In a sport known for pageantry and color, we dedicate this photo gallery to grayscale to symbolize the fact that it’s not always black and white.
Horse racing has never been a sport that is cut and dry, or black and white; there are subjective gray areas. Just like any other major professional sport, there are times where officials have an impact on the outcome of an event. What plays out on the field or on the track happens in fractions of a second, yet is dissected many times over, slowed down frame by frame. We know how fractions of an inch could alter history forever. We caught a glimpse of that in the Kentucky Oaks the day before this year’s Kentucky Derby and then again in the Derby.
I had been in the boots of jockey Luis Saez, or should I say skates. In Game 2 in the Southern California Amateur Hockey Association State Finals, I had scored the game-winning goal in overtime to push the series to a deciding Game 3. The puck crossed the goal line and I went crazy. I celebrated. I mobbed my teammates. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the ref waving off the goal. “No goal. No goal.” The ref claimed he intended to blow his whistle but couldn’t get it there in time. How could this be? I went from this unreal high to having to put the confetti back in the proverbial can and play on.
In the Kentucky Derby, it doesn’t much matter what side of the decision I was on. I was there to cover the Derby as a news event. From that perspective, the race produced one of the most memorable 24 minutes in the sport. The incredible photos of Saez celebrating as he crossed the wire first on Maximum Security, to the frame of him covering his mouth in disbelief when the objection was announced, were unlike anything else I had experienced at the Kentucky Derby. It was the embodiment of ABC Wide World of Sports’ “Thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.”