For lots of reason's I've only made it out to the track once since August 19 (Pacific Classic Day) and that was on Oak Tree's Opening Saturday (Commemorative Stein Day).
Saturday I was home, watching the Breeder's Cup Championships with my 3-year-son, trying to get his little 3-year-old consciousness to care about the races when all he wanted to do was go outside and ride his tricycle.
I enjoyed the races, especially The Turf Mile as one of my favorites, Kip Deville, put it all together "just in time" after an inconsistent '07 year.
I was aware of George Washington, but as an American racing fan, I wasn't really aware of some of his great accomplishments, reputation or personality.
How is it possible that a heroic horse like George Washington, who gave so many racing fans thrills and memories with his brilliant stretch running style could die in the stretch on a muddy, dreary day on the other side of the ocean, a year after his "retirement"?
Just saying accidents or injuries "happen" doesn't seem to make any real sense. What we should say is that, since we're going to continue to race these heroic animals for our entertainment and industry, accidents will continue to happen, even on artificial tracks.
I've defended the industry against critics, even after Barbaro's death, but what is there to say this time? George Washington wouldn't even have been racing any longer if he had proven to be more lucrative at stud.
If there is any consolation at all maybe it's that the death of George Washington didn't happen in front of his home fans, it happened in New Jersey.