It's been a few months, but let's play word association. "Barbaro."
No, not the cartoon elephant. That was Babar.
No, not the tropical island. That's Barbados.
Come on. You know this one. He was a horse. He won the Kentucky Derby. Remember, we were all in agony when his hind leg broke mid-stride during the Preakness?
Well, he's still recuperating from the broken leg, and it sounds like still no one's sure if he'll survive. But now that the national pandemonium has turned to other pressing issues like Ozzie's dirty mouth and minor league managers getting ejected, Barbaro can munch his oats without being bombarded with throngs of letters that read "GET WELL BERBARO!! love, payton age 4."
But even those in the horse-racing and betting-for-cool-G's industry have forgotten — to some extent — the Derby winner. Barbaro's former stablemate Showing Up won a $1 million race in Virginia, the first race in a series of five that could net his owner $5 million.
And Showing Up is in the running to win the Eclipse Award, which goes to the year's top 3-year-old horse. After the Kentucky Derby Barbaro seemed like a shoe-in (horseshoe-in?) but Showing Up, by merely showing up, could show up his former stablemate.
Stop me before I pun again.
I'm not bragging that I was never on the bandwagon praying for Barbaro's well-being. He's a horse. Lots of horses break legs. OK, I so am bragging. You got me. But it was odd that once Barbaro's leg broke, horse racing's yearly allotted time on horse racing was devoted to a broken bone.
For example, quick — name the winner of the Belmont Stakes. Look if you must, but once it was "Affirmed" that no horse would claim the Triple Crown we all stopped paying attention to the healthy horsies.
It's not that I vest much interest in the sport — on the contrary I tune in solely to make fun of the horse's names — but it would be refreshing to see that horse racing can rebound from the loss of a star. If this Showing Up horse becomes the next big thing, hopefully the sport can return to normal.
But if he breaks his leg, then all bets are off.