Haskin: The Girls Who Lost Curlin

No one can really predict Hall of Fame greatness after one start, but there have been a number of fortunate trainers who have had the thrill of foreseeing potential greatness in a young horse. Most of those visions, however, fade away after their sure-fire star descends into mediocrity.

But on a rare occasion the images take shape just as they envisioned and greatness becomes reality. On even rarer occasions, projected greatness becomes reality, but for someone else.

On Feb. 3, 2007, Helen Pitts, longtime assistant trainer for Kenny McPeek, and her assistant and lead exercise rider Hanne Jorgensen, both saw those visions of greatness as they watched their unraced 3-year-old Curlin demolish a maiden field at Gulfstream by nearly 13 lengths, running the seven furlongs in a snappy 1:22 1/5, earning a 102 Beyer Speed Figure. Unfortunately for Pitts, others with deep pockets were watching as well.

Pitts had taken over most of the horses trained by her old boss after McPeek announced he was giving up his stable, at least for a while, to pursue other avenues in racing, mainly bloodstock work. It was McPeek who had picked out Curlin as a yearling at the Keeneland September sale for $57,000. The son of Smart Strike had an OCD lesion removed from his left ankle as a weanling, and it wasn’t a pretty sight at the sale. Although it turned off most buyers, McPeek felt it would be a non-issue. When his buyers, Shirley Cunningham and Bill Gallion, balked about having to spend $57,000 on a horse with physical issues that no one wanted, McPeek offered to take the colt back and find another client. He felt the colt was a steal at that price and believed he would have gone for $300,000 if his ankle didn’t look so unappealing. Eventually, Cunningham and Gallion decided to keep him.

Pitts had already shown a good deal of success with the McPeek horses and appeared to be a new major force in training. Jorgensen had exercised and taken care of Sarava every day at Belmont Park prior to his shocking victory in the 2002 Belmont Stakes at odds of 70-1 until McPeek arrived several days before the race. When Pitts went out on her own, Jorgensen, who had become a good friend, went with her.

After spending several years focusing on bloodstock work, McPeek decided he wanted to get back to training and politicked to get Curlin, but Cunningham and Gallion had already promised him to Pitts and didn’t want to renege on their word.

Curlin was sent to Gail Garrison, manager of Cunningham’s Hillcrest Farm near Lexington, and he immediately began working on the colt’s physical problems. Curlin was at the farm for 60 days, where he was turned out in a paddock and allowed to eat grass each day. Garrison could see he was still a “big, playful kid who was full of vinegar.” He just needed time to grow up and settle into that big effortless stride of his.

Finally, he was sent to Pitts, and it didn’t take long for her and Jorgensen to start seeing those visions of greatness. When Jorgensen worked him, she came back and told Pitts, “I’ve never sat on a horse like this before.”

On July 29, 2006, the Southern Legislative Conference convened at Churchill Downs, where the legislators were treated to a night at the races, which included three exhibition races. When Churchill Downs' senior vice president of racing, Donnie Richardson, asked Pitts to help out and put a couple of her 2-year-olds in the races, she chose Curlin, who wound up finishing third behind the Bernie Flint-trained Speedway, who had already broken his maiden by three lengths, but was still green and needed more experience.

Riding Curlin that night was Hanne Jorgensen’s husband, Mick Jenner. They had been going together for several years when they faced each other as competitors in the 2002 Belmont Stakes. Jenner was the regular exercise rider for Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem. But it was Jorgensen who got the better of that battle, winning the Belmont with the little-regarded Sarava.

Jenner recalled his ride aboard Curlin that night at Churchill Downs. “Curlin had worked a couple of half-miles, but he was just a big ol' 2-year-old who had never been asked to do anything at that point,” he said. “Everything he'd done was on the bit. The race was only a quarter of a mile and he was bucking and rearing, and I was hanging on for dear life. So I not only got Curlin beat, I got him well beat.”

As Curlin matured he began to convince Pitts and Jorgensen that he could be something special. They were expecting big things first time out, as, apparently, was everyone else, as Curlin was sent off as the 2-1 favorite. For a new trainer like Pitts, it’s a very fine line between joy and dread when a young 3-year-old runs off the screen in his debut. The crashing sound you usually hear afterwards is that of the rich folks breaking open their piggy banks. You know the million-dollar offers are going to start pouring in for that brilliant ready-made Derby horse, and that a sale is most likely going to result in the horse being given to the buyer’s trainer, especially if he’s Pletcher or Asmussen or Mott or Baffert.

So, when Curlin rocked the Derby trail in his debut, Pitts knew there was a good chance she could lose the horse. Ironically, at the time of Curlin’s victory, Steve Asmussen just happened to be stabled in her barn, preparing Leprechaun Racing’s Gunfight for the 6 1/2-furlong Swale Stakes, his only starter at the meet. Asmussen had recently lost his big Derby horse, Tiz Wonderful, owned by Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables, to injury and had no idea how he was going to replace a horse of that caliber, one who was undefeated and had already won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs.

Because Asmussen was stabled in Pitts’ barn, he had gotten to see Curlin close up on a daily basis and was impressed with everything he saw. When Curlin romped in his debut, it set the wheels in motion. Watching the race on simulcast at the Ocala Breeders 2-year-old sale was John Moynihan, who was Jess Jackson’s bloodstock manager. Watching from his home in San Francisco was owner George Bolton. Both had the same reaction – “Wow!” Asmussen after seeing the race, watched the colt cool out and said to himself, “We’ve got to get that horse.”

Bolton contacted someone at the Ragozin Sheets and found out Curlin had run a “5 3/4," an extraordinary number for a first-time starter. The pieces were beginning to come together.

Moynihan knew that the offers would start to pour in for the colt, so he drove down to Gulfstream to see the horse and then contacted Cunningham and Gallion. As he figured, an offer had already come in, this one from Barry Irwin, president of Team Valor, who offered $1.75 million, but, as Irwin put it, his bid was “blown out of the water” by subsequent bids. As it turned out, there were 15 bids on the horse, each with different stipulations.

Cunningham and Gallion wanted to stay in for a minority interest, and the day after the race, Super Bowl Sunday, Moynihan began negotiations, representing Jackson, Bolton, and another interested party, Satish Sanan. By 2 a.m. Monday morning, the deal was completed.

Although Cunningham and Gallion had received larger offers for the whole horse, the Moynihan group’s selling point was allowing them to stay in as minority partner.

The only thing left to be done was for Moynihan to look at Curlin on the racetrack to see how he had come out of the race and to make sure he was sound. So, Pitts brought him to the track that morning and when Curlin began bucking and squealing, the deal was finalized for a reported $3.5 million. That would be the last time Pitts would lead him to the track.

Asmussen was delighted, having found his Derby horse. He felt everything was meant to be, because if Tiz Wonderful hadn’t gotten hurt, Jackson would not have been looking for a Derby horse to replace him, and, as he put it, he’d be trying to figure out how to beat Curlin instead of training him.

Pitts and Jorgensen were devastated, especially having to watch their dream horse depart after devoting so much time and effort getting him through some physical issues and becoming so close to him.

“I cried my eyes out when they sold him,” Jorgensen said shortly after the sale. “We babied him for such a long time. He bucked his shins twice and we tried to get him through it and worked hard with him. And then, one big race and he’s gone. We felt he was something special before he even started, we really did. I understand it’s hard to turn down that kind of money, and they did keep a piece of him, so it wasn’t hard for them. But it’s hard for us, because you get so attached to them.”

Curlin, of course, set off on his meteoric rise to stardom, winning the Rebel Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths and the Arkansas Derby by 10 1/2 lengths before finishing an excellent third in the Kentucky Derby after encountering traffic problems at a key point in the race. It was a terrific effort considering it was only the fourth start of his life, and the last horse to win the Derby with only three starts was Regret in 1915.

Pitts and Jorgensen, meanwhile, had to move on, and they did have a very talented horse in the barn named Einstein. And it was Einstein, also owned by Cunningham and Gallion’s Midnight Cry Stable, who brought Pitts to Pimlico on Preakness Day to saddle the horse in the Dixie Stakes on the grass. As if it weren’t tough enough being stabled near Curlin and watching all the media flock to him and the Derby winner Street Sense, she had to then endure the unthinkable.

When Einstein, second choice at 5-2,  moved up to challenge down the backstretch in the Dixie, a horse went down in front of him, causing Einstein to stumble so badly, he unseated jockey Robby Albarado, who was also Curlin’s rider. So, here was Pitts having to watch Einstein run loose the rest of the race, returning with a grabbed quarter.

But her emotionally draining day was far from over. She then retreated to the hospitality tent at the end of the stakes barn and watched Curlin, who appeared to be beaten at the top of stretch, stage a sensational late rally to win the Preakness by a head over Street Sense. Although she wanted only the best for Curlin, having to suffer the anguish of Einstein’s misfortune and then see her dream horse win a classic for someone else had to tug hard at her emotions.

“I have mixed feelings,” Pitts said following the Preakness. She was trying hard to say the right things, but it was obvious she was struggling to deal with her feelings, especially having to deal with the trauma of the Dixie and Einstein’s injury.

“I really don’t want to say anything,” she added. “I’m just happy for Steve and Scott (Asmussen’s assistant Scott Blasi). Horses like this are hard to come by, and I feel honored to have been a part of him at some point. But what can you do? It’s hard.”

Curlin, of course, would go on to a Hall of Fame career, winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Dubai World Cup, Jockey Club Gold Cup twice, Woodward Stakes, and Stephen Foster Handicap.

Pitts would be rewarded in the end, as Einstein took her on a magical journey of his own, racing until he was 7 and winning five grade I stakes, including the Santa Anita Handicap, and placing in five other grade Is, while earning over $2.9 million. Pitts and Einstein would develop a relationship over the years that went far beyond that of horse and trainer.

Pitts has never had a horse anywhere near as good as Einstein or Curlin, and in fact has not had a black-type stakes winner since Einstein in 2009. In 2008, she married Churchill Downs outrider Greg Blasi, whose brother Scott helped guide the career of Curlin, staying with him throughout his two-race campaign in Dubai.

Jorgensen and Jenner, who had married in 2005, eventually moved to Jorgensen’s hometown of Rotnes, Norway, where they had a son, who will attend his first day of school next Monday. Both are, for the most part, out of horse racing and have “real jobs,” as Jenner put it.

Jess Jackson eventually bought out Bolton and Sanan’s interest in Curlin and was the colt’s sole owner throughout his 4-year-old campaign. He died of cancer in April, 2011 after racing the sensational filly Rachel Alexandra. The Stonestreet operation has actually expanded and flourished since under the supervision of Jackson’s wife, Barbara Banke.

Kenny McPeek returned to training full-time and has built up his stable once again into one of the top operations in the country. George Bolton continues to own top-class horses, by himself and in partnership with Stonestreet Stables. Shirley Cunningham and Bill Gallion are currently serving long prison terms for bilking their clients in the infamous fen-phen drug scandal, in which the two lawyers pocketed more than $94 million of a $200 million settlement.

There were so many pieces to the Curlin story, which spanned both the East and West coasts of the United States and halfway around the world, complete with an eclectic cast of characters from all walks of life.

But the two who should not be forgotten are Helen Pitts and Hanne Jorgensen, who nurtured a young colt with early physical problems and saw him grow into a magnificent racing machine, only to have to bid him farewell just as he approached the threshold of greatness. The what ifs and the pain are long gone, and when Barbara Banke accepted the Hall of Fame plaque for Curlin last week, one could only hope that Pitts and Jorgensen were smiling.

91 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Andrew M - Ottawa

What a story Steve. So heartbreaking but I think for so many of us is the reason we love racing; not the wagering, nor the hype, but the stories that include the horses and the people who love them. The interconnections are unbelievable.  Thanks Steve.

14 Aug 2014 7:40 PM
jockey2be

Great article.

14 Aug 2014 8:07 PM
Windolin

Bittersweet. Always amazed by the back stories. Thank you Steve.

14 Aug 2014 8:12 PM
Bethany Loftis

Thank you for writing this about one of my personal favorites! Talk about bitter sweet for Ms. Pitts :( I really hope she's comforted by knowing she and her friend did such a splendid job with him, and it's very possible he wouldn't have become the $10 million man without their love and devotion to help build his foundation. You're right! She certainly was rewarded with Einstein! He was a joy to watch too. Especially because he ran for so long and always tried. I'm glad they're both doing well in their second careers and that she still gets to visit them. Hopefully one of these days I'll get to see them too! Thanks again for another awesome piece!

14 Aug 2014 8:22 PM
Deltalady

Beautifully told tale of the vicissitudes of the sport.  Another lovely backstory, with lots of twists and turns.  Thanks for sharing this, Steve.

14 Aug 2014 11:45 PM
Pedigree Ann

It is a sad fact of our favorite sport that those who are closest to the athletes, the ones who care for them every day - the grooms, the exercise riders, and the trainers - have little or no control over what happens to the horse.  

15 Aug 2014 7:49 AM
Pedigree Ann

P. S. Steve - "The Girls?" I'm certain all of the females involved in the Curlin story were fully grown-up women. You may think this is nitpicking, but would you have called Ken McPeek and his support staff "The Boys?" "The Girls" frequently used as a not-so-subtle means of condescension, in case you haven't noticed.

15 Aug 2014 7:56 AM
Steve Haskin

Pedigree Ann, tell that to the Golden Girls. The term Girls Night Out is not restricted to females under 30. The Brooklyn Dodgers were The Boys of Summer. Nazis in a novel were called The Boys From Brazil. A cowboy is a fully grown man. Dont take everything so literally. The headline sounded better with girls than females or women or ladies.

15 Aug 2014 9:16 AM
Curlin Eyes

Thank you, Steve for this wonderful story.  It's sad that Pitts hasn't received the credit she deserves. If not for her and Hanne's patience, he would not have become the horse he is today.  I was at Oaklawn the day Curlin won the Rebel and again when he blew away the Arkansas Derby. As a result, he is my favorite horse. I've visited him at Lane's End and he just exudes greatness.  I'm so glad you wrote about his beginnings and the part Helen and Hanne played in it.

15 Aug 2014 9:42 AM
Abigail Anderson

Steve: I enjoyed this story for its own sake but also because I just think it's so crucial to remember the so-called "little people" in these champion's lives. The people who are mostly behind the scenes and would never have the millions to purchase these individuals, but who give them the kind of foundation that grows a champion and keeps a horse happy in itself throughout its life. My compass for this is Will Harbut whose life it took me over three years to trace and then research. And although he wasn't the only person who was important in Man O War's life and even though his (historical & social) context was one where the lives of people like Will were pretty much irrelevant, helping these individuals to take their place in horse-racing history is so important. You've told the story of "the girls" with such respect and such subtlety that we readers can totally participate in the narrative. Just wonderful! Thank you.

15 Aug 2014 10:17 AM
Jackie WV

Wow, great story! I had already heard the basics of this story from McPeek himself, but I had no idea about "the girls".  Thanks Steve for sharing all the details that made the story so much richer!  I can only imagine the heartbreak these 2 girls must have gone through.  I wish them the very best!! It's often the people we never seem to hear about that provide the most interesting and heartfelt stories.  Thanks again Steve.....I LOVED it!!!

15 Aug 2014 10:20 AM
MyBigRed

Thank You Steve for the wonderful insight on Curlin's humble beginnings. Much like Secretariat, I NEVER get tired of hearing stories about "The Mighty Curlin". I've been to Lane's End to meet Mr. Handsome & I have to say, he is the sweetest Thoroughbred I've ever met, in all my 56 years! I LOVE Curlin :)

15 Aug 2014 10:30 AM
MonicaV

Steve,

Curlin is one of my all time favorites.  What a horse!  I still think he could have won the 2008 classic had he been closer to the pace. He blew them away in Dubai as he did the 2007 BC Classic. I've always had a soft spot for him.  I can't imagine how heart breaking it must have been for those two women to lose such a magnificent horse and having developed a closeness to him.  Great story and great writing.  Thanks!

15 Aug 2014 11:22 AM
nythoroughbred

The use of "Girls" in the title is anachronistic, like the Golden Girls, like The Boys From Brazil, etc -- all written in a different era. Looking forward to an article on the new boy-band squad of trainers Chad Brown, Michael Dilger et al. Just because the context of a term or word was acceptable 30 years ago, doesn't mean it is acceptable today.

15 Aug 2014 11:31 AM
lisa123

Great story and sad for the two women involved. BTW, I agree with Pedigree Ann--"girls" is often used as a "not-so-subtle means of condescension." As a woman myself, I experience this fairly regularly. It's very easy for a male writer to belittle this feeling, but perhaps he should instead consider whether the women in his audience who object to the use of the word actually do have a valid point. And just because one thinks that a particular word "sounds better" in a headline is not always a good reason for its usage.

15 Aug 2014 12:24 PM
Steve Haskin

Lisa, anything can be condescending to an individual if they want it to be. Girl is condescending, really? If you feel I used the word 'girl' to be condescending you're on the wrong blog. Apparently, my examples of the word escaped you. It's time to give this a rest.

15 Aug 2014 12:55 PM
Love 'em all

Great title for a great story.  You're the best, Mr. Haskin.

15 Aug 2014 1:05 PM
edrul427

Another fantastic article Steve,this is a magnificent lesson to the people that do not have a chance of being on the inside to really know how it works.

Thank you

15 Aug 2014 1:26 PM
qhorsenuts

Steve, This girl loved your story and the title caught my eye!  Thanks for sharing Curlin's journey as a youngster learning how to be a great horse.

15 Aug 2014 1:46 PM
rachel fan

Steve, thanks for the great back story on Curlin and for holding your ground despite the negative comments about the title. People are so thin-skinned these days, just looking for reasons to be offended by something. Good grief. I wasn't following racing that seriously until Rachel Alexandra came along, so I missed out on his wonderful career. Looking forward to seeing Jess's Dream run, though. What a handsome colt he is, coloration just like RA, but looks like he'll fill out to be more muscular like his sire.

15 Aug 2014 2:01 PM
Johnny

Ahh Curlin,one of my all time favorites.

I was at Gulfstream when he broke his maiden.

He blew the turn coming for home and romped for fun.

Wheneve you talk Derby Dozen and a horse winning the Derby without running as a 2 year old Curlin comes to mind.

Curlin broke from the 3 hole in th Derby and had a awefull trip to close and finish 3rd.

One of the greatest Preakness and Belmonts in recent history.

Great Article Steve

Pedigree Ann Really??

15 Aug 2014 2:15 PM
Nancy Hayes

I met Helen Pitts one summer in the early 2000's at a pool party held by a horseman from Delaware Park. It was only the one afternoon, but She was such a nice person to be around. Kind, smart, funny, and not the least bit stuck up or catty like some women can be around other women. I enjoyed her company, and have been happy to read of her successes over the years. It is sad about her "losing" Curlin, but maybe fate has something in store for her greater than him. She certainly deserves it. A great gal.

15 Aug 2014 2:21 PM
smarie

Too bad the horse wasn't left with Ms. Pitts.

15 Aug 2014 2:54 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Boy, Curlin sure could run, but did you see the girl beat him in The Belmont Stakes? Boy oh boy, Rags to Riches, you go girl !!!  All men are also boys and all women are also girls. Some men are mostly boys, some women are mostly girls. You can be all boy or all girl all of the time but you can't be all man or all woman all of the time, and you can't take the girl out of the woman or the boy out of the man. I would have never thought that anyone would complain about using "girl" in this day and age and the constant use of really derogatory terms that is used in public, on film, in music and in print, and I'm not talking about "broad" or "floozie."

15 Aug 2014 3:08 PM
Windolin

Lisa and Ann, I have to part company with you on Steve's use of girls. I do not object one bit. You will both find that as you mature in years you will most likely relish being referred to as a 'girl". Take it from someone whose generation cracked the glass ceiling for 'women' and campaigned for ratification of the ERA.

15 Aug 2014 3:53 PM
greyghost

Guess you'd have to say "that's life". We can all relate in our own way, of course. Hopefully Pitts will corral another promising youngster in the future.

15 Aug 2014 4:48 PM
Teresa Genaro

At the risk of stating the obvious, language is powerful, with different  meanings and associations depending on context and audience. As writers, I think it's our obligation to consider how our words affect our readers, and I would add my voice to those who have expressed discomfort with using the word "girls" to describe adult, professional women. Steve, you have an enormous fan base, many of whom are female, and I'm surprised that you would dismiss some of their concerns out of hand, without perhaps considering that their thoughts have merit. There are, surely, valid points of view other than yours, particularly from women.

We don't call jockeys, particular jockeys of color, "boys" any longer because the word came to be demeaning. I think the same is true for using "girls" as a synonym for women, and I hope, Steve, that you might reconsider its use in the future.

15 Aug 2014 5:40 PM
Bethany Loftis

Dr. D - I love your post! As do I usually all your others. Hope you had a great summer and recovered ok after the Chrome heartbreak!

15 Aug 2014 6:04 PM
lawrence vaccarelli

"Shirley Cunningham and Bill Gallion are currently serving long prison terms for bilking their clients in the infamous fen-phen drug scandal".....

well there is justice in the world..i mean how greedy can you get.

15 Aug 2014 6:12 PM
mz

Steve, if you would have said that Curlin went to that Boy Asmussen, then you could have used "Girls " for the two WOMEN en who developed Curlin.  Since you did not choose to call Asmussen  a "boy", you should not have called Pitts and Jorgensson "girls".

By using that term and then condescendingly responding to Pdeigree Ann  - because that IS what you did --and the others, you made a mistake.

And Windolin, I too am older but the use of "girls" for mature, professional women makes me cringe.  It's one thing if you're joking with friends.  It's another when someone is describing your professional work.  I am NOT a girl at work.

15 Aug 2014 6:38 PM
mz

And I loved Curlin and was wowed by his first race.  

15 Aug 2014 6:39 PM
Steve Haskin

I'm sorry some people are offended by the word "girl," but if my 29-year-old daughter, and a professional. was proud to be called her future fiance's girlfriend and my 35-year-old future son-in-law, and a professional. was proud to be called my daughter's boyfriend, I certainly am not going to feel guilty using the word girl in something so innocuous as a headline. Knowing it has offended some people I would refrain from using it in the future, although it would be helpful to know at what specific age a girl is no longer a girl. We take harmless words these days and make their connotations something offensive when it should be very obvious that is not what they were intended to be. The word "girl" was not used in the context of the story, but in a headline. It appears as if "girl" is now considered to be offensive when used in such general terms, so for fear of exceeding the word's age limit, whatever that age limit may be, I will not use it any longer when there is any doubt. I do find it distressing that some regulars on this blog believe I was condescending toward women.

15 Aug 2014 7:00 PM
Susan from VA

Steve, I am a rabid feminist and I had no problem with the title!  However, I have long been upset that Curlin was taken away from Helen Pitts after she did all the real work in getting him to the race track.  Just like I was upset that Rachel Alexandra was turned over to Asmussen, who I think ran her into the ground.

15 Aug 2014 7:24 PM
Daniel Jividen

Only people like Helen Pitts and Hanne Jorgensen fully understand what a cruel business thoroughbred racing can be.

15 Aug 2014 7:41 PM
rachel fan

Why not ask Pitts and/or Jorgensen if they took offense at being referred to as "girls?" They were the intended subjects of article, after all. Would it settle the issue for those offended if either or neither of them actually cared? My guess is probably not, since you've already rendered your verdict as judges and jury. If you're regular readers of this column, you would have to know that Steve Haskins is a better writer and a man than you are making him out to be. Pedigree Ann, I hope you're happy with yourself for opening this can of worms.    

15 Aug 2014 8:30 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Bethany Loftis

   Thank you very much. You are someone I respect a lot and whose name and posts I love seeing so your comment means a lot to me. Heartbreak is losing Robin Williams and some of the young horses we've tragically lost. Although I will admit that it took me awhile to get over Smarty Jones' Belmont loss and Zenyatta's Classic loss. Those were the toughest race losses for me. But that is because of the boy in me. The man in me has to take over and move on, and rationalize for my own good, even with the deaths. All is well, thank you and I'm glad you sound like you're doing well also. Haskin the man or the boy in him is very respectful and honorable so I never give any wording of his a second thought as to the possibility of dishonor. I still think this year's Classic will be a classic and I'm already looking forward to the next Derby Dozen so I guess I'm recovering pretty well. I have to give up horse racing for short periods of time but I always come back. I just want to see no meds being used on race day in my lifetime, and continued improvement in conditions and placement of horses for fewer breakdowns, and continued progress in a good retirement for all race horses.

15 Aug 2014 8:48 PM
BelmontBarb

Steve ~ I have read this! Twice! I love the term "girls" - (as I am one also) and it is surprising to me that anyone should even be critical of the use and transform such a well written and fact laden article of happenings that touched so many lives into a commentary that you would have to support or answer to - in order to justify its use. This article is a chronicle that can easily be a script and a movie - a "tale" of emotions and passions,  dreams and decisions that affected not only those that were involved but a horse named "Curlin" - and his incredible journey. It is most likely unknown to those that have made the "girls" an issue here.  How difficult it must have been for everyone to adjust to the changes and results one never expected - letting a chance of a lifetime fall through your hands and still able to feel so proud of what once was yours.  Heartfelt and humble.

I think I'll read it again!

15 Aug 2014 8:57 PM
Ted from LA

Let me fix this for everyone.  Steve meant no harm.  It's a generational thing.  Pedigree Ann and mz are right as usual and Dr. D is still my pal.  A girl becomes a woman at age 18 Steve. If you tend to hate everyone, does that make you a misogynist automatically or just a misanthrope?  I like my dog.

15 Aug 2014 9:41 PM
Johnny

Steve please do not let the world say who you are..

You have been at this a looong time and you are a hall of famer.

You will never make the masses 100% happy all the time.

Girls if you don't like the channel change it..

Dr.Drunkinbum very witty.

Sticks and stones may break my bones

15 Aug 2014 9:57 PM
Scott's Rail

Great INDEPTH artical....Now on to my fem@&%) side....

15 Aug 2014 9:59 PM
Paula Higgins

O.k. ladies, this 61 year old would be thrilled to be called a girl again. No kidding. I am not in the least offended and I think the term is charming when used in this context and a term of endearment in many respects. BTW I am very much a professional (RN) and I have worked in a world that was primarily male dominated until 20 years ago (medicine). I know when  I am being demeaned. This is not it, not even subtly. So please, lighten up everyone. The words "girl" and "boy" are still in the dictionary and are not anachronisms.

On another note, the one thing that stands out to me is that the owners who do not sell their horse for top dollar and stay with the trainer and staff that got them there, are the people I respect and admire. Examples of those people are the Coburns and Martins who could have sold California Chrome for quite a bit of money. If they had done so, Art and Alan Sherman would almost certainly have lost CC. It speaks volumes for the kind of people that the Coburns and Martins are, that they turned down all those offers. These were not wealthy men, which make it all the more admirable. I have a great deal of respect for what they did or should I say. did not do. So all the people in CC's life get to stay with him and enjoy the ride. I would never take a horse away from those who have been crucial in his/her life.

Curlin is one of my absolute favorites. He never phoned his races in. Win or lose he gave it everything he had. He is one of the greats. I will also admit that in this case I was glad he was sold and I was grateful they kept him racing.

15 Aug 2014 10:23 PM
Racingfan

Wonderful article Steve!  Love to hear the behind the scene stories that only you can provide. I feel sorry that Helen and Hanne "lost" Curlin - I can understand their devastation. But what a class act that Helen did not publicly show it - especially after the Preakness.  As for the whole "girls" debate, I am a nearly 50 year old "girl" - which last time I knew was simply another word for female.  Things have gotten so out of hand in this world when one has to watch every thing they say lest someone get offended. I thought your responses to the over reactions of some were just fine. I really love these blogs and the chance to interact with other horse lovers, but some seem to delight in correcting everything others say, from spelling to grammar, and including at times viciously attacking others for opposing views.  I say relax everyone - my goodness, let's just enjoy these opportunities before someone gets tired of dealing with it and discontinues it all.

16 Aug 2014 12:33 AM
TracyEsq

It is difficult to describe how offended I am by people than make every effort to be offended when there is clearly no reason to be offended. Mr. Haskin is a highly respected professional and top writer of stories and opinions that I greatly enjoy and admire. I applaud his decision to defend his writing and choice of title. I love to see a man with back bone who will not succumb to those that want an apology because they were offended by something that clearly was not meant to be negative. In this particular article Mr. Haskins was supportive in every regard toward the ladies (hmmm does this also offend the word police, I suspect you prefer one refer to the first trainers of Curlin simply as trainers and be void of any gender identification) that were the subject of this article.

It is a sad day when woman can't be proud to hear the accomplishments of other woman without trying to find something to complain about.

16 Aug 2014 11:05 AM
Paseana

Oh for Pete's Sake!  Now even a Bloodhorse blog piece by Steve Haskin on one of the back stories of a new Hall Of Fame inductee isn't safe from the "Politically Correct Police"??

I just dropped my 66yo FEMALE jaw!!  Unbelievable!!

Thanks Steve for another wonderful piece.  Whenever I think of Curlin, my mind often goes to Helen Pitts..(I was unfamiliar with Hanne), and I just feel a little sorry for her.  How frustrating that must have been, even though she knew it was inevitable after watching him break his maiden like that.

Thanks again for the great piece!

16 Aug 2014 12:56 PM
smarie

Mr. Haskin, maybe you should have titled this article "The Fillies Who Lost Curlin." Since this is a horse - themed venue, would calling a human female a filly cause someone to take offense? Possibly. There is no call for taking offense at the word "girl." For heaven's sake! This world has mega problems. Don't add to them with political correctness which is just a bunch of nonsense. I enjoy being a girl and I enjoy having doors opened for me, etc. And technically I haven't been a girl for many years, but the word girl is in no way offensive.

16 Aug 2014 1:44 PM
mz

Hey!  I am offended by being called the "politically correct police"!  At the very least, call me the "politically correct Secretary of Defence" or the "politically correct president".  I am no mere police.  Haven't you read Ted from LA.'s  confirmation that I am "right as usual"?

As Ozymandius said,"look on me and tremble!"

(Too literary?  After all, I am a [french] lit major)

16 Aug 2014 1:59 PM
Paula Higgins

Dr Drunkinbum, "Floozie!" I haven't heard that word since the days of my grandmother, who lost her beauty pageant title (1920's) because they found out she was married. Yup, now those were the days when women really thrived (not so much).

Glad to see you back. The Smarty Jone's Belmont tore my heart out too. He was a greater horse than some people acknowledge in my opinion. Zenyatta's 2010 BCC, yes and no. I think it was her greatest race. Even though she lost, she shined like no other horse since Seattle Slew.

Robin Williams was man of incredible compassion, humanity and brilliance. He was always there for people who needed help and friendship (Christohpher Reeves, Jonathon Winters, a little girl dying of brain cancer, the homeless). When some people leave this world, it is a huge loss. He was one of them.

16 Aug 2014 3:14 PM
Redhorse2

It is wonderful of you to recognize these important people in Curlin's in past. Who else would promote them to the public? Thanks to you, Steve, they are getting some of the recognition they deserve. I wish other females didn't have to pick a fight with your use of girl. Personally, I love my 'girl' status.

16 Aug 2014 5:17 PM
BelmontBarb

Mmmmm ~ Wasn't it a BigBig Hit ~ Willie Nelson - "To all the "Girls" I Loved Before" ~

16 Aug 2014 9:50 PM
Paula Higgins

Listen mz, if you said the moon was blue, Ted from La would say you were right. He is a man in love. Here is a story that will really make your blood freeze. When I first started working as a RN were told to give up our chairs at the nurse's station for any M.D. who showed up (all men). Needless to say, I did not comply.  The only M.D. I remember who would not go along with that was Dr. Charles Fager of Dr. Fager fame. A good man all around.

Even female horses are coming into their own by competing against the males, something the Brits and Euros have been doing for a while. They are more than up to the challenge and they are helping to increase the female fan base in horse racing.

I want to clarify one thing, I did not think it was a good thing that Curlin left Pitts and Jorgenson. I was talking about the owners.

16 Aug 2014 9:55 PM
Margaret Ann

I always felt badly for Helen Pitts, loosing Curlin as she did.  But, such is horse racing.  I always thought "maybe Einstein is the payback."  Grand racehorses both.  Good luck to all.

16 Aug 2014 9:57 PM
Coldfacts

Wow! The merits versus the demits of a caption.

Would the captions below be more appropriate for those offended by use of Girls?

'The Ladies Who Lost Curlin'

'The Women Who Lost Curlin'

I can just imagine the outrage if the moderator had used the captions below:

'The Broads Who Lost Curlin'

'The Gals Who Lost Curlin'

There are a host of term/words that could have been used to represent the gender of the individual involved in Curlin's early development. Many would be informal terms but they by no means offensive.  

If the Blog was written by a rapper, girls would be substituted with a word that starts with the letter B and ends with the letter S. I am sure all can fill in the blanks. Now that would be offensive

I recall once using the term chicks in reference to young women and I was accused belittling women.

Well, I had to asked if the group that goes by the name Dixie Chicks was doing the same?

Are there written guidelines for political correctness? Probably we should just try to enjoy written language in whatever form.

17 Aug 2014 12:12 AM
Kimmons Mitchell

For Gods Sakes Haskin! don't change your writing style because of a bunch PC Furit Loops! I have gotten to the age I wish someone would call me a Boy!! Great writing and article as always! Keep the a Great Work up my Boy!!

17 Aug 2014 12:37 AM
Pedigree Ann

Okay, this is getting strange. I was trying to give Steve a hint that his use of "girls" was of questionable accuracy.

I had just been sensitized to this issue by watching the Shergar Cup International Jockey competition, in which the 4 teams were GB/IRE riders, Euro riders, 'The Rest of the World', and 'The Girls.' All of 'The Girls' are older than 25, 2 at least over 30. When do they become women? None of the other team titles was jocular, why should the women's team be the only one so singled out? Maybe it's because I'm over 60 and remember 'girl jockeys' or 'jockettes' being ridiculed and boycotted, considered to be a danger on the course because they weren't strong enough to control a racing Thoroughbred - they're just weak little girls, after all. It grated then and it still grates now.

17 Aug 2014 6:38 AM
Bethany Loftis

Three cheers for the Dr. D! Hip hip! Horray! Couldn't agree more on everything you said! It's so hard to read about the deaths along with everything else. I find it almost harder to read about the ones being sold, such as Curlin, or those sent to foreign interests. The horsewoman in me understands that, for better or worse, that is the nature of the business. However, the sentimental little girl in me, still can't rationalize selling a horse that has given their all for their connections. Mine give me the ability to do and perform things that I would not be able to do on my own, and I owe them everything! Yet again, I realize for the majority, it is a business :) Completely agree wholeheartedly on the issue of race-day medication! It almost seems as though we have to over medicate everyone and everything that moves and breathes instead of putting in good old fashioned hard work. I may be alone in this, and am certain I will face ridicule, but I firmly believe a lot of problems could be solved with better parenting (animal or human) and better conditioning. Oh well, I'm getting on a soap box that I need to step off of :) Glad you're back along with Ted from LA! Now all we need is Bob from Boston ;)

Mr. Haskin,

You're writing is amazing as always. As are your catchy headlines! You beat to Haskin's drum, which is why we all love you so much! Please don't change your style or wording for a few nitpicky ones (I'm sure you're not going to change your style, but I think you know where I'm going). Thanks for everything you do and continue to do! You're the man!

Sorry all for the long post :)

17 Aug 2014 9:25 AM
Love 'em all

BelmontBarb

Best duet song out there .... Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias!

To all the girls I've loved before

Who travelled in and out my door

I'm glad they came along

I dedicate this song

To all the girls I've loved before!

... at 73 I'm flattered to be called a "girl" any day of the week, month or year.

17 Aug 2014 9:39 AM
Windolin

Much ado about nothing.

Curlin had the benefit of getting a strong foundation from these two women. There is a saying...behind everyman there is a strong woman. This evidently applies to racehorses as well and in Curlin's case, he had two. Thank you Steve for these bittersweet story. And please do not ever change your style. It is what makes you so unique and special among writers.

17 Aug 2014 9:59 AM
Bob from Boston

Windolin, you missed the exact wording of that phrase.  It's actaully, "Behind every GREAT man, is a woman rolling her eyes."  Bethany, thank you for calling me out of retirement.  My take is Ted from LA is not in love with mz, but more like smitten. Ted from LA is right on with this whole "girl" vs. "woman" thing.  You should all take notes.  Dr. D must be one of those doctors for whom nurses had to give up their chair. You're all like one big dysfunctional family to me.  I love and hate each and every one of you.

17 Aug 2014 1:10 PM
Old Old Cat

My 37 year old daughter will always be my little GIRL.

17 Aug 2014 3:19 PM
mz

Pedigree Ann: my two stories about being a new by lawyer and female.

When we go to Superior Court, we have to gown.  It's the same as what the Brits wear to Court and that I'm sure you've seen on Rumpole but luckily, we don't have to wear the wigs!  Anyways, when I was called and had to buy my gown, you couldn't buy them with slacks if you were a woman.  And when I actually bought black slacks and actually wore them to Court, others were surprised I would do so.  No bad comments from the Judge, tho.

This was different for a friend of mine who didn't practice in Toronto.  When she went to Vpurt, despite there being an ordered list of what matter was to be heard first and do on, the Judges in her Town always heard women in skirts first, men second and women in slacks last.  Every single time.

If we never spoke up, we would still be in those circumstances.

What everyone has to understand -- and you, too, Steve -- is that our comments are not attacks but simply reminders to think before using certain words in certain contexts.  Sometimes "girls" is a perfectly acceptable term to use but at other times, like when one is speaking about a professional in their work capacity, it is not.

Chip Wooley didn't deserve to have Mine That Bird taken from him.  Would you have titled a blog about him "the boy who lost Mine That Bird"?  No, even titling it "the cowboy who lost Mine That Bird" would have been insensitive because he was a small market trainer who lost his horse for about the same reasons as Pitts and Jorgensen did.  

And to label all this by using "political correctness" as swear words ignores the fact that it is never wrong to be sensitive to the use of language.  And if none of you have ever had some stupid words used against you or about you, you're lucky but you are also blind if you think they don't hurt when used against others.

17 Aug 2014 5:18 PM
mz

Bob from Boston:  I never smote Ted.  (Although I have often been smitten by some of Steve' s photos and poesy)

17 Aug 2014 5:20 PM
mz

Bethany Loftus:  I think the last time I had any nits to pick was during an infestation in Grade 1.  And even then, it was my poor Mom who suffered through the picking.

What I am doing is commenting.

You don't like it, fine.  You don't agree with it, fine.  I am still entitled to my own opinion.

17 Aug 2014 5:27 PM
Paula Higgins

Bob, Ted I think we are parsing words here. Smitten, besotted, in love, whatever. mz is your blog soul mate :).

Dr Drunkinbum would never have asked me to give up my chair. He is cut from the same cloth as Dr. Fager.

Yes, we are one happy, functional/dysfuctional family Bob from Boston. Variety is the spice of life and other such hackneyed phrases, but true nonetheless.

Coldfacts, "Broads?" Yikes, you ARE living very dangerously.

17 Aug 2014 5:33 PM
RamieF

Steve...I think it's pathetic that some "folks" here have opted to focus on obviously innocent and non-offensive word usage rather than the content of the article. Please do not stop using the words YOU choose or deem appropriate to please others. YOUR words are the words that have captivated racing fans for years - not theirs.

It's ridiculous to even read such nonsense when you've written such a wonderful piece. Some humans, whom I hope I have not offended by referring to them as such, try far too desperately to appear the most knowledgeable and witty. They don't need to try so hard, and they certainly don't need to lay a guilt trip on anyone with whom they take issue particularly over word choice.

I beg of you NOT to change your decisions for others. They are way too sensitive, and more importantly, their comments are off topic and irrelevant to the intent and focus of your article. This was not a piece about feminism, it was simply a great story about two girls, or women, or humans, or ladies that for a time assisted in preparing one of the greatest horses of this era to run in championship fashion.

And you Steve...you are a champion of horse racing fans. We appreciate your passion and flair for writing. To change would be a shame plain and simple.

You cannot please everyone, especially know-it-all types who relish in exerting their superiority over others. We regular down-to-earth folks love your writing, and perhaps because we are not smart enough, we do not hone in on words obviously chosen with no malicious intent.

Rock on Steve! We love you :-) I thoroughly enjoyed this article about one of my favorite horses of all time and the people who helped him achieve that status.

17 Aug 2014 6:08 PM
Steve Haskin

RamieF, I couldnt agree with you more. Notice how the few females that brought this up did not have any comment on the story itself, which is about giving credit to the two unsung heroes in Curlin's career. They were more interested in a headline than the story itself. But then again, MZ states emphatically that..."when one is speaking about a professional in their work capacity IT IS NOT." Her matter of fact statement obviously ignores the more than 90 percent of the females who commented on here saying they either were not offended by it or actually welcomed the word girl. I respect a person's opinion and their feelings, but when they become rule maker and state something is not acceptable, although speaking strictly for herself, then I cannot take that person seriously, because she does not pay any attention to all the people who are not offended in the slightest, one of them, by the way, being Hanne Jorgensen. My wife has always fought for women's rights and has always been sensitive to comments about women. The only thing that offended her here were the people who were offended. Of course, I'm sure someone is going to say, "Of course, she's your wife." Sorry, I beat you to it.

17 Aug 2014 7:04 PM
mz

Steve my friend, please note my Aug 15th comment at 6:39 pm

I accept yr apology

17 Aug 2014 7:34 PM
mz

Also, don't stop writing just 'cause you get comments.

Give me more Mandy and "old-timely" horses too

17 Aug 2014 7:36 PM
mz

Jumping along to the point of this blog, at least Pitts had Einstein.  Anyone know what Chip Wooley is doing today?

17 Aug 2014 7:41 PM
Tiz Herself

Steve, I will never tire of reading your articles - they inspire and they touch something within the soul and leave a person anxiously waiting for more. I cannot wait to see what your view of Hardest Core is! You never fail to deliver. It is unfortunate how somethings are misunderstood - a fact that worries me as I attempt to write - hopefully one day professionally however not quite there yet. Thank you for all that you do Steve and all that you write!

Curlin is those once in a lifetime horses. Am eagerly awaiting the career starts for both Jess's Dream and Union Jackson. There are two other juveniles this year that have been added to my watch and they are Bold Conquest and La Grange.

Thanks again Steve! You're #1 fan in Alberta.

17 Aug 2014 11:43 PM
Cyradis4

Love the article, Steve! Glad the crooks who used to own Curlin got what was coming to them, and I can't wait to see Jess's Dream run! I also hope Palace Malice bounces back, he's a favorite of mine.

For those who are taking offense at the word "girl":

I'm a woman and an engineer. And reading this is making my blood boil. The only thing I find offensive about the title? Is the commentary about how people should be offended by it. Every single one of my co-workers are men all but 1 older than me. And I find it shameful that while they feel free to joke among themselves, the ones who don't know me well bend over backwards to "be sensitive". I don't want them to be sensitive, I want to be treated like an equal.

I've called men old enough to be my grandfather "boys" on many occasions, and have been called "girl" on a few. They don't take offense... And I don't take offense when they aren't politically correct. Yes, there have been a few people (not my coworkers) who have been condescending. There is a clear difference between harmless fun (like the title) and condescension. Its shameful when the English language can't even be properly spoken because of "political correctness".

Equality goes both ways.

18 Aug 2014 12:25 AM
Bethany Loftis

The whole gang is here now! Welcome back Bob! Totally agree with you on this blog being one, big happy, dysfunctional family, and I love to read everyone's comments. Even the ones that may spark a wee debate are awesome to read, and can provide so much insight!

mz- I certainly meant no disrespect, and should have chosen my wording more carefully. I always enjoy reading yours, and the others comments. I, unfortunately, have not seen or been through what you and Pedigree Ann along with some of the others have. I apologize if I put you or others off, by stating "nitpicking." I have a lot to learn from you and others. With this in mind, I promise to be more sensitive. As I stated earlier, I LOVE reading your comments. You, Pedigree Ann, Paula Higgins, Windolin, honestly too many to mention, I have infinite respect for!

Have a happy Monday Bloodhorse fam!

18 Aug 2014 5:44 AM
Johnny

Since we are all ready off subject a little FYI

Womens right movement was agenda driven by the Rockerfellas.

Why?

1) To increase the amount of people paying taxes in this country.

2) Take the mother out of the house and destroy the family as the children are put into school earlier.

Looking at this country today it seems to have worked.

18 Aug 2014 7:03 AM
Steve Haskin

Cyradis4, that was a wonderful post. Thank you for offering your persepctive in such an articulate manner.

18 Aug 2014 7:54 AM
Coldfacts

Paula Higgins:

Coldfacts, "Broads?" Yikes, you ARE living very dangerously.

Broads: Defined as a North American informal plural noun for women.

I would not used some of the informal nouns above in reference to women unless I was seeking to be provocative but not necessarily disrespectful.

I was just giving short list of formal and informal nouns used for women. How exactly am I living dangerously?

They were not recommendations to the moderator as I am sure there is no limitation to his vocabulary.

18 Aug 2014 8:32 AM
mz

"Can we all get a long?"   Rodney King.     (Although I prefer the misquote: "Can't we just all get along?")

And in the immortal words of War: "why can't we be friends, why can't we be friends, why can't we be friends.."

Speaking of misquotes, Neil Armstrong was meant to say "that's one small step for A man, one giant leap for mankind".   Otherwise, IMO doesn't really make much sense.  

(We're good Bethany.  No real offence taken - my comment was just in keeping with the theme "Fun with Words")

18 Aug 2014 9:02 AM
Wayne67

Human dramas are always being played out to the pleasure of some and raising the ire of others. Moreover, the fine content of these dramas, often gets lost in the shuffle, and before you know it, they become much ado about nothing.

It behooves me to see people blowing things out of proportions.

Just so you know Steve, to use a tired cliche, I don't judge a book by its cover but rather by its content. This article is fine by me.

18 Aug 2014 11:55 AM
Quinnbit

Jumping in a bit late.

Starting the week off we were introduced to two humans (obviously my lack of enthusiasm in entering the debate is evident) and their involvement with a equine, by weeks end we have a debate overshadowing the main subjects.

Perhaps the author, biographer, columnist, correspondent, editor, essayist, journalist, scribe, wordsmith, writer, could have titled the article, story, feature, narrative, report, chronicle, or yarn

"THE

broads, chicks, females, feminists, floozies, girlfriends, girls, fillies, ladies, women

-take your pick

WHO LOST CURLIN".

A fantastic horse and his caretakers story lost in a morass.

18 Aug 2014 12:27 PM
Jersey Girl

Touching article as always - thank you, Steve.

When all is said and done I hope everyone can have some fun with the "girls" debate.

In my family, the girls always remind the boys that "Chicks rule."

Looking forward to the Travers!

18 Aug 2014 12:34 PM
Gerry L

Excellent as usual Steve. By the way , I haven't seen your and Lenny's show lately..

18 Aug 2014 1:26 PM
Steve Haskin

Thanks, Gerry. Go to my Facebook page and you'll get a full explanation, along with reader comments.

18 Aug 2014 1:58 PM
sceptre

The reaction or, more precisely, overreaction to this story puzzles me a bit. No, I'm not referring to the debate over the term "girls", but rather to the body of the story. Why is it so heartbreaking? Pitts and the exercise rider (I didn't say "girl") didn't get to retain the horse for his career; big deal. They spent time and got the horse over some of his ailments-this is what happens all the time, and is part of a trainer's responsibilities; for which they are well paid. Very likely Pitts, et al, also received some additional $ post the partial sale of the horse. If indeed they did, this was a "gift"-and more than they were entitled to.  

18 Aug 2014 2:49 PM
Dr Drunkinbum

Times have changed and words have changed. The quotes are from a scene from one of the greatest comedies of all time, "Some Like It Hot."  "Look at the two broads from the elevator !"  "What's the matter with those dames?"  "Maybe those dames ain't dames !!!"

18 Aug 2014 3:17 PM
Paula Higgins

Coldfacts, I was kidding! Bethany Loftus back at you. I feel the same way about everyone on here as well, especially mz "one of the good ole girls" (a compliment mz).

Sceptre, are you kidding? Grow a heart. People bond with these horses. It isn't just about the paycheck. They pour they pour their professional lives into making their horses successful. It must be incredibly painful to watch them go somewhere else. I do not own race horses. But if I did, I would not move a horse or sell a horse out from under the person that "brought me to the dance." Talk about ingratitude, insensitivity.......

18 Aug 2014 4:52 PM
ForTheLoveOfTheHorse

This is a wonderful story!!  Curlin and Rags to Riches are the two horses I initially fell totally in love with and who drew my heart into horseracing.  It’s great to hear the backstory of the Mightly Curlin’s beginnings!  Helen and Hanne clearly did a great job of nurturing and healing Curlin’s ails as a young colt.  After all, he grew up to be the Iron Horse.  I don’t think I ever heard of him even spiking a temperature during his grueling and thrilling campaigns.  The crowning event of course being his induction into the Hall of Fame.  I felt such pride!!  I’m delighted this article gives such a shout out to two women who gave Curlin so much heart and wisdom and care!!  Who knows where or what he might have been without it!

The discussion on the word “girl” I find almost amusing.  Irregardless of a small pot of individual experiences or personal opinions, it is a well known fact that that term “girl”, and the efforts to eliminate it, have contributed greatly to women’s rise in equality in this country.  It’s well documented in the Social Sciences and Psychological research.   That term, as well as others, is steeped in a very real and long history of discrimination toward women.  It’s a fact, and referring to a man as a boy is an entirely different thing, which cannot be equated to girl, because men (particularly white makes) as a population, simply do not carry centuries of being minimalized and marginalized by its own culture.   I just consider the source when I hear the term used these days.  And I don’t mean that as an insult.  The fact is that most people using the term these days simply do not get the potency of the history, and/or have not spent much time considering the roots of discrimination and the long hard road in eliminating it – a road of many many seemingly small and insignificant pieces but when put into the “whole”, and changed one by one, really can change the greater perception, and thus the quality of life for a lot of people.  It’s a study, and it has to be meaningful to you, or you just won’t “get it”.

18 Aug 2014 4:52 PM
mz

Dr. D: "Osgoode, I can't marry you.  I'm a man"

"Well, nobody's perfect."

18 Aug 2014 6:35 PM
sceptre

Paula Higgins:

Save your sympathies for the horses, not for the trainer, etc. here. Ever hear of claiming races and claimed horses? Do you shed a tear for their trainers? What difference is it whether it's a Curlin, or any other horse? Hmm, me thinks it's his stature; so much for bonding. Also, this is far from a "brought him to the dance" story.

18 Aug 2014 9:19 PM
Paula Higgins

mz and Dr D, the best two lines in one of the greatest comedies ever made.

18 Aug 2014 10:38 PM
smarie

mz

I had a t-shirt once that read:

"God created man first because everyone does a rough draft."

The person who laughed hardest; my husband.

18 Aug 2014 11:07 PM
Gulchfan

$1.75 million & $3.5? that's all? bargain basement

...remember there was an offer (which they turned down) for Social Inclusion for $8 million

19 Aug 2014 1:32 PM
pabred

If all you can take from this article is a word "girl," then you need to read it again.  What about the heartbreack, the greatness just missed.  Already knew the story.  But reading it was nice.  Helen Pitts show class.

19 Aug 2014 6:49 PM
Paula Higgins

sceptre, who stole your toys today? I have sympathy for the horses AND the people who train them. I don't need to save it. If I doled it out to people you thought were deserving, we would be waiting until the next millenium.. As for claimers, I would feel bad for anyone who bonded with any horse over a period of time and then lost them. As for "brought them to the dance" stories, there are plenty of them whether you think this one fits the mold or not.

19 Aug 2014 10:22 PM

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