12 January 2006

Another reason to think about cable

With all the speculation on Saturday's San Rafael Stakes at Santa Anita, the Risen Star Stakes at Louisiana Downs, and the birth of the first foal from Smarty Jones, I almost missed this article in Thoroughbred Times: ESPN to produce Ruffian movie. The movie's slated for airing in June 2007 in conjunction with the Belmont Stakes coverage.

I never saw Ruffian run, but by all reports she was a something special. She generally blew the doors off of her competion, setting records in 5 of her 10 complete races, winning all 10, often by substantial margins. In her 11th start, a match race with the colt Foolish Pleasure, she broke a leg and, despite heroic efforts to save her, had to be euthanized. Obvioiusly, there's something about her brief but dazzling career that captures the heart of many a racing fan --and a few writers.

While Ruffian: Born to Run by Jane Schwartz tells the grand filly's tale with drama (and a bit of anthromorphism), I prefer the writing in Ruffian: Thoroughbred Legends 13 by Milton Toby.

And one of the best descriptions, though only a few pages in length, can be found in Racing Through the Century by Mary Simon, a fabulous, coffee table-sized book offering an overview of American racing in the 20th century.

And now Ruffian has inspired poetry. I haven't read The Licorice Daughter: My Year with Ruffian by Lyn Lifshin yet, so I certainly can't comment on the book, but there are excerpts of the poems in an article from the Lexington Herald-Leader on the author's website at www.lynlifshin.com, if you're curious. I gotta admit, poetry might be the best way to talk about such a charismatic filly.

Of course, film may just be the best medium for bringing Ruffian's compelling story to the mainstream. I've never seen an ESPN movie, so I don't know what quality to expect, but as I sit here in my new Ruffian raglan, I'm thinking ... maybe I should get cable before 2007.

7 comments:

Teaman said...

Hey QQ...I read your advise about how to get "anonymous" to be able to post. Although due to my computer illiteracy I just may have destroyed my whole spot. I did like you said and went to Settings...but there was nothing there relating to Comments.
Then I boldly entered the Template area...AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!! All this computer language shit that made about as much sense to me as Japanese graffitt!! But there I found a Comment sections with a bunch of < + > and { + } and ^ # (* #(())(&*$$..all sorts of symbols with words in between. In 2 spots I saw "commnts-block"..so I took a shot and deleted that and inserted "anyone".
More than likely I ruined the "computer code" to my spot so that NO ONE will be able to post. If so..I'll probably have to start a new one. So if you find yourself unable to post comments at my spot..Sorry. I probably have a better shot at hitting a pick-6 with a $2 bet than I have at correctly changing "software code"..but hey..I gambled. But I'll still keep in touch over here if my spot has been launched into a cyberspace black hole somewhere..)

Tote Board Brad said...

Ruffian's is an incredibly dramatic story, and worthy of being told. Even so, I'm not likely to tune in. Ruffian breaking down in that match race is perhaps the most tragic, heart wrenching event ever to befall racing.

The first time I saw her past performances, with all those 1s, then in the final running line, that most horrific DASH DASH, screaming, in immeasurable primal decibels, pain and death and why and all is lost. I welled up and cried.

I've seen plenty of horses break down and euthanized on track and even owned one horse that broke down and was euthanized. Some of the worst were Landseer 40 yards directly in front of me at the 2002 Breeder's Cup, and a disgustingly brutal breakdown of a promising 3yo colt some years back on a rain soaked Golden Gate Fields strip on an already dreary January day. These were horrible, but some how those Ruffian running lines have a more vociferous affect on me.

QQ said...

Brad,
I didn't know anyone else felt that way about seeing Ruffian's past performances. Back when I first saw them (which I can tell you was August 16, 'cause I blogged it...there's an unexpected benefit!) - it tore me up, just as you said, the way those dashes in the pp's spoke volumes.

So far, I've missed actually seeing a horse break down, even when I'm there when it happens. (I didn't notice Funfair at the Breeders' Cup, for example, amidst the tussle of the crowd.) At Mountaineer, where everything seems closer, I've seen some horses vanned after a race, though so far, they've always finished the race. I always wonder ... what happened? Those horses never make the racing news, and Mountaineer's website is woefully silent. It seems terribly sad to me that these hard-working claimers might pass with nary a notice by the fans.

Kind of got off the subject there, but as for Ruffian, I'd like an opportunity to see a recreation of her career, even if it's a made-for-tv movie, even if the ending is heartwrenching. I missed the real Ruffian and know of her only from books, but even in print, there's something so exhilirating about her -- a horse who took the lead and never let it go -- that it speaks to me in some language I can't describe.

So come June 2007, I'll probably be glued to my tv, box of tissues in hand.

Teaman said...

Hey QQ...Thanks for your assistance I really appreciate you taking the time to help. Unfortunately I'm so helplessly computer illiterate that I managed to fuck up my own spot so I CANNOT even comment on MY OWN SPOT!! I tried to thank you over there after completing the procedures outlined. Now when I try to comment..I get a message.."We are unable to complete your request"...Sheesh I knew I should of just left it alone and let Walter just register. But I tried to be a nice guy...and we all know where "nice guys" finish. The same place most of my horses finish...LAST. Although my "chirp" on Specialist proved to be a winning pick, while my payoff prediction was Waaay
off. $3.60...Pfffft.

Keep an eye on the #3 horse @ Turfway Park in the 11th race Sat...ZORBA from the "Donato Juggernaut". You can find the rambling details on this one over @ Alans L@TG..back around Dec.23rd. Should I decide to implode my blogspot I'll still check in and ramble on over here.......:)

slim_commander said...

I still have my $2 win ticket on Ruffian from that day. I remember leaving the track after the race, the crowd was stunned and silent. A rarity at a New York track.

suebroux said...

QQ, I have enjoyed reading your blog. And I especially appreciate your listing of horse racing books that are appropriate for kids (November 2005). I've brought my 7-year-old daughter to the track a number of times; she helps picks out a name or two (Brother Derek! What a good girl) and I would love to get her into some "real" information. I have to admit, "Racing Stripes" was a cute movie, but my kid needs to realize that a zebra will not be racing any time soon at Lone Star Park!

Anonymous said...

I hope they use some real footage of Ruffian running in the film. They failed doing that in Seabisquit. The real film of the matchrace was unbelievable. So let us see her run.