Saturday, June 5, 2010

Every horse has its day

Has there ever been less interest in a Triple Crown race?  The Belmont Stakes will be run today in New York and we've barely heard a peep about it.  Unless there's a jockey in the stirrups named Jim Joyce we doubt the final jewel will garner much of a headline.  A blown umpire's call this week even stole the thunder from first ballot Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr.'s retirement announcement.

So here we are, railing against instant replay and rooting for a sudden spike in the value of Griffey's 1989 Upper Deck rookie card.  We might as well put $20 on the nose of a Belmont longshot.  Let's see, we'll take Dave in Dixie to win, even though we're growing tired of jockey Calvin Borel. You have to love the 20-1 odds.

Reminds us of the first song we ever learned to play on guitar. "Stewball," if you believe the tale, probably went off at more like 50-1.  But he won just the same, and there's your lesson for today. Every horse has its day.

A lot of artists have covered "Stewball," which is older than the Belmont itself.  Peter, Paul & Mary brought it to our attention, but our favorite version belongs to Mason Proffit, who included it on their debut album  Wanted: Mason Proffit back in 1969.  And damned if you can't listen to the rare recording right here:

How's that for a long shot that came home? We might as well provide the lyrics and chords (G, Am, D, G) as well.  Now you've got no excuses.

Oh Stewball was a racehorse, and I wish he were mine
He never drank water, he always drank wine

His bridle was silver, his mane it was gold
And the worth of his saddle has never been told

Oh the fairgrounds were crowded, and Stewball was there
But the betting was heavy on the bay and the mare

And a-way over yonder, ahead of them all
Came a-prancin’ and a-dancin’ my noble Stewball

I bet on the grey mare, I bet on the bay
If I’d have bet on ol’ Stewball, I’d be a free man today

Oh the hoot owl, she hollers, and the turtle dove moans
I’m a poor boy in trouble, I’m a long way from home

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