Saturday, May 05, 2007

Run for the Roses!

Today is Kentucky Derby day.

And I can never watch the greatest of all horse races without thinking of one of TV sports' greatest moments:

Trainer Carl Nafzger calling Unbridled's 1990 win for the horse's owner, Mrs. Frances Genter, all of 92 years old.

Nafzger was one of the first people miked on-air for a sporting event, and I remember watching the race, which was called very traditionally as Unbridled ran a come-from-behind win.

But after the race, the network showed a replay of Nafzger, who apparently had forgotten he was on-air, describing events for his elderly owner, who was visually impaired.

Describing isn't the right word. He was calling the race, and unlike today, when everybody's got a zoom lens on them and a wireless sound hook-up nearby, he wasn't thinking of fame, or reputation.

And so he made one of those unforgettable moments.

"He's taking the lead. He's gonna win. He's gonna win. He's gonna win. He's a winner! He's a winner! He's a winner, Mrs. Genter! You've won the Kentucky Derby, Mrs. Genter! I love you."

And he kissed this little old lady and the tears began.

She died just a couple of years later. And Unbridled died in 2001. But Nafzger's still training, and he's back in it this year, with Street Sense off Post No. 7.

I don't follow horse racing much - in fact, I pretty much follow it three times a year, the Triple Crown races.

But I was 15 years old that year, and it was something I never forgot.

I couldn't find a replay of Nafzger's "call," but I did find the race itself. Enjoy!

1 Comment:

jin said...

*jin runs up to ace & quickly taps him on the shoulder before he can run away*