Highlighted on ESPN.COM this week was the light-hearted article "101 Things All Sports Fans Must Experience Before They Die," by Jim Caple. Horse Racing accounted for three of the 101 entries. Topping the list of 101 was the Summer Olympics, followed by the World Cup and then the Winter Olympics.
Checking in at number 74 was racing at Saratoga. "They began racing here during the Civil War, when riding a horse was often the fastest mode of transportation," wrote Caple. "And visiting Saratoga during race season still has the relaxing feel of a slower century - especially when you're among the 70,000 bettors stuck in postrace traffic."
At number 57 was the Dubai World Cup. "The world's richest horse race ($6 million top prize and total purse of more than $20 million in a place where gambling is illegal) is a big draw, as are the well-lubricated ex-pats competing for the best-dressed prize. And if that isn't enough in a country attempting to become the Middle East's sports mecca, you can always go skiing on the indoor snow slopes at the Mall of the Emirates, wrote Caple.
The highest ranking horse racing entry is the Kentucky Derby at number 31. "How much a part of Americana is this race? Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., grandson of explorer William Clark, was among those who started it. And each year, the discarded mint julep cups and other beverages would probably extend the length of the Lewis & Clark Trail."
Frankly, 31st was a ridiculously low ranking behind such things as the College World Series and the Bayou Classic (whatever that is?).
Also on the list, the Il Palio horse race (pictured above) (July and August, Siena, Italy). According to Caple, “Picture what the Kentucky Derby would look like if it were held at Mardi Gras during the Renaissance and you get a small idea of what this race is like. Just be sure to bring sunscreen and plenty of liquids.”
Amen, brother. We have a friend who has been, and she says it’s pretty wild.