derby

At the 138th Kentucky Derby yesterday, “I’ll Have Another” outmatched the favorite, “Bodemeister,” for a victory by 1½ lengths. If you bet on him, you were in luck: As the Washington Post notes, I’ll Have Another faced 15-1 odds at racetime. Now, a few of you might bristle at the notion that picking a winner against the odds is merely “luck.” Can research shed any light on the dynamics of odds and wagers? You bet it can! (OK, sorry.) But seriously: According to a 2008 study, the horse wagering market operates pretty efficiently.

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In every way it is regrettable—that three horses have died in the making of Luck over a period of twelve weeks; and that the slowly developing series is going to be cut off, not exactly in its prime, but with glimpses of that glow in the distance.

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The music industry, whose economic status roughly mirrors that of Greece, is finally making once-unthinkable cutbacks in entitlements. The finalists for this year’s Grammys were announced this week, and some hugely popular acts who by tradition would have been guaranteed nominations were shut out of the top categories. With the weakening of the corporate oligarchy of the old-line record companies, the nomination process has loosened up a bit for the good.

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The 137th Kentucky Derby will be run on May 7th in Churchill Downs, Kentucky. The twenty-horse field is considered relatively wide-open this year, with Uncle Mo still the favorite, but only at 3-1 after coming down with a gastrointestinal infection and losing at the Wood Memorial earlier this month. Regardless of who wins, though, organizers expect attendees will uphold the twin traditions of outrageous hats and copious consumption of mint juleps.

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Look At Me!

The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis (Knopf, 384 pp., $26.95) Well, another civil, subtle, well-modulated novel from Martin Amis. Wait—what? British fiction’s most flamboyant word-wrangler, subtle? The celebrated character-bully and reader-molester, civil? The epicure of extremism, wellmodulated? Yes, apparently. This is a new Amis, similar in theme but different in subject as well as style. An Oxford-educated scion of the literary intelligentsia, Amis has made a career of not writing about his own milieu.

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Look At Me!

The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis (Knopf, 384 pp., $26.95)   Well, another civil, subtle, well-modulated novel from Martin Amis. Wait—what? British fiction’s most flamboyant word-wrangler, subtle? The celebrated character-bully and reader-molester, civil? The epicure of extremism, well-modulated? Yes, apparently. This is a new Amis, similar in theme but different in subject as well as style. An Oxford-educated scion of the literary intelligentsia, Amis has made a career of not writing about his own milieu.

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Edmund Wilson at TNR

F. Scott Fitzgerald famously called Wilson his "intellectual conscience," and some considered him the twentieth century's preeminent man of letters. From his perch as TNR's literary editor, and then as a roving correspondent, critic Edmund Wilson was in large part responsible for the introduction of literary modernism to American culture.

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Brian Clough is a legend among English soccer managers. He was the youngest coach in the league when, at 30, he took over Hartlepools United in 1965. In the early 1970s, he lifted a mediocre Derby County team from the Second Division to champion of the First, playing in a European Cup semifinal along the way. And in the late 1970s, he took an obscure Nottingham Forest squad all the way to back-to-back European Cup trophies, a feat considered one of the greatest in the history of the sport.

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Charles in Charge

Tonight the GOP response to Obama’s prime-time health care speech will be delivered by Louisiana Congressman Charles Boustany, Jr., a little-known former heart surgeon who has been serving the state’s 7th district since 2005. Boustany is an interesting choice for the GOP considering the hype surrounding the speech and that the last rebuttal to the president came from high-profile 2012 contender Bobby Jindal. So who is he? Boustany, 53, was born in Lafayette, Louisiana to Lebanese immigrant grandparents and a Democrat father who served as Lafayette Parish coroner for 16 years.

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Horse Trade

On a clear day, when the sun shines so brightly that the Kentucky bluegrass actually looks just a little bit blue, Arthur Hancock can stand atop one of Bourbon County's rolling hills and survey a good portion of the 2,000 acres he calls Stone Farm. He can see the low-slung barns; the tall ash and oak trees; the miles of wooden fence; and, most importantly, the horses. Stone Farm has more than 200 of them—mares looking after their foals, yearlings grazing together, stallions prancing in their private paddocks.

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