Saturday, May 7, 2011

There At The Post

The first Saturday in May can mean many things.  For our Urban friends it might mean the first day on the golf course or the opening of the soccer fields.  But for me no matter what else we are doing ( ranch work, house work,) it means the running of the most wonderful horse race, The Kentucky Derby.

One of my most favorite horse is Secretariat.

The fastest time ever run at the Kentucky Derby’s current distance was turned in by Secretariat in 1973 when he completed the mile and a quarter in 1 minute 59 2/5 seconds. Further demonstrating the greatness of ‘Big Red’ was his astounding fractional times – every quarter mile of the race was faster than the one before it, which is virtually unheard of. The only other sub two minute times in the Kentucky Derby were run by Secretariat’s arch rival Sham, who finished 2/5 of a second behind the winner. In 2001, Monarchos turned in the only other sub two minute Derby run winning the race in 1:59:97.

Now I am not a dedicated follower of horse racing, but growing up one of my best friends dad was a trainer and jockey.  I was often invited along to the races in Calgary.  We got to go every where from being in the barns, the grandstand and even once in the winners circle for the post race winning picture.  Our family has always had a love for horses.  Rob and the girls are very good riders.  In his younger days Rob had the opportunity to be a jockey but his first love was the cows.

On our recent visit to Australia we were at the Melbourne Museum and were able to see the famous Phar Lap.  One of the greats for that country.

Recently we watched a documentary on the Kentucky Derby.  It got us to thinking that this really isn't any different than what we are doing in the purebred cattle business.  We are trying to line up generations of genetics to produce a superior animal.  We put all of our hopes and dreams on a particular mating and sometimes are disappointed at the moment of birth because the calf isn't the sex that we thought would be the most optimal. 

With both cattle and horses there is a history, not only in the breeding lines, but in the families and farms that for generation have made it their life and their priority to breed the best possible genetics they can.  Derby day in Kentucky is like our Agribition in Regina or Toronto Royal for Canadian cattle show or the National Westerner in Denver or North American in Louisville.

It's a dream to go to the Derby one day and to stand in the winners circle in Denver and Regina. 
Let's hope one of this year's matings takes us there.

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