Sunday, April 26, 2015

Library of America Story of the Week Read-Along 274: W. C. Heinz, Death of a Race Horse (#274)

W. C. Heinz, "Death of a Race Horse" (1949) from The Top of His Game: The Best Sportswriting of W. C. Heinz:

W. C. Heinz writes movingly--and briefly--about a horse with great prospects who breaks his leg on his first run. Heinz gets an effect by keeping things simple and repetitive, so that we hear Air Lift's lineage and family several times: in the title, in the opening, at the end. Air Lift was the full brother of Assault, but that's not going to save him.

Which seems a little odd to me: sure, if he never gets a race, he'll never prove his mettle, but with so much proof of his bloodline, you'd think they might keep him around as breeding stock.

There's very little here about racing and an awful lot about the trappings of the race track and the race industry. When Air Lift is hurt, he's not immediately put down; they've got to get word from his owner about that. And when he is put down, the veterinarians take his broken bones--for insurance purposes.

All in all, it's a strange and alternate view of a sport, a glimpse into a world from an angle not often used.

No comments:

Post a Comment