Nevertheless, what troubles me the most are people who consider horses to be "athletes." I remember watching Smarty Jones make a run at the Triple Crown a few years and seeing throngs of people in Philadelphia taking pride that Smarty Jones was from Philly. Seriously, people were going nuts because a hometown horse was winning races! They even had THREE separate Smarty Jones days within a 5-week span in Philadelphia. I understand the desperate need to cling to any winner from the city, and Smarty Jones was a better shot at bringing glory before Donovan McNabb or Ryan Howard will probably ever be, but it's a horse! A horse, by the way, that has no idea where its hometown is. Still, the fans of Philly are nothing compared to the thousands upon thousands of people who sent Get Well cards (!) to a horse months ago. It's all pretty mind boggling when you think about it.
And yet, when the Breeder's Cup Juvenile race goes off a week from Saturday, I will find myself rooting for a horse. Not just any horse, but one with my all-time favorite name: UD Ghetto. He dominated the Kentucky Cup at a 17-1 underdog, and it's obvious from his trainer that the horse lives up to the spirit of his name.
"He's got a lot of talent (but is) a handful all the time," Reinstedler said. "You never know what he's going to do."That statement can be copied verbatim to apply to any participant in a Ghetto 9-hole or Hairy Buff party.
So on November 4th, I will be rooting UD Ghetto, possibly with a Beast in hand just for old time's sake. I will be cheering with personal interest for a horse that couldn't care less about winning, and has no idea of the rich heritage that inspired his name. And God forbid, if that horse gets hurt, my get well card will be on the way.