Sunday, August 24, 2008
My Favorite Travers Stakes
It’s Travers Stakes weekend. I am remembering my favorite Travers moment. This was the moment when I shouted from the rooftop at Saratoga Race Course that it was time to put Holy Bull up on a Wheaties box.
Before we had blogs, before the Internet, before You Tube and the Olympics broadcast in HDTV, the Wheaties cereal box was where we caught our daily glimpse of primo athletes. I don’t recall that Wheaties ever featured a horse on the cereal box but it should have, after the race Holy Bull ran to win the 1994 Travers Stakes.
He was pressured for more than half a mile early in the race, standing up to a very strong pace. In the final sixteenth he was challenged again all the way to the wire, turning back Concern at the finish by only a neck.
Most horses simply don’t have it in them to run that kind of race. Yet Holy Bull wasn’t “most horses.” He stood so far above the rest, most notably on Travers day that I wrote in the Lexington Herald-Leader: “This horse can pitch a no-hitter like Nolan Ryan. He can pull off Tonya Harding’s triple axel without falling on his butt. He can shed tacklers like Emmitt Smith. He is Mary Lou Retton resurrected in the muscles of a big gray horse and if he did some flips on the balance beam, nobody would be surprised.”
The athletes are outdated. But not my memories of Holy Bull’s Travers. The Saratoga crowd was so fired up over this race that people were talking about the Bull in the streets that night.
Continue reading "My Favorite Travers Stakes"
Visit Maryjean Wall's new site at "Celebrating the Horse"