Anak Nakal’s Regret Over Eight Belles’ Demise

A rainy day at Churchill Downs.

Anak Nakal has taken up constant sniffling and head-hanging in the 2008 Nick Zito barn. War Pass, an Eclipse Two-Year-Old Male Champion now injury-retired and Chief counsel to the barn occupants, wants to know why.

WAR PASS: (firmly, on the stable’s telecommunications network) “Nakie, what’s wrong with you? This is the third race you’ve blown since the Triple Crown events (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes) ended.” 

 ANAK NAKAL: (in the corner of his stall sniffling into his hay rack) “I’m just feeling a little off, that’s all.” 

 WAR PASS: “Then see the vet!” 

ANAK NAKAL: (sniffing) “I don’t need a vet.” 

COOL COAL MAN: (laughing a low whinny) “More like a love doctor, he needs.” 

WAR PASS: “What do you mean, Man?” 

COOL COAL MAN: (mimicking Anak Nakal) “I’m just a fool for those dark gray coats.” 

WAR PASS: (stunned) “What? Dark gray? Oh, no…Eight Belles (who broke down and died directly after the 2008 Kentucky Derby)?” 

COOL COAL MAN: “Bingo!” 

WAR PASS: “Man, hush! Nakie, were you hay-dating Eight Belles before the Derby?”

ANAK NAKAL: (gazing ever downward) “I still think of her every day.” 

STEVIL: (stamping his hoofs) “Ah, cripe!” 

FIERCE WIND: (triumphantly) “Ha, I knew it!” 

 WAR PASS: “Pipe down, everyhorse!” 

 ANAK NAKAL: (sobbing) “I bullied her in the Derby like you said to…I’m so remorseful…” 

WAR PASS: “Nakie, she should have been in that silly Kentucky Oaks, not the Derby. Shake it off and get back on track. You did your job. This is racing, and racing is about winning, not whining!”

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High-Hoofing in the Nick Zito Barn

Alone in the lane to the finish!

Big Brown’s loose shoe photo opens the door to controversy concerning his 2008 Belmont Stakes loss and Da’ Tara’s upset win. The subject is fiercely debated among the occupants of trainer Nick Zito’s barn.

STEVIL: “Hey, Da’ Tara, Belmont Stakes champion! Get a little Guiness with your victory meal?” 

DA’ TARA: (his nose touching his oats as he grins lopsidedly) “Yeah…eh, heh, heh.” 

FIERCE WIND: “Hey, Da’ Tara! You better be sober when your daddy (2-time Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Tiznow) calls!” 

STEVIL: “Hey, Da’ Tara! Press your telecommunications button. Chief’s on!” 

DA’ TARA: (his head springing up) “War Pass!?”

WAR PASS: (laughing) “It’s okay, kid. I know you’re celebrating. You should. You were great!” 

STEVIL: (smirking whinny) “Hey, Chief, Big Brown had a loose shoe in the Belmont.” 

COOL COAL MAN: “Yeah, I read that, too.” 

ANAK NAKAL: (sniffing noisily) “So what?” 

 WAR PASS: “Exactly. Bossman (Zito) always says a good horse can overcome that stuff. No matter, kid. You won.” 

FIERCE WIND: (fiercely) “Don’t you horses watch ESPN? It’s all over the networks and the media! The loose shoe made Big Brown slip up. It spooked him.” 

WAR PASS: “Nonsense! Knock that off, Windy! Big Brown needed to step up, big time, and he didn’t.” 

FIERCE WIND: (nasty whinny) “Aren’t you listening? There’s a photo. The loose shoe is plain as day.” 

STEVIL: “No one knows if Big Brown could have won if that shoe hadn’t come loose.” 

DA’ TARA: (hanging his head) “Does this mean my Belmont win will always have an asterisk?”

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