Horses are always cool, and no matter your personal opinion of the merits or morality of horse racing, it’s hard to deny there’s a certain beauty in several thousand pounds of finely-tuned thoroughbreds running full-tilt around a mile or so of oval dirt track: muscles surging, legs churning, hooves pounding, manes and tails flying, and tiny folk in colorful uniforms hanging onto to the magnificent creatures for dear life.
It’s also a small reminder that we’re not quite so much in control of nature as we might like to believe. If the horse doesn’t feel like running that day, it’s not going to run, even if Eddie Arcaro’s on board.
Yes, today’s cool story is about horse racing. It’s the tale of a down-on-his-luck jockey who’s lost the joy of riding, but he might find it again with the help of a very unusual trainer. It’s a bit of Twilight-Zone-ish modern fantasy from the pen of L. Upton Illig called “The Starting Gate,” and I found it in the May 2010 issue of Residential Aliens online magazine. Pour yourself a glass of sweet iced tea with a sprig of mint, and enjoy.