I was thrilled beyond words over the filly Rags To Riches winning the Belmont Stakes today, but ABC’s lame commentary almost spoiled it for me.
To start out, there’s only one woman (Jeannine Edwards) on the entire broadcast team. (They did have former jockey Donna Brothers commenting trackside at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but ABC didn’t even bother with that.) Now, I enjoy listening to Randy Moss and Kenny Mayne as much as anyone–they would make a hilarious vaudeville act, I think–and Jerry Bailey provides invaluable insights.
That doesn’t change the fact that the male-to-female ratio is severely, and noticably, skewed. I wonder if anyone has asked (or even thought of asking) retired jockey Julie Krone to join the team? Hell, she won the Belmont, in 1993. She could talk about racing just as well as anybody, and for commentary, I don’t think a penis is a requirement.
Perhaps the presence of more women would have avoided the following cliches: “girl power” (nevermind that the ‘girl’ in question is a female horse, properly termed a ‘mare’ or a ‘filly’) and “battle of the sexes” (the last I heard, one horse trying to outrun another is hardly ‘battling,’ and ‘sex’ has nothing to do with it). This business of trying to extrapolate the results of a horse race to male/female relations is inane, to say the least. Rags To Riches’ accomplishment is lauded, and rightfully so, because it it so rare; she is the first filly to win the race in a hundred years, and the first ever at the mile-and-a-half distance (the last filly to win, Tanya in 1905, only had to run a mile and a quarter).
This is a simple fact of equine biology; at the young age of three, colts are generally a bit bigger and stronger than fillies. You could see this as the two contenders came down the stretch; the colt, Curlin, was obviously larger and more muscled than the filly.
But she beat him anyway.
Nevertheless, a horse is a horse is a horse, and not a person. A filly beating a colt on a given day, or vice versa, should have nothing to do with feminism, patriarchy, or anything else. This condescending attempt by all the (male) commenters to turn it into something it isn’t completely rubbed me the wrong way, and damnere spoiled the race.
I guess that’s what You Tube is for, or the video on the Blood-Horse site. I’ll mute Tom Durkin’s sexist racecalling from the top of the stretch onwards, and just enjoy the sight of two magnificent animals doing what they were bred to do.