Each year there are many thousands of horse racing events world-wide. Millions of people from the rows of casual spectators and curiosity seekers, to punters and serious gamblers, enjoy a variety of horse racing events. Some of the world's premier horseracing events take place annually in the United States and are held in the states of Kentucky and New York. The Kentucky Derby is probably the most famous horse race in the world as aspiring trainers and owners keep their sights set on the Triple Crown. But around the world there are other important races as well, such as the Melbourne Cup in Australia.
The thunder rings in my ears to this day. The left rear sock was as striking as the single earrings that young men sport nowadays! There were a full two furlongs to go and I had not especially noticed him, though he was in the pack. The final run was so packed with power that he left the nearest competitor more than five lengths behind at the finish. My September 2001 day at Newmarket is one of the indelible treasures of my horseracing memories. I have yet to see such a marvel of acceleration as the redoubtable Alcazar displayed on that fateful day. I was to learn later that a succession of injuries, including a pelvic fracture, had earlier been such debilitating setbacks to his illustrious career, that the bookmakers had opened him at 33/1 on the day of his epic victory. There is no dearth of famous race horses, but Alcazar has pride of place in my mind, for I have seen his valor with my own eyes.
It would be unfair to list only those heroes on who I have set eyes, so let me tell you about Black Gold who died more than two decades before I was born. Marquerite Henry's book on this Kentucky Derby winner has made a deep impression on my mind. This hero overcame major injury and much pain to achieve a number of impressive victories and placements. Black Gold is an eminent example of equine courage and the ability to overcome downturns in life. Perhaps because his very birth was in difficult circumstances, when his mother was banned through no fault of hers! Most people have not overcome the kind of adversity that this horse faced with equanimity, and I wish that I had lived in the 1920s to see this brave creature for myself!
Colin was another horse remembered long after he was gone, for the enormous margins by which he won his races, and completely dominated the US track for two years. Colin is also a fine example of the power of genetics, having come from an eminent ancestry and leaving his mark on many succeeding generations. Colin was born in 1905 and lived through the difficult years of the Depression, to the age of 27. He spent the autumn of his life in England. I respect the memory of Colin because he remained undefeated throughout his career.
Every race horse deserves fame in my opinion, for they strive for excellence only to serve the pleasures of people. Many of them see few material benefits for the continued earnings they generate for all categories of human participants, and are even destroyed at the drop of a hat! Breeding and caring for race horses is a truly enriching experience, and there is much that we can learn from the determination and the loyal nature of race horses. There are many who fail to win a place by the proverbial whisker, but this should not detract from our revered celebration of their strenuous achievements for our benefit.