(Mine That Bird is the three year-old gelding that won the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago. His starting odds were 50-1, making him the second biggest upset winner in Derby history. Although he's running in this weekend's Preakness, the second of three Triple Crown events, his jockey Calvin Borel made the choice to mount a different horse- Rachel Alexandra, a filly and the pre-race favorite. In a nutshell, Mine That Bird gets no respect. What follows is the motivational speech I plan to give him sometime tomorrow afternoon in Baltimore, if I can get close enough. I love this horse, and he's gonna win.)
Yo, Bird, look at me. Look at me. Here dude, have some oats. Not too many. I don't have a ton of time. Yo, stop turning around in circles for a damn second. I snuck into this stable and I'm pretty sure your crazy hick of a trainer will be up in my shit in like five minutes, cussing me out in that hard western way where it's pretty obvious you're about to get buried neck deep in sand, staring at scorpions and wondering about God. So listen good, alright? Cuz we're gonna do this. We're gonna win this damn race.
Look, I know things ain't so hot right now. Even after you win the Derby, nobody wants to give you any props. And that's not the half. Your jockey, that scrunched up leprechaun acting like he did anything but whip you on the ass for two minutes, ain't even interested in riding you today. Daaaaa-yummmm. Instead he's gonna mount up on Rachel Alexandra, a filly. That means a chick, if you didn't know. Cuz I didn't. I do know this, though: the last time a skirt won this race, it was 1924. That's ancient times. Back then, dudes had to wear a hat even when they went to bed, and if you felt like a nip of the good stuff you had to go through the back door of a closed 'nickelodeon' just for some bleach-based whiskey a lewd Scotsman made in his bathtub that had like a 40% chance of killing you within the hour. I'm just saying.
Don't get your nose in the mud about Calvin Borel, for real. He's making a mistake. People have doubted you since you got foaled, homes, and they always get burned. Think about it. No jockey in history has ever said 'it ain't you, it's me' to a Derby winner, then had the stones to bring his new fling to the Preakness. It just don't happen. You're like Matt Saracen in 'Friday Night Lights.' Homeboy led the Dillon Panthers to a state championship sophomore year, then got benched as a senior. You ever watch that show, Bird? I don't know if that's your thing, but you should check it out.
Dig: when you get out to the starting gates today, I don't want you craning that long neck Borel's way. He'll probably give you a look like 'heyyyyy killer, I'm really sorry about all this but my hands are tied, broseph.' Ignore that pose, you heard? We'll see where that smirking 'tude goes when you're in the winner's circle, making it weird for everyone by shitting like you never been in public before. Cuz that's what a champion does, if he's a horse. God bless. I'm not here to judge.
Anyway, man, being counted out ain't never slowed your roll before. For a while there, it looked like you might be turned into Elmer's glue before your first birthday. Picture some little kid squeezing out your remains to attach one color construction paper to another for his grandma's Flag Day card. Almost happened. Early on, you couldn't get into a racetrack if you showed up in a trenchcoat reeking of brandy, smoking a cheap Dominican cigar, hangin' with an Italian dude called Tokyo, and needing an exacta in the sixth just to pay alimony. Bad times.
Finally someone forked over nine grand for you in '07. Nine grand, Bird. In this country, you can't even get a shitty car whose main feature is catching on fire when it's hotter than 70 degrees for nine grand. Not even in Detroit, and that city will basically give you an entire street if you promise not to spread herpes on purpose. But that's all you fetched. Nine grand. Come on, you remember those days. The nine grand stable. Rough company. Every other horse in the place trying to eat their tail or taking dares to get their head stuck in the water trough. They found out one of them wasn't even a horse, just a big retarded dog with a thyroid problem. But that was the nine grand stable. It was expected.
You took the worst and thrived. When they finally let you run races, probably as a prank, you didn't screw around. You won something called the Silver Deputy Stakes. I ain't gonna sit here and pretend I'm totally up on the more regional races, but it sounds legit. Anyway, you repped yourself well enough to get a bid in this year's Derby. Even then, Bird, 'racing enthusiasts' were pissed off you might be copping a contender's spot. Some experts predicted you'd try to run backward, or get distracted by a tractor and trample a kid on the infield. Like you ain't never run an oval before. Shee-it.
It wasn't a picnic getting to the Derby, either. Those Arabian horses? They have Eyptian voodoo men train doves to air lift them to Kentucky. I'm pretty sure Baffert hired some Canadians to carry Pioneer Of The Nile down on a palanquin. But you had to ride in the back of some piece of shit trailer from New Mexico, driven by a dude who with a smashed foot who was liquored up for most of the trip. You had to sit alone in the heat every eight hours or so while he stopped at a slummy motel to score some crystal meth and maybe a whore if one was around. By the time you got to Churchill Downs, you were thinking of breaking a leg on purpose just to get euthanized.
But you raced. They sent you out at 50-1, which are odds they usually save for pack mules who get entered by a clerical error. Then you stumbled right out of the gate. You got so far back the NBC announcer didn't even say your name for most of the race. When you finally got your giddy-up on and smoked the pack to win by the second biggest margin in the history of the damn Derby, men were ripping tickets and fine women with fake birds on their hats were wondering who they should marry next. Media types gave all the props to Calvin, who got weepy and embarrassed himself. The NBC lady on the horse didn't even ask you for a comment. The next week on PTI, Kornheiser counted you out for the Preakness because "the jockey was the real star of the Derby, not the horse."
You see how it goes. It's just a wicked carousel of haters and strife, this earth, and right now you're ear deep in shitty carnival music. I get it. That's your fate. But I'm here to tell you it ain't an issue. Because right now, at this precise second, you got your mean face showing. They can drop weights on you from the sky, but that don't slow a pissed off, pure sprinter.
Yo Bird, I did a little research. Wikipedia said you were a gelding. I didn't know that one, so I checked it, and I guess it means you had your balls cut off back in the day. Sorry about that. I was gonna end this speech with a little fire and brimstone about how if you won out there, you could spend the rest of your days screwing in a huge pile of the finest oats. That's basically what they tell little terrorist kids while they're strapping on the dynamite, minus the oats part. But I guess it ain't to be.
They took your future just cause you liked to strut and snort some mornings, and now, with all this smack about the Derby being a big fluke, they're taking your past too. But let me tell you something, Mine That Bird. Let me tell you one little fucking thing, you beautiful son of a bitch: they cannot take your present. You came down a hard road, but you were bred to be great. Let the mouths spout their nonsense; you're a force of nature. Now get out there and show an ungrateful world that you can't stop the goddamn wind.