It's Showtime

OK, the curtain is about to go up for the revival of “My Cup Runneth Under.” Most of the audience is disgruntled. The cast is not as strong as it should be; the stage is poorly constructed; the ensemble is too large with too many amateurs; the producer should have moved the show to a different venue.

Everyone is bitching and complaining, and there are the constant cries of what might have been had the show opened at one of the palatial theaters in New York or Louisville. OK, so most agree the producers messed up.

The audience starts to squirm as the curtain rises. The boos are ready to be hurled at the first faux pas. The stage lights go on and the show begins. At that moment, all else is forgotten. People realize they have paid good money for their seats and they’re going to try their best to enjoy the performances. The actors are all pros and they deliver their lines with aplomb and belt out one big musical number after another. The audience laughs and cries and cheers. All the “what might have beens” are booted out the stage door into the alley. For that moment, as Shakespeare would say, “The play’s the thing.”

This scenario by now should be sounding familiar. Anyone who has moaned and groaned about this year’s Breeders’ Cup, mainly running it over a synthetic surface at the same track for the second straight year, is justified in doing so. But it’s time to suck it up, put all gripes on the back burner, and enjoy the show that is going to be put on at Santa Anita on Nov. 6 and 7. All we can do at this point is hope it lives up to last year’s performances, even though many walked away feeling the leading actor, Curlin, was unnecessarily upstaged by lesser talent.

But that was then. It is time to concentrate on this year, with or without Rachel Alexandra and Sea the Stars. Some of the great performances in the history of the theater were turned in by understudies, not to suggest that Zenyatta and many of the others who will be on display are stand-ins to anybody. If Zenyatta should win the BC Classic or even the Ladies Classic, you can expect a standing ovation worthy of the sport’s greatest champions.

After this year, with all favors paid in full, the Breeders’ Cup will return to good old terra firma for several years at least. Who knows if there even will be 14 races any longer? Yes, some horses have missed out performing on dirt on the world’s biggest stage. That is their misfortune. But Rachel Alexandra will be given another chance next year, as will this year’s other Triple Crown heroes Summer Bird and Mine That Bird, although there is nothing to say the two “Birds” won’t be able to perform at the highest level this year. That is still to be determined. But even if they are not, at least we know, barring injury, they will be back next year to face Rachel.

For now, get your program, sit back in your seat, and enjoy the show. It’s the only one in town.

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