Yes I have to admit to it. From the days in the early 70's watching the high school drill team practice those high kicks to my days in college admiring the new freshman coeds, I have snuck a few peeks at the youthful beauty and innocent exuberance displayed by the pretty girls. A girl watcher...yep! I will also say that I still like to watch the ladies in action while showing off their athletic abilities. Cheerleaders? Nope. WNBA stars...Nah. Olympic beach volleyball players...hmmm...but nada.
Since the late 80's, I have been taken in by those female track stars with the long, muscular legs and the prestine lines of their faces. Oddly enough, the girls I watch now have names like Genuine Risk, Regret, Go For Wand, and Winning Colors. My latest pin up gal goes by the name of Proud Spell. OK, you got me figured out now...my weakness for the females is strictly those with 4 legs and big hearts.
Although I do like the great colts of the past 20 years, the length of my love for thoroughbred racing, my heart goes to the fillies and mares. In 1988, Winning Colors gave me a grand introduction to the power and the grace of a filly giving the boys a "bumpy ride" in that year's Kentucky Derby. Only two years later did my all time favorite female athlete, Go For Wand, both thrill me and then break my heart in the 1990 Breeder's Cup Distaff. Sent out that Saturday at Belmont Park, 'Wand proudly went eye to eye with another super lady named Bayoka as they both entered the home stretch. Seconds later, the Ron Mcnally trained Bayoka crossed the finish line alone. A national NBC audience was left watching Go For Wand fracture a cannon bone, go to the dirt, then get up and try to finish the race. Trainer Billy Badgett was seen in tears rushing to his horse's side, while his wife, Rose, was left in the owner's box to console Christiana Stables founder, Mrs. Lunger. Go For Wand left us that day and headed to that immense green pasture to join the greats that went before her. In the winner's cirlce shortly after this calamity, the victorious trainer, Mcnally, was the epitome of class. Even though his Argentinian bred Bayoka had won a million dollar race, he was in tears himself as he bemoaned his path to winning this contest.
Since Go For Wand has stamped her career as outstanding, though tragic, others have made a wonderful impression. Personal Ensign beat Winning Colors in the 1988 Breeder's Cup Distaff to retire 13-0. The Shug McGaughey trained My Flag was a force in New York during the early 90's. Seren'a Song carried the torch in the mid 90's, both for racing fans and for Mexican American's who adapted this filly in honor of slain Latin singer, Selena.
Then came 2008, Larry Jones, Gabriel Saez...and Proud Spell. It is important and appropriate here to mention that Proud Spell was a stable mate of Eight Belles. A few days before the '08 Kentucky Derby, trainer Larry Jones had a decision to make. Between these superlative fillies, which one goes in the Derby and which in the Kentucky Oaks. Even though history is brutally honest, Jones made the right call in sending Eight Belles to face the boys, while entering Proud Spell in the Oaks.
I will wind this up with a few sad facts...but one great mention. Proud Spell won the Alabama on Saturday, August 16, defeating her year long nemesis, Music Note. This will propel 'Spell to the top of the list for fillies and mares for this year.
Sadly, and by now it is old news, Eight Belles passed her brilliant "torch" to proud Spell shortly after crossing the finish line right behind Big Brown. Proud Spell did win the Kentucky Oaks and has followed a great plan by Jones and By majority owner Jess Jackson. The final sad note is that the connections today said that proud Spell will not run in the 2008 Breeder's Cup on synthetic material at Santa Anita. Ditto for Curlin, another Jackson super horse.
It really is sad that my future "Girl Watchin'" will not involve the greatest day in racing, the Cup. You know, maybe a trip to New York City is in order. Since I have never seen the NYC Rockettes, that might have to suffice as a minor replacement for those fillies. Or maybe I will just concentrate now on the up and coming two year old gals...yeah, that's the ticket!