We are now heading into the most depressing weekend of the year for me — the weekend of the Kentucky Derby. I used to love thoroughbred horse racing. I was a fan for 20 years. I was a such huge fan that if you mentioned a year, I would immediately think of what horse won the Derby that year.
As soon as I got a VCR, I began taping races obsessively. I used to have a large collection of horse racing books, magazines and Breyer models of race horses. The Kentucky Derby was better than Christmas.
And then came the sudden realization that horse racing was a cruel activity that cared nothing about the well-being of the horses it supposedly loves.
It was easier for me to drop religions than it was to drop racing. But I still feel the pull to watch the Derby and the Kentucky Oaks (raced the day before the Derby.) And then I remember the cruelty and the disappointment crushes me again. I gave in and watched last year, but I’m going to try to resist this year. Each race is a potential catastrophe. It’s hard to watch a race and winder what horses will be dead by the end of the season.
Maybe I’ll get lucky and be drugged out of my gourd on naproxen on Saturday. (I can get stoned on over the counter naproxen — how pathetic is that?) Horse racing is not only cruel to horses, it’s not good for my mental health.