So it’s Preakness Day 2015, and everyone in horse racing who writes or even scribbles with a crayon will spend the day watching-writing-waiting-writing about the horses, the jockeys, the owners, the crowd, the flowers, the hats, the fun.
If you know anything about me or the topics about which I write, you’re aware that I’m not a fan of the concept of infield tickets for horse races. The people who party in the infield could not give a tiny rat’s patootie about the horses or the sport. They’re there to SAY they were at the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness.
“The always popular bikini contest returns to InfieldFest! The contest features some of the best women Preakness has to offer and takes place on the Jägermeister Second Stage.”
Read that bolded phrase just one more time, slowly:
“…The contest features some of the best women Preakness has to offer.”
Can you picture that phrase being used in other contexts?
“…some of the best women Our Strip Club has to offer…”
“…some of the best women Our Whorehouse has to offer…”
“…our Sex Trafficking Ring has to offer…”
“Our succulent steaks are the best Baltimore has to offer…”
Yes, of course you can. The wording for that sentence intentionally offered up the contestants for the debacle as nothing more than pieces of meat, stuffed into tiny pieces of material, for drunks to admire, ogle, grab and God-knows-what-else.
The fact that Budweiser–or any other sponsor–would be allowed to work with a horse race track to create such a sexist “event”–and to market that event by stating outright that they are OFFERING women–that should be against the rules of the Commission.
OH, right. I forgot. Horse racing doesn’t have a Commission.
It enrages me–and it should enrage you, too–that today, many historic horse racing rituals will be played out, and that some of America’s best Thoroughbreds will vie for the coveted Woodlawn Vase–but that ritual (that beautiful horse racing and those magnificent horses) should even share print space with the idea of your daughters and sisters parading their bodies in front of thousands of strangers.
NO, Budweiser and Pimlico: “…the best women Preakness has to offer” are NOT on your infield menu, hoping to be validated by the number and loudness of obscenities hurled at them by thousands of men they don’t know.
The Best Women Preakness has to Offer are females like Stonestreet Stables’ Barbara Banke, whose Keen Pauline romped to victory in the Black-Eyed Susan yesterday. Like Emilie Fojan, who bred and lovingly hand-raised the mighty and muscular Dortmund.
Like-like-like: there are SO many amazing, talented, brilliant, passionate, focused women in horse racing who’ll be at Pimlico today that they cannot all be named. Jockeys, trainers, vice presidents, farriers, grooms, hotwalkers, exercise riders, Racetrack Chaplaincy volunteers, OTTB administrators, writers, photographers, editors, publishers–the list goes on and on.
The women who are The Best that horse racing, itself, has to offer do not need to remove any articles of clothing to make an impression. They need only show their strength, their intelligence and their dedication to the sport.
I lament today that this is not clearly understood by the very people who bang their heads, trying to figure out how to market horse racing.
Try this: if you’re going to parade women to be followed, choose instead real women whose influence, like ripples on a pond, will go on forever. Whether legendary or working their way to glory, these babes have so much more to offer than a scantily-clad bimbo who’s aching for male validation.
Penny Chenery, Elizabeth Arden, Pat Rich Turner, Victoria Shaw, Abigail Adsit, Jena Antonucci, Leah Gyarmati, Amira Arenas-Chichakly, Sharla Rae Sanders, Patti Reeves, Kelly Woodham and Jeanne Wood are just a few of the names that come into my head, and my heart.
Follow THESE leaders, grrrlz. Check out THEIR assets, race fanz–not those of young women who believe that their value comes through their bodies, rather than their minds. Those tight, young bodies will become old, and wither and die–if they’re lucky enough to die when they’re old. The only vestiges of them will be their souls, and the legacies they left here on Earth.
What legacy do you want for the women in your family?
That they offered themselves up to strangers?
Or that they helped grow the sport of horse racing by using the brains and hearts that God gave them, and thereby found their bliss?
Racing Administrators: want to grow the sport of horse racing? Whatever CAN we do?
Big Hint: Try NOT marginalizing 51% of the population.
And you boys at Pimlico and Budweiser who think that the Budweiser Bikini Contest is a good idea:
Grow the Hell up.