Three things stand against him. First, he came out of the wood with a potentially compromising quarter crack to his left front heel. Second, an excitable sort, Unbridled's Song has been known to pitch hissy fits in paddocks and post parades. One can only imagine what he will do at Churchill Downs when the band strikes up My Old Kentucky Home and 100,000 partisans start yelling in his ear. Finally, if he wins, he will do so in defiance of recent history: No favorite has won the Derby since Spectacular Bid in 1979, and no winner of the Breeder's Cup Juvenile—the race Unbridled's Song won last fall—has gone on to win the roses. If Unbridled's Song pulls a fade, any one of eight horses could win the Derby, from Skip Away to Cavonnier to long shots Halo Sunshine and Alyrob.
Oh, well. All that be damned. Unbridled's Song is still the best horse in the race.
Buckner's Rock-and-Roll Savior
Ghosts die hard in Red Sox country, and no specter has haunted fans more for the past 10 years than former Boston first baseman Bill Buckner's. In the 10th inning of the sixth game of the 1986 World Series, Buckner let a ground ball dribble between his legs, completing a collapse that cost the Sox a chance to win their first Series since 1918.
Now the Boston-based roots-rock band Slide has released its debut CD, Forgiving Buckner. "The title is about salvation," says Wolf Wortis, the band's singer and songwriter. "For a Red Sox fan to be able to forgive Bill Buckner means that the fan is ready to move on with life." Slide isn't a sports-rock gimmick band, and as Wortis says, "We wouldn't even write a song like [John Fogerty's] Centerfield." But the group does draw metaphors from baseball. Its guitar-heavy track Cool Papa Bell, for example, doesn't refer to the legendary Negro leagues speedster directly, but it does carry the underlying theme that "being good on the base paths, knowing when to take chances and when not to, is analogous to what you need to get through life."
Ultimately Slide thinks Buckner should be remembered for more than his notorious blunder. That's why it gave the disc a catalog number that ends with 2715, the number of hits Buckner had in his 22-year career.
A Living Legacy
Every year from 1987 through '95 Team Foxcatcher won the freestyle team championship for small clubs at the U.S. wrestling championships. At this year's nationals, held last weekend in Las Vegas, Foxcatcher was missing. The club, which had been sponsored by millionaire sports patron John du Pont, was decertified by USA Wrestling after du Pont's arrest and indictment for the fatal Jan. 26 shooting of 1984 Olympic champion and Foxcatcher team member Dave Schultz. However, many former Foxcatcher wrestlers competed in the Las Vegas Convention Center—under the banner of the Dave Schultz Wrestling Club.
"It was a way to bring together those who wanted to help with those who needed help," says Nancy Schultz, Dave's widow, who helped form the new club. A nonprofit organization, the Dave Schultz team has received funding from USA Wrestling, the U.S. Olympic Committee and several corporate sponsors. As a result, wrestlers whose support disappeared when du Pont was arrested will get assistance with travel and training expenses and also an invaluable sense of continuity in an Olympic year. And the name of Dave Schultz, perhaps the most respected figure in U.S. wrestling, will live on.
On Saturday, Kurt Angle won the freestyle title at 220 pounds for the second straight year; it was the only individual championship earned by a member of the Schultz club, which placed second as a team, behind the Sunkist Kids of Phoenix. "I am honored to be wrestling in Dave's name," said Angle. "Someone who's given so much to wrestling deserves to have a club named after him."