Zsa Zsa, Hip Replacements and I'll be Chrome for Christmas

Zsa Zsa Gabor has left us, passing away on Sunday at the age of 99.

While Zsa Zsa made some movies and her sister Eva co-starred on television with Eddie Albert and a pig named Arnold, they were most famous for being famous, a forerunner of today’s Kardashians.

It wouldn’t be surprising to turn on The Tonight Show in the 1960s and find Johnny Carson hosting Bob Hope; followed by Zsa Zsa dressed to the nines; followed by a comedy set by Jackie Mason and then an interview with jockey Bill Shoemaker.

Yes, Bill Shoemaker.

Horse racing was so popular at the time that you could probably go to just about any town in America and ask them to name a jockey and they wouldn’t miss a beat saying “Bill Shoemaker.” They might have also been able to throw in a few more like Arcaro and Longden for good measure.

Victor Espinoza ended a Triple Crown drought last year with American Pharoah and is the regular pilot for California Chrome, but how many people do you think could name him, or any jockey for that matter.

“What about that guy who was on Dancing With The Stars?” might be the closest response.

Speaking of jockeys, our best wishes to Gary Stevens, who is having hip replacement surgery. He had an amazing comeback after missing years of riding, capped by what was probably the best race of the year in the Breeder’s Cup Distaff with Beholder.

On the subject of hip replacements, that seems to be what Del Mar and to a lesser extent Santa Anita are trying to do with their marketing the last few years.

They are increasingly running things that mirror those alcohol ads that paint 20 and 30-somethings as well-dressed hipsters who love to party, drink and (hopefully) gamble a bit.

No comment on that one, just putting it out there.

On a holiday note, how about the early Christmas present California Chrome gave the fans last Saturday at Los Alamitos.

From the applause when he entered the saddling enclosure, to the cheers when he came on the track, to the roar of the crowd when he blitzed his admittedly overmatched rivals in the stretch to the chants of “Chrome, Chrome, Chrome” as he left the winner’s circle, it was something to see.

We may have another Triple Crown winner coming down the pike in the near future, but how long will it be before we see another California Chrome?

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ratzkym@yahoo.com @TashmanMortyS