Well, Beth cinched the mojo on good ol’ Funny Cide this weekend. No, I don’t really believe that. The Gutsy Gelding simply showed just how difficult it is to win the Triple Crown. Three monster efforts are required in the course of 5 weeks, and in these days of breeding faster but more fragile horses, that’s just so unlikely. Now with the crown hopes dashed, and Empire Maker redeemed, I do have some lingering “What If?” feelings left. If Jerry Bailey had ridden a better race in the Derby, saving ground instead of going wide around both turns, could it be that Empire Maker would have taken the Triple Crown? I don’t know if he would have recovered quickly enough for the Preakness, but certainly on Saturday, he proved his incredible physical talent.
Though, if Empire Maker had won, we would have never learned the fantastic story of Funny Cide and his connections. With all the horse racing talk about comparing him to Seabiscuit, nobody ever pointed out that the real reason the Biscuit’s story was so compelling was that he LOST the Big Cap in heartbreaking fashion twice. Then he was injured, took a whole year off, and at the age of 7 finally won the Big Cap, becoming the all-time money leader. Perhaps Funny Cide needed this loss to actually captivate his new found hero worshipers. Thankfully, they’ve got the horrendous weather on Belmont day to point to as an excuse.
Anyway, the summer classics await, and the Travers is already shaping up to be another battle for the ages. We haven’t heard the last of Funny Cide.
So after watching the Belmont, Beth and I left Auggie in the very capable hands of our neighbors for the evening and took in The Flaming Lips at the Pageant. And my oh my, what an incredible show. If you have the opportunity you absolutely must see the Lips play, preferrably in a large fairly modern venue where the full force of their visual extravaganza can hit you. Wayne Coyne has expanded the live experience far beyond simply seeing a band play. It was musical theatre! Their show incorporates extras in costume, highly choreographed video segments, huge balloons bounced by the crowd, confetti, smoke machines, and even some fake blood.
While I’m sure he says it everywhere he goes, he claimed to be very excited by the St. Louis’ crowd’s enthusiasm. And just by saying that, the crowd got even more amped. That in and of itself was unusual considering how most people who go to shows in St. Louis stand with a “deer in the headlights” look through most performances. Wayne got the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” to five people in the crowd, as well as doing a-capella sing-alongs to various Lips hits. Considering there isn’t a single radio station in St. Louis that would play anything from the Flaming Lips current ouvre, the fact that there were a thousand people there singing at the top of their lungs was really cool. I don’t know, it’s hard to put into words how remarkable I thought the whole performance was. There was just real joy in the air.
The thing that makes me truly happy though is that it wasn’t just because we caught the Lips on a good night. If you read through the forum at their website, you’ll see that they seem to manage to bring this wonderful circus with them whereever they play. Heck, as this post shows, they don’t even necessarily need to be in your town to spread the joy. How cool is the story in that link!