28 April 2006

Thank you, Sacajawea!

I'm going to be out of town on business for the rest of the week -- and I'll probably be out of touch with the Information Superhighway during the entire conference. Yes, I know, you won't even notice the lack of posts, what with my recent bad habits. What can I say? Libraryland really heats up in spring; it's just a hop-skip-and-jump from April's National Library Week to Summer Reading Club mania.

Anyway, since I'm not coming back until Friday, the day before the Derby, I'm guessing I'll miss a great deal of frenzy? hype? anxiety? as the big day nears. To keep myself in the proper frame of mind, I've slipped a copy of Down to the Wire: The Lives of the Triple Crown Champions by Robert Shoop into my carry-on bag. Though I haven't gotten far in the book, I suspect I'll enjoy it while flying over New England.

I mean, really, how can you not like a book that starts off with the contribution of Meriwether Clark to the Run for the Roses? I don't have time to cover the whole story, but according to Shoop, Clark, the grandson of the famous explorer, William Clark, was asked in 1872 to help revive Thoroughbred racing in Louisville. Knowing little about racing, he traipsed off to Europe (apparently, those Clarks were always into traveling!) and returned with an appreciation for the Epsom Derby -- and the French method of "Paris-Mutuel" wagering. Clark oversaw the building of the track on land he leased from family members and instituted the Kentucky Derby on the track's first day. Throughout his tenure at the helm of Churchill Downs, Clark encouraged women to attend the races, as he thought that if women liked horse racing, they would encourage their husbands to visit the track. Gotta like a guy like that.

Since William Clark didn't start a family until well after his adventures with the Corps of Discovery, it's possible that, had Lewis & Clark's journey had ended in tragedy, we might all be watching baseball on the first Saturday in May.

So, yes, thank you Sacajawea!


Tote Board Brad said...

When you get back we want to hear about the wild raging librarian parties.