-ill children horse-riders could take a peek from, far at way, at American Pharoah from the stable door and no closer before the Breeder's Cup in 2015
The man just screamed "No!" at us, so the children could hear (and one started crying).
And yet he gets to walk up and actually touch everybody else's horses, literally right before races.
(Which I'd never let him do, if I owned a competing horse against Bob Baffert, let's put it that way ;)
Sorry to be crass, but the above is a 100% true story - and I can personally confirm he's an a-hole.
Everyone knows he's dirty, they're just terrified of what he'll do to them, and especially their horses, if they file a report on him.
The smeller was finally caught as actually being the feller - and went ballistic.
Then just 3 weeks ago - 3 weeks before the Derby, mind you - the horse-racing commission inexplicably reversed the decision and restored the wins - isn't that interesting? ;)
By the way, all of this post, including this P.S., was written before the race - they're just loading the horses now.
So IF Baffert wins again, we may have a big clue as to why Baffert's disqualification was suddenly and inexplicably reversed three weeks ago - some back-room deal made, three weeks ago? ;)