Today, we will have a total eclipse of the sun. We are fortunate to be in West Kentucky, preparing to sit upon the waters of Kentucky Lake, right in the path of “Totality.” Thousands of people have travelled to Kentucky just for this occasion — just as they come to Louisville each Spring for the annual running of the Kentucky Derby.
It is amazing, in a way, that the two events — the sun’s disappearance in the middle of this afternoon; and the Thoroughbred industry — are tied by the same name.
Today, the moon will interfere with the sun’s dynamic rays and block their path to our planet. It will be a total eclipse. And, it has caught the fancy of millions throughout the world, because — for the first time in over 100 years — the “American Eclipse” will cover the entire length of the United States.
On the other hand, one of the greatest horses in the history of the breed of Thoroughbreds was a chestnut colt by the name of American Eclipse.
The horse, who would later become a stallion, was foaled on May 25, 1814. He lived until the ripe old age of 33 before passing in 1847. He didn’t race until he was 3-years-old. But he made 8 starts for his owners Cornelius W. Van Ranst and Walter Livingstone.
Naturally, the colt won all 8. His exploits were so noteworthy that all claimed him to be the best racehorse to ever step hoof on North American soil, and many breeders were so enthralled by his running ability that they, too, named their best young horses by the same name — in hopes of capturing some of the magic of the name and the game.
The history of this colt became so legendary that the Thoroughbred industry’s annual awards for its “champions” — as elected by a group of top organizations and turf writers — have been entitled the “Eclipse Awards.”
Maybe, it is because the chase to find the perfect Thoroughbred — or, at the very least, a darn good one — is like chasing the sun.
For the most part, you never catch it. Never. But the attraction is so strong, that you continue t chase.
And, if you look at it long enough, it will burn your eyes and your billfold, alike.
But today, we are reminded how rare and how special an “Eclipse” can be. And, we are called to take a moment out of our day to stand and watch the mystery of why certain things can happen, or do happen.
Some times, those things happen in the stars. Way above our heads — both literally and figuratively.
Some times, those things happen down here on Earth — right in front of our eyes.
And, both are amazing to watch. Even if you don’t truly understand why.
Every 100 years or so, an Eclipse comes along. Maybe, it feels like it takes that long for a great racehorse to come along, too.
But we will never stop watching. And, waiting.
After all, each spring we have the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.” It’s called the Kentucky Derby.
Today, we will have the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sun Spots.” It’s called the Total Eclipse of the Sun.
We are really good here in the Commonwealth. Well, we are really good for two minutes at a time.