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"Immortality has been realized once the roar of the crowd has been united."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Anno Domini 2014

Et In Honorem Divinum Creaturae

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Victor Vasnetsov

Bits and pieces of our past are typically found in stories that are unraveling in the present. In biblical times, the apocalypse was considered to be a transcendent revelation, a turning point in history when good would overcome evil, an indication that a well-defined interval of time was coming to a decisive end. The rise and fall of empires signaled the birth of new ideas, and along with this progressive way of thinking, came an altered understanding of what these revelations truly implied. Recently, mankind has adopted the notion that this is a reference to the end of days, but time has an uncanny knack for distorting truth, and even the most devout historian will concede that an apocalypse unequivocally embodies change.

Horse racing offers the sporting world its own version of the apocalypse each and every year. Juveniles emerge as three-year-olds on the first day in January, while racing stables across the land cast their sights on the Garland of Roses and Black-eyed Susans in months that follow. Breaking news is a morning occurrence, unheralded barns charm their way into mainstream society, and defections from the Triple Crown trail are often pandemic.
As the last of July’s fireworks are being unleashed into the night sky, the horse racing world refocuses its attention on older, more accomplished equine athletes. Pillars of the sport are applauded with religious fervor as they run in a variable medley of graded stakes events, contests serving as stepping stones to the most coveted event of them all: the Breeders Cup.

The year in racing simmers to a collective calm during the early part of autumn, but as the days dwindle away to Breeders Cup weekend, fans begin to muse over the multitude of prophesies that have already been written. An apocalypse is defined by change, and at no other time is change greater than when the torch is being passed from one noble champion to the next. Mucho Macho Man prevailed in last year’s running of the Classic, but he and several other notables will not compete in 2014 due to retirement, or in some cases, injury.

The year of the horse has quietly become the year of the three-year-old. Many are touting the 2014 Breeders Cup Classic as the Kentucky Derby that never was. Roughly half of the field will be made up of horses that were eligible to compete in Triple Crown races. Chances are, one of these gifted creatures will be anointed Horse of the Year.  We must summon up the trumpets and sound the bugles, for the four horses of the apocalypse are about to ride.
The White Horse is most accurately depicted by California Chrome. He was the first to have surfaced as he spread the word of racing across the land throughout his victory campaign. The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner maintains a following that is characterized by righteousness, but this has in no way deterred him from seeking the ultimate, end of the year honor. Some believe him to be a false prophet, but the conqueror shall willingly pass judgment on those foolish enough to deny his message.  

Bayern bursts confidently away from a starting gate as if equipped with a mighty sword. Representative of the Red Horse, he is here to spill the blood of others as he throws down the gauntlet with his catch me if you can mentality. The Red Horse divides the population, leaving a fraction awestruck by his speed, while others frown upon the front-running style and label him as lacking versatility. Make no mistake about it: this is the bringer of war.
The Black Horse reminded the nation that fairy tales are best reserved for children’s books. Tonalist brought balance back to the game by insuring that the Triple Crown famine would continue for at least one more year. Impeccably bred, the Black Horse is symbolic of the wealthy and illustrates the class gap in contemporary society and in horse racing. There will be no injustice should blue-blooded law reign supreme come Breeders Cup Saturday.

The Pale Horse scatters darkness over all that dare face him. Adversaries have lined up alongside of Shared Belief seven times, and seven times the competition has languished hopelessly in defeat. He is the grim reaper, small in stature, but wielding an unthinkable amount of power. This is the little train, the Pale Horse, preparing to ravage once more.
Our apocalypse does not indicate the end of time, but the end of the year in racing as we know it. The coronation of a newfound champion will take place on the first Saturday in November. The racing world is sure to rejoice as the year’s grandest revelation becomes the sport’s most celebrated reality. Many are ready to march into the starting gate in hopes of capturing the Classic, but all eyes will zero in on four horses as they ride off after destiny.

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