The Horse Race Insider is a privately owned magazine. All copyrights reserved. “Bet with your head, not over it.”

The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


I always try to think of something special to say on Thanksgiving Day, my favorite American holiday; no deadlines to meet, except for dinner, of course, and I feel something aspirational about the whole thing.

It’s about giving thanks for meaningful blessings and doesn’t conjure up thoughts of what we’ll get in return. There’s no pressure to spend money on things that go unneeded the other 364 days of the year.

In fact, the only debt owed, and it’s a big one, is to the indigenous people of America who tamed the wilderness before we could pave it. They gave us a blueprint for survival in an untamed land stretching from sea to shining sea.

But words always seem to fail me, the event being bigger than myself, leaving me with the knowledge that I’m not the writer I aspire to be, not as clever as I think I am. It’s a good thing that humility is good for the soul.

However, I, i.e. we, are living at a time and place best described as the Divided States of America.

We all have theories about how we lost our way, the most reasonable being that facts, needed to provide clarity and order, no longer seem to matter.

This is the time when good people on both sides no longer implicitly trust their source material. The lines have become blurred, like Rorschach images.

So, rather than feign clever, I choose to share the thoughts of a talk show host. I won’t say who it is–most of you can figure it out if you haven’t heard this editorial monologue already.

Spoiler Alert: Stop reading now if you think you are going to hate what follows. Sharing a Thanksgiving table with your crazy uncle should be punishment enough.

Here, then, one man’s guide to surviving the Thanksgiving Dinner Table Debate with those us lucky enough to be surrounded by our family, even if the prime motivators are duty and tradition, not peace, love or understanding.

The monologue was entitled “Feast of Burden.” Be warned there’s some “language” in it. To wit:

“This year, just celebrate Thanksgiving, don’t try to “win” it, and never forget the single shining truth about democracy; you share a country with assholes you can’t stand.

“Thanksgiving is a lot like democracy, you don’t get to choose the guests because those freaks are your family.

“Think about that the next time you think you can “own” someone politically. Think about how you can think about things so differently from the people who share your blood.

“We have to accept something about people, that half of them have their taste in their ass.

“They eat sweet potatoes with marshmellows, they wear matching family outfits and put nuts on their truck.

“They laugh at Jeff Dunham; we laugh at Lena Dunham. Forty six percent of the country looked at our president imitating a physically challenged person and said: ‘I want that guy picking the Supreme Court’.

“We will never understand a brain that thinks like that, and they will never understand worrying about gluten all the time, or a Puerto Rican Alexander Hamilton.

“That’s how you get two completely differently headlines about the same thing: “Jim Jordan Destroys Democrats’ Star Witness” v “Room Erupts in Laughter as Democrat Peter Welsh Destroys Jim Jordan.”

“We’re so divided it’s no longer enough to just make a point, you’ve got to destroy, you have to “own” people–except the person that gets owned doesn’t change their mind.

“They just make a mental note to never interact again [Tweeting] ‘DM_Me_Your_Titties, lmfao, owned!!!’ ”

“We have to drop this fantasy that we can destroy the other side, or crush, or shred, or pulverize–those aren’t real things; they are the four settings on the blender that no one ever uses.

“America is a big country filled with millions of people who don’t think the way you do and never will, and you can’t own, vanquish or disappear them. We’re stuck with them and they’re stuck with us.

“They’re here, they’re annoying, and get used to it because the pendulum always swings back, even when we had a Civil War and we physically owned the South.

“We burned their cities to the ground and occupied their territory. Reconstruction only lasted for 12 years before the mint-julep crowd took over again.

“And Jim Crow, the KKK, and sharecropping became slavery 2.0.

“We tried to own the Germans after World War I and that just got us World War II.

“Now, lately, we’ve been hearing more and more about a second Civil War and that sounds impossible in this modern, affluent country; it is not.

“We all talk about Trump as an existential threat but his side sees Democratic control of government the exact same way.

“And when both sides believe the other guy taking over means the end of the world–yes, you can have a Civil War.

“Trump rallies are filled with words like ‘enemy of the people’, ‘human scum,’ they talk of people to be locked up; well, you can’t lock us all up.

“Liberals are described as weak, lame, coddling, over-sensitive and limp-dicked, which are strong words for a bunch of mouth-breathers, shit-kickers, knuckle-draggers, bible thumpers, sister-fuckers and rubes.

“Yes, I have been guilty of saying things like that but I’m going to try to stop because I have learned that the anti-intellectualism on the right doesn’t come primarily from stupidity, it comes from hate.

“Telling people you think they’re irredeemable is what makes them say ‘You know what, I’d rather side with Russia than you’.

“Even if the Democrats win everything in 2020, the Republicans will still be here, they’re not going to self-deport.

“They’re in Congress, in your office, sometimes your home.

“Home is where you learn that the three magic words in any relationship aren’t ‘I love you’; they’re ‘Let it go’.”

“Let It Go.

“You can’t own your spouse, you just have to make peace with the fact that you’re married to someone who believes in ghosts, or won’t throw out their baseball cards, or thinks essential oils are essential.

“Or, yes, likes Donald Trump.

“We’re going to have to learn to live with each other or there will be a Civil War and there will be blood.

“So don’t freak out if Ellen sits next to George Bush at a football game. Bush was not my idea of a good President, but I was never worried he was going to lock up his political opponents, or reporters, or me.

“Bush was wrong, but he wasn’t trying to enrich George Bush, he condemned Islamophobia after 911,” and he did a lot for Aids in African countries without calling them shitholes.

He risked Dick Cheney’s friendship because he wouldn’t pardon Scooter Libby, because it wasn’t just about loyalty.

“He stood with Obama when Obama took his job and said ‘We want you to succeed’.

“If you can’t see the difference between that man and Trump, Democrats are doomed.

“Michelle Obama gets it; she hugs him. Ruth Bader Ginsburg likes Brett Kavanaugh.

“For a country that loves to look at pictures of entirely different species getting along, can’t we try it in politics?”

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families from HorseRaceInsider

Facebook Share
Twitter Share
LinkedIn Share

⚠ Before you comment

Our staff likes nothing better than to engage with the HRI Faithful and provide a forum for interaction on horseracing and sports. In that spirit, please be kind and reasonable; keep the language clean, and the tone civil. Comments from those who cannot comply will be deleted. Thank you.

12 Responses

  1. Well John, your Thanksgiving day piece certainly gives us pause for thought and everyone should reflect today on the many things that we can be grateful for. You are correct in saying that we are living in a time of great political divide and things can certainly turn ugly if we as a nation and as citizens aren’t very careful.

    We have been divided by two entirely different views of reality and neither side is going to change their mind. The only thing that truly defines reality is the truth, so we shall see how that shakes out when this is all over, but perhaps you should remove the blinkers for this race and give the president credit when credit is due for a change.

    Although you attempted to be judicious in your editorial, your prejudice and political bias was blatantly obvious, and just like the rest of the biased media you failed miserably to give credit when credit is due. The truth be known, you probably don’t even realize what President Trump has done on behalf of everybody in YOUR chosen profession. And mine.

    If I were to ask you what President Trump has done for you lately – your answer would most likely be, “NOTHING!” You better think again my friend, because President Trump delivered what amounts to “a gift from heaven” to both horse players and thoroughbred owners alike with his Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

    We lobbied long and hard to get the ridiculously unfair “tax ticket” policy modified and the tax bill finally did it. Big score for all gamblers without a doubt, and if you don’t realize what it has done for the owners, I suggest you call Terry Finley at West Point Thoroughbreds or any of the owners of the major barns and ask them. Hasn’t it occurred to you why we are seeing so many 3yos continue racing instead of heading directly to the breeding shed?

    You are welcome to keep your political blinkers on if you so choose, but come on man, I think it is only fair to give credit when credit is due: particularly when it benefits all those involved in your chosen profession – especially your audience!

    Have a wonderful and peaceful Thanksgiving day and say hello to uncle Goober if you have to deal with that!

  2. With the passage of The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act the SALT deduction is now limited to 10k on property taxes. If you live in NY, CT, NJ, MA, etc with sky high property taxes you are not THANKFUL for this President Trump enacted raw deal. People are fleeing to The Sunshine State and properties in high tax areas remain unsold. Let’s say you have a property tax of 50k (you live in Oyster Bay on the Long Island Sound) which used to be fully deductible; now you get a measly 10k deduction and have to come up with the balance. Looks like you’ll be playing Gulfstream and Gulfstream Park West sooner than later. Other than that I echo your sentiments about a peaceful and wonderful Thanksgiving. P.S. I do not live in Oyster Bay on LI Sound, ha, ha.

  3. On all opinions #RESPECT

    When it comes to economic policy, I’m interested in how it affects Main Street, not Wall Street. In 2020 America, using Dow Jones or Standard & Poors as metrics is a false equivalency.

  4. We’ll get through this too.
    Hoping enough of America wakes up and we boot the Con Man In Chief before much more damage is done to this Country.

  5. May be a tough road. Dems crowded field harder to pick than the sixth at Evangeline. Mayor Mike could do it but New Yorker’s not favorites everywhere. Trump resides in Florida now so he’s not a New Yorker anymore. That may actually help his chances. FDR was from New York so I guess my theory doesn’t pass muster. New York is the best place on the planet. End of story.

  6. The fabric of our country is in such a desperate state this holiday. A devil’s world of greed indeed, and business has never been better. Imagine only if when elections cycles in America were completed each cycle, the winning collection of Senators, Representatives, and all in positions of Executives Leadership would focus not on the interests of party, but instead were to focus only on the interests of what is best for all of America. Not America first, but in the interests of what is best for all Americans, and the extended world as well. The continued shift away from a fair distribution of wealth is alarming. Instead of simply giving thanks this holiday, perhaps a time of reflection of how we have all collectively transitioned to this state might be in order. Hopefully, collectively we can find what truly made America so great once more. We were always at our best when treating each other with respect and when we all shared a sense of agreement in the concept of compromise.

  7. AGITA,a word that i learned in the States even if i was born in Italy, Acidita` is the ‘real’ Italian word but be it Neapolitan ,Sicilian or any other deep southern regional slang/dialect [Barese,Calabrese] it reminds me of other similar level words like ‘Goompah’ { Compare] or,of course Goommar [Commare] which are a sign of lazy,almost boorish [Cafone] Italian- American ways of ‘doin` things’ like Spaghetti and meat balls on the same dish or Ckn. Parm on top of the preferred pasta.Of course,movies like the Godfather,Goodfellas and other offerings by Coppola and Scorsese did not help,like in ‘Mean Streets ‘ a guy called someone else a “Moock”. What`s a Moock? I don`t know ,i`m still trying to figure out why my father`s Nonna called Dollars ” Scooti ” . Anyway, Enjoy the Seven Fishes and use Brioschi in case of Agita !Buone Feste,Happy Holidays to all. Cin Cin a Centanni [100 yrs]..

  8. James G.

    Always took mook on the streets of Corona to mean, dope, head-hanging low energy type, or a creep, nothing really sinister.

    Meanwhile, about the rest, Bon Natale, my friend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *