The Washington Post

No Uncle Mo? Four reasons not to watch the Kentucky Derby 2011


Three-time Kentucky Derby winning jockey Calvin Borel comes off the Churchill Downs track prior to sunrise. He’ll be racing. I won’t be watching. (Ed Reinke/AP)

4. No Mo. Horse hopeful Uncle Mo is scratched from the race leaving us with no real horse hero to cheer for. Although, I do have to admit the names are pretty awesome.

3. Hat fatigue. The hats are spiffy and all, but there isn’t a chance they’ll come remotely close to the Royal Wedding head parade. Any way, is there any point in trying to beat Beatrice?

2. It may have a drug habit. In the U.S., unlike most of the world, a horse can receive the diuretic “Lasix” four hours before post time, allowing it to lose 10-20 pounds before a race. “Racing in America is in trouble, and medication is a part of that. It makes a world of sense to send a horse to the gate free of the influence of any medication,” Scott Palmer, a veterinarian who runs the New Jersey Equine Clinic, told Time magazine.

1. It’s sexist. Sure, Rosie Napravnik has a shot of winning on the horse Pants On Fire this year, but she will be only the sixth woman to ever ride in the race. While it’s just dandy that she’ll be out there, on the Today Show, Pants On Fire's trainer, Kelly Breen made sure we were aware that there’s good reason there aren’t that many more women jockeys. “She rides like a man,” he said. “She doesn’t whip like a girl. She doesn’t run like a girl. She rides like a guy.” As the women blog Jezebel asks: What the heck does that mean?

The one reason to cheer? The Mint Julep. Duh.

Update:I am sure there will be plenty of Kentuckians who disagree with me. However, I have just been informed (by a native of Louisville, no less) that I am not the only one who has found the Kentucky Derby slightly unpalatable. Evidence: Please read Hunter S. Thompson’s “The Kentucky Derby is decadent and depraved.”

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