Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy Derby Day!

Rosie Napravnik

Yesterday's Kentucky Oaks winner, Believe You Can, was ridden by Rosie Napravnik, the first woman jockey to win the race.  She finished up the track in last year's Kentucky Derby on Pants On Fire, and her mount for today's race withdrew--awaiting the Belmont Stakes, it would seem.

Still, she's a top rider at the age of twenty-four and she will probably have other chances in future years.  Her post-race interviews show her to be articulate and experienced with the press, an asset to the racing game.

There are only so many plots in literature, and if you narrow it down to horse stories, the basic plots are few indeed.  This year's movie, War Horse,  is much the same as Will James' Smoky the Cowhorse or, for that matter, Anna Sewell's Black Beauty.  I enjoyed the movie Dreamer better than Secretariat because, although both were saving-the-farm yarns inspired by "true stories," so many of the untruths and embellishments of the movie Secretariat are known to me.

It always seems to me that the truth would make an even better story, less saccharin and more complicated, yes--but also less cliched and more substantial.

That's true about the 1947 movie, Black Gold, as well.  Starring Anthony Quinn and Katharine DeMille, the movie was "suggested" by the story of the 1924 Kentucky Derby winner, Black Gold.  But the real history is far more interesting.  I'll talk about it in my next post.

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