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Rip Van Winkle Essay Essay


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Rip Van Winkle Essay

On the back of Rip Van Winkle’s success in the Juddmonte International at York last week, we take a look back at his exploits in 2009.

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Wednesday
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August, 2010

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Rip Van Winkle Essay

On the back of Rip Van Winkle’s success in the Juddmonte International at York last week, we take a look back at his exploits in 2009.

Rip Van Winkle

Rip Van Winkle
Photo by Racing and Sports

Racing in the United States has taken one particularly notable step towards weaning itself off drugs by banning steroids (at least in most of its thirty-eight separate jurisdictions).

That move came after public outrage over the extent of steroid use that became apparent after revelations about the training regime of America’s leading three-year-old of 2008 Big Brown.

His trainer Rick Dutrow had a long history of medication violations and his admission that he regularly (and legally, it should be said) administered steroids to his horses widened discussion, which led to a congressional sub-committee examining safety and medication issues in American racing.

Its main recommendation was that a national horseracing commission should be set up to regulate the sport. American racing was, however, first given the chance to make reforms without federal intervention, the banning of the use of steroids one of the most significant first steps.

An article by respected commentator Andy Beyer, published in the Washington Post and then Daily Racing Form on successive days in January 2009, certainly fanned the flames.`Thoroughbred racing has become less a test of horses than it is a competition among trainers,’ wrote Beyer. `The most successful have been dubbed “supertrainers” because they achieve results almost without precedent.

They compile winning percentages that dwarf the records of horsemen enshrined in the Hall of Fame. They acquire horses and transform them in ways that history’s greatest trainers never dreamed of.

Accordingly, bettors disregard the normal logic of handicapping when they evaluate horses saddled by Rick Dutrow in New York, Bruce Levine or Jason Servis in New Jersey, Marty Wolfson in Florida, Kirk Ziadie and Jamie Ness at Tampa Bay Downs, Jeff Mullins in California and countless other miracle workers.’ Beyer went on to say that `in an era when certain trainers repeatedly perform feats that defy the laws of nature and the logic of handicapping, bettors invariably suspect they are using illegal substances. . . such distrust has corroded the very foundation of the sport . . . the public at large is alienated when it suspects that drugs are tainting the sport’s greatest events.’

Some of the trainers named by Beyer responded angrily to any suggestion that the improved performances of horses in their care might be put down to anything other than their own skill, horsemanship and experience (Marty Wolfson and Jason Servis, for example, both pointed out that they had never been suspended for any drug offence).

A committee of trainers condemned Beyer, saying that `Writing that type of stuff is a discredit to the game.’ Beyer was unrepentent. `Some of these very trainers on the committee have records of drugs violations that should make them hesitant to accuse anyone of discrediting the game,’ he declared. Interestingly, of the top ten American-based trainers by earnings in 2009, only one, Christophe Clement, had never been cited for a medication violation.

The chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, Jean Romanet, given a platform at America’s influential annual Round Table conference in August, called for American racing to bring its medication rules into line with the rest of the major racing countries. He particularly criticised the raceday use of the diuretic drug furosemide (lasix) and the continued liberal use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone (bute). `You can do it if you want to do it,’ said Romanet as he asked American racing to start by banning the use of lasix in all `black-type’ races by 2012. No other major racing country permits the use of lasix on raceday but it is legal throughout North America and virtually every runner races on it.

The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published the results in July of a practical study of 167 racehorses conducted in South Africa in November 2007. Each horse raced twice, once on lasix and once lasix-free. The study, financed mainly by North American racing interests, purported to show that lasix is effective in reducing the severity of internal bleeding in horses who break blood vessels when racing. By doing that, lasix is therefore effective in enhancing performance, as well as having beneficial welfare effects for the horses affected. The argument over lasix seems set to run and run.

Not all North American jurisdictions, however, allow the use of painkillers such as bute close to a race, and the Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred Safety Committee is attempting to bring about a standard approach which will prohibit their use within forty-eight hours of a race. The creation of an umbrella organisation among supportive racing states will, it is hoped, allow state jurisdictions to adopt rule changes together, rather than individually.

North America still has a long way to go, though, before it is ready to participate in the international effort being made to standardise drug rules worldwide. American horses have to comply with strict rules on doping when they race overseas, on the Dubai World Cup day programme for example, at which they have a good record.

Yet, despite that record, the mistrust of American performances has continued to grow over the years. American racing must continue to address its drug problem if it is to play a full part in the new era that beckons for racing as a truly competitive international sport.

Europe’s principal trainers mostly adopt a `when in Rome . . .’ approach to the use of permitted drugs on challengers sent for America’s top races. One notable exception at the latest Breeders’ Cup was the Ballydoyle contingent saddled by Aidan O’Brien, only one of whom, Man of Iron (who won the Marathon), ran on lasix.

Many of the stable’s runners in previous years had been given the medication but Aidan O’Brien explained the change of policy. `Some of our horses won on lasix and we went along with it, but, just because we won on it, it doesn’t mean it was necessarily a good policy . . . it might have been better not to have run on lasix in previous Breeders’ Cups. We scope our horses a lot and, this year, none of them has ever shown anything, except Man of Iron who had little colds through the season while the others didn’t.

We have decided to be natural and do what we’ve been doing all year at home with them.’ Interestingly, the connections of Goldikova and Conduit, both of whom were lasix-free European-trained Breeders’ Cup winners in 2008, decided to race them on lasix this time; by contrast, British sprinter Fleeting Spirit, who raced on lasix in 2008, was the only runner not on it in the latest edition of the Sprint.

Andre Fabre, who did not have a runner in 2009, has conspicuously stood out against the use of lasix at the Breeders’ Cup and it would be laudable if more European trainers followed the example set on this vexing issue by Ballydoyle in the latest season. It would make Europe’s strict drugs policy more tenable and would focus more attention on the permissive approach of the Breeders’ Cup organisers towards medication which continues to detract from the meeting’s considerable value to international racing.

The Californian racing jurisdiction is among those that also permits the use of the pain-masking drug bute and 139 of the 147 runners in the fourteen races at the latest Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita ran on it, including all seven Ballydoyle challengers and all the other European challengers with the exception of Goldikova and Only Green (both trained by Freddie Head) and German-trained Junia Tepzia (the only one of the 147 runners to run on neither bute nor lasix).

The introduction of more resilient artificial surfaces on some American tracks was seen as an important step towards `cleaning up’ American racing. A shortage of horses able to stand repeated racing on the unforgiving traditional dirt surfaces in the ‘seventies was at the root of American racing’s increasing acceptance of the use of drugs.

The Breeders’ Cup was staged in 2009 for the second year running at Santa Anita, which replaced its traditional dirt track with a synthetic surface in 2007, resulting in the fatality rate falling significantly at the track (as has happened at the other Californian tracks with artificial surfaces).

There is, however, some talk of a return to dirt being on the cards at Santa Anita. Whatever happens, European challengers have enjoyed two good years on the pro-ride, a surface said to ride the same as good to firm going on turf. After Raven’s Pass and Henrythenavigator filled the first two places for Europe in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Classic, there were hopes of another success in North America’s richest race in the latest season.

Ballydoyle has targeted the Classic with some of its very best horses over the years but has yet to win it (the John Gosden-trained Raven’s Pass was only the second European-trained winner of the Classic, following the Andre Fabre-trained rank outsider Arcangues in 1993).

Since Giant’s Causeway, `The Iron Horse’, finished second to Tiznow at Churchill Downs in 2000, Ballydoyle has had ten further runners in the mile and a quarter Classic, Galileo (sixth) and Black Minnaloushe (tenth) in 2001, Hawk Wing (seventh) in 2002, Hold That Tiger (fifth) in 2003, Oratorio (eleventh) in 2005, George Washington (sixth) in 2006, George Washington (suffered severe injuries and had to be put down) in 2007, Henrythenavigator (second) and Duke of Marmalade (ninth) in 2008, and Rip Van Winkle in the latest season.

Aidan O’Brien assessed Rip Van Winkle as the stable’s best chance so far of winning the Classic. `He’s the most natural athlete we’ve ever had, his main asset is class,’ said O’Brien. `Some who are like that can be a bit soft but he’s as hard as concrete mentally. He’s very special and there is no doubt he is good enough.’ Rip Van Winkle went into the Classic rated behind only Hawk Wing (he achieved 136 the year after he ran in the Classic) among the O’Brien-trained stars who have tackled the race that the Ballydoyle/Coolmore partners evidently regard as providing a very important opportunity to show off their best to American breeders.

Rip Van Winkle is rated the equal of his sire Galileo, while George Washington (133), Giant’s Causeway (132), Duke of Marmalade (132) and Henrythenavigator (131) are also among the pick of the horses O’Brien has trained. Raven’s Pass and Henrythenavigator both had a full campaign before the Breeders’ Cup Classic, actually meeting four times in the process_in the Two Thousand Guineas, the St James’s Palace Stakes, the Sussex Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Neither ran beyond a mile before the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Rip Van Winkle had a more varied campaign, starting off in the Two Thousand Guineas, then running in the Derby and the Eclipse before reverting to a mile in the Sussex and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. He finished behind Sea The Stars in his first three races, getting closer to him each time, but hopes of a fourth meeting in the Classic came to nothing when Sea The Stars was retired after winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the world’s richest turf race.

Sea The Stars had been favourite in ante-post betting on the Classic and his absence, coupled with that of the outstanding American three-year-old filly, Rachel Alexandra, was an anticlimax at the time (Rachel Alexandra’s connections didn’t want to run her on pro-ride, after blaming the surface for the defeat of their champion Curlin in the previous year’s Classic).

Rip Van Winkle was beset by hoof problems throughout his three-year-old campaign_there was even a late scare with his off-hind hoof before the Classic_and his trainer encountered plenty of worrying moments. `Nine out of ten horses wouldn’t have still been racing this season,’ O’Brien said after Rip Van Winkle finally lived up to the highest expectations held for him when winning the BGC Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on his fourth start. `He has had problems all the way and hasn’t had a clean run before any race this season,’ said O’Brien, explaining that Rip Van Winkle was `ten out of ten’ lame on the eve of the Sussex, having sustained a crack in his near-hind foot. O’Brien explained that Rip Van Winkle had infections in all four of his heels in the spring which spread to his feet. `They kept going down so the bottom layer of his foot was coming away all the time, the setback before the Sussex was probably from all this still coming through.’

Rip Van Winkle had first been held up in his Two Thousand Guineas preparation after suffering an over-reach in the winter (a setback only revealed two months after it had happened) but stable-jockey Johnny Murtagh chose to ride him instead of Mastercraftsman , the highest-rated of the stable’s juveniles the previous season after the highly-regarded Rip Van Winkle had been beaten when favourite for the Dewhurst (though he still retained his position afterwards at the head of the Guineas market).

Rip Van Winkle was held up again in his preparation for Newmarket by a stone bruise in the immediate run-up to the meeting, but he missed out only narrowly on third in the Two Thousand Guineas behind Sea The Stars and the favourite Delegator, and Murtagh chose him again_this time ahead of five stablemates (including the favourite Fame And Glory)_in the Derby. He was a picture of well-being beforehand but managed only fourth behind Sea The Stars, beaten also by Fame And Glory and another Ballydoyle runner Masterofthehorse.

Rip Van Winkle’s performance in running Sea The Stars to a length in the Eclipse at Sandown next time (ridden by Jimmy Fortune as Murtagh was suspended), almost drawing alongside at one stage as he put in a strong challenge in the home straight, was worthy of winning most Group 1s (he finished four and a half lengths ahead of third-placed Conduit who went on to win the King George next time).

Rip Van Winkle started hot favourite for a vintage Sussex and beat the Queen Anne winner Paco Boy by two and a half lengths, the pair clear of the One Thousand Guineas winner Ghanaati in third in a race that further endorsed the quality of the season’s leading three-year-olds in Europe.

Rip Van Winkle couldn’t have been more impressive or more convincing, sent for home in earnest soon after halfway and galloping on really well to record the best performance in the Sussex for thirty years, since Kris won a memorable renewal by five lengths in a season when he dominated racing at around a mile in a way that no other horse had done since Brigadier Gerard.

Unfortunately, Rip Van Winkle aggravated his near-hind foot injury in the Sussex and wasn’t seen out again until the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Sponsored by Sony) over eight weeks later.

Only three took him on at Ascot_stablemate Mastercraftsman a late withdrawal after being left in as a precaution_but Rip Van Winkle had to win the race the hard way, matching the breakneck gallop set by the Prix du Moulin winner Aqlaam from the start before being sent for home fully three furlongs out.

The patiently-ridden Zacinto came from a detached last to finish second, beaten a length and a quarter, while Aqlaam and Delegator, who looked Rip Van Winkle’s most dangerous opponents beforehand, both paid for the overly strong gallop. Rip Van Winkle took longer to run the last three furlongs of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes than the winners of the three other races on the round mile that day, the falsely-run Rosemary Handicap, the Royal Lodge and the Fillies’ Mile.

His timefigure, equivalent to a timerating of only 103 (below those recorded by Joshua Tree in the Royal Lodge and Hibaayeb in the Fillies’ Mile), was 26 lb below the Timeform rating given to the performance, another indication that Rip Van Winkle would probably have done better ridden a shade more conservatively. Rip Van Winkle won the race but it took a lot out of him and it may be significant that Delegator and Zacinto also disappointed at the Breeders’ Cup, both of them finishing unplaced on turf behind Goldikova in the Mile.

As for Rip Van Winkle, who started second favourite to Zenyatta in the Classic, he weakened after rounding the home turn and managed only tenth of twelve (British-trained Twice Over did best of the overseas challengers to fill third behind the historic winner Zenyatta, the Belmont winner Summer Bird being the first of the three-year-olds in fourth).

If Rip Van Winkle gets a second chance in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he will have to show he can handle traditional American dirt because the Breeders’ Cup returns to Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, in 2010. All being well, he should enhance his reputation even further in Europe in the meantime, his versatility so far as distance goes affording his connections plenty of choice when it comes to targeting the big races.

The sturdy Rip Van Winkle was bought as a yearling in Italy for Ç170,000. He wasn’t in the top thirty by sale price among sixty-eight Galileo yearlings offered for auction that autumn, his not particularly striking physique and the relatively modest achievements of the first three dams on the bottom line of his pedigree probably weighing against him.

Full details of Rip Van Winkle’s pedigree were given in Racehorses of 2008 but, to summarise, he is the first foal of his fairly useful dam the Stravinsky mare Looking Back, placed in listed company at seven and a half furlongs in Italy and closely related to the useful British sprinter Special Day (by another Nureyev sprint stallion, Fasliyev) who is the only relative of any note close up in the pedigree (though brothers Ace, Danish and Hawkeye crop up further back).

Looking Back’s second foal Le Vie Infinite (by Le Vie dei Colori) was a two-year-old in the latest season and finished fourteenth of eighteen in a six-furlong maiden at Rome in October on his only start; her third, a yearling filly by Ad Valorem, passed through the sale-ring at Tattersalls in October, bought back for 70,000 guineas; there was no return for Looking Back in the 2009 Return of Mares . Rip Van Winkle has good form at a mile and a half, but his form at a mile and at a mile and a quarter is better. He is unraced on extremes of going on turf and was a long way below his best on his only start on an artificial surface. A. P. O’Brien.

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    Discussion Questions for Rip Van Winkle

    Rip Van Winkle is a mythic tale set in the Hudson Valley known throughout the world. Here are but a few provocative questions inspired by a contemporary reading of Rip Van Winkle:

    What if you were alive but “slept through” an event such as the American Revolution (or the events of 9/11, the Vietnam War, or any number of other transformative conflicts)?  What are the consequences of  being apathetic or passive about public and personal life? To what extent, are you a participant in your own times or life?

    Is Rip Van Winkle a prototype for an American “hero?”  What does Rip Van Winkle suggest about the American Dream? Does hard work lead to success?  What are strengths and drawbacks of a commitment to the Work Ethic?

    How do a people develop a collective identity?  What ontributes to a sense of nationalism or national unity?  How did Washington Irving contribute to the development of nationalism, beginning in the 1820’s?  How important is tradition for a people?

    Aging in America.  Is it true that people reach an age where they “can do nothing with impunity?”  How do previous generations contribute to lasting societal change?

    From today’s perspective, is Rip Van Winkle politically correct?

    In the portrayal of Dame Van Winkle as a “cultural villain,”  what is learned about the historical role and status of women? How are other women portrayed in the story? Learning about the Van Winkle husband-wife relationship reveals much about their culture.  To what extent are we a product of our own culture?  How much control do we exercise over the lives we live?

    Was Rip Van Winkle a success in his life?

    We are interested in your thoughts for discussion questions, thematic activities and events. Email us with your ideas at [email protected]

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    Literature Essays

    Rip Van Winkle was considered a happy. careless. and foolish adult male who was unconcerned with his ain life. but would assist assist his neighbours who are in demand with their day-to-day undertakings. He is one to sit on a bench and smoke his pipe endlessly. instead than assist out his married woman. Dame Van Winkle. One twenty-four hours Rip takes a walk with his Canis familiaris up into the mountain and comes across some unusual people. they offer him a drink. and the following thing Rip knows. he is waking up at the stump of a tree. with his Canis familiaris nowhere to be found and his gun break uping. twenty old ages subsequently. I believe the significance of the sleep is to reflect what sort of individual Rip Van Winkle is. he is one to merely allow everything base on balls by and non care at all. One fabulous feature is that the narrative is set back in the past. normally in remote or exciting topographic points and times. The chief thing I noticed was when Rip described the vesture. “…a cloth jerkin strapped round the waist—several braces of knee pantss. the outer one of ample volume. decorated with rows of buttons down the sides. and Bunches at the articulatio genuss. ” It isn’t really common that you hear the word jerkin.

    One other thing that the reader may hold noticed that they used a sun-dial. which was used in the yesteryear. Both of these points show that this narrative was written in the yesteryear. This makes the reader think back. and believe of how it would perchance be like to populate back so. The following fabulous feature is that the narrative is filled with singular. strange. and overdone characters. As Rip Van Winkle was walking he came across “…odd–looking personages playing at skittless. They were dressed in quaint bizarre manner ; some wore short doublets. others jerkins. with long knives in their belts. and most of them had tremendous knee pantss. of similar manner with that of the guide’s.

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    Their countenances. excessively. were curious ; one had a big caput. wide face. and little hoggish eyes ; the face of another seemed to dwell wholly of olfactory organ. and was surmounted by a white sugar–loaf chapeau. set off with a small ruddy cock’s tail. They all had face funguss. of assorted forms and colourss. ” Another illustration of this was when Rip was reminded that “…the figures in an old Flemish picture. in the parlour of Dominie Van Schaick. the small town curate. and which had been brought over from Holland at the clip of the colony. ” While. those features may non look to strange to the reader. they did to Rend. This may do the reader think of when they may go and see people in unusual vesture. that is what Rip may hold experienced. And the last fabulous feature is that the narrative features unbelievable. heroic. impressive. charming. or cryptic events and their effects.

    As Rip awakes. he notices that his gun has started to break up. which makes him believe that the people from the dark before. had switched his gun. but as he returns to his small town. he starts to recognize that he had been asleep much longer than he had realized. As he asked where his friends may be they answer “Nicholas Vedder? why. he is dead and gone these 18 old ages! ” Another illustration is when he meets his girl. who is now grown and has a household of her ain. The reader may non hold considered this unbelievable. heroic. or impressive. there is no uncertainty that they considered it charming or cryptic. It makes the reader believe how such an event could of all time go on.

    As I said earlier. that Rip Van Winkle’s sleep of 18 old ages could resemble his indolence and how he lets things base on balls by without a attention in the universe. I hoped that experience made Rip recognize how careless he is. but as the narrative continues Rip Van Winkle’s married woman. Dame Van Winkle was mentioned “…he agitate his caput. shrugged his shoulders. and cast up his eyes ; which might go through either for an look of surrender to his destiny. or joy at his rescue. ” Which shows that Rip has returned to his old wonts. but possibly has picked up a few good 1s.

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