I'm sure that most of you are familiar with "curses" in sports. There's the "Madden Curse", and of course the "Curse of the Bambino" that was supposedly vanquished when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. For the most part, they're just convenient ways to explain away failures by teams or individuals, though some do seem to carry a bit of validity(good luck next year Vince Young!).
After the events on Saturday at Pimlico, the question of a "Barbaro Curse" soon arose. In case you missed it, a horse by the name of Mending Fences broke its leg while leading the Dixie Stakes event. By itself it would be a tragic accident that doesn't receive much examination. However, the fact that Barbaro broke his leg during the Preakness events last year got the wheels turning in the heads of me and a friend of mine.
Now, neither of us are really horseracing "fans". I'll sometimes catch the big events, and he'll bet on them if he's got some extra money. This year, however he had the chance to check out the Preakness in person again(his 2nd time) so he was at the track when Mending Fences went down. The so-called catalyst for our curse theory actually came about because he was at the track. Had he been at home I doubt that we would have ever thought about this. However, he was there, and he said that when Einstein, another horse that raced in the Dixie Stakes who tossed off his jockey due to the Mending Fences hoopla, crossed with no rider there was an eerie feeling. Seeing a horse running with a sadle and no rider probably is a bit freaky. I asked him whether his "eerie" feeling was due to the large amount of alcohol that he had ingested, or if he truly thought that some other forces were at play. Unfortunately, he couldn't really tell. So take our theory as you wish, and understand that it was cobbled together by two non-horseracing guys who had ingested some amount of alcohol.
Our theory is this: Barbaro was so upset at the way he was "shown off" and kept "alive" for 8 months that his ghost will haunt the Preakness event and he'll "take" one horse every year.
Sure, it sounds crazy, but this is the way that we looked at it. Barbaro was kept alive for those months because his recovery was a compelling story, and because, we believe, that it allowed for a good number of "samples" to be taken. He didn't want to have to wear casts, splints and bandages, or be placed in a sling for hours at a time. Really, he wanted to go to the Big Field in the sky, but instead he was kept in a sort of horsie assisted living facility. This angered him so much that despite being honored in the inaugural Barbaro Stakes, he "came down" and took Mending Fences back to the Big Field.
Yes, it sounds ludicrous, and no it's not meant to be 100% serious, but if a similar event happens at next year's Preakness remember where you read about the "Barbaro Curse" first.