Kentucky Derby keeps on shining

By BY MARK H. STOWERS FOR THE E-T,

Good Mornin’! Good Mornin’!

Horse racing…My first thought always runs toward Music Man’s Trouble, “And list'nin to some big out-a-town jasper hearin' him tell about horse-race gambling.' Not a wholesome trottin' race, no! But a race where they set down right on the horse! Like to see some stuck-up jockey boy Settin' on Dan Patch? Make your blood boil?”

Well, there’s no trouble, actually, but the Kentucky Derby does run its 145th race this weekend. Now, I’ve been to dog races in West Memphis, and I did place third in the Pine Wood Derby in Greenville back in the day.

I’ve actually seen trottin’ races referred to in Trouble but never a full-scale horse race such as the sacred Kentucky Derby.

But I did grow up with horses and the many hours of watching Bonanza and Little Joe along with plenty of westerns with John Wayne and Roy Rogers. My cowboy skills were more a myth than legend and certainly more in line with Hollywood than a real cow puncher and roper.

And there was the Old White Mare in our pasture and GoBoy across the street at Mr. Anderson’s house.

Those two made up my horse experience.

I’ve got plenty of friends that rode – Buck Duncan, Hubert Lester and probably a bunch more.

But my riding was more of hanging on with a slow clip clop. I don’t remember too much about our Old White Mare – for some reason she didn’t have a name – except that our favorite moonshiner and farm hand N.F. Parker rode her a lot.

I do remember more about GoBoy. Now he was a crotchety thing and if you talked to him too much through the barbed wire fence or rode too long, well, he had this habit of kicking you or at least swinging that back leg around to let you know you were done with either task.

Mr. Anderson’s main farm hand, Bro’Man (I have no idea how he got that name, as well) would saddle him up for me and whoever was visiting me and we’d bravely traverse Macon Plantation.

The only problem was we didn’t know how long we’d be riding.

That was all up to GoBoy.

Sometimes he’d take us where we wanted at a pace we could handle. But sure enough in the midst of any ride, when GoBoy had enough, he simply turned toward home and went. It didn’t matter what command you gave or what you did with the reins.

He’d had enough and he was going home.

You didn’t control his speed either. It could be a fast trot or slow clip clop or a full gallop. I reckon he was the first roller coaster type of ride in my life. Probably the reason I don’t like roller coasters to this day...lol.

I tell you all of this to let you know I have no idea who will win the Kentucky Derby, but if there’s ever a horse named Old White Mare, go with that over one named GoBoy.

You never know if he’s gonna finish the race or just decide to kick you.

Either way, “Oh, You’ve Got Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool!”

 

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