December 01, 2003

World AIDS Day 2003


Ribot was the name of one of horse racing's most celebrated thoroughbreds. He ran unbeaten in the 16 races he ran. He carried the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes as well as twice winning France’s Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Federico Tesio, Ribot's owner, wrote, of his foray into breeding thoroughbreds, that his aim “was to breed and raise a racehorse which, over any distance, could carry the heaviest weight in the shortest time.” In the 45+ years since Ribot's win at the Arc de Triomphe the horse is still considered one of the handful of top horses ever to grace the Sport of Kings.

In 1940 after Tesio's death, his partner, Mario Incisa Della Rochetta published the storied history of Frederico Tesio and their celebrated horses Donatello II, Nearco, and Ribot in his book: The Tesios As I Knew Them.

Ribot was a champion but he was also apparently quite eccentric. Race horses are quite naturally high strung and often are only really in their element when running. Among the top of breed horses will quite often do whatever it takes to get out on the track. But Ribot was a bit different. He was apparently gay and would not run his races unless a certain other horse was present. Whenever his partner was around he would be quite ready to race but became difficult to deal with and sullen when his friend was not around. In his stud years he became quite difficult to deal with:

Ribot was another horse whose disposition changed when he went to stud. The English-bred runner, who gained recognition as the greatest Italian-stabled racehorse of all time, won all 16 of his career starts (1954-1956). "Throughout his racing career, Ribot was an intelligent, quiet, well-behaved horse," William G. Munn wrote in a 1991 issue of Thoroughbred Times. "During his stud career, however, he became difficult, and at times his behavior could only be described as bizarre."

The horse, who started his stud career in Europe, came to Darby Dan Farm in June 1960 and spent the rest of his days at that Lexington, Ky., Thoroughbred hostelry. "People used to suggest that we get a goat or somethin' and put it in Ribot's stall to keep him quiet," the late Darby Dan manager Olin Gentry once recalled. "My answer to that question was, you'd have to order 'em by the carload. Ribot would have killed them. He never tried to hurt anybody but himself, but if you'd put a goat in there, god durn, he'd have climbed the wall and stood up on his hind legs to chew out the top of the damn rafters in the barn."

The literary magazine "Ribot" founded by Paul Vangelisti of OTIS LA was named as it was because of this story about its namesake. The painter Robin Palanker has a wonderful study, used as a cover for "Ribot" on the emotional landscape of Ribot & his partner in her painting called Amo, Amas, Amat from 1994.

Love arises everywhere.

In my youth I watched my friend Beth waste away from AIDS. She didn't actually have the disease. Her father did. As he wasted away so did she. Her translucent skin shone in the dark. Her blond locks thinned as her dad prepared to die. She was confused and frightened. Her mother would not acknowledge her father's imminent demise and when he finally slipped away she was the only one who knew. She was the only one who seemed to care and when he was gone and his body put away she faded away. She took a bus someplace and we never saw her again. Somewhere she may still wander. I hope she has found succor. I hope she still has hope somewhere in her heart.

When Nikki died he had his family at hand. How many are so fortunate?

Today is World AIDS Day. I have a number of things I will be adding to this throughout the day. In the mean time you should visit Link & Think to learn more about AIDS and what the epidemic is doing to the human community.

Posted by filchyboy at December 1, 2003 11:14 AM | TrackBack

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