Tuesday, July 13, 2010

George Steinbrenner

Some of my friends and family might think it odd that I will be dedicating today's post to the owner of the New York Yankees, given that I am lifelong Boston Red Sox fan. However, George Steinbrenner's passing today also affects the world of Thoroughbred racing. Steinbrenner was the man behind Kinsman Stable, which remained a successful enterprise throughout his tenure.

Steinbrenner never did win any of the Classics or Breeders' Cup races with any of his horses, but it certainly wasn't for lack of trying. In fact, Steinbrenner ended up running six horses at the Kentucky Derby from Kinsman Stable. The most famous, and most recent, of these was Bellamy Road in 2005, who went into the Derby that year as a prohibitive favorite following his crushing victory in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. The problem with this was that Bellamy Road was a frontrunner and there was so much pace in that race that year, that Bellamy Road was among the many swallowed up by the closers that ended up in front of him. Bellamy Road ended up in seventh on Kentucky Derby Day, behind 50-1 longshot winner, Giacomo.

Steinbrenner's other Derby participants were Steve's Friend (fifth in 1977), Eternal Prince (twelfth in 1985), Diligence (ninth in 1996), Concerto (ninth in 1997), and Blue Burner (eleventh in 2002). Oddly enough, when once criticizing Dave Winfield, Steinbrenner referred to him as "Mr. May". He never did find the equine version of Mr. May, or at least, Mr. First Saturday In May.

As a final note, I might remark that as a Red Sox fan, Steinbrenner never did let it become boring. During his tenure, the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry was fanned to unfathomable heights, heights that certainly made for the betterment of baseball overall. Maybe it's a sad thing that he never did win the Derby. I, for one, would have loved to see him on the Winner's Podium being interviewed by Bob Costas, guaranteeing a Triple Crown to come. It certainly wouldn't have been boring.

Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!

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