Jurga, The Jurga Report
Friday, April 3, 2009
This morning's Louisville's Courier-Journal
tells us that the Kentucky Derby Museum's gift shop's shelves are stocked with
a special commemorative Kentucky Derby Barbie doll. And I'm still scratching my
I guess my initial reaction is surprise. They still make Barbie
dolls? People still buy them?
My next reaction was more positive, as in: Wow, Mattel thinks
that horse racing is worthy of creating a commemorative doll. Maybe the
industry isn't as deep in the gutter as it thinks it is.
But if we lived in a perfect world, which we don't, how great
would it be to give shoppers and collectors a choice of dolls? Yes, you do
think of women in hats and fab frocks on Derby Day, because that's what the
media shows us.
what about the women on the backside of the racetrack--shouldn't they be portrayed
in a doll? Little girls (and parents) could choose either the
frock-and-heels Turf Club Barbie or maybe Backstretch Barbie, an exercise rider
dressed in black fringed chaps, with some great tattoos, a body protector vest
and a jock helmet with cool goggles.
One of my key memories of last year's Belmont was when exercise
rider/assistant trainer Michelle Nevin ran out into the deep track toward Big
Brown as he was pulled up at the finish. She was dressed in her
in-case-we-get-to-the-winners-circle clothes and looked so different from the
athletic figure who'd been photographed in her work clothes a million times in
the months running up to that moment. You wouldn't have recognized her on the
Every summer, the thought flashes before me that the New York Times is missing a great photo
feature for their Style section by not doing a fashion shoot of the exercise
riders at Saratoga--male and female. I could see an
assemblage of them on the cover of Vanity
Fair. Annie Leibovitz, are you reading this?
Maybe flowered-frock Barbie is the image the Derby's marketing
department wants to project. But little girls would think that Backstretch
Barbie was Way Cool. She's got style, and the attitude and guts to pull it off.
...And how about a sunburned Infield Barbie, wearing a tank-top,
cutoffs and carrying a Churchill Downs beer cooler?
to Sarah K. Andrew of Rock and Racehorses equine photography
for her use of the photo of Saratoga exercise riders. Sarah writes, "I
owned exactly one Barbie, and her only purpose in life was to ride the Barbie
post originally appeared on The Jurga Report blog: www.horsehealthheadlines.com
Derby Barbie is for sale online for $47 at the Kentucky Derby Store web site:
Fran Jurga on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/franjurga