OUT OF LEFT FIELD
KENTUCKY DERBY: 2012 WINNER
"I'll Have Another" strides to victory in the Kentucky Derby.
"Ill Have Another" is
A Winning Philosophy
By STAN ISAACS
The cookie horse won the Kentucky Derby and the eminent Austrian philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, emerged from what usually are the banal congratulations of the winners stand at Churchill Downs.
Credit a Bob Costas question to J. Paul Reddam, owner of the winning horse, Ill Have Another, for a bit of the highbrow stuff. Costas, the NBC ace who does his homework, noted Reddams background with a PhD in philosophy. He asked, As a former philosophy professor,...which of the great philosophers summed up a day like this best?
Reddam, answered, Wittgenstein. He said, After all philosophical problems are solved, nothing important will be accomplished. Off that comment, D-student in Philosophy that I was I college, I would have not taken any tips on the race had he offered any to me.
I think I would give Prof. Reddaam a D-minus mark on his comment because I think he missed a Wittgenstein comment that was more worthy of the winning performance by the longshot Ill Have Another. According to Wikipedia, Wittgenstein also said, I sit astride life like a bad rider on a horse. I only owe it to the horses good nature that I am not thrown off at this very moment.
We can be sure that winning jockey, 25-year-old Mario Gutierrez, riding in his first Derby, would not have responded Wittgenstein-like about his effort. In any case Reddam probably gave Costas the most eloquent answer he has ever gotten in his career of interviewing pugs and mugs. Costas seemed a bit taken aback for only a second and responded, I guess that sums it up.
Reddam left academia for business. "You make more money," he said. He
had a mortgage lending company he sold to General Motors.
Now about the cookie horse. When people first hear the name, Ill Have Another they think of booze and the kind of comment all too frequent in bars. Well, I happen to be a cookie guy and I was delighted to hear that the comment came from Reddam saying Ill have another in asking for a cookie.
At first I thought Reddam may have been asking for the best commercial cookies ever made--chocolate-covered graham cookies--which, for some reason, Nabisco took off the market almost a decade go. I organized a protest against this because chocolate-covered grahams were so popular in my house, whoever bought them, hid them from the rest of us. Others joined my crusade to no avail. Nabisco said they took chocolate-covered grahams off the market because they werent popular. Nabisco lies.
It turned out that Reddam would ask for cookies from a fresh batch made by his wife, Zillah. In any case, the man has taste in horses-and cookies.
* * *
The NBC telecast this year overflowed with colors. The silly hats of women-and men-and roses galore of course. And also more than the usual close-ups of the jockeys in their brand new finery for this race. I love the pre-race picture of all the jockeys sitting together. And there was more focus than usual on close-ups of the jockeys and their silks as the horses slowly made their way to the starting gate. The winning colors: white, purple belt, white band on purple.
* * *
Two-dollar bettor types could relate well to journeyman jockey Jersey Joe Bravo who won the $500,000 Turf Classic, on Little Mike the race before the Derby. Bravo said, Its as much fun to win a $5,000 claimer as to win a race like this.
* * *
It would have been a wonderful story if Union Rags had won, because his owner, Phyllis Wyeth is married to Jamie of the famous Wyeth art family, because she bought the horse back for more money than she had got buying it, because she had come back from a head-on car crash in which she suffered a broken neck, because she watches races in a wheel chair, smoking a cigar, and because the likeable trainer, Michael Matz was the trainer of Barbaro, who broke down in the Preakness after winning the Derby in 2006.
Union Rags, the second choice at 5-1, got squeezed at the start and never got the chance to get into the scrum. He finished making a big run from 13th to seventh when it didnt matter. This was the second time Union Rags ran into trouble under jockey Julien Leparoux. A change of jockeys may be in order for this hard-luck horse.
* * *
I never quite understand the disappointment displayed by trainers and owners when their horses finish second or third. I was part of a few poor peoples horse-owning syndicates in my time, and we were delighted just to finish in the money. So much less we would have to put out for all the expenses that pile up owning a race horse.
The worst named horse in the race was (ugh) Daddy Nose Best by Scat Daddy out of Follow Your Bliss. He finished 10th. The best of a mediocre-named bunch: Done Talking by Broken Vow out of Dixie Talking. He finished 14th. .
* * *
Every year the Racing Form runs the selections of all its handicappers. Of 23 selectors, only one, Brad Free, a Santa Anita correspondent, picked 15 to 1 I'll Have Another.
©2012 by Stan Isaacs. The Stan Isaacs caricature is ©2001 by Jim Hummel. The photo is courtesy of the Los Angeles Times. This column first posted May 7, 2012.
TO ACCESS STAN ISAACS' ARCHIVE OF COLUMNS ON THIS SITE, CLICK HERE: ISAACS ARCHIVE
You can comment on this column online via our TALKBACK page. Please address your e-mail message to either "The Editors" or Stan Isaacs at Syndpack @ aol.com.
HOME About Us Index To
Talkback Contact Us