Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird is what a friend of mine calls a "story horse." The story of Mine That Bird is more compelling than the horse itself.
After winning the Derby, changing jockeys, and coming in a close, closing second in the Preakness, Mine That Bird Finds himself in a peculiar position. First, if he loses the Belmont, he maybe goes down as a one-hit-wonder, a fluke like many to come before who had just one great day and then faded back into oblivion. That's a story Mine That Bird's Owners -- and racing in general -- should want to avoid almost no matter what the cost.
Second, Mine That Bird doesn't have a jockey. Mike Smith, who rode the gelding in the Preakness, is already booked to ride another horse in a California race the day of the Belmont.
So here's how I think we can solve both of those problems and write a next chapter for Mine That Bird that people will remember forever: the owners and trainer should hire me to ride the horse in the Belmont. That's right: me. It could be like one of those promotional contests to find a blogger to live in an island paradise for a year, except that there wouldn't be a contest. There would just be me.
The story is made even better because I haven't ridden a horse since fifth grade and I weigh as much as three or four jockeys. Sometimes the Belmont only starts five horses; I could eat an extra couple of meals a day for the next two weeks, put on another 80 or 90 pounds, and the whole thing could be promoted as "one man outweighs the field."
Now that would be a story, and you'd sell a million posters of me dressed up as a jockey.
Another upside: if the network covered the race from start to finish -- that is, until all the horses finished -- the race would surely last long enough that they could sell some commercial time along the backstretch. Upon returning from commercial, they could show Mine That Bird and me proceeding around the far turn at a stately pace, perhaps with me walking alongside the horse.
I'm serious about this. I think it could be big.