The Sport of Kings

Bukowski had a saying: “You will find the lowest of the breed at the racetrack.” The gambling, the skirt chasing, the drinking, the crapping—the track is a place to observe humanity’s grotesque nature. Given this, the phrase “sport of kings” resonates with irony, for horse racing is, too, the sport of dirty fools. Of course, “sport of kings” earliest usage referred to war, then hunting, though some would say that even today polo, which originated in Central Asia before 600 B.C. as both a sport and a means of battle training, is the true sport of kings. No matter, man has long shared an intimate relationship with the horse, relying on its speed and strength to usher him through battle and to carry him, his family, and his belongings across countries. While the Ancient Greeks certainly considered the centaur to be a monstrous beast, contemporary images of the mythological creature suggest we find it sexy and, perhaps, harbor some desire to merge, and thus elevate our human nature, with the equine’s tremendous power, prowess, and majesty.