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Saturday, May 18, 2019


by T R Poulson

Gary West is offering a $20 million reward to the owners of Country House, War of Will, Long Range Toddy, and Bodexpress if any of those horses finish ahead of Maximum Security the next time any of them race against the colt through Dec. 31, 2019. West will give the owners of Country House (the elevated winner of the Kentucky Derby), War of Will (placed seventh after finishing eighth), Bodexpress (placed 13th after finishing 14th), and Long Range Toddy (placed 16th after finishing 17th) $5 million each if they finish ahead of Maximum Security the next time they meet in a race. Kentucky stewards determined each of the latter three horses were fouled by Maximum Security in the Derby. West announced the reward May 17, one day before the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course. His horse crossed the wire first in the May 4 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) but was disqualified to 17th for interference. Maximum Security is not running in the second jewel of the Triple Crown. —BloodHorse, May 17, 2019

The Derby runs, complete with roses,
and the list of things all banned.  Poles,
selfie sticks, confetti, balloons, frisbees,
banners, and umbrellas.  It rains again,
and those in the grandstands roar, wet
as horses on the track, unfrightened.

A bay horse with a question mark
blaze breaks clean, runs fast, leads, kicks
mud on the rest, until the final turn.

One hundred fifty thousand fans, drenched
with drink and rain, scare the bay with the blaze
(He’s a baby, his jockey will say after). He drifts
from his lane, unraveled, and then hooves,
shod with steel and nails, tangle, the next horse
somersaults, mane into the mud, legs bent
the wrong way, and more horses hurdle, tumble,
jockeys’ bodies flop into the slop.  Rain drops
drizzle silks and broken goggles.  Backs,
withers, and empty saddles leave impressions
turned to puddles, bright as mirrors. Would this
be better than a rose blanket, stolen?

T R Poulson is a University of Nevada alum and life-long racing fan.  Her work has appeared previously in TheNewVerse.Newsas well as Rattle: Poets Respond, Verdad, Trajectory, Raintown Review, The Meadow, Alehouse, and J Journal.