New Mexico in sports headlines
The state’s been getting some respect lately
This past weekend was the final regatta of the Rio Grande Sailing Club’s spring series. It turned out to be one of those “on average, it’s perfect” weekends, with way too much wind on Saturday and very little wind on Sunday.
Saturday, most of the boats in the racing fleet went out, but conditions were so rough that nearly all of the boats headed back to the marina before the racing even began. After getting boats put away and securely moored in the marina, a large number of sailors ended up in the living room of the J/24 Fleet 141 Headquarters, with a television on, tuned to that little horse race in Kentucky.
We watched as the horses left their stalls to be led to the starting gate for the race. Among the audience was Zorro, who often goes to Sunland Park and generally does well at assessing the horses he bets upon. I can’t reproduce the dialogue exactly, as I can’t remember exactly who said exactly what, but it went something like this:
Oh, I like that one, he’s my boy. Look at how long his legs are …
Now that’s a pretty horse …
Look at how that one is jumping – he has so much energy, but he’s nervous; he’s not going to do well …
Hey, here’s our hometown hero – he’s from New Mexico!
Nah, he’s too small.
What an ugly horse.
He’s a fifty-to-one long shot; maybe I oughta put money on him.
He came in fourth in the Sunland Derby – how’d he get here?
I like that tall gray one, what’s his name?
I gotta go for Pioneer of the Nile, he’s my boy.
And so on and so forth … and now anybody who hasn’t been living under a rock somewhere knows that the little brown horse from New Mexico, Mine that Bird, won the Kentucky Derby. He bears a strong resemblance to Seabiscuit, not just physically, but also in the emotional response he draws from fans. He’s the little guy, the ordinary person, who somehow manages to pull off great things.
But Mine that Bird isn’t the only New Mexico sports success recently … last year’s Baja Ha-Ha sailing race was won by three desert rats from New Mexico.
Zorro has his eye on a boat in the San Francisco Bay area that he wants to buy. Maybe next year, he and I can do the Three Bridge Fiasco.