Tip-top horse racing tip

Laugh Tracks in the Dust

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Regular readers are aware that I am an unapologetic enthusiast of horse racing. As such, I have keenly watched the first two races of Thoroughbred’s Triple Crown — the Kentucky Derby in Louisville and the Preakness in Baltimore. Mystik Dan won the Derby and Seize the Grey won the Preakness.

I’m writing this column on Wednesday and the third leg of the Triple Crown — the Belmont Stakes at Saratoga in New York — will be run Saturday. So, you’ll be reading this column after the Belmont is in the books.

Now, I don’t claim to be an expert in horse racing, but I do know that, while the horse trainer is important, it’s who the trainer hires as the jockey on the horse’s back during a race that is most often the deciding factor in winning or losing. The jockey is tasked with expediting the race instructions and strategies given to him by the trainer prior to the race.

Given that obvious fact, I’ve given a lot of thought how the trainer and jockey can greatly improve the odds of their horse winning. I’ve come to the conclusion that the single most important factor that a trainer can look for in a jockey is effective communications.

And, the single most important communications tool a jockey can develop is to train himself to “throw” his voice like a ventriloquist.

Now picture this race strategy unfolding if the jockey can “throw” his voice. First, he breaks from the starting gate and goes all-out, pell-mell, hell-bent to be leading the field at the first turn. From there to the finish line, every time a horse attempts to pass the ventriloquist jockey, the jockey covertly throws the word “WHOA!” at the horse’s ears. Since every race horse understands “whoa” means to stop, then the opposing horse eases up and the jockey’s horse stays in the lead to the finish line and collects all the winning and accolades.

My suggestion could lead to fame and fortune for trainers and jockeys who normally don’t have horses that win big races very often.

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I’ve had a lot of interesting and enjoyable things going on in my life lately. A couple of weeks ago I went to the historic Carnahan Church on the east side of Tuttle Creek Reservoir for an educational event and book signing. Kansas author Eric T. Reynolds of Eureka has penned a “time-travel historical novel” entitled “The Lost Town of Garrison.”

It’s a novel based on all that happened during the building of Tuttle Creek Reservoir by the U.S. Corps of Engineers in the late 1950s. The new lake ended up drowning out 10 little rural communities in the Blue River Valley north of Manhattan, Kan. The actual town of Garrison was one of those 10 inundated towns.

I haven’t finished the novel yet, but for folks who might be interested the book was published by Hadley Rille Books in Kansas City. Information can be found on the internet at www.hrdpress.com or email at [email protected].

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Nevah and I had a most welcome visit recently by Mrs. P. N. Cilpusher, a near lifelong friend now residing in Rogers, Ark. Sadly, during her visit, a severe storm and tornado tore through Rogers and did a lot of damage to homes and biznesses, including our friend’s accounting bizness and the homes of her two sons. Thankfully, it wuz only minor-league property damage and no one wuz injured.

While she wuz visiting, we toured the KSU campus and walked through the university’s arboretum and formal gardens. Plus, she and Nevah went to Wamego, Kan., and visited the Wizard of Oz museum.

Then on her last evening with us, we went “country crusin'” in northern Riley County with our daughter and son-in-law on their fancy road-equipped utility vehicle. We traveled about 40 open-air miles that evening and saw an abundance of wildlife — including five pair of bobwhite quail on the road, four bunches of wild turkeys, rabbits and squirrels. I’ve not seen that many pairs of wild quail for a goodly number of years. Hopefully, it wuz a sign that the quail population is rebounding in the northern Flint Hills.

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Speaking of wildlife, on our recent trip to our old stomping grounds near Parsons in southeast Kansas I counted 26 roadkill wild animals. They included two deer, a coyote, and numerous raccoons, possums, and (yippee) armadillos.

All those dead critters made me wonder why so many get ran over? Is it purely accidental or are they attracted to roadways by something? It’s a mystery but, for sure, lots of wildlife are destroyed by vehicles and vice versa.

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Another unfortunate wildlife notice. Recently, a very good friend at Cottonwood Falls wuz bitten on the hand by a small massassagua rattlesnake. She wuz working in her flower bed when she got bitten. She got quite ill, swelled up, and spent some time in the hospital while the anti-venom medicine did its job.

To my knowledge in all my years in Kansas I’ve never seen a massassagua rattlesnake. They are quiet lethal, but rare. Her experience wuz an object lesson that it pays to keep a sharp eye peeled when outdoors in Kansas.

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A sad note to mention that Pat Gottsch, the founder of RFD-TV, recently died. All of us rural folks who enjoy all the entertainment and information that RFD-TV brings into our lives certainly owe Pat Gottsch a full measure of our appreciation. Pat was a true north star for Rural America.

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My bumper-snicker words of wisdom for the week: “Sorry if my political views offend you. But, the future of my country is more important than your feelings.” Have a good ‘un.

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