Controversial Derby Puts Sour Taste in Mouths of Mint Julep Fans

“As we come into the fourth turn, Cabbage is a head, Bubble Gum still sticking to the rail. Baby Diaper is starting to look pooped. Apartment House is rockin’, but here comes Spandex in the stretch…” — my modified version of a pop horse race routine

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

When I was a kid I must have spent hours making variations of this horse race routine, not knowing it originated somewhere in pop culture. Winston Sheffield “Doodles” Weaver, brother to NBC exec Pat Weaver and uncle to the high profile Weaver we know from our own era, Sigourney, had popularized it through radio or television before my time.

The routine came to mind on MayDay 2010 while writing a blog post in preparation for the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby. In that race the weather played a role. In yesterday’s race, the track was again mucky and slick. Unfortunately, the officials were forced to play a role they no doubt wished they didn’t have to. Maximum Security had to be de-throned by a DQ for impeding War of Will who was asserting himself on his right flank.

Whether baseball, football, soccer, skiing, skating, or slugging, no one likes to see an outcome determined by the umpires, refs or officials. Especially when there’s so much at stake.

I’ve always loved naming things, whether it be paintings, stories or whatever. So I find the names of Kentucky Derby hopefuls always fascinating. I like the idea of Win Win Win, since it would be fun to be shouting “Win Win Win! Go Win Win Win!… WooHoo! Win Win Win won!”

The field Saturday started like this:

1 War of Will
2 Tax
3 By My Standards
4 Gray Magician
5 Improbable
6 Vekoma
7 Maximum Security
8 Tacitus
9 Plus Que Parfait
10 Cutting Humor
11 Haikal
12 Omaha Beach
13 Code of Honor
14 Win Win Win
15 Master Fencer (JPIN)
16 Game Winner
17 Roadster
18 Long Range Toddy
19 Spinoff
20 Country House
21 Bodexpress

Here is how they finished. Gray Magician failed to pull a rabbit out of its hat. Roadster stalled. Game Winner lost. Tax had a taxing run.

In case you missed it, here’s the race itself.

Folks who had their money on Country House enjoyed a pretty good payoff at 65–1 odds. But the chestnut colt has been no slouch, finishing 2nd, 4th and 3rd in February, March and April this year. Getting a crown brings the owners of a horse like that a small fortune and no small measure of prestige.

As for the president weighing in with a Tweet expressing displeasure regarding the overturned outcome, I find it embarrassing. That’s all I’m going to say.

And so it goes… “As they come out of the gate it looks like Dog Biscuit is leading the pack.”

If you had a horse in this race, what would you have named him or her?

A portion of this originally appeared at

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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