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The Breakdown: Jockeys jostling with reality

BRYCE EVANS
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
Sports editor Bryce Evans
ALL |

If you watch sports enough, it’s inevitable that you’ll see some ugly things: Helmet-to-helmet hits in the NFL, sticks to the face in hockey, injuries, blood, a shot of Al Davis on the sidelines. None of it’s pretty, but it’s all just part of being a fan.

But, no matter what you’ve witnessed in the past, nothing could prepare you for the sheer terror and brutality of what happened Friday in Kentucky.

It was a fight – between jockeys.



After tangling up on the track in the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon – an event loved worldwide by uber wealthy elitists – the emotion spilled over into the winner’s circle. Tempers flared, words were exchanged, and the heated, vicious encounter led to fisticuffs between three-time Kentucky Derby champ Calvin Borel and rival Javier Castellano.

It was a frightening scene to witness: Two superior athletes with a combined weight of 220 pounds going after it. Borel, a lanky 5-foot-5, had a good four inches on Castellano, but it was Javier who threw the first punch, a wicked hook that nearly clocked Borel. And if not for an average-sized man plucking Borel off the ground by the back of his lime green and purple outfit – like a parent picking up a 3-year-old who’s throwing a tantrum – things could have been much worse.



OK, this wasn’t exactly Cain Velazquez tearing apart Brock Lesnar in UFC, but it does bring up a good issue, not to mention it has an off-the-charts rating on the unintentional comedy scale.

The Borel-Castellano (Miniature) Super Fight is just another example of the lost sense of reality in sports.

Granted, by all accounts both of these wee men are affable and cordial, and the fight was well out of character for both. (At least, that’s what horse racing people have said; personally, I have no clue.) But there’s still something funny to me about how instances like these – as in two athletes fighting before, during or after competition – is simply brushed aside as fairly normal behavior in sports, or even as proof of the passion athletes have.

Sports have a strange way of twisting reality, of making all of us look at something in a totally bizarre and deranged light compared to if it was, say, in our office at work or in a classroom at our kids’ schools.

(Note: I should admit that this can actually help in rare cases. Just this week, the Baltimore-based School Sisters of Notre Dame raised $262,000 to help their charitable efforts. How did they do it? They sold a Honus Wagner baseball card at auction. The incredibly rare and valuable card was bequeathed to them for that purpose. So, it’s not all bad. But most people don’t hit the jackpot with a crumpled up piece of paper from 1909 worth more than their homes.)

Think about the Kevin Garnett-Charlie Villanueva incident this week, where KG allegedly called Villanueva, who has no hair due to alopecia universalis, a “cancer patient.” (This was reported by Villanueva on Twitter.)

Sure, if that’s what was actually said, the trash-talking was a bit out of line. But the comments by columnists and TV analysts afterward may have been worse. Many people had the same opinion: If Villanueva had a problem with Garnett, it should have stayed on the court. As in, Villanueva should have fought Garnett right then and there rather than taking it public.

Um, nice lesson.

Then again this is sports – where jockey jostling is just part of the ugly highlights.


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