Feb 08 2007
If Man O’ War raced Doug
Doug is the slowest horse in the world. Now, I can’t back up that statement with any hard evidence, but that’s what Internet blogger Jenny from Northern Ireland claims.
I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s right –
a horse named Doug was never destined for greatness.
When a newborn foal or filly takes his or her first wobbly steps, anything is possible. Back in 1917 a foal was given the name Man O’ War, went on to win the Belmont Stakes by 20 lengths and had a life-sized statue commissioned in his honour.
Several decades later, a foal was given the name Doug, grew up to become the slowest horse in the world and was briefly mentioned on an Internet blog site and page 24 of the Nanaimo News Bulletin.
Then, a few years after Doug’s birth, yet another foal was born, and was given the best racehorse name ever. More on him in a moment – first, let me set the scene.
I have always had a passing interest in horse racing. Should the thoroughbred du jour win the first two stages of the Triple Crown, I usually start to pay attention. And I’d love to go watch the Kentucky Derby one day and drink down one of those famous $5,000 mint juleps (provided someone else is buying the round).
Despite my curiosity, it wasn’t until two summers ago that I finally attended a live horse race at Hastings Park racetrack in Vancouver.
I was eager to take in the whole experience by placing a bet. So you can imagine my excitement when I scanned the handicapping forms and discovered that a horse named Always Wins would be running in the very next race. I’m no expert when it comes to betting on horses, but I know enough to recognize an omen like that.
As the race neared, the odds on Always Wins –
who had started as a 12-1 longshot – had shortened to 7-1 as more and more bettors followed my lead and gambled sensibly.
When Always Wins emerged on the track, our confidence grew. He was a fine animal, a handsome steed, tall and proud and resplendent in royal purple.
As the gates flew open and Always Wins galloped to an insurmountable early lead, I inched to the edge of my seat, and could sense the rest of the bettors doing the same. This can’t-miss stallion was about to make rich men of us all.
Yes, it was a fine day, and an exciting race. Sometimes I think back to that afternoon at Hastings Park, and wonder what became of Always Wins.
Did he end up being retired to a stud farm, like Man O’ War, to sire future champions? Does he canter peacefully around a verdant meadow with an Irish lass on his back, like Doug?
Well, I’ve given up gambling, but if I were a betting man, I’d say Always Wins got carted off to the glue factory – after being passed by seven horses on the home stretch and finishing last that day at Hastings Park.
Greg Sakaki is the News Bulletin’s sports editor.
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