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Thursday, January 24, 2008

FOB's Poop Over Barbaro Statue

- Roy and Gretchen Jackson have distanced themselves from a statue of Barbaro which is set to be displayed in NY's Central Park starting on April 30, and coinciding with the running of the Derby on the following Saturday. And one can certainly understand why from their standpoint. For one thing, it's pretty unflattering, depicting their Derby champ lying on his back, representing his inability to stand on his feet due to the debilitating laminitis which followed the shattered ankle he suffered in the 2006 Preakness Stakes. [Barbaro's Law]

And secondly, Daniel Edwards, the "controversial" sculptor, is taking a direct swipe at the racing industry.

The Memorial’s website....provides an online petition urging Congress to pass a law that would arm consumers with the truth about the perils of horseracing by requiring racetracks to disclose race-related injury and fatality statistics. “Informed race patrons may choose to avoid contributing to the breakdown and destruction of racehorses by not buying a ticket or placing a bet,” said gallery co-director, David Kesting. Estimates are that 700-800 horses are killed on racecourses annually in the US and Canada with an additional 375 racehorse deaths in the UK.
The website has a comments section, so, as you might imagine, the lunatics of the FOB's (I'm now unsure whether that stands for Fans or Friends [or Fiends] of Barbaro) are there.
- Do you have legal permission to use the name “BARBARO” in the title of this “exhibition of poor taste”? (Someone responds that "there are 5 other horses named Barbaro, all of which were foaled BEFORE your Barbaro.")

- This is disgusting and in no way represents the Barbaro that we knew and loved. He stood upright with strength, courage, and dignity until the end. This is a mockery of our hero and it should be destroyed.

- The sculpture is just horrible, why in God’s name would put a horse on is back. Our horese are worrier’s and proud animals. Barbaro should never be on his back, proud and upright is were he should be. Maybe you should rethink this. (original spelling left intact)

- If this statue is erected, I will stop my trips to NYC and will never return to a city with such bad taste.
Well, that would be a shame! And a potential loss of business at Bellevue's psychiatric ward.

However, amidst the inane drivel is a far more relevant and right-on comment by handicapper Andy Serling, who writes:
While a great fan of the art world, and an advocate of free speech, I am also a great fan of horse racing and to anyone familiar with this situation your sculpture smacks of opportunism of the highest order.

You display a complete lack of understanding of the truth, in even the most basic ways, and it is hard to believe this is anything other than a desperate attempt to cash in on the fears of the uninformed.

How much, pray tell, are you donating to horse rescue? Surely with as much concern as you pretend to have, you have a long history of contributing to the many foundations that work tirelessly to further the welfare of the thoroughbred. If not your work here is nothing if not completely self-serving.
I come down on the This Is Art school of thought - it's to be admired, reviled, or ignored as you wish. Personally, I find it unattractive, and lacking the humor of some of Edwards' other works, such as his topless bust of Hillary Clinton, his depiction of Paris Hilton's autopsy, or his bronze sculpture of Suri Cruise's first poop. However, when the exhibit is over, the upside-down Barbaro will go away. Unfortunately, there's no sign of the FOB's doing the same.


Michael said...


I've seen the FOBs try to use this weak "do you have the right to use the name Barbaro?" argument before. Particularly on the guy that made the Michael Vick Rides Barbaro painting.

Whack jobs to be sure, however Legal Scholars they are not.

Anonymous said...

These Liberal Whack jobs won't be happy until they outlaw Horse racing.

Anonymous said...

So why didn't Daniel Edwards choose George Washington's breakdown at Monmouth and the BCC for his arguement? That horse was no less noble or accomplished.

Oh but of course the guy is looking to just generate a buzz via controversy. I doubt this guy would know a filly from a colt.
His agenda seems to be at odds - if the supposed "focus" is on Congress to pass a law on exposing breakdowns and injury wouldn't he better choose a horse that actually died of his/her injury?

Barbaro died of laminitis - so technically if we cured that his breakdown would've been relatively moot as it didn't end his life, but rather just his racing career.

Also I know I read last year in the BloodHorse about the expanded database of equine breakdowns whereby at least a couple dozens tracks are providing data. No need for Congress to look in to setting up a similar system.

Anonymous said...

The statue is ugly and stupid. It's a successful attention-grabbing ploy by a talentless hack.

Anonymous said...

Two issues here . . First, the statue -- I am personally disgusted by the idea of it, and am glad to hear that it will disappear from the Park at some point soon. It is hard to imagine anyone who has any kind of personal connection with horses not being revolted by it . . . and it certainly has little relation to the way that the stricken Barbaro was treated. It totally objectifies both Barbaro and the species that the artist uses him as a symbol for, and is supposedly defending. Right on, Andy Serling . . . opportunism is the word, although not nearly strong enough.

But Alan . . I don't understand why you have such little patience for . . and have several times used as a target . . the Friends/Fans of Barbaro. Some of them express themselves in unconventional ways . . . but most are fans of horses and of racing. Frankly, many horseplayers are not middle-of-the-road people either. Personally, I'd rather see folks be extreme in defense of the horse than not give the slightest shit about the horses at all . . and we all know fellow fans who fit the description. Complete disrespect for the horse is not far from complete disrespect for each other.

One of the reasons I follow this blog is that you, Alan, write in an aware fashion about issues -- whether they are politics in NYS, the poltics of the game, or the racing, you evidence humor and perspective. That's why I'm perplexed by your swipes at the FOBs.


suebroux said...

Some dude by the name of Rudyard Kipling once wrote But the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old: 'It's clever, but is it art?'

I have no idea what that means but it sounded like it needed to be inserted in this comment section.

Oh, and this Kipling guy is a lot more famous than this yahoo, Edwards.

Nellie said...

Well, at least if he's upside down, we'll be able to figure out whether the artist knows the difference between a colt and a gelding...

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the Edwards Barbaro sculpture is a work of art with which many racing enthusiasts- I dare say most- will disagree. Hopefully it will inspire a "response" by another artist who will better capture the spirit of Barbaro and all thoroughbred race horses. Thanks to Alan for calling it to our attention.
/S/Green Mtn Punter

Anonymous said...

I do not understand the FOB swipes either.

Have they ever used their concern for Barbaro to tarnish the image of racing like this politically motivated no talent hack?

Andy Serling and Soubroux have the perfect takes.

That written, it is only a matter of time before the PETA types go after racing, and this statue may fast forward the movement.

Racing should be proactive on the horse slaughter issue, and take a tougher stand on steroids and other medications, including getting tough with the cheats.

If they honor Dale Baird, who sent more horses to slaughter than any single man on the planet, I will puke.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I do not understand the FOB swipes either.

Have they ever used their concern for Barbaro to tarnish the image of racing like this politically motivated no talent hack?

Actually many of them would shut down racing in a heartbeat, them and another blogger "scrollsequus".

Alex Brown has threatend to shut down his site to the FoBs several times for their anti-racing drivel.

Their fanatical approach to most everything is downright scary. They get emails from Barbaro and reply? Some of them are delusional. Spend a little time reading their forum, and you'll see that these people need to get out more often. They mean well, but I pity their families. Perhaps their husbands (most are women and girlymen) appreciate them being on the FoB agenda, so they can be left alone.

Alan Mann said...

I was just going to reply to Mitch and the other commenter who questioned my swipes at the FOB's, when I saw the above response come in and beat me to it. I was also going to suggest that you take a look at some of their conversations to get an idea of not only just how delusional they are, but of their outright hostility towards anyone who questions their motives or methods. And indeed, I've often wondered if they're really racing fans at all; wasn't aware that Alex Brown has threatened to shut them down for anti-racing rhetoric.

Having said that, after I trash them, I wonder afterwards why I bother. Certainly they mean well (though assuredly need to get out FAR more often). But it does frustrate me that people with that kind of passion don't use their time (of which they seem to have a LOT) and energy for more relevant and pressing concerns then composing daily emails to a dead horse. I will however endeavor to stop beating one myself.

Anonymous said...

The FOB's are no better than terrorists. You disagree with their views and not only do you get threatend they will do it all while using God as their smoke screen.

Anonymous said...

wasn't aware that Alex Brown has threatened to shut them down for anti-racing rhetoric.

Actually Alex threatens to shut them down not only for that but for anything he deems unfitting. Of course that will never happen because like this artist, Alex is hoping to make a buck and get a little notirioty from Barbaro too....If he shut down the board who on earth would buy his up and coming book? LOL

Alan Mann said...

>>Actually Alex threatens to shut them down not only for that but for anything he deems unfitting.

I wonder if he really knew what he was getting himself into with that crew.

Anonymous said...

In my never so humble opinion he feeds off of it. Take a look at the guy, he's nothing to write home about but when he threatens to shut down the board all the little girls to the old spinsters come out and tell him how wonderful he is.

He's also a college professor that teaches classes in blogging and forums and the impact they can play. The FOB's are part of his lab rat experiment.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that Alex just enjoys having a bunch of women thinking that he's Mr. Wonderful, but the last time I saw him gallop a horse, he was riding sidesaddle, so that premise might be wrong.

Anonymous said...

OK, I have been enlightened so I take back my FOB comment, did not realize they had become so anti racing.

In any case, does not change the balance of my comment that racing needs to be proactive with steroid, medication and slaughter issues.

As bad as it seems now, it will hit the mainstream media sooner rather than later.

There is no need for steroids in a horse, no need for race day medications (including Lasix), and absolutely no reason any horse should be slaughtered in this country.

Anonymous said...

I am a Fan of Barbaro, but no need to fear my "craziness". And I do get out enough, I promise. For those of you that don't "get us", well, there are probably things you are into that we wouldn't "get" either. That's what makes the world go round. It's a diverse world we live in. I'm so tired of mud slinging. If we could only just get along and try to understand each other. And if that is asking too much, just leave each other to do what we do. I guess I am not one of those "zealot" Barbaro people you mentioned. I have my own personal feelings about what happened, I try to help animals when I can, and I don't get angry if others don't understand.

Anonymous said...

I must sadly agree with some of the things said about FOB's in this blog. As a frequenter of on a regular basis, I have been shocked and sickened by the way that some of these people attack eachother. One comment that strays from the slightly whacky norm results in a barrage of comments that would be better suited in a catfight amongst 15year old private-school girls.

Many of these people also don't know anything about horses or horseracing. I admire the ones that come to ABR to learn something, but some of the comments are laughable. I am all for raising money and saving horses, but do it with some dignity and class.

Alex has indeed threatened to shut down the site, because it is first and foremost a HORSE RACING site, and one would hope he wouldn't have to tolerate anti-horse racing sentiments. He has also BANNED several members (some, multiple times because they just create a new screen-name) due to the way they have treated other ABR members and Alex himself.

Today is a sad day for me, as I closely followed Barbaro from the beginning. I KNOW horse racing - and whilst his loss is tragic and untimely, I think that his legacy will be great. With the funds raised (I don't care how the money is raised, as long as it is!) we will hopefully see the end of Laminitis, and perhaps some much safer race tracks.

[Thank God for anonymous posting. I would get burned at the stake.]